How to Quickly Clean MX and ATV Bike Engine Parts

Sonic cleaning helps maintain ATV engine and drive components
Sonic cleaning helps maintain ATV engine and drive components

Messy, time consuming manual cleaning MX and ATV quad bike engine, drive and suspension parts is unnecessary when an ultrasonic cleaner replaces scrubbing with solvents in wash tanks. Cycle service shops as well as MX and ATV clubs can put the power of ultrasound to work to speed throughput and preserve investments in off-road sports equipment.

Ultrasonically cleaning MX and ATV bike parts is faster than manual methods for two reasons:

  1. Many components do not have to be completely disassembled, but simply immersed in a biodegradable ultrasonic cleaning solution.
  2. It is thorough because sonic cleaning action removes road dirt, grease, grime, varnish, carbon deposits and other contaminants. Cleaning reaches the tiniest and most inaccessible grooves and blind holes in engine and suspension components – in short all surfaces immersed in the cleaning solution.

Mighty Bubbles Blast Away the Grime

The thoroughness of ultrasonic cleaning is due to what is called cavitation action. This is created by generator-powered transducers bonded to an ultrasonic cleaning tank. Vibrating at frequencies such as 37 kHz, the transducers create billions of microscopic bubbles in the solution. These bubbles violently implode when contacting the parts. The action blasts loose and carries away even the most tenacious contaminants.

Benchtop and floor-mounted industrial ultrasonic cleaners are available in several models, tank sizes and cleaning solution capacities. For purposes of illustration we’ll use the Elmasonic Select benchtop models with solution capacities to 28 gallons. Available from Tovatech, these cleaners have several features useful when cleaning MX and ATV quad engine, suspension and drive parts:

  • LEDs that continuously and simultaneously show set time, time remaining, set temperature, and actual temperature.
  • Microprocessor-controlled generators that maintain constant ultrasonic power, sensing and adjusting for light or heavy loads in the tank.
  • Operation in Normal (fixed frequency) mode, Sweep mode, or Degas mode. Sweep mode produces a continuous slight variation of frequency to provide uniform and thorough cleaning; degassing quickly removes cavitation-inhibiting trapped air from fresh cleaning solutions.
  • A lid to mute noise and slow solution evaporation.

An ideal cleaning solution concentrate for cleaning MX and ATV quad engine, suspension and drive parts is mildly alkaline elma tec clean A4 universal ultrasonic degreaser. It is formulated to clean engine parts, gears, bearings, carburetors, fuel injectors and sport and recreation power equipment when diluted with water. A 2.5 liter container makes approximately 15 gallons of solution.

A Representative Cleaning Cycle for MX and ATV Bike Engine Parts

It’s a good idea to pre-clean grossly contaminated parts – i.e. scrape off heavy carbon buildup, mud and similar contaminants. This helps preserve the useful life of the solution.
Also note that solution will be displaced by parts being cleaned so once the solution is prepared you may have to drain off a quantity and set it aside. When operating, the tank should not be overfilled or under filled. As with all ultrasonic cleaning procedures, practice helps develop the process.

  • Begin by filling the cleaner tank half full with water, add the correct amount of cleaning solution concentrate and continue filling the tank. If rust is a concern add rust-inhibiting elma KS to the cleaning solution per usage instructions.
  • For the Elmasonic Select series activate the ultrasound and degas mode to mix and degas the solution. For other models follow the instruction manual.
  • When ready place partially disassembled parts in the optional cleaning basket, lower it into the tank and replace the lid. Set the timer for 10 minutes – actual time depends on the condition of the parts
  • At the end of the cycle remove parts and examine. Repeat or lengthen the cycle if needed.

Operational Note: As cleaning proceeds, oils rise to the surface of the solution and should be skimmed off and disposed of properly. On some equipment weirs and filtering units are available to skim and/or trap contaminants to extend solution life. Over time, however, cleaning efficiency will fall off. Drain the tank and clean it according to the user manual.

Dispose of spent solution following local regulations.

For more information please contact the ultrasonic cleaning professionals at Tovatech for advice on equipment and cleaning solution selection based on your operations and requirements.

About Rachel Kohn

So how did an MIT Ph.D. end up selling refrigerators? When I figured out that a lot more scientists buy lab refrigerators than innovative leading-edge instruments. I hope that my many years of lab experience will help you find the right equipment for your work. Before co-founding Tovatech I worked in business development and project management at Smiths Detection, Photon-X, Cardinal Health, and Hoechst Celanese. And before that I spent 12 years as an R&D chemist at Hoechst Celanese and Aventis working on advanced drug delivery systems, polymer films and membranes, optical disks, and polysaccharides. Some day, eventually, I’ll make enough money to develop an innovative technology that will change the world. Read More