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Author Topic: Kerosene washing???  (Read 3571 times)
dutch
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« on: January 15, 2007, 11:05:49 PM »

I know to many this may seem to be an odd topic and a series of questions which have literally nothing to do with Camaros directly, first gens or otherwise, but my Z is hibernating away for the next 5 months or so and I have too much time on my hands obviously!!
Do any of you recall stories of washing vehicles in years past with kerosene or by adding it to the water bucket when washing a vehicle?
I recall many years back seeing a few older gentlemen who had cars that were 20 and more years old and still in perfect condition due to the fact that they (apparently) regularly washed their cars with at least some kerosene added to the water. It apparently got under and behind the chrome bits and into body seams where it slowed the rust and seemingly made a great difference to vehicles that normally would have rotted away many years earlier in most cases, due to heavy salting of our roads in the winter months.
The topic come up on another board briefly and it brought back memories of cars I saw that were immaculate back in the sixties and early seventies. The cars I recall seeing were then 15 to 20 years old and the paint and chrome was perfect - the reason I was given was the use of the kerosene...
The link that I read lately mentioned it was an old-timer's cure for keeping paint from oxidizing and the chrome bright and it got me wondering if it would still work as well today. I'm curious if it would or not be compatible with the current base/clear paints and all the plastic bits on vehicles today depending on the amount used.
Anyone know if this is more fiction than fact from years past or if it did work, would it still in this day and age? If yes then how much would or should be added to the water to help produce the desired effect without going overboard and creating environmental problems and a smelly mess?
I just bought a new Sierrra Z71 and driving it tonight through all the salty road slush really made me cringe and got me thinking about trying it if I can get some feedback that is positive...
Odd topic and questions I know, but I realize there are many oldtimers on this board (besides myself) who may be able to recall if this was a common and beneficial practice in years gone by.  Thanks - Randy   
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Adz28
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2007, 12:12:24 PM »

I inquired with my father-in-law... Although he never used it for washing, he seemed to think it was common in the fifties.
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gro51
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2007, 06:29:10 PM »

Hey Randy, I have a similar story.  Back in the 60's through the late seventies, my grandmother had a '64 Nova. It was a 2 door, 6 cylinder, automatic, RADIO DELETE.  Kind of a dark blue-green color.  It was a gourgeous car.  She bought it new, and literally drove it to the grocery store on Saturday and Church on Sunday.  (She even walked to work which was a paper mill right across the street.)  Anyway, I remember going to her house once in a while and she would be washing her car with a bucket of water and a couple cap fulls of kerosene!  She toweled it dry and never waxed it.   Man, that car was shiny like new well into the late seventies.  Unfortunately, when she got too old to drive she gave it to her son (my uncle) who never took care of it at all.

I'm not sure how this would work on todays paint and plastic chrome.

I had never heard of anyone else doing this until I just read your post.

-Joe
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Joe
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lakeholme
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2007, 04:09:21 PM »

Dutch,

My grandfather used a litttle kerosene to wash his cars back in the 50s and early 60s, as well.  But he used it as a "cutting agent" to clean road grime, etc. off his car.  (Sort of like some folks use WD40 today.) He also would rinse it well to make sure none of the kerosene was left on the car.  I really don't remember him waxing his car either.  But he did wash it regularly year-round.  So, waxing would have been a waste of time, since the kerosene would have "cut" the wax.

Everything you read about clear coating and plastic parts on newer cars says that even stuff like washing powder will dull the shine and eventually cut into the paint.  I doubt if it would be a good idea. 

On the other hand, the gas station/garage my father used (and paid 19 cents to the gallon as late as 1969) would throw a couple of tablespoons of baking soda into their wash water.  That actually makes a little more sense chemically, since the soda would reduce any acids.

At any rate, your question takes me back to some fond memories.  Thanks!
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Phillip
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ggtsvnv
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2007, 01:02:31 AM »

  I remember my grandfather using kerosene, but he only used it to wash off bugs, road tar, and other hard to remove grim. It probably worked better on the old laquer paint then what it would on todays paints.
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dutch
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2007, 01:45:44 AM »

Thanks to the few of you who have responded to my post. I was hopeful this would get much more action and information for me than it did, since I know the average age here is probably high enough just by virtue of the fact that this is a first gen site!
Many here still may have original cars they bought in their early twenties or those who are reliving their youth by buying first gen Camaros again and l once resided in the Northern States or Canada I'm sure, must have had some experience with the kerosene-thing at least second hand... Maybe this whole thread wasn't Camaro enough related though I know they rusted almost a bad as Mustangs (am I allowed to use that word here?)...
I was especially hopeful that more 'paint experts' might have chimed in with their impressions or feedback about the durability or lack thereof, of base/clear paints these days verses the older types of finishes from the fifties and sixties. I'm reasonably sure that if the newer finishes can withstand the acid rain, airborne pollution, and high UV, that seems to surround us these days and to a much greater extent than 40-50 years back - then a bit of oil in the wash couldn't be that much of a daunting situation. But I will admit I know little about paint chemistry or application (wish I did).
The biggest issue I thought I would be warned about would be the tendency of any oils (and I felt it would take a substantial amount more than what I expected to hear was used kerosene washing 'back in the day') to loosen the adhesives that stick on the trim bits that abound on newer vehicles.
Anyway, Thanks to those who did respond and just the memories about kerosene in the wash does also take me back personally to a time in my late teens when life was much simplier and much more fun (high octane @ the pumps for $.30 CDN etc) and miles per gallon certainly wasn't the figure that entered anyone's mind or came up in conversation...
One thing though that IS still a constant and a certainty as well from those days past, is still (at least in this climate) our government's desire to keep the economy going by throwing ungodly amounts of road salt down at this time of year to insure we have to keep buying new vehicles much sooner than we should ever have to!   Thanks - Randy
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cib12
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2007, 08:30:20 PM »

that reminds me the first gallon of gas i sold was .299 and at sunoco we had 280- which if i remember right was around 112 octane
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dutch
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2007, 10:44:09 PM »

Yea doesn't the price today make you sick. I recall throwing in a fiver on a Friday night (which got me a bit more than 1/2 a tank in my '70 396/375 Nova) and it lasted me most of the weekend of fooling around... Not many actual miles driven but lots of tire wear!!! - Randy
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lakeholme
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2007, 08:23:04 AM »

Speaking of that, when you take inflation into consideration, tires have actually kept their price about even...
Remember "price wars" for gas stations?  When gas was .259, one station would drop it a nickle and bring them all down.
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Phillip
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2007, 06:11:16 PM »

I can recall making summer trips in the mid-60's from NW Louisiana to Houston to see the Astros in the brand new Astrodome, and "gas wars" in the area with prices 15-17 cents / gallon.  Going to college in North Louisiana, prior to the 1973 gas shortage, prices were 29-32 cents /gal - and the 32 cent price got you Exxon.
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Richard Thomas
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2007, 02:37:28 PM »

back in the 80's i worked at auto/one as a rust proofer and detailer - we used kerosine all the time to clean and prep vehicle's before doing the paint protection - though i've not used kerosine to wash a car in many years, i would be curious as to the difference between what we used back then (it was clear) and what comes out of pumps now a days (reddish)
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