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Does anyone have any advice on refinishing cylinders on side valve motors? I am working on an engine rebuild and I need to clean/refinish the cylinders.

 

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I was considering either getting them hot tanked/sonic cleaned at the machine shop, or sand blasted. Then I guess painting them with engine paint.

 

I have seen what looks like un-finished cylinders. Cleaned and left natural. Is that a thing? I don’t mind patina, but I don’t want rust/flaking paint.

 

What do you suggest?

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I had mine sonic cleaned and walnut shell blasted and they turned out well. I left the heads unfinished and the cylinders got black header paint. They turned out pretty well.

The cylinders are cast iron so they will rust if you don't paint them.

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I wouldn't sand blast the aluminum heads, they will come out very rough. Walnut hulls or glass beads. You can soda blast them too with one of those hand held blasters from Harbor freight. (always use the 20% off cupons!) and some baking soda from Wally World. Tons of Youtube videos of home made soda blasters and the results. The cyl are iron, I'd sand blast them then hone 'em.

I've had great results with VHT Flame Proof paint. Here is the trick though, spray them down with brake cleaner to remove all oils before using 1 can of paint per cyl. and follow the curing process to the letter in an oven. I did a set of heads and cyls 6 yrs ago and they have held up great. The trick is total coverage and a nice thick coat.

Lowes had some (Rustolum??)BBQ high temp in a gloss but I think it's rated less than the Flame Proof which is a flat paint. I have no idea of the cyl temp on the side valve but I like the gloss.

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Blasting grit has a nasty habbit of imbedding in surfaces and is a pain to totally remove. Honing them after blasting will remove most grit in the cyl bore, cast iron magnified has alot of "pores". That's why you have to clean and clean and clean the bores after machining till they wipe clean with solvent soaked cloth to get rid of abrasives embedded in it.

I hose them down with brake cleaner or acetone, wipe the bore with WD40, roughly mask off the gasket areas and paint. I'll use acetone on a rag to clean off overspray. It's faster than trying to perfectly tape off the things. Paint dries for a few days then into the oven for the curing cooling cycles.

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