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Old 04-12-2015, 06:10 AM   #1
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Grease in front box

What cleans off grease marks inside the front box? Tried WD40 and Bug and Tar Remover to no avail.
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:43 AM   #2
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Not that I've done it on an Escape but Carb or Brake cleaner works on grease. If you have it, might try Acetone or even Gasoline.
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:18 AM   #3
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Protective gloves are recommended when using these solvents, especially acetone.
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:48 AM   #4
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Please don't use gasoline. My favorite cleaner for many things is Brake Clean. Do wear protective gloves but it works well and is non-flammable.
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Old 04-12-2015, 01:38 PM   #5
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Degreasers used in automotive service are the obvious choice, with the caution that they are normally used on metal parts, not polyester resin. I see that CRC (a common line of automotive chemicals in Canada) includes one - QC-82 - which the maker describes as
Quote:
Foaming water-based formula aggressive enough to break down and dissolve grease, grime, oil, rubber marks and other oil-based contaminants while remaining gentle enough for painted and plastic surfaces.
That sounds appropriate to me.

Brake cleaner is one specialized degreaser/cleaner, but it's really a bunch of different products: a common brand (Brakleen) includes multiple formulations. Some of them are extremely flammable (05088, 75088; largely methanol), some include acetone, and some (5089) are tetrachloroethylene (a.k.a perchloroethylene, "perc", or dry cleaning fluid). Tetrachloroethylene is a great degreaser and is not flammable so it seems like a good choice, but it is also toxic and carcinogenic, so I try to minimize the amount that I use. I doubt there is any non-toxic and non-flammable brake cleaner.

As consumers we're not expected to understand much about the products we use because governments and regulations are supposed to ensue that they are reasonably safe, but if we start using them for purposes other than intended, I think we are then responsible for ensuring that we're choosing an appropriate product.
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Old 04-12-2015, 01:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
What cleans off grease marks inside the front box? Tried WD40...
WD-40 is a blend of solvent and oil. The solvent isn't aggressive enough to be really effective for this kind of use, and the oil just makes things worse. There are good uses for WD-40 (although I don't think there are very many), but this isn't one of them.
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Old 04-12-2015, 02:26 PM   #7
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I have been using Simple Green on my motorcycles for a number years with very good results .
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:39 PM   #8
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The polyester resin that your box is made of is really very porous. Using solvents will dilute the grease and drive it into the fiberglass rather than remove it. I'd recommend TSP (Trisodium phosphate) - its the basis for most detergents. Probably it will come as a powder that you mix with warm water and is a very powerful degreaser. Wash your box and rinse well and if the marks are still there, I'd suggest painting with a primer followed with a tough enamel to seal up the fiberglass and give you a smoother surface to clean afterwards.


You would find TSP at paint stores. Wear gloves as its caustic and will be hard on exposed skin.


Please do not use acetone or gasoline as they are so very flammable. The least little spark in such a closed container, even with the lid open, could cause an explosion and set your trailer on fire and burn you. A spark could come from static electricity build up in your clothing.


Basically... clean with a strong detergent like TSP to remove the grease stains and invisible oil and grease film, rinse well, dry .... stain still there? Probably will be due to the nature of grease/oil stains and he porosity of fiberglass materials. Maybe paint with an epoxy based primer and enamel. Epoxys generally do not have solvents in them so are good as sealers. They also are good at self leveling .... meaning likely you will get a smoother surface than you started with. Follow directions on containers.


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Tom
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Old 04-12-2015, 04:31 PM   #9
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Barkeepers Best Friend may contain some of the TSP, I think?
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Old 04-12-2015, 04:58 PM   #10
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Tom, we do have TSP but didn't even think that it might work but could try it. The inside of the box is very different from the exterior material. We can look for Brake Clean, Ian, and I have seen Simple Green, etuna, so could use that. Thank you for the replies all, Brian, Bob, Jubal, Jim.
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Old 04-12-2015, 05:29 PM   #11
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My question is it on the inside/side or inside/bottom? Some stuff might just run off where if the stain is at the bottom you could pour something on and let it soak. Or if it's on the side, saturate a towel and figure out a way to keep it right up against the stain so it can soak awhile. Confused yet?
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Old 04-12-2015, 05:34 PM   #12
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It is on the sides, Donna, from taking things in and out while hitching.
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Old 04-12-2015, 05:46 PM   #13
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TSP seems like a good idea to me - I have used it to prep walls for painting, and it is an effective grease remover.
Any detergent ("soap") seems like a safer first step than any solvent. Most automotive degreasers are detergents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
The inside of the box is very different from the exterior material.
It looks very different, but it should be quite similar in other properties. I've only seen the outside of these boxes in person, but I assume it is constructed of the same moulded fiberglass with gelcoat exterior as the trailer body - that means it is a plastic matrix (presumably polyester) reinforced with glass fibres. On the inside, you are seeing the raw translucent polyester colour, and the pattern of the fibres; on the outside, you are seeing a thin layer of about the same polyester, but without glass fibres, with white pigment making it opaque, and with a much smoother surface due to the mould. It's the same plastic, so the same cleaners work... although you might not mind messing up the glossiness of the finish on the inside, so perhaps you can be more aggressive than you would be with the trailer's outer surface.
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:23 PM   #14
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You may have seen a box not sprayed with protectant as some are not. Our exterior is very rough while the interior is smooth.
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Old 04-12-2015, 07:11 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
You may have seen a box not sprayed with protectant as some are not. Our exterior is very rough while the interior is smooth.
Ah, okay... the outside of the box would look like the trailer until the protective coating is applied. What works on the outside of the trailer (rather than the box) should work on the inside of the box, because both are polyester. The interior should be smooth to the touch but somewhat wavy (because it was not pressed against a mould). Losing a bit of gloss on the inside is presumably not a big deal, but the least aggressive cleaning still seems like the best idea to me.
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Old 04-12-2015, 08:27 PM   #16
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Cathy, as a long time boat builder / owner, use or try TSP or dish washing detergent (TSP has more muscle). Please do not use brake clean or other solvents. They will dissolve the grease true but also dilute the grease and smear / drive it into the fiberglass surface. Where you might have a stain the size of a quarter now, after using a solvent you may smear it to an area the size of your fist even if you can't see it. Being on the inside of your box it may not be a big deal but where there is grease residue you will not be able to get paint to stick in the future.


I doubt its a big deal since its on the inside but TSP will be the most effective and least toxic cleaner to use. Follow the directions on the box and wear gloves no matter what you decide to use.


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Old 04-12-2015, 09:42 PM   #17
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Okay, Tom, just happened to use gloves previously as I never thought of TSP as having much to it. Thanks.
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
Okay, Tom, just happened to use gloves previously as I never thought of TSP as having much to it. Thanks.
I washed my aluminum sided house with TSP prior to painting. I ended up with blisters all around my arms where my gloves ended. I have stripped paint off metal with hot water and strong TSP. It is potent stuff but works very well.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:18 PM   #19
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Hi Carl .... TSP is caustic ...or a basic, or alkaline solution and a strong solution can react with Aluminum. Careful to rinse thoroughly with water around your aluminum siding. Be careful if you have the optional aluminum wheels on your trailer as it could cause pitting.


Maybe wear gloves AND eye protection


Tom
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:04 AM   #20
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There are several good suggestions here that are much more effective than what I will suggest. But in case you don't have them around, when I want to try something easy first I use a dish soap that cuts grease such as Dawn.
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