1. What is the best way of cleaning the engine? It has a lot of grease and grime, and was wondering what is the best was of cleaning this out without damaging the engine or electrics.
2. What is the quickest and most effective way of cleaning off brake dust and grime from alloy wheels? I frequently use a rag, but this takes a long time to do.
3. And finally, when brake pads are changed, does the brake fluid have to be automatically drained and changed?
Many thanks in advance for any thoughts regarding the above.
On the engine, I use WD40 and find it an effective and cheap way of removing grease and grime after a good workout with a brush then a hosing.
It also brings the alloy wheels up a treat, being thin enough to shift brake dust. In fact, cleaning is about the only thing I use WD for, it's usless as a lubricant, too thin even for a bicycle chain.
Brake fluid is recommended to be replaced every two years, independant of any pad change.
But excellent as a solvent. So a stuck lock will be shifted with WD40 as it will dissolve the dried on gunk & muck. Then just add a suitable lube. A can of spray lithium grease tends to be my favourite as it isn't messy.
Cleaning a motorcycle engine.... -
J Bonington Jagworth
There are some fairly effective cleaners for push-bikes, too (Muc-off and the like) although I've always favoured Gunk and Jizer for oily engines. You'll need water to wash them off, and then lots of WD-40 to dry the electrics before bump-starting it down the road to dry off the rest...
Thanks fellers -- nice to know Gunk is stil around. I can still smell it . . . ahhhh. WD40 hadn't been invented (had it?)
It must be some 40 years since I used Gunk on a motorcycle. Never had any problems with water getting into even the primitive electrics of the Vincent Black Shadow, though -- simply watch where you slosh the stuff. Just wipe any thingy with wires, a gentle spray (hose or watering can) anywhere else.
If a motorcycle can't stand that, what happens in the rain?
Oh says James to Red Molly "Here's a ring for your right hand
But I'll tell you in earnest I'm a dangerous man.
For I've fought with the law since I was seventeen,
I robbed many a man to get my Vincent machine.
Now I'm 21 years, I might make 22
And I don't mind dying, but for the love of you.
And if fate should break my stride
Then I'll give you my Vincent to ride"
"Come down, come down, Red Molly" called Sergeant McRae
"For they've taken young James Adie for armed robbery.
Shotgun blast hit his chest, left nothing inside.
Oh come down, Red Molly to his dying bedside"
When she came to the hospital, there wasn't much left
He was running out of road, he was running out of breath
But he smiled to see her cry
He said "I'll give you my Vincent to ride"
Says James "In my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl.
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeves won't do,
Ah, they don't have a soul like a Vincent 52"
Oh he reached for her hand and he slipped her the keys
Said "I've got no further use for these.
I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome,
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home"
And he gave her one last kiss and died
And he gave her his Vincent to ride.
Not too far from the truth. The product was originally developed for the aerospace industry, but has been on sale to the general public since 1958. So, it probably has been around for fifty years, although sold to the public for 46 of them.
All this talk of WD-40 and I have the urge to spend my lunch time cleaning the Hornet's chain out in the sunshine! I used Gunk for this in the past, but it dried out the O-rings, which aged prematurely despite being immediately lubed again, disintegrated, and then fell off. Result: A need to change the chain even though well within wear limits. Using WD-40 (pure parafin works well too, but I don't currently have any) as the cleaner before relubing with my preferred chain lubricant causes no such problems.
A friend in my biking days devised a method of lubricating his chain by gently heating grease to melting point in an old frying pan on a kitchen gas ring. He dropped the chain into the hot grease, left it to cool and congeal again, removed the chain, wiped off the surplus and hey presto! -- a very lubricated chain. He left the grease in the pan for next time.
Next morning, his mother made him his breakfast fry-up Funny taste, he thought, but wolfed it anyway -- then he spotted the pan she had used . . .
OT from cleaning a bike engine but yes, Filtrate products mada a flat tin of graphite lubricant which you heated up on the kitchen stove, dropped your chain in, waited for it to cool, took it out, then smothered the stove, the kitchen, yourself and most of the surrounding scenery in black filth, but at least you had a fully lubricated chain .....and a very annoyed Mum...until next month when you did it all again.
Every time anyone says to me Harleys are lo-tech, I simply point to their dinosaur chain drive and then to my nice clean light virtually unbreakable belt drive, which I think has needed adjusting once in the ...er last 7,000 miles or so.....
As for bike cleaning it depends on your bike. Most plastic fantastics look pretty agricultural under all that tart's handbag fairing, so any old thing will do. But if you like I want a nice clean factory finish on those visible castings, I still say carb cleaner beats the lot. It evaporates as well so you don't have to flood your drive with white emulsive smelly Gunk and ...oooh....here I am being environmentalist, what's happening?...no residue to speak of.
The continuing use of chain drive is all down to performance. A chain loses only three per cent of the energy produced at the gearbox sprocket on it's way to the rear wheel. Belts and shafts are nowhere near as efficient, with a fair bit of extra weight added in the case of a shaft.
I personally would sacrifice some performance to eliminate the horrible mess produced by a chain and the frequent adjustments required, but the sports bike mob would desert any company that dared to knock .001mph off the top speed of their pride and joy, and that's where the money is.
Cleaning a motorcycle engine.... -
J Bonington Jagworth
"Belts and shafts are nowhere near as efficient"
Hmm - I thought the main objection to shafts was weight. If the engine's mounted North-South, there's only one bevel gear involved, and it is running in oil. I can't see that losing much more than 3%, and IIRC, belts are *more* efficient than chains. I think it's political - the big chainmakers are mostly Japanese, whereas the belt makers (who use a lot of Kevlar) are American...
I've read various articles in bike rags over the years which all concluded that chains were the most efficient form of drive in terms of energy loss. Probably the reason every racing bike in every class uses a chain for final drive.
I'm sure the Japanese would be more than capable of making belts if they thought them worthwhile.
I've done 60,000 miles on my bike. Replaced the chain and sprockets once. Adjust it about every 5,000 miles. Oil it once a month (ep90, after its wash). It's an R1 so there are a few HP to transfer. Those who replace chains often must be either buying cheapie chinese copies and/or running them too tight??
I think that the chain on my bike (Honda CD250-U) is simply under-engineered.
It's been professionally serviced and lubricated/adjusted between services but chain life is about 15,000 miles.
Same problem on three identical bikes over a total of about 160,000 miles.