Ultrasonic cleaning

Mike Pass

Supporter
I recently needed to clean up some carbs. I checked how much it would cost to get them ultrasonic cleaned. I found that I could buy an ultrasonic cleaning tank from Ebay for the same cost. So I bought a 6Litre tank, which had a big enough basket for the main carburettor bodies. I wanted to get the 20 litre one but there were none available at the time so went with the 6L. The tank is really more like 5 litres but it was still big enough for my items. The tank I got had the digital controls and cost about £100 delivered. One control sets the temperature and the other sets the time. I filled it up with water and 10% carb cleaning additive and set the water level so it was up to the line with the parts in the tank. It makes a buzzing sound when working and I set the temperature to 55 degrees.
The ultrasonic cleaning is done by transducers fixed to the underside of the tank, which send sound waves at 40,000Hz into the water. This causes tiny bubbles on the surface of the parts and the shock when these bubbles collapse is what cleans the parts. Because of this it cleans the internal passages as well. The carb additive smells a bit soapy and helps with oil and grease removal. Maybe dish wash soap would work as well. I gave the parts about 30 mins in total in 10 min bursts as it said do not run for more than 30 mins continuous. Small parts I put in a plastic box as they would fall through the mesh of the basket and parts should not rest on the tank bottom but remain in the basket. The tank gets hotter when the ultrasonic is on as energy is going into the tank. With the timer you can just set it and walk away. The heater heats up the tank to the temp set in about 5 mins. After ultrasonic cleaning I wash the parts under the tap and then blow out with compressed air to dry them out.
Does it work? Yes. It won’t remove very bad marking or corrosion but it gets parts clean. Really bad surfaces will need vapour blasting first to strip off the bad outer layers. The dirt removed is very fine. When I tried to filter the fluid to reuse it; it goes straight through anything you use to filter it. The tank has a drain tap so you can dump the old dirty fluid into the sink and flush the dirt out. I have since done a pair of 40 Dell’Ortos and a pair of 45 Dell’Ortos.
The usual before and after pic attached and one of the tank itself.
Cheers
Mike
 

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Tim Terry

Supporter
I bought the 15L version for about $169 US and it worked beautifully for an Edelbrock carb rebuild - big enough to fit the entire carb body plus small parts. There are some good YouTube videos for ultrasonic tips and tricks.
 

Scott

Lifetime Supporter
They're great for cleaning jewelry as well, but you need to be careful with certain types (e.g., pearls, opals, emeralds, turquoise). Before I clean car parts I always ask my wife and daughter if they want something cleaned before the solution gets dirty.

If you're going to purchase an ultrasonic cleaner a couple of features that you might consider:

*Frequency sweep: waves will cancel or sum depending on the frequency and the size, geometry and orientation of crevices, chambers, channels, etc. This means that you can get dead zones with no cleaning action. If cleaning a carburetor without frequency sweep I would reorient it several times during the cleaning process.

*Degas: for best cleaning you need to prepare the solution by removing entrapped air bubbles. You can run the machine for a while to accomplish this or use a degas feature which will do it quicker.
 

Shaun

Supporter
I have one for cleaning juke box parts, another hobby!! and its a godsend, you cannot believe how it cleans up and is so gentle, on a low settings its also good for cleaning up PCB's and amp boards like new as long as you rinse dry them well after!!!
 
Sold!! Just bought one...I have a gazillion old carbs to clean. Anyone want to suggest a particular additive for the water bath?
 

Mike Pass

Supporter
I just buy the additive for ultrasonic carb cleaning off Ebay. Smells a bit soapy but does work.
Cheers
Mike
 

Shaun

Supporter
Hi Ron, I use EP26R as its quite gentle on the cable parts but with carbs you can use stronger, there are a few others this is a UK site but will give some pointers
 
I'll be using this primarily to clean carbs. Brand names of effective products? What temperatures are you guys using, as hot as it'll go?
 

Mike Pass

Supporter
Ebay UK.
60 deg C. Any hotter is a bit hard on the fingers. I run for 10 min and then swap the basket around and invert the parts get at every part and allow any crud to fall out.
Cheers
Mike
 
Mike,

Thanks. I was wondering about the detergent. Anything special, or can I use something like diluted simple green? Anyone else have an opinion?
 
I used to work with the same 6 liter unit for years and after 4 years off frequent abuse its killed itself as most ultrasonic devices will.
Did a lot of carbs with it. I now have the 10 liter unit which holds about 9 litres.

For carbs, Tickopur R33 is the best agent to clean carbs. Use it in 20-25% mixture with water.

Use hot tap water to begin with. Makes it all easyer for the machine to heat it up.

55-60' Celcius for about 30 minuts max.

For best results, put your dismanteled carb in a bucked with paint thinner first for atleast 24 hours.
If its very dirty clean it up and put it back in that bucket for another 24 hours.

Corrosion and ugly stuff can be washed and brushed of using a decend alloy wheel cleaner after you had it cleaned in the paint thinner.

At last the 30 minuts ultrasonic.
The cleaner the part gets in the ultrasonic machine, the better in can do its job.
Don't try to do more than 30 minuts as it wil eventualy eat your carb. I allready tried that.

When your done rinse the part with lots of water.
Use compressed air to blow all tye channels through.

Don't buy second hand machines as these cleaners will not last for ages. The ultrasonic will destroy it self eventualy leaving you with just hot soapy agent doing nothing.
 
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