Lotus Elan

Ultrasonic Cleaners

PostPost by: jono » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:16 am

I've got a few set of carbs to rebuild and have been considering one of these.

I'm in the market for an Ebay cheapie at around £70 - £80.

Does anyone use one - are they any good and would I be wasting my time unless I spend a few hundred quid?

Cheers

Jon
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:01 am

We bought a cheapie from Aldi some time ago and it's great for small items (e.g. carb jets) but I haven't tried it on car parts. It should be very effective. IIRC it was only about £30.
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PostPost by: elansprint » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:59 am

Jono I have a large Kerry unit for cleaning pcb's but it will not clean external corrosion on carbs
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:54 am

I think this has come up before so a search might prove fruitful.

If I recall correctly getting a used one from a dental practice was perhaps best and even the best make was discussed (can't recall it now) but dentists had to upgrade their kit for hygiene reasons and a lot of older but perfectly useable units are just sitting unused or being thrown out.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:36 am

I have one I bought here in the States from Harbor Freight (http://www.harborfreight.com/25-liter-u ... 63256.html) but I have not figured out how to use it yet!

What would you guys use as a fluid to clean carbs in the Ultrasonic bath?
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PostPost by: jono » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:43 pm

...i've read on another thread that screen wash works well as a cleaning agent
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:48 pm

I've just used fairy liquid but for car parts a solvent might be a good idea.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:46 pm

Wikipedia explains the basic principle of the process as cavitation bubbles collapsing to exert a force on the contaminant that removes it from the substrate.

In my working life I have seen cavitation cause damage to pumps, so I can believe that an ultrasonic cleaner should work. I don't own an ultrasonic cleaner, but have used ultrasonic cleaning services with limited success. I suspect that if the machine is overloaded then the vibration is effectively stopped. The cleaning solution needs to be correct for the application, and not overloaded with contaminant from previous jobs. In the few occasions that I have tried ultrasonics I have been disappointed. I am sure the process can be made to work but have not had a good experience yet.

When I was working my employer had a parts washing machine, rather like a big dishwasher, the level of contaminant in the washing solution limited its effectiveness. Typically the parts would become cleaner, but have a thin layer of dirt spread all over them. If I wanted something cleaned properly, I would wait for Monday, morning when the solution had just been changed, and then the result was good. I suspect this may apply to the ultrasonic cleaning services I have used. I presume the solution is expensive and the owner is reluctant to replace it as often as he should.

I think if you buy or hire the right size of machine and get the conditions correct it will do an excellent job.

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PostPost by: jono » Mon May 01, 2017 4:42 pm

I borrowed a commercial unit from a friend which holds around 20 litres of washing fluid.

I've stripped and cleaned my twin Dellortos and they have come up just like new - I'm very impressed.

I used Car Plan windscreen washer fluid - £1.99 for 5 litres from The Range and bunged 15 litres in - cheap or what :shock:

The washer fluid seemed to work very well but would not touch any oily areas - I gunked the oily bits first and popped them back in and, honestly, they look factory fresh.

Hopefully this will clear my low speed stumble. I just need the rebuild kit to turn up now - should have ordered it first :roll:

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PostPost by: wotsisname » Tue May 02, 2017 3:22 pm

A bit of info that I hope is helpful.
I use ultrasonic baths in a lab on a reasonably regular basis. The parts I'm trying to clean aren't particularly dirty (like a car part) so no idea how effective they are for this...maybe I need to try this ?
if you are cleaning smaller parts then you can pop these into a beaker or similar container that has your cleaning solvent in, this then stands in the bath that has water in. The bath should have a reasonable level in it (typically >30% full) else I have been told they can be damaged.. If available, use distilled water to prevent scale build up. The smaller amounts of actual cleaning solvent can be swapped out more cheaply. I generally am using solvents such as acetone, propan-2-ol, Methanol. The bath contents will warm up so decent ventilation is advisable for your health !
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PostPost by: jono » Tue May 02, 2017 3:55 pm

...my understanding is that the parts must be suspended in the solution and not in contact with the sides or base of the unit.

My machine came with a fine gauze tray which is suspended into the solution on a couple of wires - I put all the jets and small parts into that.

The bodies were then hung in turn into the solution and after a couple of cycles they came up a treat
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PostPost by: pereirac » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:23 pm

A word of warning...

Many years ago, I seem to remember cleaning some alloy parts of my car (they may have been the carburettors) in a large ultrasonic bath with 'instrument cleaner', it removed most of the 'crud' but also stained the alloy so that it came out matt rather than nice and shiny..

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PostPost by: 512BB » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:47 am

I bought a sonic recently, as I have a lot of engine / carb rebuilding work planned.

I am only sorry that I did not take pictures of the pistons before cleaning. No, they are not brand new, but have done 40k miles. The other thing that I am sorry about, is that I did not buy a bigger sonic that I could fit cylinder heads into. Twin cam cylinder heads that is !

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PostPost by: alan.barker » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:55 pm

It's never too late to have one big enough for cylinder heads with the price they are selling for now :mrgreen:
Do you have a stock of heads :wink:
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PostPost by: 512BB » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:12 am

'It's never too late to have one big enough for cylinder heads with the price they are selling for now'

You have got to be kidding Alan. A sonic to fit a t/c head into would need to be a floor standing 100 litre unit and cost about £2.5k, and I was not going to spend that. And seeing as you asked, I do have a few heads knocking about.

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