Lotus Elan

Ultrasonic Cleaning?

PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:25 am

Has anyone tried using an Ultrasonic cleaning bath for delicate parts, such as carb internals? I have seen some net adverts offering this service, and my wife's jewellery cleaner may be available when she's not around...

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PostPost by: twincamman » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:19 am

I just throw anything into some gunk cleaner for 24 hours and it comes out bright and shiny..body parts excepted...Ed
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:11 pm

Jeremy, I ran your plan by my wife. She suggested buying your own cleaning unit. :D
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PostPost by: cliveyboy » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:36 pm

Jeremy
I have used them for years and they are great.
I use them with solvents as the fluid and they degunk carb internals really well.
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PostPost by: twincamman » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:27 pm

DO NOT PUT THE PARTS IN THE DISH WASHER unless your wife is out of the house and you have time for the heavy wash cycle ----ed
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:57 pm

twincamman wrote:DO NOT PUT THE PARTS IN THE DISH WASHER unless your wife is out of the house and you have time for the heavy wash cycle ----ed


Done that - thought I would move onto more dangerous territory...

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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:47 pm

One of my clients / friend has an ultrasonic bath that I sold him some time ago for cleaning the cutter blocks from his woodworking machinery various and they do indeed come out of it like new. The machine is heated too and goes up to about 80 deg' C.

I will take some of the engine parts from the Vespa I am restoring right now and give it a try. I normally just hose them down in my parts washer.. I did not find the dishwasher very good myself.

Keep you posted... let you know if and how well it works. Never thought of trying it on the oily bits but it's a very good idea methinks.

AB..
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:13 pm

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ultrasonic-So ... 708wt_1270

Small but ?2.81 including delivery. Not worth the money? or worth a try?

How much is a good one?

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PostPost by: 69S4 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:45 pm

Two or three years ago I bought a cheap ultrasonic jewelery type cleaner (about ?25 iirc) for cleaning carb parts, hoping that it would be junior version of the commercial grade cleaners I used to use in research labs. Sadly that's not proven to be the case and it's (yet another) gadget consigned to the top shelf in the garage. About the only thing it's been any good at is (unsurprisingly) cleaning jewelery. For Elan and various bike bits I've tried it with half a dozen different solvents, both hot and cold but it just doesn't seem to have the power. Trying to compensate by leaving it running longer seems to have done something to the mechanism and now it makes the same buzzing noise but doesn't clean at all.

Ultrasonic cleaning will get dirt etc out of the most inaccessible places and I've successfully cleaned many carbs, fuel injectors etc of years of accumulated fuel deposits clogging things up but it's needed equipment with a reasonable power input and the little jewelery cleaners don't seem to have that. You could end up with the worst of all worlds - still dirty carb bits and an earbending from your wife. :( :(
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PostPost by: Esprit2 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:35 pm

A Lotus buddy recently purchased Harbor Freight's (USA) 2.5 liter ultrasonic cleaner or doing small car parts. US$74.99. Yesterday he bought a second one with a 20% off coupon from an add he received in the mail... US$60.
http://www.harborfreight.com/25-liter-u ... 95563.html

Tank Internal Dimensions:
3? D x 9-3/4? L x 5-1/2? W

Outside Dimensions:
11-3/8" L x 9" W x 7-1/4" H

The instructions suggest a water & detergent solution, but we're going more heavy duty for engine parts. The water-based solvent from his large tank-style parts washer works great, but GUNK parts cleaner, the soaking type of carb cleaner, or similar low-volatility solvents should work equally well. Whatever solvent you swear by for soaking parts clean will work more effectively with an ultrasonic assist. I wouldn't use any highly volatile, flammable solvents as they will evaporate even more readily with ultrasonic energy... greater risk of a flash explosion and fire if the fumes find a spark.

We've been using it to clean hardware and small parts, up to the large goose neck thermostat housing from a Esprit 910 engine. That piece could lay down in the tank, but part of it stuck up out of the bath, requiring us to rotate it and repeat the timed cycle.

One thing I don't like about the Harbor Freight unit is that it has a timer with a limited range... 4.88 minutes as I recall. You can quickly re-set it for another go, but you can't just turn it on and leave it over night. Hmmm... maybe I can cobble up a power over-ride switch...

It does a very good job on general dirt and greasy grime. Wipe excess loose dirt and grime off engine parts with a paper shop towel, but don't make any special effort to pre-clean them. One timed session in the tank makes a very significant improvement, while two pretty much have them clean.

It made progress on water lime scale on the thermostat housing, but was slow (~1/3 gone in 20 minutes), so we moved on to a wire wheel. That would be a good job for the power over-ride switch.

So far it has not been effective against cured Loctite in threads... that still requires a wire brush or chasing the threads with a tap/die.

It will not clean up or polish corroded parts... they will be clean but still corroded. For those, a vibratory polisher (Eastwood) or rock polishing tumbler (hobby shop) works well to brighten them up... better yet, just replace them.

I've been eyeballing it, thinking that it just might take a stripped down DHLA or DCOE carb body laying with the throats horizont. A DCOE is by 7.24 wide across shaft ends by 4.65" from mounting flange to inlet without studs (5.43" with studs), so it should drop into the tank with the throats horizontal. However it's taller to the top of the float bowl than the tanks 3" depth, so fully cleaning may require flipping it over and repeating... however long it took. Jets and small parts should fit in the tank at the same time. My carbs are all on engines, so I haven't tried it yet. Varnish deposits are hard, like the lime-scale on the thermostat housing. The last time I had a badly varnished-up DCOE professionally cleaned, they had to soak the body in an ultrasonic cleaner for a solid week to get it clean.

To our experience, the Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner works well on hardware and small parts in a relatively short time without any human effort.

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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:18 pm

Hi guys,

The item I sold my mate / client is a bit bigger and has a tank approx 2' x 18" x about 12" deep & it holds quite a lot of fluid.

It has a lift out basket into which one loads the parts (Cutterblocks in his case) and a quick 10 mins brings amazing results. Filled with water based solution at about 60 deg C. Auto timer too..

Begining to think I should buy one myself.. :shock:
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PostPost by: bilcoh » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:59 am

I know people who've used jewelry units for cleaning bicycle parts. Admittedly, they don't typically get the sort of multi-year baked on stuff we deal with, but they generally report great results. The smartest suggestion, and probably a good one for anyone wanting to "test" out the wifey's unit, is to put the part and solution in a small tupperware that can then sit in the cleaner. Not sure if you'd need to add additional solution to surround the tupperware. Anyway, good results reported and no cleaning of the unit needed.

Third hand reporting on all this, but I thought I'd pass it along.

Cheers, and good luck. BTW, for carb bodies, I intend to try the soda blaster route. Seems promising.

Dave
Last edited by bilcoh on Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: reb53 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:10 am

I've been using an ultrasonic cleaner for some years in my business of repairing and restoring clocks.
Couple of pointers.
Yes Dave, using another container inside the tank with a different fluid works fine but make sure the container is surrounded by a fluid in order to transfer the u.s. waves. Water is fine and you won't pollute the tank with some smelly solvent. I use a glass jar to hold small amounts of different cleaners and then put them into the u.s. with water in it.

Pretty much every instruction list I've read on ultrasonic cleaners advises against putting things straight into the tank without having them in a suspended basket. Apparently having items resting on the bottom is a bad thing from a wear point of view. If something was heavy enough I guess there'd also be a risk of slightly flexing the bottom of the tank. As the transducers are glued on there they might object after a while.

If you're not sure if your u.s. is actually working, and not just buzzing, stick a bit of aluminium foil in there. Should punch some holes through it pretty quickly.

Cheers
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