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From what I understand, the ball itself traps crap that can dislodge during operation and f*** sh*t up. The balls have always been removed on every legit remand crank I've ever seen, so I'd guess even a hot tank doesn't get the job done.
Normally I let the crank sit in the hot tank for 1-2 days then blast hot water through the oil galleys. And to finish I use varsol to make sure nothing is left behind, both water and varsol are pressurized to 160psi. The hot tank doesn't really remove everything, it just breaks and or loosens crap that gets removed when cleaning. Would be interesting to clean a 4G crank like how I do, then remove the ball to see if I got everything.
I bet you do. Bogus hot tanks and cleans them and has pulled the balls to find more junk. It's a deep recess back behind the ball. Hard to get cleaner to it. Only reason oil gets back there is from the centrifugal force of the crank pushing it outwards.
Yeah this is a pretty important step. As mentioned, it's the only way to ensure you got all the crud out of there. f***, hot tanking without doing this can even make things worse, as you could loosen up that which has been laying dormant, only to have it work its way out and then wreak havoc.
I used rifle brushes as well to clean the head galleries. I hot tanked it, went at it with some solvents, repeat. I remember being shocked at what had been living in there. I don't recall the size of those plugs, but i didn't really have much trouble getting them out. Any stubborn ones saw some heat from the oxyacetylene torch and paraffin wax. Wish i could be more specific but it's been 6-7 years.