View Full Version : Best way to clean a fouled Lee bottom pour

07-10-2005, 02:45 PM
I have dumped it out, removed the rod, scraped the insides to get that accumulation of I don't know what the clay colored dirt mess that coats the sides. reassembled and it still leaks. Is there any way to get it back to Clean, short of a large round wire bursh in a electric drill? I am just about ready to ream it out with a huge ball of steel wool. If not I can plug it and go to the hand dipper but I seem to get a better fill with a good stream. Thanks in advance. JB

07-10-2005, 05:10 PM
I have dumped it out, removed the rod, scraped the insides to get that accumulation of I don't know what the clay colored dirt mess that coats the sides. reassembled and it still leaks. Is there any way to get it back to Clean, short of a large round wire bursh in a electric drill? JBMine was leaking a lot until I turned the rod with my screwdriver/stirring stick. The rod dropped down a little and the dripping stopped. Sorry if you already knew this but it did hold me up for a while.

07-10-2005, 07:00 PM
JBMau., That "clay colored stuff" is mostly oxidized alloy and if you use Marvelux, flux residue. The good news is you can clean it very easily by pouring boiling water in a cold, empty pot letting it soak, and then scrub it out with a small wire brush. Repeat this until you get rid of it. When dry, get some lapping compound and apply it to the bottom of the valve seat and rod. Spin the rod with an electric drill/screwdriver in both directions until you get a smooth, dripless seal. [You should clean the lapping compound off before refilling the pot.]

07-11-2005, 06:20 AM
..............If you've ever run a pot of alloy all the way out, on the bottom of the pot will usually be some very fine black stuff. Finer then suger. Even though it's lighter then the lead and should float, it seems to get trapped by the lead on top of it, if you follow me. Some of this stuff is actually light enough to be carried around by heat convection.

What happens is that as you use the pot and lead flows out through the spout, some of this stuff gets pulled out with it on occasion. Since the valve and it's seat are merely tapers that are co-incident on a fairly narrow width to seal, a spec of this crud can hold the valverod up enough to let the lead ooze past.

I make a real effort to try and remember to completely empty the pot maybe every 5 fillings or so. This helps to keep that stuff from accumilating, as each new pot adds some. I have done 2 things to try and eliminate dripping and oozing. One is I've clamped a small set of Vise-Grip pliers to the valve rod. Not REAL vise-Grips, but some cheap commie chinee 99 cent ones. This adds some useable weight.

The second and possibly most effective to to allow the valve rod to drop. Basicly when filling a mould, I've got my index finger knuckle under the wooden handle to life the rod. When I'm done, I don't let it down I just pull my finger straight out from under it. The whole shebang drops that 1/4" with a 'clunk'. I have almost zero dripping/oozing issues.


07-11-2005, 11:43 AM
Now, this works with the Lyman Mag20 and the RCBS Pro Melt so it should work with the Lee as well.

Nothing like a good thorough pot cleaning to get things right but that takes time and a bit of hassle. This is more on the order of preventive maintenance.

I keep a lump of beeswax about the size of a walnut on my bench. Several times during a casting session when I'm waiting for a mould to cool down or need a break, I'll touch that to the bottom of the spout. The heat causes it to melt and be sucked up into the spout for some reason. Then, take something and run about a teaspoon full out with a pause between pourings. You'll see all kinds of crap in what you've poured. This may have to be repeated several times but it usually makes a difference.

This metal can be added back to the melt and the crap skimmed off when it melts.

This usually stops a "leaker" but if it don't, then a thorough cleaning is in order./beagle

07-11-2005, 11:50 AM

Ever heard that old trick for getting rusted or tight bolt that's stuck out of an engine for example, where you heat the bolt some, then touch a piece of wax to it, wait a bit, then try to turn it out? I think you stumbled onto something there. Might be a capillary action of the beeswax getting up into the spout. How did you come about finding that out?


07-11-2005, 01:26 PM
beagle---Whatever it is that causes the beeswax to be sucked in is probably the same action that sucks in the solder on soldered joints in plumbing. I doubt that this would be of use for a cruddy pot---sure wouldn't do it when there is molten alloy in it. If you put baking soda on a rusted/corroded item and then pour vinegar on it,you get a pretty good fizzing action and it will loosen a lot of things. When I was in Guam,I bought Toyota Corollas not running and got them going. A common problem in that climate was a blown head gasket and the cylinder would be full of water and rusted up. The piston would be "frozen"---something frozen in Guam---an oxymoron??????The baking soda and vinegar freed up a few when about everything else I tried had failed.

07-11-2005, 01:31 PM

Have you ever heard of the use of muriatic acid for loosening up stuff such as we speak of here?


07-11-2005, 02:10 PM
Starmetal----Yes Ive heard of muriatic acid for rust removal. There is a product you can buy at the supermarket in the laundry section (spelled funny) called Whink. I think it is muriatic acid???? It will remove rust spots from some carpets---but depending on fabric will burn some. For that reason,I wouldn't chance using it.

07-11-2005, 02:15 PM

07-11-2005, 02:34 PM
Thanks for the link about Whink Wills---it says hydrofluoric acid--I always thought muriatic acid--but heck I dont know what the difference between the two is anyways excpet pronounced and spelled differently.

07-11-2005, 02:47 PM
whinks has hydroflouric acid in it. Muriatic acid has hydrochloric acid in it.


08-09-2005, 08:38 AM
When I'm casting,and my Lee goes to dripping,first thing I do is turn the rod with a screwdriver.Sometimed pushing down on it while turning helps.It crushes debris that is caught between the rod and the nozzle and allows it to flow out the nozzle.If that doesn't fix the drip I pull a single wire out of a stainless steel wire brush and use that to clean the nozzle.After pulling the wire out with a pair of pliers,I hold it with those pliers and poke it up the nozzle while holding the valve open.Move it around a bit and you will be surprised sometimes in the increase in flow and how the dripping will stop.Make sure you have some sort of container under the spout when doing this.

I've had 2 different Lee pots that would have a slight drip no matter what I did.When I watched very closely I found that the leak wasn't from the hole in the spout,but was coming down the side of the spout,forming a drop on the end of the spout, then falling off.The problem was where the spout goes into the can that contains the molten lead. The spout is just pressed into the can,then the end of the spout that is in the can is flared with mechanical pressure to join it to the can.I used an acetylene torch to braze the nozzle to the can, no more leak from that spot.


08-09-2005, 11:34 PM
buckshot-my idea is somewhat similar to yours. i found a small angle bracket and a coil spring with loop ends in my junk box. the bracket already had 2 holes and i put the spring thru 1 hole and attached the bracket to an existing screw on the lee. i then took the weight off the lee handle and slipped the spring over it. now when you raise it and let go it seals good. you still have to turn it with a screwdriver sometimes.

08-25-2005, 12:55 AM
I keep a dental pick nearby and use it to clear the crud from the nozzle. I place an ingot mold below the spout, place the dental pick in the opening, open the flow valve and run the pick in and out a few times. It cleans it and keeps it flowing smoothly.