DIY Steam Cleaning - Tom Shaw
One of the shopping channels has lately been advertising a portable steam cleaner called the "Steam Buggy". It's use is primeraly round the kitchen, but it was shown being used to clean car wheels. I have been wondering about it's use on the bike, which has many hard to get at nooks and crannies ideal for accumulating road muck. I was wondering as to the wisdom of this, is it likely to remove paint and lacquer with regular use?

Anyone have any experience of these, or of any negative effects of regular steam cleaning?
DIY Steam Cleaning - mal
No experience at all in steam cleaning, always find a good tin of "elbow grease" is the best thing for cleaning most thins.

Would imagine unless there is sufficient pressure behind the steam it will not be much good for bikes.
DIY Steam Cleaning - Pugugly {P}
I used a Kraecher thingy to de-sand/dirt/ash/soil the Defender when I brought it over frim Spain. Worked well apart from accidentaly scalding my pshycotic Spanial (who a few days later ate the flex in revenge). Very satisfying hissing sounds (The Stem cleaner not the dog.)
DIY Steam Cleaning - THe Growler
Tom's point is about bikes, and the underside bits. As one who tries to keep an immaculate Harley immaculate I know what he means. Tom, I am nervous of that stuff because I have a custom paint job. Best I can do is use my hydraulic lift, get a baby's bottle brush for the crooks and nannies and a bathroom back brush for the rest, some Selley's Engine Cleaner or SimpleGreen spray-on or that ilk, hoist the old girl up (the bike I mean!), find a stool, hook up the garden hose, get a couple of cold beers and scrub around down there, then wash it off.

I suppose if your ride is just a hack you don't worry much, but those things can and do lift paint. Good on greasy car engines tho'.


DIY Steam Cleaning - hugh
An industrial steam cleaner/pressure washer will take off any loose paint or lacquer or stripes in a jiffy - I speak from bitter experience! If the machine is powerful enough to be of any use it will inevitably do some paintwork damage.
Hugh
DIY Steam Cleaning - Tom Shaw
Thanks all,

You've scared me enough to stick to the traditional method of elbow grease and skinned knuckles.

Growler, I know what you mean about the Harley. A friend has a Heritage Softail Classic, and he reckons every hours riding equals two hours cleaning and polishing. Lovely bike, but I'm too lazy for one.
DIY Steam Cleaning - THe Growler
It's the totality of the experience Tom.

Harley = (polishing + riding)+ (beer + Growlette in tight jeans on the back) = large grin.

Actually I have a Honda trailie for daily hack work, and I've only cleaned it twice since 1998. It doesn't seem to mind, although I have to hack through the grime to adjust the chain sometimes.

But to home-type steam cleaners. Stay away would be my counsel if you have concerns about paint, especially the stuff on TV shopping channels. They may be admirable for other tasks but for my money they are too aggressive for the type of cleaning which is the subject of the thread.
DIY Steam Cleaning - doug_523i
I'd wondered about one for removing the horrible gunge that collects around the front sprocket. It's all alloy in that area so there's no paint to remove.
DIY Steam Cleaning - Toad, of Toad Hall.
I'd wondered about one for removing the horrible gunge that collects
around the front sprocket. It's all alloy in that area
so there's no paint to remove.


Theres an oil seal into your gear box.

Get an oil leak there and 99 per cent of bikes will be needing the crank split.

As for pressure washers:

Problem: They lift paint and sneak into seals.
Solution: Don't point them at painted surfaces or seals.
--
These are my own opinions, and not necessarily those of all Toads.
DIY Steam Cleaning - Toad, of Toad Hall.
I'd wondered about one for removing the horrible gunge that collects
around the front sprocket. It's all alloy in that area
so there's no paint to remove.


There is an oil seal into your gear box, though.

Get an oil leak there and 99 per cent of bikes will be needing the crank split.

As for pressure washers:

Problem: They lift paint and sneak into seals.
Solution: Don't point them at painted surfaces or seals.
--
These are my own opinions, and not necessarily those of all Toads.
DIY Steam Cleaning - THe Growler
hehe....Toad, no worries if you have a belt drive........


DIY Steam Cleaning - Toad, of Toad Hall.
hehe....Toad, no worries if you have a belt drive........


...or a Shaft.

...chr*st knows how chains became popular. Cheap for manufacturers I guess.
--
These are my own opinions, and not necessarily those of all Toads.
DIY Steam Cleaning - doug_523i
Shafts are really heavy, unsprung weight, and give torque reaction when accelerating/decelerating. My Guzzi Le Mans used to 'spin' around the crank when airborne, so it would land several degrees from the perpendicular, wierd.

I was thinking of the non-pressure steamers when I commented earlier, and with the sprocket in situ, so the seal wouldn't be in contact with the steam.
DIY Steam Cleaning - Toad, of Toad Hall.
Shafts are really heavy, unsprung weight, and give torque reaction when
accelerating/decelerating. My Guzzi Le Mans used to 'spin' around the
crank when airborne, so it would land several degrees from the
perpendicular, wierd.


I've ridden shafties and had no problems at all. Most bikers don't worry to much about problems that occur at altitude!
Moto Guzzi Le Mans - lovely old bike. Would love one.
I was thinking of the non-pressure steamers when I commented earlier,
and with the sprocket in situ, so the seal wouldn't be
in contact with the steam.


Still risky...

You've go tme thinking about Moto Guzzi's now....
--
These are my own opinions, and not necessarily those of all Toads.
DIY Steam Cleaning - doug_523i
It was a MK1 Le Mans, bored to 1,000cc, deep sump and 40mm dell orto's with accelerator pumps, and not for road use Dunlop race tyres, KR124 front and Endurance rear. Very fast and 60mpg, awful electrics.
DIY Steam Cleaning - THe Growler
Having had various Viragos as second bikes, the shafties are great I agree. The girls like 'em because they fit the feminine concept of "clean" plus they don't splatter up the back of the left leg of those white pirate Calvin Kleins they just bought down in Chinatown. Like Toad I have not been airborne on one, those days belong to my Venom Clubman and hump-back bridges. But that old Hog belt takes a beating. Clean and dead simple.

But we speak of steam cleaning: I spoke to my mechanic this pm to get his views. He works on everything from KYMCO's to Ducatis to Harleys. He says absolutely not with a bike under any circs. He says as has been said here, it puts your seals at risk, your electrics too and it will aggravate any dodgy paint.

My ten centavo's worth.

Big G.

PS I do rather like the look of that new Moto Guzzi. Got one in the showroom here and the price is right. But then again, Italian electrics.......

DIY Steam Cleaning - Toad, of Toad Hall.
Italian electrics.......


Italian style, Italian sexy twin bulging out under the tank Italian...
--
These are my own opinions, and not necessarily those of all Toads.
DIY Steam Cleaning - No Do$h
This will come as a shock to you. We had a spot of rain yesteray afternoon. Nothing substantial, just a few spots, but it is February.

Cue one Trumpet at the side of the road with both rear indicators illuminated and one irate rider glaring at it whilst calling AA. Ditto a Ducatti, only the brake light was pulsing. Ah, euro bikes and electricals.... Dontcha just love 'em?

So the moral is, if you have a "proper" bike, (made in europe and prone to breakdowns) then don't get the steamer. If it is one of those "dreadful", reliable jap things or one of those "tarts handbags, who'd buy 'em" from our Merkin cousins, you can give it some thought.

Personally, wouldn't touch one with a long pole. If the steam is hot enough to melt grease, whatsit gonna do to seals, pressure or no pressure?
DIY Steam Cleaning - THe Growler
Well I guess a "tart's handbag" that works beats a piece of Italian chic (chic I said) that doesn't.

By the way anyone know what the best selling cruiser in Japan is?

Call the AA? In my day we pushed it home when it broke. Bring back National Service!

Well I guess we've all let off steam on this one and will be reverting to tried and true Gunk and an old toilet brush.

...later.
DIY Steam Cleaning - doug_523i
If gunk is a degreaser and steam is a degreaser, then we should all avoid gunk as well. I'd have thought that a bit of skilled steaming wouldn't cause any problems, but blasting the poor bike with a 1500 psi blast might give problems :-)
 

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