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Topic-icon Ultrasonic Cleaning of R100 Pistons

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11 months 2 days ago #3061 by 3229
Is it safe to clean pistons (BMW part numbers: 11251338333, 11251338334, 11251338335) in a household ultrasonic cleaner using a 50/50 solution of warm water and Simple Green? The approximate duration of the ultrasonic cleaning would be 20 minutes. Next would be a nylon bristle brush (if necessary), rinse with hot water, dry, and temporary protective coat of oil to prevent corrosion. Are there any special coatings or surface finishes that might be harmed?

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11 months 21 hours ago #3071 by Wobbly
Replied by Wobbly on topic Ultrasonic Cleaning of R100 Pistons
If you remove the rings, piston pin and circlips (everything that's ferrous) then there should be no harm in cleaning the aluminum piston any way you choose. Detergents are most likely pH "basic", so you don't want to leave aluminum pistons soaking for a week, but for an hour or 2 should be fine.

There's no need to coat the piston with anything becasue dry aluminum is fairly inert.

Actually, hot soapy water is regularly used on engine parts more often than one might suspect. To my mind, it's the best liquid to use when honing cylinders due to its ability to remove the abrasive material that's cast off. That same reason also makes it highly suitable for cleaning engine parts where any exploded engine debris or bead blast media might be present. Solvents don't dislodge foreign materials nearly as well as detergents do.

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11 months 21 hours ago #3072 by 8166
Replied by 8166 on topic Ultrasonic Cleaning of R100 Pistons
I've used the 50/50 Simple Green/water mix in the heated ultrasound to clean pistons and carbs, and it didn't do any harm. Only extended soaking will soften the combustion products that are baked onto the piston, though, but I wouldn't use that mix to do it. The Simple Green will turn the metal a dull gray color. Were I to do it again, I'd mix up a strong solution of Dash dishwashing detergent and distilled water. Berryman's carb cleaner is also still the best for carbs, but I give them a dunk in the ultrasonic cleaner after they come out of the Berrymans just to get rid of the stink.

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