Dissolving carbon buildup from pistons – Cleaning piston ring grooves engine rebuild compression

Dissolving carbon buildup from pistons – Cleaning piston ring grooves engine rebuild compression


Cleaning horrible carbon buildup from the pistons and ring grooves. I had tried many things including scraping, soaking, etc. I tried various products including seafoam and Marvel Mystery Oil MMO Soak with no success. I finally tried this Berryman’s Chemtool which worked great.

Rebuilding my Saturn 1.9 DOHC engine with new rings, bearings, seals, etc. due to a low compression in cylinder 3 situation. The engine was old and it was time for an overhaul.

100 Comments on "Dissolving carbon buildup from pistons – Cleaning piston ring grooves engine rebuild compression"


  1. that stuff is like the old Safety Kleen  Carb cleaner that came in a 5 gallon pail.  we used to call  carb acid but it was not acid  . in the pail went a dip basket with an agitator on top that was air operated.   carbs came out like the day they were made . and pistons looked brand new. but this stuff was nasty

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  2. Dude, tell me you didn't post a video of some gunk getting dissolved after you already did 75% of the work by hand? We want to see the results of the untouched carbon locked piston in a straight dip for 5 hours not something that's already been slaved over.

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  3. you shuld try paint remover, we have this paint remover that is gel like and it is super effective aginst oil and carbon build up.

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  4. I used diesel fuel on mine. Much cheaper. Probably not quite as good but got the job done. Love that sound of the first fire of a fresh rebuild.

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  5. I don't know much about cars so please excuse me if this is a dumb question but could cleaning the pistons, valves etc, with this stuff help stop a ticking noise from engine and improve the performance of a high mileage car?

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  6. When i burn somthing in my pots, then i put washing machine powder and water and let it soak in the pot for 1 to 3 days and it is like new. It cleans carbon.

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  7. Well here's yer problem. You didn't use seafoam in yer fandangle contraption!  Everyone knows seafoam works!…..* insert sarcasm here*

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  8. What about oven cleaner? That stuff is horrible to breathe, burns if you get it on your skin and cleans burnt carbon out of an oven no problem. Would it work on steel?

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  9. Good stuff but be really careful with it, from what I have read I think it has hexavalent chromium in it. You know how California labels everything "may cause cancer", hexavalent chromium really does. Wear gloves and be careful.

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  10. Is this stuff safe to soak the pistons in while it's still in the cylinder by removing spark plugs and pouring directly?

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  11. Wish I could dump my valve heads in that shit. Blown head gasket makes a nice mess in the valves.

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  12. Welp looks like advertising. .. I know a secret to disolve carbon build up in half the time if not less

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  13. have you ever heard of Terraclean? Its supposed to be as good as walnut blasting but without having to take apart your engine. Its used as an induction cleaning process, but with their own machine.

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  14. I will help, First carbon dissolves in water, companies that makes cleaning products have a showroom, upshot is they sell carbon clean, soak for a day or 2 and wash off, I also use washing powder, has high PH, put a half a cup in a bucket of water and soak pistons for at least 2 days or longer, you will end up with clean undamaged pistons

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  15. Just run you a sink full of very hot water and some dish washing liquid. Let the parts soak for awhile. Run another sink full of hot water. Use some SOS pads and they will come clean and shiny. I've been doing this for years and it works every time. The great thing is, it's so cheap and your parts get washed in the process. Ready for assembly.

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  16. Thanks DoSumpthin.. Berrymans worked great on dissolving carbon on some valves out of a Jeep I am rebuilding upper valvetrain

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  17. I've been using that cleaner to soak parts for years, it does a great job but needs time to work. Also pick up an assortment of medium stiff nylon brushes to work the crap out of the nooks and crannies on parts. I stopped using oven cleaner a long time ago, some brands can be caustic on non-ferrous metals and etch the surface.

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  18. They make this thing called a ring groove cleaner and any one that has done engines knows how to use it you should give it a try next time.

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  19. don't use 87 used 93 and you won't have that f**** problem everybody does that that used to cheap gas that's what does it

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  20. It is so sad….I can't get this formula of chem-dip in California any more! I have a can I brought from Arizona some many years ago that is well used up by now, but still works slightly better than the stuff I can get here.

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  21. use an ultrasonic machine , get this https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Globe-dental-clinics-ultrasonic-cleaner-10L-240w-220v-jp-040-AC110-220v-with-timer-heating-with/1170559_1719739414.html
    do it outside, put the temperature to 50C with any type of decarbonizing liquid. place your item into the basket and set the timer for 20-30 minutes. Done deal!

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  22. Berryman chem dip is absolutely phenomenal at dissolving carbon buildup on engine parts that you look at and go ' how the fuck am I gonna clean that?'. My experience on a Honda inline 2 liter and a ford 351 is it works just as well as is demonstrated in this video. If you can get the part submerged in this stuff it WILL get the carbon off and come out totally clean. On really funked up pistons it might take about four dips and cleaning, scraping loosened crud between dips. You gotta scrape off the crud between dips so the chem can attack deeper carbon buildup. Rinse and repeat. Every last speck of carbon is off. Then measure piston, and toss in trash can. lol

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  23. I use easy off grill cleaner.  Just spray it on, wait 20 minutes and spray it off with a water hose.  Only the toughest carbon will remain which will go away with a 2nd application.

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  24. I wish they still made the Chem-Dip from 30 years ago. That stuff was awesome. It was pretty toxic stuff. They quit making it because people weren't wearing gloves and it absorbed through the skin readily.

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  25. Use BBQ grill cleaner, found at Lowes, Home Depot or any hardware store. That stuff will turn the carbon deposits to liquid, that you can wash off. This is the zero labor method.

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  26. That is crazy I have used B12 to clean carboned up valves and my Dad has used it since 1991. The metal can that does not say "Fuel Injector Cleaner" should be insanely strong.Saturn's older I4 and V6's are well known for carbon issues and oil consumption and in general GM has been plagued with carbon issues on piston tops, valves and the injection systems that used popet valves and a central injector. MMO is fine for a continual use thing as a preventive or if you have a ticking lifter but it is not going to clean anything. It is too mild.

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  27. Just soak the piston with water and dish soap, then brush the top part using wire brush, while the rest using stiff plastic brush. Works just fine.

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  28. any more this stuff is junk, i think the chemist learned how to reproduce the smell of the old stuff that worked, permatex used to have a gasket remover that enhialated gaskets, now on the label it says safe around kids and pets, also now it is manufactured per gasket type, which is bs. i tried the type for gasket application it didn't even phase it, it was a clean compressed head gasket on a motorcycle. junk products now day, but look on the bright side more healthy kids that don't respect nor have interest in much of anything except destruction of things that don't need cleaning.

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  29. I used B-12  chemical clear 25 almost 30 years ago! it's always does a good job. you use to be able to buy it in 5 gallon bucks. not cheap but it gets the job done!

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  30. I recognize that voice from The Ammo Channel!
    I wish you would return to youtube. A lot of people miss your videos.

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  31. The worst car I ever bought was a brand new 1995 Saturn SL. Pistons were always full of carbon and getting the spark plugs filled up with gunk and had to replace them every couple of months. They replaced the pistons for free at 30K miles, then when the warranty was expired I noticed the spark plugs getting dirty again. It had oil/filter changes often and burned oil. Worst car I ever bought. I will never buy a Saturn again.

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  32. Heat the piston rings with a propane torch for a couple of minutes until rings become unseize.If rings are still seized after this procedure use a combination of penetrating oil and heat to free them.

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  33. I just use Easy-Off oven cleaner and old tooth brushes but that Chem dip works well. Solvents don't do much against carbon deposits

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  34. Why would you spend 10 minutes or ten dollars on a Saturn car that was the worst fake quality car made by anyone.

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  35. After you soak it in Berryman carb-parts cleaner, which I have, what do you use to remove all the cleaner residue and then what do you do for the needle bearings for the wrist pin as far as lubricating them? Needle bearing grease, or just coat them good with 2 cycle oil?  Maybe some one can give some advice. I think I will ask a boat mechanic before using this stuff on my pistons, even though I don't think it will hurt if I get all the Berryman's off and lubricate the bearings. I also thought about putting the piston deep enough to get to the grooves but not deep enough to submerge the wrist pins.

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  36. I used a copper wire brush with Dawn Platinum and it cleaned up like 80% on the junk on the Pistons of my truck in like 45 min

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  37. The absolute best carbon remover is a "AIR INTAKE CLEANER" nothing else comes close or near as fast.

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  38. I wanna do this because i have an old piston from my dirtbike that i wanna clean up and keep it as a keepsake

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  39. That stuff used to be much better years ago. It was so toxic that it stunk up garages even lidded. Reformulation is not as toxic or fast acting.

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  40. when I was a kid working on anything I could get my hands on, and old airplane mechanic told me to rev up my flat head Ford 59 a.b that I was going to take apart , to around 2000 r,p.m. and por water in the carburetor 5 or 6 time's, and it would spit and sputter and back fire, and it would clean the carbon off the pistons and combustion chamber, well I did it and it worked, so I have been doing this every time since, on ever engine I have had to build, that would still run,. in a few cases when I was to broke to fix it at the time and had to drive it regardless and it burned a lot of oil and smoked real bad sometimes it cut the oil usage in half, and the smoke the same way. try it before you take it apart, it will be much cleaner in side .

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  41. Thanks for the video! Great content! We'd love to hear what you think about a NEW product we just launched at Advance Auto Parts. Check it out here –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-o0gm-Jz6Y

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  42. I used zep cleaner degreaser w/ faster effect using hot water & cleaning gun even cleans a whole block & bolts cleans right up

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  43. …Good deal….Berrymans is about the last supplier of anything that works….and they used to be better, but the EPA made them remove a few of the ingredients that made it work for carbon…..still works pretty well for carb's….a gallon of that stuff is waaaay over $30 here in Calif….. Another dis-continued product is Gunk Hydro-seal…..it was terrific for aluminum, and other 'soft' metals that you couldn't put in the heated caustic soda tanks that were for cast-iron blocks… Gunk Hydro-seal was the only cleaner recommended by Harley-Davidson for cleaning pistons and other carboned-up stuff….and you know how old Harleys were, right..?

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  44. Citric degreaser stainless steel pan with lid place in oven for half hour at 550 degrees let it cool down when safe to handle remove and drain, rinse, parts will be like new.

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  45. how to dissolve the carbon when the piston is inside the engine? Does an engine flush help? With my car actually my piston rings were stuck because of oil consumption and then with an engine flush they loosened and finally I got more power.

    Next up is to change the valve stem seals perhaps.

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  46. That shit will strip paint off. So carbon is nothing. Just a nylon brush and gloves next time.

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  47. You can also use Simple Green and warm it up to about 120 degrees F using a heater and then soak your parts in it overnight. The carbon that remains will be easy to remove with a toothbrush or rag. Smells great too!

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  48. I'm about to do the same thing on my pistons. Should I remove the wrist pins before soaking or it's not needed. Also how long did you soak them for to get the best results? Thanks

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  49. Nothing cleans stuff like that better than pressurized steam. The only problem is trying to find a steam pressure cleaner.

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  50. Believe it or not, ive submerged pistons in ATF fluid for a week or so…. After the soaking, this pistons look,like new.

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  51. @DoSumpthin so,why not take the whole engine and submerge it in this shit leave it for 1 month and goodbye carbon deposits?!

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  52. i've used chem dip bare handed for years with no ill effects, great for getting grease build up off hands if you don't have gloves, just still wash your hands with soap and water after and it does rinse off with water with no issues.

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