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Pine sap removal?

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al123's picture
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For lack of a better place to post this I thought I'd go to the "experts". I recently bought an '81 240D stick - not pristine, mind you - just a backup "daily driver". But part of the deal was a generous peppering of pine sap from sitting under a pine tree (that feature came "at no extra charge" per the seller)...

Needless to say, appearance is secondary on a vehicle like this. Still, I'd like to get the pine sap off. I took it to the local car wash today and tried blasting the stuff off with the spray wand. (Result? Might as well have been pouring water on a duck's back - if you know what I mean....)

Any suggestions?

Thanks, Al

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Re: Pine sap removal?

I'm assuming that the sap is fairly old and dried. That is a job for clay bar.

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Re: Pine sap removal?

As they say, "who'd a thunk it?" I was figuring one of you gurus would tell me about some voodoo black magic special potion cleaner that would take it off without damaging the paint.

Shows you how much I know....

Thanks, Al

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Re: Pine sap removal?

Here's an interesting site with anecdotes on pine sap removal. It seems that half the people tried everything and they all worked. The other half tried everything and nothing worked. The highest number of hits for successfully removing pine sap was by using 70% rubbing alchohol. http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf697215.tip.html

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Re: Pine sap removal?

Actually, the sap of pines and other trees can take different forms and require different removal products. Some tree sap falls in very small droplets which can be felt more than seen. For these, clay bar is an excellent removal treatment. But some trees, such as the species of pines I used to have on my lot, drop their sap in drops that are up to 1/2 inch in diameter, or more. When these got on my cars, nothing but rubbing alcohol would work -- and it worked well and quickly.

All the pines on my lot have now died of "pine wilt" disease (for which there is no cure or prevention). The house and lot is not as scenic as it once was, but it is much more "car friendly".

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Re: Pine sap removal?

Richard,

Thanks for the verification that rubbing alcohol does work and the note that there are different varieties of pine sap. I suspect the big globs that I'm dealing with are from the same or a very similar tree variety to what you had as the car came from the OKC area.

I'll give it a try - rubbing alcohol is cheap at WallyWorld....

Al

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Re: Pine sap removal?

Oddly I was at my local car supply store looking for windshield washer fluid today and noticed a bottle of tree sap remover, in checking the ingredients it was 99% rubbing alcohol and 1% coloring/perfume.

Oh and all they had was ACDelco washer fluid at $11 a gallon, er no thanks, walmart carried something else for $1.67

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Re: Pine sap removal?

The pine trees that gave me great globs of sap on my cars were very old (80 to 100 years) Scotch Pines. I'm confident that some other pine species do about the same, especially when the trees are old. It was weird that no other chemical or product even came close to cleaning the globs -- no matter how much work was put into the job. On the other hand, just a sparing amount of rubbing alcohol on a cloth took them right off.

Some varieties of trees, many of them deciduous trees (that lose their leaves in winter) put out a sap that is much thinner in consistency than that thick, gooey pine sap. This stuff is usually carried by the wind and onto cars in the form of almost microscopic droplets. You can't really see the droplets on the paint, but you can feel them. The paint feels scratchy. To fix this problem, clay bar works best.

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Re: Pine sap removal?

johnmci;155544 wrote:
Oddly I was at my local car supply store looking for windshield washer fluid today and noticed a bottle of tree sap remover, in checking the ingredients it was 99% rubbing alcohol and 1% coloring/perfume.

Oh and all they had was ACDelco washer fluid at $11 a gallon, er no thanks, walmart carried something else for $1.67

Wow - was that at "Ripoff Parts R US" or "P. T. Barnum's 3-ring Auto Parts"?

Al

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Re: Pine sap removal?

al123;155560 wrote:
Wow - was that at "Ripoff Parts R US" or "P. T. Barnum's 3-ring Auto Parts"?

Al

No a local chain, Lordco auto supply. The nice cash register lady said, sir you really don't want to buy that stuff once I tell you the price, we are all out of everything else and that was the only washer fluid left in the warehouse.

Isn't ACDelco in bankruptcy proceedings?

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Re: Pine sap removal?

I don't know, but some speaker at our local Mercedes Benz Club of America meeting said we really need to be using MB washer fluid. Like -- I have to buy it at the dealer. (It wasn't a dealer employee who said this,

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Re: Pine sap removal?

I don't know, but some speaker at our local Mercedes Benz Club of America meeting said we really need to be using MB washer fluid. Like -- I have to buy it at the dealer. (It wasn't a dealer employee who said this, BTW.) I know this is off topic, but the posts above make me wonder in this is true.

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Re: Pine sap removal?

Quote:
I don't know, but some speaker at our local Mercedes Benz Club of America meeting said we really need to be using MB washer fluid./QUOTE]

I have to assume they were talking about WinterFit P/N 002 986 14 71 10 - which is mostly alcohol.

SummerFit, P/N 001 986 80 71 14, is a soap solution that I don't think would be very effective.

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Re: Pine sap removal?

Vinegar works too, sometimes. Claybar wasn't around last time I had to tackle a job like that. Ok, I wonder if you used vinegar and a clay bar?

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Re: Pine sap removal?

Tom:

Not with the kind of pine sap I had. I tried everything, including vinegar and clay bar. No go! But only a VERY small bit of rubbing alcohol on a cloth removed it right away. And I mean VERY little alcohol, as I don't like the idea of soaking down my paint/clear coat with alcohol. I have never heard that this does any harm on factory paint (though I have heard - but don't know - that it can remove re-paint).ut I doubt that the very small amount needed would hurt anything much.

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