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What to use to clean the chassis of a McIntosh MX 110?

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I hope to soon be able to play around with an MX 110 I picked up last spring. The top of the chassis is pretty dusty/dirty. If I remove the tubes (or maybe I don't want to?), can I spray Deoxit or some other cleaner on the chassis to clean it up? Thanks in advance.

Jeff

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Used a pressure washer with good effect on a Dynaco SCA-80. [6]

Dave

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HudsonValleyNoah recommended Simichrome Polish available from Amazon.com. A 1.76 oz tube will be more than enough. I used it and it worked well. Be careful with the lettering.

Frank

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I would email Terry DeWick (DeWick Repairs) and ask him. He does it for a living and will know the right stuff. The Macs he cleaned for me look brand new.

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When I cleaned my H/K A50K, I used a Cape Cod cloth. It took away all the dirt and grime and left the lettering intact. It looked like a new unit.

Chad

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Mark, I think I'll give Terry a ring to see what he does.

I think he's already married.

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Good ole soap and water and don't stop at the chassis, you and your friends should join in.

post-16829-1381961802285_thumb.jpg

post-16829-13819621738928_thumb.jpg

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Groom, that's no lady...that's your wife!

Try using a small, soft paintbrush to get the loose dust off. Then, I used q-tips and denatured alcohol on the chassis, but did not touch the letteriing for fear ot removing it.

Terry is a good resource. He updated my MX-110 and it sounds wonderful!

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To do it right, you will need patience and time....LOTS of time. Worth it, though.

My annual cleaning session of the MX110 is akin to a surgical procedure. I bring the unit to my kitchen table, where I have lamp hanging overhead. The preamp is placed on a thick towel, with cord folded and rubberbanded. Now I can rotate the preamp 360 degrees with ease and reach every crevice.

I then remove all of the glass tubes from the deck, and place each tube on another table, on a piece of paper with all the valve positions labeled. You want every tube to go back exactly where it came from. I have been known to leave in the 6D10 (it's a bit more cumbersome to remove and reinstall) and of course I leave the square "tubes" along the side edge.

Then, I get the old Electrolux canister vac with two tools: a crevice tool, and a round brush made of horsehair. The horsehair brush itself will not scratch any surface, although the dirt could if you put downward pressure with it on the surface (a no-no). The brush is very soft. An Electrolux can vac is worth the $$ just for the horsehair attachment alone, and justifies finding an old 'Lux used on the 'bay or somewhere. Electroluxes are also EASY to adjust for suction....to get just the right amount for tricky and delicate jobs like this one.

I use the round horsehair attachment to get the easy surfaces: top of the tranny, top front edge, and so forth.

Now the hard part....those narrow channels and corners.

I have a trick I do with an angled crevice tool: Cut a strip of chamois about 6-8 inches long and about 3 inches wide, and wrap the angled tip of the crevice tool with it, leaving about 3/4 to an inch of the chamois hanging over the edge of the tool tip. Turn the vacuum on, which will then suck in the edge of the chamois "INSIDE" the tool, giving a now chamoi-ed cushioned tip to your edge crevice tool. It can take several tries to get it set up right, but once I get the chamois edge sucked inside the tool tip (a nice, "inner wrapping"), I tape the outer edge to the tip, and now have a neat tool I can use to vac those super tough-to-clean channels and corners on the deck.

Then I set to work on the vacuuming. The now chamois tipped crevice tool is used to suck out the dust from all those tight channels and spaces. VERY IMPORTANT: DO NOT drag any brush/cloth in any firm fashion across the chrome surface!!!!! The trick is to be able to hold the brush or tool JUST ABOVE the dusty surface and have the suction pick the dirt up off the chassis.THIS TAKES PRACTICE, but once you get the hang of it it becomes apparent what the technique and goal is. Once the majority of the dust is removed, you can drop the tip into corners (again, do not DRAG) and remove dust from those hard to reach corners, because that chamois tip will be gentle to the chassis if you touch it. In fact, once most dust is removed you can deliberately touch the tip to the surface to get those tough corners. You'll be working those corners one to two inches at a time (tip length of the crevice tool), but it does work.

You will find that you will work this "90 degrees at a time." Vacuum what you can of the chassis surface, then rotate the preamp 90 degrees on the tabletop, then vac some more.

Try NOT to vacuum over the tube sockets. Vac up to the edge of them, to the edge of the metal hole, but not over the sockets themselves.

Once the preamp is "vacuumed" (and it will take some hours to do), then you can finish the cleaning with "stage two"....but ONLY when all the dust is removed.

I then take a few small cut chamois squares and a small bottle of distilled water and finish the cleaning. I work a few square inches at a time, lightly rubbing the surface with a mildly wet chamois, then dry with a 100% clean chamois. I treat this with the same attitude and care of fine jewelry.

WAX: Once the chassis is 100% clean, then I wax it. Again, I use a small batch of small chamois squares, and work the chassis two-three square inches at a time. I use Turtle premium liquid wax, it's easier to work with than paste, it goes right where I want it and is easily buffed out. I like two coats....it gets to a real deep, liquid shine!

ON THE LETTERING: You CAN rub over the lettering (typically) if you use chamois AND you do it SOFTLY. When doing the water cleaning, I just place the cloth on the letter areas (just to "wet") and remove the chamois, then place a clean dry chamois square on the mildly wet surface to dry it off. The letters are delicate, but you CAN clean them if you are gentle.

When I do this, it's an "all day sucker", just like a Slo-Poke. I will work on it for 30-60 minutes at a time, then take a break, then return to the job. But once done with that deep, liquid, chrome shine, you'll know why you took the trouble. And the better news is that once you do this the first time, subsequent annual cleanings/waxings are easier. This does take practice, and I recommend working with an area on the back of the pre to get the idea of this. I actually have an old MC30 chassis that I experimented with just to see what I could and could not get away with, and I found I can do more than I thought I could.

I use this method with all my vintage Mac. Sorry I can't post pics. I'm a bit lazy about updating my computer gear (I would have less aggravation buying matched quads of vintage power tubes than buying a comp, and both are very aggravating), but when I do (hopefully winter) I can update this post with a few shots.

It's a primitive, cobbled together solution, but it does work.....with patience and time.

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Waxing the front plate! Wow, that's an old trick!! But it works very well, and I just "resurrected" (as in found it in the shop...) a bottle of Meguiars Classic for my Mac glass fronts. [Y]

Note: Don't ever use wax on plastic or "matte" finish face plates, knobs, etc. on components... It won't look good....

[H]

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The preamp is placed on a thick towel, with cord folded and rubberbanded.

I have a stupid little trick. Instead of a rubber band, I'll use an empty cardboard TP roll. I told you it was stupid.

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Great suggestions, guys. I'm in the process of getting the 110 cleaned up for sale, but I'm going to apply these tricks to my other Mac pieces as well. After A/B ing the 110 and my 113, the difference isn't as noticable as I thought. Since the 110 is more valuable, I think it's time to part with it, but that's for a different forum. Audible, your technique is time consuming, but I bet the results are brilliant! It's terrific to share in a hobby with others who are fussy with their equipment too. Thanks again-

Jeff

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