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removing fuel stains Empty removing fuel stains

Post  prostreet Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:08 pm

Hello,

Is there a safe method available to remove the light brown/tan colored fuel stains from an old gas powered model airplane? I'm unsure of the type of plastic (polystyrene?) the plane is made of but it is of late 1950's to early 1960's vintage. Thank you.

Joe
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Post  Ken Cook Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:06 am

Joe, this is a difficult thing to repair. I have never successfully found ANY product that would remove the stains you describe. Basically, once I removed as much of the area using other methods such as soaking, washing etc. I had to wet sand the area and polish back using Mother's aluminum polish or something like Novus plastic polish. Brasso also works well. Even then, while my attempted repairs looked pretty substantial to what it was prior, I could never seem to fully withdraw the discolored area. This also looks somewhat funny due to this one area now being extremely shiny which had me wet sanding and buffing in surrounding areas to somewhat detract everyone's eyes from that one spot. The real test of patience is when the affected areas have panel lines or raised surfaces where details are molded in. One thing I would suggest however if this is a somewhat cherished piece is to do any tests on a inconspicuous area first prior to going at it.

Another process that comes to mind and I have no experience with trying or doing this is a brake fluid wash. I've read of others successfully doing this to remove paint. I don't know how this would react to the staining. From simple Google searches, it claims that standard DOT3 doesn't attack plastics. This could also be a good go to first method to try prior to any sanding or polishing if it comes to that. Maybe someone else here has done such a task. Ken
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Post  Oldenginerod Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:23 pm

Ken Cook wrote: Another process that comes to mind and I have no experience with trying or doing this is a brake fluid wash. I've read  of others successfully doing this to remove paint. I don't know how this would react to the staining.

I tried the brake fluid soak on the cowl from my Wen Mac RAF Dayfighter. Ther plane was white & had turned a yellowish brown. The brake fluid looks to have had absolutely no effect. I also tried a strong alkaline degreaser which removed crud but not the stain.
I recall Bob cleaned up a white Dayfighter to look like new. Not sure what he used. I'd like to locate some new stickers for mine first. I don't want to rip off the originals just yet.

Rod.
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Post  prostreet Mon Oct 17, 2016 8:58 am

Thanks for the replies and suggestions. I've got a Wen Mac P-38 Lightning that is currently on its way to me but I know it has some fuel staining per the owner's description from it actually being flown. I've tried automotive polishing compound to remove the stains on another gas powered car without causing scratches as rubbing compound would and had little to no success in getting the stains out. I haven't tried the brake fluid removal method. If the stains don't come out through any removal method, the only other thing I can see to do is clean up the plane and leave it as it is or repaint it in as close a color to the original gray that I can match. How adversely would the collector value of the plane be affected if it were painted to clean it up?

Joe
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Post  Mudhen Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:16 am

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Last edited by Mudhen on Tue Nov 16, 2021 9:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  wha-tah-hey Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:59 pm

An English modeller whose name I don't remember says the best way to remove castor oil stains from clothing is with scissors.
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