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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > DIY Guides > Real Minimal Effort Alternative To Walnut Blasting



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      08-22-2020, 10:53 AM   #1
Iwantbjz
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Real Minimal Effort Alternative To Walnut Blasting

Hey guys we all know what a PITA it is to clean the intake valves on these direct injection engines and to be honest I don't have the money to be walnut blasting the car as often as I like or really trust anyone doing it. I tried the CRC method but it took for ever. I decided to try a couple of alternatives and found something pretty amazing. For around $25 you can use the CRC mixed and the result are insane so i thought This would help A LOT of people on here that don't have the time or money to buy all the equipment and do the plasting themselves or drop the car off at a shop and wait a day or two. I KNOW this will helps some of you.

There is a comparison of just using CRC and adding the Secret sauce:

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      08-23-2020, 09:06 AM   #2
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Personally I wouldn't call this 'minimum effort'! Since you still have to strip the engine down and remove the intake manifold - just like you do for walnut blasting. And the results are deffo not as good as using walnut shells. Is walnut blasting really so expensive in the USA? You can get it done for a quite resonable price by an indy here in the UK...
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      08-23-2020, 10:37 AM   #3
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1 Shops charge MUCH less for walnut blasting than they did in the past now that so many engines are DI.

2 Walnut blasting kit is pretty darn cheap compared to other maintenance items on the n54.

3 You still have to do all the work to get in there. It is still a 3 hour job.
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      08-24-2020, 09:38 AM   #4
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Phil,
If you have ever attempted this yourself and tried the only product beside walnut blasting that people swear on, not just for our engine but for carbon removal in general, you will find that using CRC intake valve and turbo cleaner requires a lot of scrubbing and going at it multiple times to get it to eat through the buildup. This cuts that process down by more than half that time. As far as the results go, the difference is so minimal and i do mean minimal, it wouldn't affect the outcome of how the car ran or flow of the port enough to matter.

Torgus,

While what you are saying about the comparison of walnut blasting vs other N54 related expenses is true, this is meant for the members on here that want to have their maintenance done themselves. This is why we have all these DIY, if you are going to pay a shop to do it then this does not apply to you. If you are however looking to take this task on and do it at home this will help that process and cuts the time in half or less, to be honest. What takes the longest is taking the manifold off and that at a relaxed pace is a 30 min job at most.

Also for around $20-$25 of products VS the price of the equipment/service by a shop you are saving money on the long run that can be put towards other maintenance/performance oriented mods.
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      09-02-2020, 03:37 PM   #5
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Perfect timing! I was going to drop like $250 at Harbor Freight tomorrow to buy a compressor, media blaster, walnuts, wands, etc to walnut blast but I'm going to try this first! If I'm not happy with it, I can always revert back to my original plan.

It doesn't look like it'll get perfectly clean like walnut blasting but I imagine the tiny bits of carbon left behind from doing this method is so miniscule that you won't even notice. After walnut blasting, the ports will probably look like that after 3 months anyways.

Anyways, thanks for the DIY! I'm going to try it this weekend (first ever cleaning at 133k miles) so I'll update you guys on how it goes.
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      09-09-2020, 12:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazbek1 View Post
Perfect timing! I was going to drop like $250 at Harbor Freight tomorrow to buy a compressor, media blaster, walnuts, wands, etc to walnut blast but I'm going to try this first! If I'm not happy with it, I can always revert back to my original plan.

It doesn't look like it'll get perfectly clean like walnut blasting but I imagine the tiny bits of carbon left behind from doing this method is so miniscule that you won't even notice. After walnut blasting, the ports will probably look like that after 3 months anyways.

Anyways, thanks for the DIY! I'm going to try it this weekend (first ever cleaning at 133k miles) so I'll update you guys on how it goes.
How did it go? Let us know.

If you really want to get picky you can pick up some cheap tooth brushes or acid brushes to target a particular area you want to clean. The trick is to let is sit and do its job. Also, If you bump the starter you can get a couple valves to close at once and do multiple ports at the same time.

Last edited by Iwantbjz; 09-09-2020 at 12:55 PM..
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      09-09-2020, 02:08 PM   #7
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What would the UK equiv products be? Can`t seem to find CRC stuff here

Opinions on using, good name brand, similar products?
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      09-09-2020, 04:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chapperss View Post
What would the UK equiv products be? Can`t seem to find CRC stuff here

Opinions on using, good name brand, similar products?
The active ingredient is PEA (Polyether Amine) so anything high in that should do the same (I tried Techron with the old high PEA formula, and Redline S1). They work (the Techron more than Redline), but carb cleaner works a lot better. The only issue with carb cleaner is it kind of dissolves the carbon into a thick goo vs pea which breaks up chunks. So you need to use a *ton* of carb cleaner and just keep cycling it (I used 3 can but wish I had 6). Personally I wouldn't bother with the PEA/CRC alternative.

Also get some pipets for sucking the carb cleaner out, and if you want it really clean then a brass gun cleaning brush and/or brass scraper. Cover your paintwork because the carb cleaner will affect it if you spill any on it. There's a proper DIY for it somewhere on this forum, make sure you read that as there's lots of useful info.

It's a lot of work but it's cheap, satisfying and spares the garage of yet more crap.
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      09-10-2020, 07:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iwantbjz View Post
How did it go? Let us know.

If you really want to get picky you can pick up some cheap tooth brushes or acid brushes to target a particular area you want to clean. The trick is to let is sit and do its job. Also, If you bump the starter you can get a couple valves to close at once and do multiple ports at the same time.
It worked as expected! The ports were spotless and I used shop towels to absorb it all. The buildup on the valve and stems broke apart but removing all of it was the most difficult as I couldn't just do it with the shop towels. I tried to get most of the bigger chunks out with brushes and picks but it was just too tedious so I decided to leave it.

I'd say walnut blasting is the superior method in forms of efficiency, effectiveness, and cleanliness. The CRC route took longer, did like 80% of the job that blasting does, and was a lot messier. However, for like $20 worth of supplies, you really can't go wrong. I really don't think the little bit of gunk that was left behind will be THAT noticeable and since it's loose on the valves, I think it'll eventually fall into the combustion chamber and burn up.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the results and glad I didn't spend like $250 for walnut blasting equipment or $400ish at my local indy.
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      09-10-2020, 09:44 AM   #10
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Most enthusiasts already have a compressor for obvious reasons.

A hopper at HF, the 3d printed nozzle, walnuts and gun are cheap. Below $250. This is service you need every 30-40k or roughly 2 years. Chances are your next car will be DI and need this service often as well.

This method takes longer with more labor and gives worse results. If you can't afford a walnut blast set up or to pay an indy can you afford maintenance on an n54? Does it work? Sure, but I can't see it making sense unless you really are strapped for cash.
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      09-11-2020, 12:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torgus View Post
Most enthusiasts already have a compressor for obvious reasons.

A hopper at HF, the 3d printed nozzle, walnuts and gun are cheap. Below $250. This is service you need every 30-40k or roughly 2 years. Chances are your next car will be DI and need this service often as well.

This method takes longer with more labor and gives worse results. If you can't afford a walnut blast set up or to pay an indy can you afford maintenance on an n54? Does it work? Sure, but I can't see it making sense unless you really are strapped for cash.

The way i see it.... More Cash in my pocket = More mods.

To each their own,


Im Just Glad I could share something to help out the other spectrum of N54 owners.
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