Good parts last a long time, long enough to get re­ally grimy.

AF­TER­MAR­KET OFF-ROAD parts are ex­pen­sive … if they’re any good. And many can last a lot longer than their looks do. Re­build­ing any old 4x4 means you’re go­ing to bump into dirt, rust, grease, and other grimy sub­stances. The per­fect ex­am­ple of this is our 1969 Ford Bronco. This thing sat close enough to the Pa­cific Ocean for the past 15 years to suck a bunch of salt out of the air. Salt and steel make rust, and we’ve got plenty. Add a gen­er­ous dose of grease that would be found on any 48-year-old truck and you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you.

Since the Bronco was a mag­a­zine project it has sev­eral cool old parts, parts that have a lit­tle rust and a lot of use left in them. Th­ese parts, with a lit­tle el­bow grease and some tools, can be just about as good as new and per­fect for our plans for this Bronco. With that in mind we talked to the folks at OEM tools about their 20 Gal­lon Parts Washer (PN 24801) and Bench Top Abra­sive Blast Cab­i­net (PN 24815) to see if we could use them to bring th­ese old but good parts some new life.

1 Al­though we found it for less, our OEM Tools 20 Gal­lon Parts Washer (PN 24801) lists for $159.99 and came with every­thing you see here— mi­nus, of course, the dirty valve cover and the min­eral spir­its. The man­u­fac­turer rec­om­mends non­flammable wa­ter-based de­greasers. The tool is easy to as­sem­ble and is made of 20-gauge pow­der­coated steel. It has an in­te­grated pump with a fil­ter, a 6-foot power cord, and a flex­i­ble noz­zle. The lid also has a fusible link and will au­to­mat­i­cally close if there is a fire in the unit. The tub is 31 inches wide and 21 inches deep and comes with a clean­ing shelf, a parts tray, and a drain plug for chang­ing out the de­greaser.

2 The pump moves plenty of fluid, and the flex­i­ble noz­zle al­lows you to di­rect the flow of de­greaser wher­ever you like. Al­most in­stantly our grime-caked and -baked valve cover started clean­ing up.

3 What grease was too stub­born for the flow­ing de­greaser is eas­ily knocked down with a small scrub­bing brush in­side and out of the valve cover. This thing’s great! How did we live with­out it?

4 Once it was out of the parts washer we wiped the valve cover down with a rag and let it dry for a few min­utes be­fore tak­ing it back to the grimy en­gine from whence it came. The dif­fer­ence is re­mark­able, but we’re bet­ting we can get it even cleaner with the $122.99 OEM Tools Bench Top Abra­sive Blast Cab­i­net (PN 24815).

5 Speak of the devil. Here is the OEM Tools Bench Top Abra­sive Blast Cab­i­net. We filled it with glass beads from our lo­cal sup­plier, hooked up our com­pressed air line, and got to blast­ing.

6 The unit re­quires some as­sem­bly and comes with every­thing you need to get started mi­nus the blast me­dia. A cou­ple of fil­ters al­low the just over 3 cu­bic feet of work area to breathe while keep­ing the me­dia and dust in­side the cab­i­net. You can also hook up a shop vac to help keep the dust down in­side the cab­i­net. You are also sup­plied with four dif­fer­ent-sized porce­lain noz­zles, re­place­able clear lid pro­tec­tors, and a low-volt­age light.

7 We’re guess­ing we will blast off all the red pow­der­coat from in­side the blast cab­i­net. This thing should last for years and clean thou­sands of parts.

8 Get­ting back to that valve cover, here it is af­ter a stint in­side the blast cab­i­net. Dif­fer­ent blast me­dia of­fer dif­fer­ent lev­els of hard­ness and clean­ing ef­fec­tive­ness. We plan on blast­ing steel and alu­minum parts, and glass beads are al­most per­fect for both of those me­tals. Harder me­dia might dam­age alu­minum, and softer ones will take too long to clean stuff off our parts. Also, you ab­so­lutely do not want to use sand in any blast­ing sit­u­a­tion be­cause the sil­i­con dust it cre­ates is dan­ger­ous to your health. In­stead, use ap­proved blast­ing me­dia for what­ever you are try­ing to clean or etch.

9 Here is another part we wanted to clean up with the me­dia blaster. This is a Borge­son steer­ing joint, and at about $75 a pop they aren’t cheap. All the joints on the Bronco are rusty from its time near the Pa­cific, but they aren’t worn out, just ugly. Be­fore putting this part in the sandblaster we threaded some old

5/16-inch bolts into the part to pro­tect the threads for the set screws.

10 Af­ter 10-15 min­utes in the blast­ing cab­i­net the steer­ing joint looks new. We could even see the part num­ber and “Borge­son” stamped into the part.

11 Man, we have lots of work to do, but with a lit­tle help from the Parts Washer and Blast­ing Cab­i­net from OEM Tools we should save our­selves lots of money reusing and re­new­ing oth­er­wise-good parts. This is a pe­riod-cor­rect power steer­ing brace from James Duff that was just as rusty as the rest of the Bronco when we pulled it off. Now it’s as good as new.

12 Nor­mally rusty old tabs and brack­ets would be junk, but no more wast­ing per­fectly good parts just be­cause of a lit­tle sur­face rust.













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