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Old 06-12-2011, 03:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How do I clean my oil breather cap?

Hi everyone - I bought a well maintained 64 Galaxie 500 XL back in January (just a couple of minor rust issues around the driver side rocker panel and rear wheel well - otherwise very nice). It's been raining quite a bit where I am so I haven't been able to drive it as much as I'd like, but at least I can admire it in my garage whenever I want. My car has a 390 4 BBL engine. It isn't the original engine. The fellow I bought the car from had the car since 1997 and he said that the 390 had been in there for quite a few years before he bought it. From looking at the VIN it looks like it originally had a 289. I'll have to get the 390's block code at some point so I can trace what that engine came out of originally. As soon as I can I'll get some pictures up.

Quick question: The oil breather cap's filter material is all gunked up. Is there a way I can clean it without damaging it? I'm dripping a small bit of oil out the bottom so I'm hoping cleaning the breather cap will help (or it certainly won't hurt). Please let me know if anyone has a recommended way of cleaning it without damaging the filter material.

Thanks everyone
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Old 06-12-2011, 03:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: How do I clean my oil breather cap?

Im wondering if an electronics contact cleaner wouldnt damage the filter material.
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Old 06-12-2011, 03:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: How do I clean my oil breather cap?

Fill it with a degreaser let sit for awhile rinse out with water ,, REPEAT several times.. is how I did mine..
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Old 06-12-2011, 03:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: How do I clean my oil breather cap?

If its really bad, just buy a new one.
They are not expensive.

I understand the satisfaction of making on old part work...
....and sometimes the need/want to keep it all original.

I have done the cleaning routine on breather caps.... an I don't like it...
Messy job, esp using compressed air, and you never get a bad one "really clean".
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: How do I clean my oil breather cap?

Soak it in degreaser and wash it with water.
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Old 06-12-2011, 06:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: How do I clean my oil breather cap?

What I did with my original breather cap was to turn it upside down and fill it with brake cleaner and let sit for a couple minutes. Then turn it over and dump out all the crud. I repeated this until the brake cleaner came out clean and it didn't seem to hurt the material inside the breather.
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Old 06-12-2011, 07:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: How do I clean my oil breather cap?

the inner material is often simply a wire mesh, but sometimes it's organic material...
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Old 06-12-2011, 08:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: How do I clean my oil breather cap?

Thanks for your quick responses everyone! I'll try and clean it and if it doesn't work I'll pick up a new one.

It stopped raining this morning and the roads dried out enough to go out for a nice cruise in the country this evening - perfect way to end the weekend.
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: How do I clean my oil breather cap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by laclewis View Post
It stopped raining this morning and the roads dried out enough to go out for a nice cruise in the country this evening - perfect way to end the weekend.
And how!
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: How do I clean my oil breather cap?

1. Use some carb cleaner to get the most of the sludge out of the cap.
2. Fill up a pot with water and Dawn dish detergent, get it plenty soapy.
3. Get some Dawn into the breather cap, and place it in the pot of water.
4. Put it on the stove, turn the burner on very low, and let it simmer a few hours.
5. Remove it from the pot, and rinse it fully.

It will now be clean.

Don't blame me for your wife's reaction to all this
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Old 06-13-2011, 06:09 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: How do I clean my oil breather cap?

I used to fill a small can with gas, drop in the breather overnight. Then, remove the breather and let it drain/dry real well.

Is degreaser better than gas?
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Old 06-13-2011, 02:03 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: How do I clean my oil breather cap?

Gas is still the best of all, just be careful of that MTBE that's now put in gas, it rapidly absorbs through the skin, and is highly carcinogenic. Wear proper gloves.

Lacquer thinner is good too, but pricey. If its small, a can or two of carb cleaner is fine, be cautious of backspray when spraying something. I keep a small can of Chem dip that's too far gone to use on carburetors, and I soak small parts in that overnight. Even has a basket in the can.

You'd be surprised at what Dawn can get off. EPA uses it to clean crude oil off of birds and other wildlife. They use in a mix and spray it on rocks to remove oil. I don't know what's in it, but it works great. I have used it to degrease engine compartments.

The only thing I boil on a stove, is I bought an old pan at a yard sale for 50 cents, and after using cleaner on a carburetor I have broken down into parts, I put the parts into this pot of boiling soapy water, and let it simmer for 1 hour. Using tongs or pliers to remove the carburetor sections (they will be hot), I take them back outside then use carb cleaner again in the small holes and tubes. Sometimes those things get so clogged up that only soaking in hot water will soften up the sludge enough to allow the carb cleaner spray to finally remove it. I had a Carter AFB that refused to release the plug inside one of the idle passages. No chemical would remove it. Only boiling, then using compressed air unplugged it. Now it works just like new!

Mike
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