Ultrasonic cleaners, how good do they clean chain internals?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
User avatar
C36
Posts: 652
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:24 am

by C36

Reading the some older Friction-facts reports about the difficulty to properly clean a chain I thought about the ultrasonic cleaners.
While a brush and diesel (or other cleaner) do the job for a cassette, getting a chain cleaned between the pins and rollers require to do several bath with clean solvent.
Image(from zerofriction report)

Can ultrasonic cleaners work ? Yes... just tested one we have at work and brillant, impossible to find a single trace of contamination... but that’s a machine I can’t afford to have in my garage (10k€ machine with filtration and 5kw of Ultrasonic power...).

Who uses something like this and does it really work well?
Image



Envoyé de mon iPhone en utilisant Tapatalk

by Weenie


alcatraz
Posts: 2222
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:19 am

by alcatraz

I have a small cleaner 50w 1.2L and I don't recommend it.

A problem I have is that when the water gets even luke warm the power starts to dissipate away. It simply can't handle heat and clean at the same time.

The piezo element inside is of the industrial looking kind, so that is maybe not the best way to recognize a good unit.

Anyway, if you plan to clean at high temperatures get ready to pay a lot of $$$. That's the feeling I have.


User avatar
dgasmd
Posts: 1746
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:10 am
Location: South Florida

by dgasmd

For the love of whatever is sacred to you, just buy a damn new chain!!!!

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 4198
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

alcatraz, I find the heating unnecessary. What I do is place the chain in a ziploc bag and some slightly dilute degreaser and fill the rest of the ultrasonic cleaner with water. This keeps the ultrasonic cleaner from getting dirty and also allows me to use a higher concentration of degreaser.

Just make sure you’re using the right degreaser. Simple Green can harm a chain for example (even the Aircraft / Precision parts version.) I use Zep Citrus.

MikeD
Posts: 225
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:55 pm

by MikeD

TobinHatesYou wrote:alcatraz, I find the heating unnecessary. What I do is place the chain in a ziploc bag and some slightly dilute degreaser and fill the rest of the ultrasonic cleaner with water. This keeps the ultrasonic cleaner from getting dirty and also allows me to use a higher concentration of degreaser.

Just make sure you’re using the right degreaser. Simple Green can harm a chain for example (even the Aircraft / Precision parts version.) I use Zep Citrus.
How is an acidic degreaser any better?

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 4198
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

MikeD wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:38 am

How is an acidic degreaser any better?

Citrus degreaser is actually a medium-strong base. The degreasing agent is citrus oil, not citric acid.

User avatar
Gearjunkie
Posts: 891
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:17 am
Location: NZ

by Gearjunkie

Do you need to clean the citrus oil degreaser off the chain before re-lubing?

alcatraz
Posts: 2222
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:19 am

by alcatraz

Thanks for the tip. I'll try to clean in room temperature water and see.

The bowl is already tiny so cleaning is a breeze. If I get a larger cleaner to fit mtb cassettes, derailleurs, chainrings, then I'll try the bag trick.

I'm treating my chains in hot paraffin wax so I'm not sure how well it will work with unheated water. Worth a try.

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 4198
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

Gearjunkie wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:10 am
Do you need to clean the citrus oil degreaser off the chain before re-lubing?

Always flush out whatever cleaning agent you use with water because any leftover is 1) still caustic and 2) going work against your lube. Thoroughly dry with clean shop rags and/or an air compressor.

alcatraz wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:12 am

I'm treating my chains in hot paraffin wax so I'm not sure how well it will work with unheated water. Worth a try.

If you're dipping your chain in wax you don't need to degrease your chain after the first time you strip the factor grease off. Simply immersing the chain in hot wax and agitating the chain will clean your chain (and make the pot of wax a little bit dirtier.) I created mesh bottom for crockpot so debris/grit can settle at the bottom.

NickJHP
Posts: 275
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:22 am
Location: Canberra, Australia

by NickJHP

I don't think ultrasonic cleaning is worth the trouble of having to remove the chain for cleaning. I just run the chain through the Park chain cleaner with solvent (white spirit or petrol) once a week or after I've ridden in the rain, wipe off the excess solvent, and then re-lube. I get at least 15000-20000km out of a chain before it has 0.5% wear and needs replacing - ie 24 links measuring 12-1/16".

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 4198
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

NickJHP wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:45 am
I don't think ultrasonic cleaning is worth the trouble of having to remove the chain for cleaning. I just run the chain through the Park chain cleaner with solvent (white spirit or petrol) once a week or after I've ridden in the rain, wipe off the excess solvent, and then re-lube. I get at least 15000-20000km out of a chain before it has 0.5% wear and needs replacing - ie 24 links measuring 12-1/16".
For new chains my process is:
1) Old water bottle filled with OMS (never gets changed out, just topped off and occasionally decanted. Drop new chain in bottle and shake it a few times. Leave to settle for 10-15min.
2) Extract chain, wash off mineral spirits, place chain in ziploc bag with dilute citrus degreaser. Place bag in ultrasonic cleaner receptacle (filled with plain water.) Clean ultrasonically for about 10min.
3) Extract bag/chain, wash off degreaser. Wipe down and spray off remaining water with air compressor.

For cleaning chain lube off a used chain:
1) Fill chain cleaner with dilute citrus degreaser and backpedal chain through it.
2) Repeat at least once or until the solution stops turning very dark.
3) Repeat a few times except with plain water to flush remaining degreaser.
4) Wipe down with rags and spray off remaining water with air compressor.

It’s rare that I fully degrease a used chain...usually just when I want to switch lubes.

I prefer the degreaser to OMS or diesel/kerosene because it's not flammable and easier to dispose of.

alcatraz
Posts: 2222
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:19 am

by alcatraz

NickJHP wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:45 am
I don't think ultrasonic cleaning is worth the trouble of having to remove the chain for cleaning. I just run the chain through the Park chain cleaner with solvent (white spirit or petrol) once a week or after I've ridden in the rain, wipe off the excess solvent, and then re-lube. I get at least 15000-20000km out of a chain before it has 0.5% wear and needs replacing - ie 24 links measuring 12-1/16".
Aren't mineral spirits and petrol both mineral based? If you use a wax based chainlube won't the two repell eachother?

15-20k sounds amazing. You must be 50kg pedaling high cadence right?

Bondurant
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:28 pm

by Bondurant

It is astonishing how much time people put into something as trivial as this.

eric01
Posts: 639
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:06 am

by eric01

Slightly off topic... decades ago I used to put my chain in an old water bottle, pour some gasoline in there and shake it. Got my chain spotless. Now older and wiser I know how much of an environmental disaster this is...
AX Lightness Vial Evo, Carl Strong Titanium

by Weenie


Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post