A glowing recommendation for Zep Citrus Cleaner

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CGDustDevil

Buckeye
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
1,437
Location
Arizona
When I was in the automotive trades many years ago, one of the jobs I loathed was doing brakes. There aren't words enough to say on a family-oriented forum that can express my hatred for doing brake jobs. I have asbestosis from years of inhaling brake dust, as well as COPD from 50 years of tobacco use.

Suffice it to say, I HATE brake jobs. So with that preface, you can imagine my trepidation when the ole truck started exhibiting the typical signs of high miles and brake problems. Well, last week I finally gathered myself together and tore it apart to find out where the brake fluid is going, and why the left side rear wheel wants to lock up to a point where I have to put it into reverse to free it up! (I knew why... I just didn't wanna admit I knew why...)

Sure enough, after beating the drum insensible and prying, I got the brake drum off and saw the trouble:




Brake lining cracked, black 'stuff' everywhere, black fluid just behind the wheel cylinder dust boots.

CRAP! Ok... Gotta get it cleaned up... I went to NAPA and bought shoes, wheel cylinders, spring kits, and Brake Kleen. (Old stand by) The Brake Kleen did a horrid job! It used to work real well, but it's obviously been neutered into complete ineffectiveness. All it did was turned the black dusty stuff into black goop, most of which stayed on the truck rather than dripping off into the pan. I'm filthy by this time, and wasn't wanting to get all cleaned up so I could take the Tbird back to town to find something else to clean this pig with.

So I rummaged in my 'chemical cabinet' and found a partial spray bottle of Zep Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser that I picked up at Lowes a few weeks back when I was fumbling around with some diesel fuel problem on the tractor. I knew from the oil & gas business that citrus cleaners seemed to work really well cleaning up liquid fuel (diesel) systems. I thought to myself: "Hmmm...Wonder if this crap will do anything for cleaning brake dust & fluid soup? Don't cost anything to find out!"

So I gave it a good liberal squirt down, and the black stuff just melted away! Here's what it looked like after a 10 minute soak and a water rinse:



Well now! How about them apples!? I couldn't find my brake spring tool, and needed to get the drums turned, so the next day I went to town again and got 3 more bottles of Zep HD Citrus Cleaner. It did a marvelous job!! Here's the backing plate with all the hardware off, all cleaned up and the new wheel cylinder installed. (Took about a half a bottle of Zep and a parts brush... Maybe 15 minutes' time)



Here's the stuff that did the work! Note - Some of the springs are new. The Zep is good, but it ain't THAT good that it repaints stuff! ;)


Anything that cleans up nasty ole brake droppings is on my "A" list of must-have chemicals. It's prohibited in California of course, and it's not suitable for plastics, auto finishes, stone, acrylic etc. But if you have a greasy mechanical mess you wanna sort out, this stuff seems to be quite effective!
 

jimbo1096

Hunter
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
2,043
Location
Alexandria, LA USA
Thanks for the tip. BTW the Brakleen products come in two flavors, one the old original and the new "non-chlorinated", the latter isn't worth crap.
Good job on the brakes, I hated working on them too, back when I could get that low-----
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,866
Location
Redlands CA USA
CGDustDevil said:
Anything that cleans up nasty ole brake droppings is on my "A" list of must-have chemicals. It's prohibited in California of course, and it's not suitable for plastics, auto finishes, stone, acrylic etc. But if you have a greasy mechanical mess you wanna sort out, this stuff seems to be quite effective!

I think they have two flavors of the stuff, because Home Depot lists two catalog numbers on the website. One is "out of stock at your local store" which usually means no CA sales in HD code. The other has the same catalog number with a "CA" at the end, and it's readily available. Wonder if it even comes close to working like the "real" stuff?

Rick C
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,437
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Always open to trying new stuff if it works!
Thanks for the tip!
(PS; For what it's worth,, I dislike brake jobs too!)
 

EVILDOCTOR235

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 24, 2001
Messages
171
Location
Vancouver,Wash,Planet Earth.
My last job of 32 years was being a engine mechanic in a wrecking yard. One of my jobs was to clean engines. I had the use of a Storm Vulcan parts washer that did a great job. Sometimes if the parts washer was full. I would use the Zep citrus cleaner to de-grease engines. We bought it in 20 gallon drums if I remember correctly. I would put it in a re-useable spray can that held about a quart of the cleaner and then use a air hose to pressurize the sprayer. I would hang a engine in the air and spray it down and let it soak in for a few minutes and then for the baked on stuff, I would hit it with the pressure washer. On most newer engines you didn't even need to use the pressure washer, just a garden hose. Yes it does work great. The Zep salesman would bring me samples of different products to try out. He would bring two of each item to try out. One item for the company and one for me to take home. I still have lots of Zep samples except the citrus cleaner.

EvilDr235
 

exavid

Hunter
Joined
Jan 2, 2011
Messages
3,071
Location
Medford, OR
Zep is good stuff. When I was working for a charter bus company our bus cleaners used various varieties of the stuff. I still use their basic cleaner does a good job on a lot of stuff. I never minded brake work but I really don't like changing tires with a couple tire irons and a mallet.
 

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