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Old 01-19-2013, 09:20 AM   #1
backdrifter OP
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Removing oil from stainless headers before first start up

Fellow inmates,

I installed a set of new stainless steel headers from BMW Hucky. I used rubber gloves and touched them by hand as little as possible, but through other work in and around them, I have touched them a few times with bare hands. I can see a few marks where I touched them. What is the best way to clean these off in an effort to avoid nasty blued handprints when I start the bike for the first time?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:47 AM   #2
Ron Seida
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Brake cleaner and a clean cotton rag works well.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:52 AM   #3
Mike V.
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When I installed new SS Keihans on my R65 restoration project I wiped the exhaust system down with a clean towel soaked in Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol prior to the first startup. I had no problems with staining. Expect the headers to slightly discolor to a golden or copper hue from heat. I've found the system pretty easy to maintain. Heel marks from a passenger were removed with polishing.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:59 AM   #4
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Perfect - two great suggestions.

Thanks, gents!
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:00 AM   #5
chasbmw
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Easy enough to remove the browning of stainless steel with acid based alloy wheel cleaner, followed by solvol autosol. It's just an annual thing for me.

Waxing the system when you wax the bike seems to help
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:18 AM   #6
Kai Ju
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...and here is a tip for more severe cases of contamination such as plastic bags, melted riding pants etc.
Realize that the item melted on to a hot pipe, so get the pipe nice and hot again, take a clean rag/towel etc and soak it in cold water and wring out the excess. Now, while wearing heavy leather gloves, wipe down the affected area with the wet towel. Make sure the towel you use is linen or cotton, not a synthetic.......
The melted plastic will instantly stick to the wet towel and most of it will come off the pipe. Repeat till clean, follow with 0000 steel wool or polish.
I discovered this method when a plastic bag melted across all four of the headpipes on my '82 650 Seca. That bike also taught me that 0000 steel wool works great to get tree sap of the chromed mufflers without scratching the chrome.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:39 AM   #7
Big Bamboo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Seida View Post
Brake cleaner and a clean cotton rag works well.
Just make sure that the brake cleaner doesn't touch anything hot enough to vaporize it! Read the warning labels on the can. Brake cleaner when heated releases phosgene (sp?) gas which can kill you or severely damage your respiratory system, liver, etc.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:27 PM   #8
photorider
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Windex works too.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:35 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the suggestions!
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1973 BMW R60/5:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=608166
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:06 AM   #10
boxerboy81
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Shellite. Non residue metal cleaner.
It's also excellent for wiping oil from rubber.

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Old 01-20-2013, 11:21 AM   #11
Beemerguru
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GOOP...wipe on, wipe off. cleans anything off the stainless steel
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:13 PM   #12
Boxer Metal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Seida View Post
Brake cleaner and a clean cotton rag works well.
x2
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