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How to remove "Darwin Dust" (Red dirt stained paintwork & aluminium tray)

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  • How to remove "Darwin Dust" (Red dirt stained paintwork & aluminium tray)

    Hey all,

    I just purchased a 4x4 ute that has lived the majority of its life in the back-roads of Darwin.
    The chassis rails , exhaust, pretty much EVERYTHING under the car and every nook and cranny looks RED almost like orange surface rust, but its just pure stained red aussie bulldust.

    The aluminium tray seems to look the worst as its a lighter colour, the tray looks a tinge of red/brown.

    I just got it home and tried mixing 60% mineral turps/35% unleaded petrol and 5% dish washing liquid, sprayed this on with a "brake cleaner" pressure gun and let it soak for half an hour.
    I hit it hard with the pressure washer (cold) and it possibly removed about 10% of it?? This shit is stubborn as hell.

    i tried a gurney soap gun attachment of heavy car wash but the red dirt just laughed at me.....

    What the hell can i use to soak/wash this nasty redness out of my paintwork and undercar??

    thanks!

  • #2
    im reading some people use "Aluminium cleaner acid" , ive used a similar thing in the past on mine sites, the water underground is so metallic that we used to wash the cars after a soak of "rust buster" , i remember it used to sting the hell out of our eyes!! haha

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    • #3
      I've never had to remove it but i know that the dirt is red because of the super high iron content in the dirt. You have two options here, a specified iron remover for paint work or a wheel cleaner, both designed to remove iron (as as brake dust is also rotor dust and is made of iron).

      CarPro make a spray for paint called IronX ( https://www.waxit.com.au/collections...iant=801078241 ) which is designed for paintwork as well as wheels, so it's a lot safer. Or the other is a wheel cleaner which is a lot more easy to find locally but a fair bit less safe for paint work and i wouldn't want to use it on aluminium as i know alloy has some fairly odd reactions with chemicals (i've seen an alloy tray be eaten through before).

      After that i would use a clay bar to remove any extra contaminants using car soap for lubricant with the clay. This is fairly easy to find.

      What is the car make/model/year?

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      • #4
        Seeing as the dirt is red due to the really high iron content i would use CarPro IronX which is a dedicated iron remover which is paint safe.

        Or your other option which is a bit less safe but easier to get your hands on, is a wheel cleaner like Bowdens Wheely Clean.

        After that i would give the paint a really good clay with using car wash soap as lubricant to pull as much out of the paint as i can.

        Be careful with the ally tray though, you can get some really weird reactions with ally trays. I've seen one get eaten through when i was working out back one time with something not that odd... Can't remember what it was though

        Whats the car make, model and year?
        Last edited by MitchH; 01-04-2017, 08:10 PM.

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        • #5
          Mitch, Its a 2009 Mazda BT50 ute, (Ford PK Ranger)

          cheers ill have a look and see what those products claim.
          the actual exterior bodywork isnt really stained due to being washed once in a blue moon, but the under-body, chassis, and tray are just RED due to not being washed with actual agitation , only water blowing over it.

          I need something that's a spray on, rinse off action, i simply couldn't hand wash this stuff out its in every single crevice imaginable.

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          • #6
            If you have a local Supercheap or Autobarn they usually stock the Wheely Clean, it's fairly well priced, usually around $22 a bottle. I'd say give it a go on the underbody in a spot you can't see let it soak for 30 seconds then use a brush to agitate and see how that works out. Just make sure you wear some dish washing gloves or something cause it stinks like a 4 month old stale bucket of camel piss. Works good though. Just don't let it dry on.

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            • #7
              is this the bowdens stuff??

              id literally need 20 bottles if i was to just spray it straight out the bottle like that...

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              • #8
                im wondering what a aluminium acid cleaner would go like with a low dosage in a foam lance mixed with a mega strong blend of ct18 ???
                that way the foam doesnt give it a chance to "dry" as easily ?

                followed within 5 mins by a HOT pressure wash

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                • #9
                  I remember spending a few days cleaning Darwin Dust out of Land Rovers on a wharf somewhere before they could be returned to Australia. My particular truck had never been off road while it had been deployed but it took DAYS to flush the red out enough for AQIS to be happy. Can't recall what we used but it stripped just about everything off. Grease, oil, dust, paint....

                  Mick
                  MY09 Senator Signature
                  Cleaned --- Protected --- Driven

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                  • #10
                    I'm more than likely going to repaint the chassis rails anyway just with a spray can after its cleaned off. I can afford to go aggressive with whatever I use because I want to replace the sides and front hurdle on the tray with steel ones anyway and have them painted white like the cab. It's just the ally floor and rear guards and chassis that will cop the full force spray of whatever the hell may work

                    Sent from my E6553 using Tapatalk

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                    • #11
                      Diluted Wheel Acid should be your best bet - agitate with various brushes rinse and repeat as necessary - Meguiars Wheel Brightener would be your most cost effective solution.

                      There is specific iron dust products out there too.. example - https://www.westchem.com.au/products...acid-detergent
                      “I know that I don’t know anything more than you know. Really… There are no experts. There is only the integrity of doing and having done.” Terence McKenna

                      FinishPro Detailing Enhancements
                      Web: www.finishpro.com.au Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/finishproAU/ Email: sales@finishpro.com.au

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                      • #12
                        Bit late to the topic I know but I would give this mob a call. They have products specifically for the removal of red dirt.

                        http://www.challengechemicals.com.au...-dirt-removers
                        Last edited by Scag; 02-06-2017, 12:29 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Scag View Post
                          Bit late to the topic I know but I would this mob a call. They have products specifically for the removal of red dirt.

                          http://www.challengechemicals.com.au...-dirt-removers
                          The methanesulfuric acid in their RDS and RDS plus is more commonly know as "battery acid".

                          I would look towards other, less volatile acids.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MitchH View Post
                            Seeing as the dirt is red due to the really high iron content i would use CarPro IronX which is a dedicated iron remover which is paint safe.

                            Or your other option which is a bit less safe but easier to get your hands on, is a wheel cleaner like Bowdens Wheely Clean.
                            I've spoken to Dan Bowden directly and he assured me Wheely Clean is paint safe and can be used as an iron remover on paint, it's just not a particularly cheap option. It can be bought directly from them in 5l and 20l sizes as well which is more cost effective than the retail spray pack.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Trewarin View Post
                              The methanesulfuric acid in their RDS and RDS plus is more commonly know as "battery acid".

                              I would look towards other, less volatile acids.
                              I would say that 'sulphuric acid' is what is "commonly known" as battery acid. The acid you refer to is actually methanesulphonic acid which I can honestly say I have never heard of. I don't know which one (if any) of the five options they list are of use to the OP but some have been developed specifically for the removal of red dirt on vehicles, painted surfaces and aluminium.

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