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Old 07-29-10, 07:24 PM   #1
wrk101
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Ultrasonic Cleaner Rocks!

OK, several posters have been recommending them. I finally got mine out. Its the 2.5L model from Harbor Freight. Got it on sale for about $69.

I've been using it to clean up one of the three 1975 Nishiki Internationals I picked up Sunday. The bikes were in decent shape, but had been neglected for decades.

I would definitely recommend you not get one any smaller than this unit. I had the RD and one brake caliper, and that just about filled it up. The bath is about 10 to 20% "Awesome", the rest water. Picked up the Awesome at the local Dollar General.




Here is the RD after treatment. You really can't tell, but all the gunk on the pulleys is gone, along with the dirt and accumulated crud. I also used it on the bottom bracket. The cups shine like new.

I'm planning to have some fun with these Internationals. Three 1975s, all picked up at the same time, and two are identical.

The fork on this bike is sitting in oxalic right now. It is not too bad, but it has light rust on the chrome tips and fork crown.





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Old 07-29-10, 07:29 PM   #2
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I've been using Awesome for years. In or out of a ultrasonic unit, it can't be beat.
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Old 07-29-10, 07:35 PM   #3
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Yes, I got the tip to use Awesome from BBM. Works great on white brake hoods.
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Old 07-29-10, 07:41 PM   #4
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I gotta get some of that Awesome stuff...

I got the same cleaner this past Sunday on sale and with a 20% off coupon, so I walked out with it for $51 and change.

It does do a wonderful job, especially when you turn the heater on...dang near boils the water, I think you could steep tea in it.

wrk101, how long have you been letting parts go it in and have you noticed, about 10-15 seconds into the cycle, stuff starts to flow out of the pivot points and such? I tried to take pictures of that but just couldn't get anything to show in a pic.
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Old 07-29-10, 07:46 PM   #5
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I did two 180 second cycles on each part, then used compressed air to dry them out, and triflow to lube pivot points. The RD was not putting tension on the chain when I started (see slack in chain in first picture). I used heat on each cycle.

That old Suntour RD is great. It has a date code of "OD" which is April 1972, so it is 38 years old. I may have to adjust my dating of the bikes a bit.

I love that old Suntour design where you can easily remove the RD without breaking the chain.
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Old 07-29-10, 07:51 PM   #6
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IIt does do a wonderful job, especially when you turn the heater on...dang near boils the water, I think you could steep tea in it.
Careful with the heater and a cleaner solution. I dropped a pair of 600 calipers in with the heater on, and when they were done they were clean but gun-metal gray. The shiny silver anodizing was gone gone gone. Along with the black paint that filled the "Shimano 600" script.

They polished up ok with some Mother's and a lot of elbow greae, but it took a while to make it right.
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Old 07-29-10, 07:57 PM   #7
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Careful with the heater and a cleaner solution. I dropped a pair of 600 calipers in with the heater on, and when they were done they were clean but gun-metal gray. The shiny silver anodizing was gone gone gone. Along with the black paint that filled the "Shimano 600" script.

They polished up ok with some Mother's and a lot of elbow greae, but it took a while to make it right.
Yeppers, I've been down that road without the ultrasonic. Soaked some calipers in Simple Green and water, forgot about them overnight. BAM, just like you said, gunmetal gray. Although, I have to tell you, for some parts that might not be too bad as long as they were finished and smoothed well beforehand. Suntour seemed to like stuff that color during the V days from what I've seen in pics and catalogs.

I was thinking that in some cases you might want to do that....as long as it would be even. When I get a chance I'm going to mirror up a stem or something then suspend it in hot Simple Green overnight and see what happens.

Last edited by khatfull; 07-29-10 at 08:41 PM. Reason: Tipo.
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Old 07-29-10, 08:37 PM   #8
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Simple Green will definitely "gray-up" aluminum parts...perhaps 'Awesome' has the same effect...???

We used to bathe bare Vespa and Lambretta cases in vats of diluted SG before power washing them and that was always the effect...
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Old 07-29-10, 08:47 PM   #9
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I wish those chain rings would fit in the bath. I would love to give them a quick sprucing up. Looks like elbow grease/polishing wheel coming my way.
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Old 07-29-10, 09:24 PM   #10
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I have the same unit and use it with water and Dawn Direct dish detergent. I usualy run 3-480 second heated cycles for each group of parts.

Simple Green and ANY citrus based degreaser will dis-color and stain aluminum. Its OK for cleaning with immediate rinsing but NEVER soak your parts in it.
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Old 07-29-10, 09:26 PM   #11
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Is this just for grease, or does it treat rust too?
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Old 07-29-10, 09:39 PM   #12
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Simple Green and ANY citrus based degreaser will dis-color and stain aluminum. Its OK for cleaning with immediate rinsing but NEVER soak your parts in it.
This has been my experience.
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Old 07-29-10, 09:54 PM   #13
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I wish those chain rings would fit in the bath. I would love to give them a quick sprucing up. Looks like elbow grease/polishing wheel coming my way.
It will almost. I have the same Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner (coming up on 3 years old now) and use it to clean chainrings all the time. The trick is you have to remove them from the cranks and do a section at a time. I set it to the longest time and every few minutes will rotate the chainring (with the ultra's top removed of course). A big 52/53 chainring can be done easily a third of it at a time. A smaller 39/42 ring a half at a time. I just towel it off after wards and it is clean as can be.

The best use of it besides cleaning dirty parts is making a sticky shifter or derailleur work again. I don't know how many times an old non-working Shimano trigger shifter or STI unit I have saved with the ultrasonic cleaner.
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Old 07-29-10, 10:00 PM   #14
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Is this just for grease, or does it treat rust too?
The ultrasonic? It's just for cleaning. I usually degrease first and get the heavy stuff out of the way, then let the ultrasonic go to work on the embedded dirt and crevices.
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Old 07-30-10, 05:34 AM   #15
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Jim, great tip on the Dawn dish washing detergent. I'll use that next time.

Redxj: I'll try rotating the chainrings through it. Thanks for that tip. I have several dead trigger shifters, may have to try one of them next.
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Old 07-30-10, 07:38 AM   #16
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Ran the chain and freewheel from the new Fuji through it last night. 4:1 water to Simple Green, 3 x 480 seconds cycles:



Chain is now the gun blue/gold color it should be, most of the gold on the freewheel is gone from wear. Both parts were the typical greasygrimygunk color. The chain was all one color. I did no scrubbing at all. Ultrasonic cycle, rinse x 3. That's it.

Interestingly there were tiny metal filings in the bottom of the tank when I emptied the spent fluid. I'm presuming it all came out from the chain.

Last edited by khatfull; 07-30-10 at 07:40 AM. Reason: EDIT: Please excuse the crappy cell pic.
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Old 07-30-10, 10:08 AM   #17
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I used the tip above to clean the crankset. For a before picture, just look at the bike in the OP. I found for anodized parts, or parts with logos, the Dawn detergent is the way to go. I have a tub full of Dura Ace parts that will get the Dawn treatment. But for parts with no stenciling or anodizing, the "Awesome" is much more effective at removing grease. I

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Old 07-30-10, 02:05 PM   #18
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Honest question. Could there be any harm in removing all traces of oil and grease from some of these parts? Can you effectively re-oil a chain and all of the inner bushings afterwords? How about the grease around the springs in a rear derailleur, do you just add a dab more?
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Old 07-30-10, 02:13 PM   #19
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I used the tip above to clean the crankset. For a before picture, just look at the bike in the OP. I found for anodized parts, or parts with logos, the Dawn detergent is the way to go. I have a tub full of Dura Ace parts that will get the Dawn treatment. But for parts with no stenciling or anodizing, the "Awesome" is much more effective at removing grease.
Ok, so I picked up three jugs of that Awesome at a Dollar General today...what strength do you use it at in the ultrasonic?

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Honest question. Could there be any harm in removing all traces of oil and grease from some of these parts? Can you effectively re-oil a chain and all of the inner bushings afterwords? How about the grease around the springs in a rear derailleur, do you just add a dab more?
I don't think so as long as you relube everything. The one argument that someone might make is the chain and the whole "factory lube" issue....well by 25 years it's all gone anyway. I'd just as soon get the metal filings out, which is what evidently happened in my case.

I hand cleaned my crankset last night because it was anodized/coated and not that dirty. I just used a tad of polishing compound to clean it then hit it with NuFinish. Clean and shiny! The rings are another matter and they'll get the Awesome treatment in the ultrasonic.

Seriously folks, everyone should have one of these things. I'd love to find a used industrial model that could take a whole bunch of parts.
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Old 07-30-10, 02:49 PM   #20
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Oops, I missed it, 10-20% Awesome. Awesome. Thanks.
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Old 07-30-10, 04:37 PM   #21
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I have the same unit and use it with water and Dawn Direct dish detergent. I usualy run 3-480 second heated cycles for each group of parts.

Reading through this thread, I was about to suggest this.

Simple Green and ANY citrus based degreaser will dis-color and stain aluminum. Its OK for cleaning with immediate rinsing but NEVER soak your parts in it.
I did not know this! I use SG all the time. I'll be careful now.
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Old 07-30-10, 05:08 PM   #22
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keep posting! i feel like i'm actually cleaning my parts for some reason

re: the chain. you may want to "soak" the chain in a plastic bag with chain oil so the oil has a good chance to penetrate everywhere. then wipe it down the best you can before installing.
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Old 07-30-10, 05:14 PM   #23
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I have this same unit.
DON'T use the heater when cleaning sunglasses.
I learned that the hard way.
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Old 07-30-10, 05:21 PM   #24
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wrk101,
Told ya so!
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