Ultrasonic carburetor cleaning has been the industry standard for many years. For the last year I have been on the hunt for ultrasonic tank just for this purpose. I have checked out several small Harbor Freight ultrasonic tanks and even gone and looked at a few used dental units. These tanks however often left a lot to be desired.
Over time, I have cleaned carburetors using many methods, most commonly using nasty carburetor sprays and compressed air, but none of those compare to the ease and thoroughness of ultrasonic cleaning. The limitations of buying a tank were always size and cost. Mostly the cost of a large tank was high enough that it was impractical, and the size of the low cost tanks was small enough that the purchase would have been in vein.
“Ultrasonic cleaning uses cavitation bubbles induced by high frequency pressure (sound) waves to agitate a liquid. The agitation produces high forces on contaminants adhering to substrates like metals, plastics, glass, rubber, and ceramics. This action also penetrates blind holes, cracks, and recesses. The intention is to thoroughly remove all traces of contamination tightly adhering or embedded onto solid surfaces. Water or other solvents can be used, depending on the type of contamination and the workpiece. Contaminants can include dust, dirt, oil, pigments, rust, grease, algae, fungus, bacteria, lime scale, polishing compounds, flux agents, fingerprints, soot wax and mold release agents, biological soil like blood, and so on. Ultrasonic cleaning can be used for a wide range of workpiece shapes, sizes and materials, and may not require the part to be disassembled prior to cleaning. Objects must not be allowed to rest on the bottom of the device during the cleaning process, because that will prevent cavitation from taking place on the part of the object not in contact with water.”
After all of my research I finally managed to get my hands on a tank. The tank itself is an industrial grade 380 watt model with a tank large enough to accommodate not just carburetors, but will also fit shock bodies, master cylinders, calipers, and many other items. This tank heats the liquid to over 150 degrees Fahrenheit while generating ultrasonic pulses in the liquid. The combined process has been very successful at cleaning items very thorough but also very quickly.
The first items I cleaned were my Mikuni TM28 flatslides. I rode these carbs around for many months, and have had them around my shop for many more. To say that they were looking a little grungy was an understatement. After a single 30 minute cleaning session in a simple cleaning solution the carburetors came out as good as new, and maybe even better. Up next was a dirty old brake caliper. This caliper wasn’t just dirty though. It was off a 1993 FZR600 and was crusted up with at least 10 years of nastiness. I tossed the caliper in the tank and ran it for 30 minutes. Again, the results were impressive. Check out the photos at the bottom of this post to see for yourself.
To conclude my diatribe on the wonders of the ultrasonic cleaner, I am announcing that I am offering ultrasonic cleaning as a service here. I personally believe in the process and feel that if you are serious about performance, especially in relation to proper carburation, there is no substitute. It is plain and simple the best process for completely and thoroughly cleaning carburetors inside and out. The same holds true for other items where cleanliness is not just a priority, but a necessity for optimum operation. I am offering this service for not only carburetors, but also for various items like calipers, master cylinders, etc. View the photos below to see the results for yourself, then head over my shop to see more about the process.