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Old 12-24-2007, 08:20 PM   #1
chud
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Default Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

What's the difference between carb and brake cleaner? Any reason they can't be used interchangeably?
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Old 12-24-2007, 08:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

Ya

It's kind of like a carpenter usings a ballpeen to drive nails. It's does work but it is just wrong.

If you like, Elroy could go into more detail. That is if you really want to know.
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Old 12-24-2007, 09:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

Either I would "guess" would be ok on metal parts, but on non metal, I would use stuff that says its OK for that type of material.

Carb cleaner isn't as aggressive I don't think as brake cleaner, so it might not work that well on brakes.
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Old 12-24-2007, 09:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

The primary difference is that carb cleaner is NOT necessarily oil free, while brake cleaner has to be.

They both work for cleaning crap. I prefer brake cleaner for just about everything that mineral spirits can not be used to clean.

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Old 12-24-2007, 09:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

i am use most of brake cleaner to clean oil leaking so i can check if it will coming leaking or not... carb cleaner is " clean and little lube" as my opinion which i dont try to use for clean the oil leaking or try to clean...
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Old 12-24-2007, 09:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

I dislike both because of smell. I use WD40 to clean and soften gunk and then after it's clean I clean it with brake clean to remove andy residue. This way I don't get high from that smell
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Old 12-24-2007, 09:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

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Originally Posted by katit View Post
I dislike both because of smell. I use WD40 to clean and soften gunk and then after it's clean I clean it with brake clean to remove andy residue. This way I don't get high from that smell
yeah that's true... i am trying to avoid to be "high" from smell ....
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Old 12-24-2007, 09:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

like the post above carb cleaner leaves a residue, while brake cleaner for the most part does not.

I have to warn anyone who uses brake parts cleaner to clean throttle valves and around the intake, what comes out of the tail pipe when started is very toxic....
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Old 12-24-2007, 09:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

brake cleaner is basically alcohol and will evaporate with no residue. you must use this in brake system work.
carb cleaner has some other stuff in that will leave a residue. for many thing they can be used interchangable but for some things you must use the specified solvent in order to break the crud you want to clean.
for most things I prefer brake cleaner

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Old 12-24-2007, 09:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

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Originally Posted by jimmycrackcorn View Post
like the post above carb cleaner leaves a residue, while brake cleaner for the most part does not.

I have to warn anyone who uses brake parts cleaner to clean throttle valves and around the intake, what comes out of the tail pipe when started is very toxic....
oh yeah!! it is awful! one tech did that and it got worse!! but long time tech always use carb and throttle body cleaner to do vacuum leaking to make engine run high if there is air leaking... FOrd have used a lot of plastic with rubber gaskets on intake maifolds...
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Old 12-24-2007, 10:02 PM   #11
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

Not all cleaners are created equal. As has been mentioned earlier Carb cleaner has an oil base and if used on brake systems, can cause pad/shoe contamination and grabbing. Brake cleaner is an excellent all purpose cleaner but, you have to be familiar with the brand you're using. Some will damage plastics, most won't. There is a separate Electrical Contact Cleaner that dries immediately, leaves no residue, is safe on plastic but, is expensive. Brake cleaner is also harmful to your lungs and well being. Avoid breathing it whenever possible.
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Old 12-24-2007, 11:29 PM   #12
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

When using any product you should look at the ingredients to determine it's suitability.

Not all carb cleaners contain petroleum oils. The kind I use (SuperTech from WalMart) is nothing more than acetone, so no residue.

Acetone is bad for plastics and rubber, so don't use it on those parts. For drying wet parts or getting them residue free it work great.
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Old 12-24-2007, 11:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

Get GM top engine cleaner if you want the best for cleaning throttle bodies. You will never use anything else again. You can get it in spray can or bottle.
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Old 12-24-2007, 11:46 PM   #14
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

Most of products I use are CRC since they offer best value in terms of ounces/dollar. When we get cases of them we also get MSDS sheets. There is little difference between brake cleaner and throttle body cleaner. The specific gravity, volatility, etc. were almost the same. The throttle body stuff is purely a cocktail of organic solvents and is supposed to be safe for plastics. Brake cleaner contains some alcohol, and they say it is not safe for plastics but from my experience the CRC stuff is OK on plastic. The chlorinated stuff was quite different. Much more dense, and not OK for plastic. Smells different too.
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Old 12-25-2007, 09:17 AM   #15
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

Also note that throttle body cleaner and carb cleaner are sometimes different....
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:01 AM   #16
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

You can't even get good carb cleaner anymore. The stuff that would eat the skin off your hands worked best.
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:09 AM   #17
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

non chlorinated brakleen makes just as good a fireball as carb cleaner on a hot exhaust manifold
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Old 12-26-2007, 10:35 AM   #18
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

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You can't even get good carb cleaner anymore. The stuff that would eat the skin off your hands worked best.
I wonder when they stopped making the stuff in that formula? I have an old gallon of carb cleaner with the little basket that I bought and used around 1992-1994 and it did cause the top layer of skin on my hands to die and drop off! I still have that gallon of cleaner but I do not use it very often.
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Old 12-26-2007, 06:01 PM   #19
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

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Originally Posted by hholmberg View Post
I wonder when they stopped making the stuff in that formula? I have an old gallon of carb cleaner with the little basket that I bought and used around 1992-1994 and it did cause the top layer of skin on my hands to die and drop off! I still have that gallon of cleaner but I do not use it very often.
You might think about transferring it to a new can (properly labeled, of course) every couple of years. I lost an unopened gallon when it ate through the bottom of the can!
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Old 12-26-2007, 07:29 PM   #20
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Default Re: Carb cleaner vs. brake cleaner

CRC stuff rocks. IF.... you can ever get your hands on some XS-102, by all means, try it. It is wonderful stuff. Its made by CRC for ...... well.... a goverment agency. It is used in a few food processing plants for cleaning carbon deposits. Its clear, odorless (Really, no smell at all!) and will clean just about anything. Plastic, rubber, stainless, pot metal.... anything.
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