Car Care / Car Culture / Tech

Tech: Reviving A Triple-Deuce Intake Manifold With Citrus Multi-Surface Cleaner


It had been more than half a century since fuel flowed through the Holley triple deuce carburetors. In the decades since, the carbs and the Edelbrock manifold they’re mounted to were stored deep in the garage, giving the grunge plenty of time to gather and take hold. It was time to bring this hardware back into the light.

The last time they saw action the carbs were perched atop a 292-inch Ford Y-block V8, fitted with an aluminum plenum, and pressurized by a McCullough VR-series supercharger from the late 1950s.

This set-up was installed on a 1955 Thunderbird. The blower kit didn’t make enough boost for my dad and was removed in the early 1960s, dropped in a box with all the bracketry, tubes, even the wiring, and has spent the last 50 years bouncing around a dingy garage.

The box was recently rediscovered and I decided to clean the manifold/carb combination up and figure out what to do with it. The blower would have to be rebuilt but the triple deuce induction system could be run by itself, sans supercharger, with three top hats and stainless air filters in place of the plenum setup. I was also considering selling the manifold and carbs, either as one item or bundled with the blower kit. The plan was to clean them up and let them talk to me.

I was impressed with how our Citrus Multi-Surface Cleaner powered away some light rust in our Fun And Effective Engine Cleaning Tips & Tricks blog article published in June so I decided to give it a whirl here.

The first thing we had to do was downshift. Too often we look at cleaning as a spray-and-wipe process. This isn’t a kitchen countertop, we’re dealing with tough stuff that’s had decades to get comfortable. Laying on a thick coat and letting the foam action do the work was a key to success. Also, don’t be afraid to resaturate the item with extra coats.

The manifold is made of polished aluminum so some of its surface wiped clean easily. The intricate cracks and crevasses were agitated with a Boars’ Hair Detailing Brush, then the manifold was wiped clean with a Multi-Purpose Utility Towel.

It took mere minutes to wipe away 50-plus years of neglect. Even the Holley two-barrel carburetors came clean with minimal effort. For sure the manifold could use some metal polish and a strong buff but I am going for a serviceable clean, so the parts can be handled and their condition more easily evaluated.

The top hats were a different story. They were chromed metal and had quite a bit more rust corrosion and pitting on them. This would indeed be a challenge for Citrus Multi-Surface Cleaner.




It became quickly apparent that the job required more than a detailing brush and a wipe down. I tried multiple times before moving up to a more aggressive method. The answer was fine automotive-grade steel wool. Caution must be taken and I tested the wool on an inconspicuous spot before going all in. The key is to treat the procedure like claying. Use Citrus Multi-Surface Cleaner as a lubricant in much the same way Speed Shine® is used when claying your paint. Let the steel wool glide, adding very light pressure only when needed. When the solution gets a rusty color to it, wipe it up and reapply more Citrus Multi-Surface Cleaner. If any micro scratches appear they can be buffed out with some Metal Polish.

The operation was a success. The triple deuces are standing tall and the manifold looks like it’s ready for action. I was impressed with Citrus Multi-Surface Cleaner’s versatility when we used it in our engine cleaning article and it continues to impress here. Since it’s a natural D-limonene formula, Citrus Multi-Surface Cleaner produces a residue-free surface so there is no oily film like those produced by other solvent-based cleaners. Not having to chase down and wipe up additional mess is welcomed… especially considering the manifold’s multitude of tight spots and knuckle-busting potential. Now it’s time to decide between rebuild and reinstall or list and sell.

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