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Motor Cleaning

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Over time, your electric motors will accumulate a lot of gunk both inside and outside. Not only are dirty motors unattractive, they hurt performance. A dirty comm and brushes will reduce the flow of electricity and rob power. Plus, dirt on the armatures will cause them to go out of balance which will make your motors vibrate.  Vibrations also rob power and ruin your bushings / bearings.  So, what can you do?  For the answer, read on.

If your motors are such that they can be opened then your job is much easier. However, if they are 'sealed', then your options are limited.

Luckily, there is one way to totally clean the inside of your motor and help seat the brushes onto the comm - water dipping. Dipping the motor is simply running the motor on a nearly dead battery pack under water for 1 - 2 minutes (1-2 minutes for a new motor, after that run it for only several seconds because you don't want to wear away too much comm or brush material). That's right, under water. The force of water rushing around inside the motor will remove any dirt that's inside. Additionally, running the motor under water will quickly seat the brushes onto the comm. You might be wondering if this is bad for your bushings?  If they are lubricated, then the answer is no.  Remember, oil and water don't mix so your bushings will remain lubricated.

Make sure you use just plain water with nothing added (no soap or detergent!!). Be careful, the motors will likely splash water everywhere.

Once you’ve dipped your motors, let them air dry overnight.  Next, use any quality electric motor cleaner and thoroughly clean your motor inside and out. Be careful, this cleaner is highly flammable and bad to breath. Consider doing this step out doors.  Once the cleaner evaporates, it’s time to oil your bushings or bearings. I recommend 3-in-1 oil, however any similar oil will work.  Don’t over-oil, it will just attract dirt.  In addition, be careful not to get any oil into the motor because it will contaminate the brushes and comm.

You’re ready to reinstall your motors. Not only do your motors look like new, they also run like new (or better).  In fact, I recommend dipping your motors when they are brand new in order to seat the brushes.  It really makes a difference.

This motor has about 10 runs on it.  What a gunky mess!





I’m pretending to dip the motor for the camera.  If I had power to the motor, water would be flying everywhere!


This is what the sink looked like after dipping two motors.  It’s full of oily black gritty particles.  Yuck!


When the motors are dry, it’s time to use the cleaner. Make sure there is plenty of fresh air.


The last step, re-oiling the bushings.


Thanks to jimmy for the submitted info.....