A bikers guide to ultrasonic carburettor cleaning – how to pick an Ultrasonic Motorbike Carb cleaner?

A bikers guide how to clean a carburettor with an ultrasonic cleaner. Which size and model to buy?

bank of carburettors after ultrasonic cleaning

We all know the old saying that a grain of sand in a carburettor can stop the most powerful of motorbike engines. In the World of carburettors, cleanliness is king. What follows below is my bikers guide to ultrasonic carburettor cleaning and how to pick an ultrasonic motorbike carb cleaner that is right for you.

Back in the day.

Having owned motorcycles on and off for more years than I like to admit, and having rebuilt a few engines, from old BSA Bantam (D2), Norton Commando 750 (fastback) and a Ducati (250 Desmo), back in the day I would soak the carburettor in a bucket of degreasing solution for an hour or two, then rinse with water and blow it off with an air gun. Simple, but not really very effective.

carburettors before and after cleaning

ultrasonic carburettor cleaning today.

Technology has advanced over the last few decades and when it comes to cleaning a motorbike carburettor and engine components, the accepted best practice is to use an ultrasonic cleaner. Without getting too bogged down in the technical detail, an ultrasonic carb cleaner has a component called a transducer that generates ultrasonic sound waves, that in turn produce microscopic bubbles that very effectively dislodge dirt, grime and petrol residue from the intricate parts of a carburettor that would otherwise be almost impossible to get to.

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Using an ultrasonic carb cleaner

Using an ultrasonic cleaner requires no special knowledge or skill. All that is needed is water and a specific cleaning fluid to put into the tank. The tank is then plugged into a domestic power socket and the built-in heater raises the temperature of the water & cleaning solution mixture to around 60 degrees centigrade. Place your dismantled carb in the tank, after removing float bowls and jets, turn on the ultrasonics. Normally around 15 – 20 minutes is a sufficient cleaning time. Remove the carburettor, rinse and leave to dry. Not only will the carb be deep cleaned internally, but the alloy casting will look bright and clean. NOTE: Some castings were dull when new and obviously the ultrasonic cleaning process can never make your old carb look better than the day it left the factory.

Measure your carburettor

I have a mantra about the selection process. Obviously the price is a main consideration, but above that – SIZE MATTERS. I can’t say that enough, so I will repeat, SIZE MATTERS.

Measure your carb twice, purchase once.

Several customers make a purchase by guessing or estimating their carb will fit into a particular machine. And when the ultrasonic cleaner arrives, they realise that its a bit too small and phone us to exchange it for a larger ultrasonic tank. That isn’t a problem, but it costs you the customer money to post it back to us and it’s a bit of faffing around. The golden rule: measure twice, purchase once.

Ultrasonic cleaner for motorcycle carburettors

It’s better to try and get it right first time. And the best way is, if you can, to actually measure the overall dimensions of your carburettor. This isn’t always possible if the bank of carbs are still fastened to the bike and it can still end up being a “guesstimate”. Also, you will be removing some of the carb parts such as float bowls, slides, jets etc and this will reduce the overall required tank size. I think that if you can afford it, get an ultrasonic carburettor cleaner bit bigger than you estimate. If you try to cram a small tank full of parts, the cleaning will not be as efficient as putting them into a larger tank. As the saying goes, “what will hold more will hold less”. Do you get the idea?


What is degassing?

Degassing is available on some models and is an addition function which, after a change a cleaning solution, quickly removes air from the liquid that in turn, makes the cleaning process more effective. This is especially useful when cleaning carburettors. Additionally, on some tanks the cleaning power can be increased or reduced depending on the items being cleaned which means that delicate products can be cleaned gently. It does however, add a bit more money to the price.


Picking the right ultrasonic tank for you.

If you look through all the ultrasonic tanks we sell, the choice can be a little confusing. To help sort the wheat from the chaff, shown below are the most commonly purchased Ultrasonic Cleaners for cleaning motorbike carbs. The 3 Ltr tanks are good for individual carburettors. If you need to clean a bank of 3 or 4 without splitting them, you’ll need a 20 Ltr as a minimum.

3 Ltr Ultrasonic Cleaner with dial adjustment – (suitable for individual small carbs).

  • Tank Size (internal): 240 x 137 x 100mm.
  • Wire Basket – included (L: 220mm x W: 130mm x H: 75mm).

3 ltr ultrasonic cleaner with dial adjustment

3 Ltr Ultrasonic Cleaner with digital adjustment – (suitable for individual small carbs).

  • Tank Size (internal): 240 x 137 x 100mm.
  • Wire Basket – included (L: 220mm x W: 130mm x H: 75mm).

3 ltr ultrasonic cleaner with digital adjustment

9 Ltr Ultrasonic Cleaner dial adjustment – suitable for medium size carbs.

  • Tank Size (internal): 300 x 240 x 150mm.
  • Wire Basket – included (L: 280mm x W: 230mm x H: 115mm).

9 ltr ultrasonic cleaner with dial adjustment

20 Ltr Ultrasonic Cleaner – suitable for large carburettors and a bank of 4 or 6.

  • Tank Size (internal): 495 x 295 x 195mm.
  • Wire Basket – (included) L: 465mm x W: 270mm x H: 125mm.

20 ltr ultrasonic cleaner with digital adjustment

Carburettor cleaning fluid

And finally, don’t forget the all important carburettor cleaning fluid because an ultrasonic cleaner by itself won’t breakdown the petrol and grease. Additionally, when you’ve cleaned your carb, you want it to look the part and the use of a cleaning solution will give it the cosmetic “wow” factor. Cleaning fluids can be found here.

What exactly is ultrasonic cleaning? – MORE INFORMATION.

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4 thoughts on “A bikers guide to ultrasonic carburettor cleaning – how to pick an Ultrasonic Motorbike Carb cleaner?”

  1. I am thinking of using ultrasonic cleaning for my bikes Norton Commando, Yamaha fj1200 & LC350 Honda sl &cb125’s all engine components not so much cycle parts. What device should I be looking at, I am only a hobbyist so commercial use isn’t the thing however I will need a professional finish and finally the question is which devices are suitable and how much? Also would need the appropriate cleaning fluids…

    1. Hi John,

      The most important thing to consider is the size of the parts you want to clean. This will dictate the size of cleaner and cost. Single carbs will fit into a 3 Ltr or 6Ltr machine. But if you need to clean engine casings, you might need a bigger tank.

      Have a look at our website here: http://www.bestultrasonic.co.uk/ultrasonic-carburettor-cleaning-28-c.asp

      Any questions, please feel free to call me: 07906 145872


      Bill Pilkington

  2. Hi john would I be able to post my carbs to you for cleaning as you know what your doing and I don’t . how much would you charge me for a bank of 4 ? Regards ian

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