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Andy A

Cleaning exhaust stains on my airplanes belly

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I've noticed some light brown stains on our airplane's belly.  I'm assuming it's from the exhaust because it's on the same side as the muffler.  It's a really light color.  What's the best thing to clean it with?  If I can get it clean,  I'll be able to keep it clean.  I clean our plane with Pledge furniture polish after each flight.  I just need to clean it from the previous owner's 150 hours of neglect. 

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Oil Eater followed by Composiclean Super Spray Wax. Use Composiclean Haze Glaze if needed for stubborn stains.

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I use Oil Eater as well, it's good stuff.  It might not be exhaust, it could be oil and/or fuel from the vent lines.  I have some honey-colored liquid streak stains on the belly that won't go away, and I think they are fuel or oil.  Not a big deal, they are where nobody can see without a creeper.  :)

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I know that Oil Eater works well but I just use rubbing alcohol and saturate a rag with this to pre-clean the belly.  This seems to remove everything, including the dark and tan oil and exhaust crud.  FWIW, I also add 2oz. per 5 gallons of marvel mystery oil to my MoGas fuel and don't know if this affects what is deposited on the belly.  I follow up with Turtle ICE spray wax.  We all have our favorites.  This is mine.

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7 minutes ago, Runtoeat said:

I know that Oil Eater works well but I just use rubbing alcohol and saturate a rag with this to pre-clean the belly.  This seems to remove everything, including the dark and tan oil and exhaust crud.  FWIW, I also add 2oz. per 5 gallons of marvel mystery oil to my MoGas fuel and don't know if this affects what is deposited on the belly.  I follow up with Turtle ICE spray wax.  We all have our favorites.  This is mine.

I might try that.  Alcohol will remove EVERYTHING from the paint, including any wax or finishes.  Following up with the spray wax is critical, and you probably want to use a liquid or paste wax pretty regularly if you clean with alcohol.

I use Turtlewax ICE also, it's great.  Works great on Plexiglass too.  Because it's a polymer it doesn't yellow like Carnuba wax and bugs seem to stick to the windshield less often than with regular plexi cleaners.

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Mineral spirits works fine for removing the stains, and I've used it a lot inside and outside of my aircraft and haven't seen an issue yet. Just don't let it drip on you, if it gets in an eye, nose, mouth, or ear, you're in for a miserable time. Follow up with isopropyl wipe to remove residue (i have yet to see a truely residueless mineral spirits).

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Jim, I'll put it on my list of things to try.  I see it recommends application with buffer but do you use a buffer or apply by hand?

Andy, I also occasionally use Ice on my windshield.  When I find that the bugs aren't coming off my wings easy with water and nylon mesh pad, it's time to go over them and my tail and stabilator with the Turtle Ice.  I do the belly once or twice a year.  It get pretty funky from exhaust and crankcase vent tube.

Corey, mineral spirits definitely part of my arsenal of cleaning agents.  Did I read the old standby, Pledge, isn't good for our CT's?  Don't use it.  Just curious.

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9 hours ago, Runtoeat said:

Jim, I'll put it on my list of things to try.  I see it recommends application with buffer but do you use a buffer or apply by hand?

Andy, I also occasionally use Ice on my windshield.  When I find that the bugs aren't coming off my wings easy with water and nylon mesh pad, it's time to go over them and my tail and stabilator with the Turtle Ice.  I do the belly once or twice a year.  It get pretty funky from exhaust and crankcase vent tube.

Corey, mineral spirits definitely part of my arsenal of cleaning agents.  Did I read the old standby, Pledge, isn't good for our CT's?  Don't use it.  Just curious.

I've used lemon pledge on my CT  plexi almost 11 years. Never a problem.

I've also used waterless car wash. It also works well. I first started using that when I lived in Alaska, and especially in Anchorage which is a dirty place to live and most planes live outside. As long as the build up wasn't too extreme I used it every time on my C-206 that I had there for 18 years. Even flying into the sun the windshield looked like new.

On the CT I try to keep pledge and the waterless off the composite. Don't know that they would hurt it but also don't know that they wouldn't.

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John, your experience using Pledge indicates that it's OK to use on our lexan windshields.  I am careful when maintaining polycarbonate.

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Anything that has ammonia is a huge no-no. It embrittles the windscreen. Anything with a powerful base pH is also to be avoided.

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Corey, I've got some waviness on my windshield.  I've considered trying to even the surface by using a sanding block with super fine sandpaper or Micro Mesh fluids.  My friend says Micro Mesh products work on plexi-glass but will not work on the windshield because the lexan is soft and won't allow sanding.  Comments?

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57 minutes ago, Runtoeat said:

Corey, I've got some waviness on my windshield.  I've considered trying to even the surface by using a sanding block with super fine sandpaper or Micro Mesh fluids.  My friend says Micro Mesh products work on plexi-glass but will not work on the windshield because the lexan is soft and won't allow sanding.  Comments?

Have you tried something less aggressive first, like 210 Plexi Polish?

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12 minutes ago, Roger Lee said:

The likelihood of causing a bigger issue is greater than just leaving it alone.

It *is* a multi-thousand dollar part if you mess up...

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5 hours ago, Runtoeat said:

Corey, I've got some waviness on my windshield.  I've considered trying to even the surface by using a sanding block with super fine sandpaper or Micro Mesh fluids.  My friend says Micro Mesh products work on plexi-glass but will not work on the windshield because the lexan is soft and won't allow sanding.  Comments?

Waviness correction is better left to skilled individuals. It might not be the surface of the plastic with the issue, but might be a flaw in the plastic itself. It's actually quite difficult to remove waviness in many cases.

If you're determined to try, follow tom's advice. You also need a large backing block to help give you the needed flat surface.

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Two shots of whiskey and you'll never notice the waviness. Everything will be a little wavy. :fainting-1344:

Personally I'd leave it alone.

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14 hours ago, Anticept said:

Waviness correction is better left to skilled individuals. It might not be the surface of the plastic with the issue, but might be a flaw in the plastic itself. It's actually quite difficult to remove waviness in many cases.

If you're determined to try, follow tom's advice. You also need a large backing block to help give you the needed flat surface.

Additionally, it should not be overlooked that the waviness may be an imperfection from the inside surface.

Polishing the outer surface, until you are blue in the face, may do little to remove the imperfection.

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16 hours ago, Tom Baker said:

I have polished scratches from dragging the cowling across the windshield out with good results.

I have used 210 Polish on mine and it's okay for small scratches, but there are some deeper ones that are just not coming out or would take way more work than I would put in to do it.  It would be nice if somebody offered an acrylic filler that could smoothed over deep scratches and then polished to at least make them less visible.

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Yeah, I've polished out small scratches - think I used McGuires plastic scratch removal product and also some very fine rouge-like compound. I think Roger is probably right.  The windshield is definitely something that one doesn't want to mess with if not absolutely necessary.  My problem is I'm always trying to fix things that aren't broken.

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