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Discussion Starter #1
Im new to motorcycles. I bought a 2005 Sportster and Im reading the part of the manual that speaks to washing your bike. Here is a direct quote from the 2005 Owner's Manual, directly under a WARNING symbol; " Do not let the breaks, engine, mufflers or air cleaner to get wet when washing your motorcycle." Found on page 151 of the Sportster Model manual. :beatdh:
Ill be darned. Ill throw open the hood of my car anytime and hose the motor down. Unless its a hot motor. Something here Im not understanding. I can see not wetting the break surfaces with soap or such, and not spraying water down the air cleaner but Im figuring that one needs to clean those piston jugs with a spray of water to clean the fins out. Especially if you have thrown mud up from the front wheel. I must be making more of this than needs to be. Would someone or more of yall tell me how to best clean off a bike. Cant you just take a cold bike and spray it down? I bought Sunwash, Harley Spray Cleaner, Bug remover and Gloss. Wheel and tire cleaner too.
 

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XLIII
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Use a flood, not a spray. Get it all wet, wash it, rinse the same way. Dry it, ride it, then hit it w/ the Harley Gloss to get the water spots from where the water blew out of the nooks and crannies. Actually agitate the cleaner on the wheels, if they are cast alum, they will pit unless agressively cleaned
 

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I have been drowning my bikes in water (all makes) for over 30 years. I do wrap a plastic bag around the leather pouch on my front forks, but that's about it.

I really soap it up after it has been drenched to first loosen grit. This avoids scratching. I set the nozzle on a fine mist and then rinse the bike really good, checking cracks for soap, like around the glass in mirrors.

Then I thoroughly dry the bike, starting with a high-power leaf blower. I chrome polish first, then finish with wax and glass cleaners.

This 2004 is pretty tight. I have had to shoot a little Simple Green onto some oil weeps, but that's about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
drench it

thats what I would like to do. with a warm to cold engine, hit it with a little water to losten up things. Use bug and tar remover if needed and then do an application of soap to float off and remove the dirt, then rinse. Trying to avoid that place under the seat where all the electrons and stuff happen
 

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Seasoned Rider
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547 Posts
This has worked well for me for 15+ years:

On a cold motor

-remove any hard or soft bags
-remove the seat
-cover electrics with a couple pieces of Saran Wrap
-wrap rubber boot on clutch cable w/ Saran Wrap

-wash w/ good quality car wash soap, painted surfaces first
-use separate wash mitt on wheels, underside

-remove most of the water w/ leaf blower taking care not to blow directly on gauge faces, electrics, and areas you feel may be sensitive to water intruding
-remove the Saran Wrap
-dry with 100% cotton towel
-wax if needed, if not, go directly to next step
-use detail spray on chrome and painted surfaces (will remove any water spots and protects finish)
-run the engine for a few minutes to bring up operating temp. This evaporates any water on the engine case itself.
-reattach bags
-cover it until the next ride

P.S. A tip to keep the wheels clean: use a polymer (not a wax) once or twice a year on the chromed wheels. Brake dust will come off much easier.
 

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Longtime Asphalt Cowboy
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geoffreyt said:
.......2005 Owner's Manual, directly under a WARNING symbol; " Do not let the breaks, engine, mufflers or air cleaner to get wet when washing your motorcycle." Found on page 151 of the Sportster Model manual. :beatdh:
.........
Interesting.. Didn't read the manual before I rode home from Sturgis in two days of steady, driving rain and hail. Hum-m-m-m-m!! Rain running down the inside of the fairing, rain running off the front of my gauges and radio, off the HOT motor, right saddle bag leaking...and so on and so on. I've been riding for TOO many years (50+) and have flooded my bikes everytime I wash 'em. Good idea to blow it dry with a leaf blower as suggested by "The Tourist". But suggest you use one that has only been used for blowing stuff around and not used for vaccuming stuff up....blows that crap back out on your bike.

Geoffrey, wash your bike the way you feel comfortable. Be sure to use clean rags on the paint and chrome. You drop a rag/mitt on the ground you just created another wheel rag. You can't wash out all the dirt and crap that gets into rags once you drop 'em on the ground or use 'em on your wheels and engine.

Have fun riding and don't worry about how to wash it...just wash it.

o~\o
 

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Texan,

I absolutely agree about dropped rags. If they hit the ground they are toast. The other thing I see as trouble for many people is that they begin scrubbing really hard before the dirt has been floated away. Any grit that you scrub into the surface is going to scratch or swirl, gently pressure works best.

I think the HD owners manual is just covering their undercarriage, legal disclaimers are a riot. I always make sure I avoid the air cleaner from blasts and will wash on cold bikes. Always polish or wax in the shade too.
 

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S-100 works great for cleaning bikes. Most HD dealers sell it.

You can spray water onto a bike. However, avoid using pressure washers, like the type found at manual car washes. The high pressure forces water into places where it doesn't belong--ie, guages, wheel bearing seals. Also, over time, high pressure sprayers can also damage gaskets.
 

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Yeah, I know I'm ten years late to the party, but I can't believe the HD manual refers to "breaks". Are we talking about the "brakes" here? Jeez.
 

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In disguise
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One tip I've found for cleaning in the recesses of the fins and anywhere else tight. Get a 1" or 1 1/2" soft paintbrush. Get all the dirt good and wet first to loosen if then gently daub the brush does into the recesses. Rinse. repeat as necessary.

Man, this is an old thread.
 
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