Harley Sportster Motorcycle Carb Cleaning with an Ultrasonic Cleaner
The Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle is the longest continuously produced model for Harley-Davidson. Having originated in 1957 until the present, these bikes are easy to handle making this model the top choice for entry level motorcycle riders. With a low sticker price and two different engine sizes, the Sportster serves as a gateway bike to a Harley-Davidson relationship. To maintain their Sporter’s condition, owners make sure that their bikes are clean, inside and out.
A clean, well-tuned carburetor is a key factor in the performance of your Harley-Davidson Sportster Motorcycle and nothing makes cleaning carburetors faster, safer and easier than an ultrasonic cleaner. Whether you operate a Harley-Davidson Sportster Motorcycle service shop or do it yourself, you’ll be amazed at just how thorough an ultrasonic cleaner can be in removing varnish, grease, oil and other contaminants from one of the most intricate assemblies on your Harley-Davidson Sportster Motorcycle.
Here you will learn:
- How an Ultrasonic Carburetor Cleaner Works
- How to Select and Set Up your Ultrasonic Cleaner
- How to Remove, Clean and Reinstall your Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle carburetor
How Ultrasonic Parts Cleaners Work on your Harley-Davidson Sportster Motorcycle Carburetor
Ultrasonic cleaners from iUltrasonic are used in a wide range of applications to remove virtually any soil or contamination by using the power of cavitation action. This is the term used to describe the implosion of billions of minute bubbles contacting carb parts being cleaned. The bubbles are created by generator-powered ultrasonic transducers bonded to an ultrasonic cleaning tank and typically operate at an ultrasonic frequency of 37 to 42 kHz (37,000 to 42,000 cycles per second).
When the bubbles implode contaminants are quickly and safely blasted away from wetted surfaces without damaging delicate carb parts. So tiny are the bubbles that they penetrate minute cracks, crevices and blind holes impossible to reach by hand scrubbing using conventional parts washers or aerosol sprays. Ultrasonic part cleaners will complete the job in less than an hour, meanwhile freeing you up to attend to other tasks. And it will do it in an environmentally friendly manner because the ultrasonic carburetor cleaning formula is a biodegradable concentrate that minimizes disposal problems.
How to Select and Set Up your Harley-Davidson Sportster Motorcycle Ultrasonic Carb Cleaner
Ultrasonic carb cleaners come in a variety of sizes from bench top units to a floor-mounted industrial ultrasonic cleaning machine, so you can select any size you need. Our most popular 1½ gallon models for cleaning one carburetor at a time are the TOV150-6L and EH150EL. Select an ultrasonic carb cleaner equipped with a heater to improve the ultrasonic carburetor cleaning process.
Whatever the model and size ultrasonic carb cleaner you use there are steps to take before cleaning begins.
- Fill the ultrasonic carb cleaner tank to the fill line (or approximately 2/3 full) with ultrasonic cleaner solution diluted per manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Turn on the sonic cleaner, set the heater to approximately 70°C, and operate the ultrasound for about 30 minutes to drive off cavitation inhibiting entrained air. Degassing is complete when bubbles stop coming to the surface and must be performed every time the tank is filled with fresh cleaning solution.
How to Remove, Clean and Reinstall your Harley-Davidson Sportster Motorcycle Carburetor
Step 1: Removing the Carburetor
If you have this model, then you are in luck! As it turns out Harley Sportsters are the easiest bikes to remove the carb from.
First, it is important to disconnect the battery ground wire from the battery. Next, make sure the fuel petcock is turned to the “OFF” position. All vacuum hoses and the fuel hose must then be disconnected from the stock carburetor. Once this is done, you can now remove the fuel tank.
Since the carburetor is located right under the airbox, you will have to remove this and the backing plate, as well. Unscrew the two bolts holding the airbox and lift it up to reveal your Harley-Davidson Sportster carb. For this particular model, it is important to remove the V.O.E.S. from the carburetor or the Vacuum Operated Electrical Switch. You can now pull your Sportster carb out with just a few pulls.
You now hold in your hand, your Harley-Davidson Sportster carburetor.
Congratulations! You have successfully removed your Harley Sportster carb from your motorcycle! You may now proceed with the next step.
Step 2: Cleaning the Carburetor
Although you can clean your carburetor without any disassembly you will achieve the most thorough cleaning with partial disassembly to allow the solution into the float chamber. Remember that only surfaces that are wetted by the cleaning solution will be cleaned. Fine mesh baskets can be used to hold very small parts.
Set the thermostat to 70°C. While the solution is heating, place your carburetor parts in the basket taking care that they do not touch each other. Once the operating temperature is reached lower the basket into the cleaning solution and set the timer for 40 minutes. Cleaning time depends on the condition of the carburetor and may have to be adjusted.
At the end of the cycle remove the components from the bath. If they are not clean replace them in the bath until the cleaning is complete. Then rinse them in fresh water to remove all traces of the cleaning solution and allow them to dry.
Safety note: DO NOT reach into an operating ultrasonic scrubber. Instead remove the basket if you want to inspect or rearrange the parts.
Step 3: Reinstalling the Carburetor
First, return the V.O.E.S to its original position. After doing so, pop your Harley Sportster carb back in its original place in the motorcycle assembly. Once the carburetor is secure, return the airbox and position it on top of your Sportster carb that you just returned. Return the airbox backing plate first, making sure that it aligns correctly. Next, screw the two bolts back into the airbox to hold it in place.
You can now return the fuel tank to its original position. Connect all vacuum hoses and the fuel hose back. Turn the fuel petcock, “ON”. Lastly, connect the ground wire from the battery to be able to start the engine.
Admire the piece of work you just put back together.
Voila! Start the engine, and your Harley-Davidson Sportster Motorcycle should be good to go.
More Operating Tips
Oils that rise to the surface of the sonicating bath should be skimmed off and disposed of properly. When the solution becomes discolored or cleaning time takes longer it is time to replace it. Drain the tank and dispose of the spent solution according to local regulations. Take the time to remove sludge that settled to the bottom of the tank. Clean the tank using a cleaning process recommended by the manufacturer.
Questions: Contact the iUltrasonic ultrasonic cleaning experts at 973 821-4400
Disclaimer: This advice is not provided by a licensed mechanic. Follow at your own risk. We assume no liability for any damages caused by following the advice in this article.
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