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Discussion Starter #1
I finally got around to cleaning the FAL I acquired a couple months back last night and to my displeasure the piston was rusted in place. I let some Balistol soak on it for about an hour and the piston finally came loose on its own.

What is the recommended method of cleaning the piston system. I'd rather not neglect it like the prior owner had and my cleaning experience on rifles has been limited to bolt actions thus far.

Thanks
 

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it's a very common practice to not lube them.
in fact the FN manual states to leave the gas plug, cylinder, piston & spring dry.
i consider those suggestions for an OPERATING state.
once clean i lube them very lightly, just as i do the bores.
quick wipe before firing & repeat.
i just can't stand the thought of anything rusting in the safe!
 

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I use a brass brush and Breakfree to scrape the carbon off the piston and "endcap". I will also use the cleaning rod to kind of scrub out the gas tube. I do lightly lube if I know that I will not be shooting it for a while,and by that I mean not the next day, so I always have light coat of Breakfree on while it is in the safe.
 

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As an old soldier, we used to clean our L1A1 gas system by soaking the bits in cans of cola. 20 minutes and all carbon build up not dissolved was quickly removed with a couple of wipes of 'Scotchbrite', then a light coat of oil before going back on the rack.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Finally got around to shooting it this weekend and it works...partly. The bolt moves freely and can be manually cycled, the piston moves freely and feeding from the magazine isn't a problem. The action just won't cycle on its own after a shot. My best guess (and that of the range master who admittedly hasn't had much FAL experience) is that the gas port is clogged due to the fact the piston didn't have any new residue on it and it wasn't warmed up like the barrel.

Tried adjusting the regulator from full open to full closed with no affect on operations. Working on tearing into it far enough to check the gas port.
 

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do you have the gas plug on the Grenade setting?
the plug should have a G on one side and an A (for Auto) opposite.
if you've a Commonwealth pattern gas plug, no letters but the auto side will have a groove milled in it.
 

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You can look at the gas plug and tell, based on the internal shape, which way it is supposed to go. Then close off your gas cut off completely, so all gas is going through rifle. I don't think any "gunk" could stop the gas, under thousands of PSI and high temp.

If it does not even try to cycle, most likely the plug is in wrong. Having said that, it took a long time to get my Century Imbel to run right, so hang in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Not sure how I had the gas plug put in. I didn't realize the gas plug controlled the grenade/auto mode of operation; I was under the (incorrect) impression it was a matter of the gas regulator.

Since I've got the tool to take down the gas tube I'm thinking I may go ahead and do so just to be certain.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well don't I just feel like an idiot... It was the gas plug being in wrong. Oh well, rather feel like an idiot than spend money trying to fix something that's not broken!
 

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Phelan, I had the gas plug in wrong in front of my friends. Damn thing didn't work etc. etc. Figured it out when cleaning my single shot FAL that you could put it in backwards :oops:

Let us know how it works with the plug in correctly
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It shot fine when I was out Monday with the plug in the right position. Took me about 10 rounds to get the regulator adjusted for it to cycle consistently.
 

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All metal surfaces need to be wiped-down with some sort of rust-preventative. Otherwise you can count on having rust.

Indeed "the manual" is always cited as commanding "do not lubricate the gas system." Well duh. If they didn't tell the snuffy's that they would pack the darn thing with grease don't you know! That doesn't mean the average intelligent guy has to let his rifle go to rust.
 
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