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Old 06-12-2012, 05:30 AM   #1
PETDOC OP
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Best way to remove corrosion from electrical pin connectors

When removing my gas tank the other day I had to use a pliers to pull apart the electrical connector from the tank. Even with the pliers it took a good while. Upon separation the reason for the difficulty was obvious. The 4 pins and their sockets were covered with the blue-green corrosion common to copper connectors. I'm amazed the connection was functional--although recently (i.e., in 2008) my fuel gauge had dropped the top bar. As these connections are either down in a recess (pins) or are a tiny tunnel (sockets) it is extremely difficult to use a fine grade sand paper to restore their normal surface.
Does anyone have a recommendation on an easier way to remove the corrosion from this electrical connector? I have an electrical contact cleaner but it cautions not to use it around plastic.
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PETDOC screwed with this post 06-21-2012 at 05:23 AM
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:37 AM   #2
SkiFly01
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brake parts cleaner and a small fine flat head screw driver can work wonders with a little time.
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:37 AM   #3
waddyp
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Baking powder/water solution will break-down the corrosion. Trick is to get everything clean and dry. I apply the solution with an old toothbrush, then flush with water, then dry with compressed air. Protect yourself from spray, especially your eyes. To clean/polish the contact surfaces I use: emery cloth or very fine sandpaper, a fine wire brush, small knife blade, pencil eraser. Once surfaces are dry and polished, I use an electrical contact paste to prevent future corrosion. I make a practice of keeping all electrical contacts clean and protected whenever I'm doing any work on my bikes, whether they show signs of corrosion or not. I hope that helps. Good luck, and do good work.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:16 AM   #4
Dan-M
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Contact cleaner is made to order.
Wurth's Contact OL is an excellent product but there are others as well.
I think the plastic warning is about cosmetic damage to shiny surfaces. I've used it plenty on plastic electrical connectors without any issues.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waddyp View Post
Baking soda/water solution will break-down the corrosion. Trick is to get everything clean and dry. I apply the solution with an old toothbrush, then flush with water, then dry with compressed air. Protect yourself from spray, especially your eyes. To clean/polish the contact surfaces I use: emery cloth or very fine sandpaper, a fine wire brush, small knife blade, pencil eraser. Once surfaces are dry and polished, I use an electrical contact paste to prevent future corrosion. I make a practice of keeping all electrical contacts clean and protected whenever I'm doing any work on my bikes, whether they show signs of corrosion or not. I hope that helps. Good luck, and do good work.
fixed... not making cake here, cleaning off corrosion.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:08 AM   #6
ragtoplvr
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radio shack sell De-Oxit, so do many auto parts stores.

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Old 06-12-2012, 10:46 AM   #7
Jarvis
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There's a tool you can use to unseat the pins from the connector.

All that you ever wanted to know...

http://www.pinrepair.com/connect/
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:29 PM   #8
baloneyskin daddy
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Soak in PB Blaster and clean off with contact cleaner.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:30 PM   #9
JOP
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And fill the connectors with dielectric grease before reassembly to avoid having to do it again in a week...
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:10 PM   #10
erkmania
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I made a tool for this very problem using a cotter key.

I did this by cutting one leg of the key short to expose the remaining part of the key. I then shaped the remaining part of the key with a bench grinder so that it would just fit within the tangs of the female connector and provide a little tension when this tool was inserted into the connector. I left the rough surface made by the grinder alone so that it would file the female connector tangs.

I may have heated/quenched the home made tool, but I don't remember now. I don't think you'll have to since the connectors are usually made of softer material than the key.

YMMV. My mileage was good.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:49 PM   #11
DRONE
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And fill the connectors with dielectric grease before reassembly to avoid having to do it again in a week...
+1 on the dielectric grease

I have one of those cheapo diamond burr kits for my Dremel that they sell on eBay for $20. Might be too much for this situation though. But maybe . . .
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:36 PM   #12
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Lubriplate 105

Quote:
Originally Posted by JOP View Post
And fill the connectors with dielectric grease before reassembly to avoid having to do it again in a week...
Lubriplate 105 is a marine grease that is used as an assembly grease by many heavy machinery companies for that very reason. I use it on everything from plug lead rubbers to electrical connectors to the valve cover gaskets and rubber panel plugs. Great stuff. Made in USA and costs $10 a tube here. It's a white grease that dries near-enough to clear and will not affect electrics in connectors. (Thanks to my mate Rob for showing me this stuff)
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:18 PM   #13
vagueout
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Recent years i use a silicone spray for all elec connections, rubber plastic etc. including the stick coils.
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:01 AM   #14
PETDOC OP
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I came up with a relatively simple and extremely effective way to clean the electrical connector under the gas tank. Anyone who wants to use this technique will need the following:

1. variable speed, reversible electric drill
2. very small drill bit
3. very small amount of steel wool
4. Q-tips
5. interdental gum brush http://www.gumbrand.com/interdental-brushes/
6. CRC QD Electric Connector Cleaner (safe for use on plastic is printed on label)
7. a good light source

To clean the female end of the connector
Select a drill bit that easily fits inside the female connector (needs to be loose). Attach it to the drill and engage the reverse setting on the drill. Tease off a small amount of steel wool and beginning at the end of the drill bit wrap the steel wool very tightly around it by runninging the drill at a slow speed. Move up the bit with the steel wool until you have covered enough of the bit to reach the length of the female connector. Position the steel wool coated drill bit over the opening of the female connector and with the drill running slowly in reverse push it down the length of the tube. Once inside the connector you can run the drill faster and move it to and fro.
A problem I encountered was it took me several attempts to put a small enough wrap of steel wool on the bit so it would eventually fit into the connector. You will need to replenish the steel wool for each tube.
After reaming the tubes with the steel wool spay the Electric Connector Cleaner into each tube and use the gum brush to clean out the inside. This will remove all the fragments of steel wool and residual corrosion. Then place a paper towel behind the connector, position the tube from the Electric Contact Cleaner in each tube and blast away for a couple of seconds. When I first started I could not see any light when I positioned my flashlight at the back of the connector. When I was done I could see all the way through and the tubes looked as clean as the day the bike was assembled.

To clean the male end of the connector
Use a similar technique, but put enough steel wool on the drill bit to make it look like a Q-tip. Go down inside the plastic rectangular box surrounding the 4 male connectors and with the drill running at variable speeds clean the circumference of each connector.
When finished cleaning use real cotton Q-tips to remove as many of the steel wool fragments as possible, then spay liberally with the Electric Connector Cleaner and re-clean with Q-tips. When done the connectors will be pristine.

I covered the tip of the bit with steel wool and ran the drill in reverse to avoid drilling a hole in the connector. Perhaps a safer technique would be to grind the tip of the drill bit flat.
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:51 AM   #15
PETDOC OP
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After reconnecting my super clean electrical connector from the gas tank the long lost top fuel bar on my RID reappeared. It had disappeared several years ago. I was contemplating using the approach detailed in the Hall of Wisdom to recover it (http://advwisdom.hogranch.com/Wisdom...l%20gauge.html), but now realize the issue with my fuel RID was a badly corroded electrical connection.
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