Flathead Godliness: Bendpak Ranger Cleans Up Our Flatty V8

IMG_9601Hot rods can be done up in all sorts of drivetrain configurations, but to really nail that original look, the only real options are to use either the Ford flathead or Buick nailhead V8s. Yet there’s no getting around the fact that these mills are ancient and in desperate need of tender lovin’ care.

The block rests before going into the RS-500.

The block rests before going into the RS-500.

Part and parcel of that TLC is cleaning, which can be a huge hassle involving sandblasting, chemical compounds, and wirebrushing, to say nothing of the safe disposal of debris that piles up as a result of these steps. We had our own experience with this by way of a crusty flathead block that came from a 1939 Ford. It had to be washed, and to do that, we employed Bendpak‘s Ranger RS-500 spray wash cabinet.

Large yet spacious, the crimson contraption features steel construction, an octagonal full-opening door, and a 70 gallon-per-minute pump that together make this one of the leading choices for heavy-duty washing of metal parts. The flathead block fit perfectly atop the filter basket and even had additional room to hold valves, connecting rods, piston heads, and other parts if need be.

Load it in, close the door, set the timer. Now, we wait!

Using the RS-500 couldn’t be simpler. Once it was all set up and plugged in, the engine block went in, the door was shut, and the 60-minute timer was turned on. Hot water-soluble detergent shot out of nozzles surrounding the rotating assembly, and all the excess grit and grime collected in a tray that was separated by the steel skimmer, which fed into a reservoir (we used a bucket).

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Post-wash, all that remains is surface rust and some soap residue. Not bad for one hour of automated work!

As promised, our flathead came out looking a heck of a lot better than it had going in. Gone were the deposits that had built up in the valley and cylinders, leaving us with just some easily removable soap residue and surface rust. Operated with the simplicity of a washing machine, the RS-500 had that set-it-and-forget-it quality, taking out much of the elbow grease that would have otherwise been needed to get the block this clean.

We foresee ourselves making use of the RS-500 a great deal in the future. How about you? Check out Bendpak’s website or try a phone call with the provided contact information below.

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About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
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