How to Clean Electric Motor? Detailed Guide for Newbie

Is your motor covered in grease and dirt? Since they are mostly made of metals, layers of dust and chemicals may sit on its surface and make it look grimy.

Well, doing some clean up by yourself could save you some extra bucks. For that, read this article to know how to clean electric motor.

First off, let’s give you some insights about electric motors. As we all know, an electric motor is a machine that transforms electrical energy into motion energy and contains seven basic components. The main parts are Stator Coil, Rotor Coil, Main shaft, Brush, Bearing, Drive Pulley and Motor housing.

As you can guess, cleaning a dirty motor will involve removal of these parts in order to avoid any damage. This is going to be a work with small metallic objects and electrical components so please keep the cautions in mind.

List of tools you need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Soft-faced hammer
  • Non-flammable cleaning solution
  • Sandpaper
  • Lubricant

Now let’s see how to clean electric motor as the steps have been described in three key steps.

Now let's see how to clean electric motor as the steps have been described in three key steps

STEP 1: Separating the components

In this step, you’ll be taking apart the the components but first

1. Make sure you’ve unplugged the motor from the electric power supply sources otherwise you might get a shock. For more safety precaution, you take a multimeter and check if there is any electrical charge.

2. If there is any bolt holding the motor to the place you must unscrew it as your second step.

3. Find wires that are connecting the motors. These wires could be blue, red or yellow in colour connecting the components of the motor to the electrical system. Do not hesitate to cut them off and disconnect from the motor’s terminal as they can be reconnected. But make sure to keep notes of where they were previously connected. You may click a picture or just write it down.

4. There is a metal rod called gear shaft usually found at the end of the motor. At its bottom, there is a small wheel looking object called a pulley. By using a gear puller’s claw you can pull out the poulley from the shaft.

5. There are parts that need to be marked to reposition them later in a very precise way. So find the circular pieces of casing at the both ends of your motor. They are often made of PVC so use a hammer to create a tiny mark. In the process, don’t forget to make sure that you’re only marking on the external side of the end bell and the mark is on center.

  • One mark has to be on the end bell that’s underneath the pulley.
  • Then mark twice the opposite end bell.
  • Similarly mark the opposite of the ends of the long metal tube known as motor’s housing.

6. For this step you need to gather your wrenches and screwdrivers. Identify the set of bolts in the middle and outside of the rim. Usually each of the bells has 8 bolts.

Confused about the next process? The process to unscrew the bolts is to turn them clockwise with the tool you’re using.

7. Now to pull out the bell from the motor you’ll be needing a screwdriver or a soft-faced hammer. They may appear with a wooden or plastic handle. Hold it and place the other side in between the bell and the motor. Thus you tap the bell and pull it apart from the motor.

8. The motor will either have a starter switch or a brush housing which looks like a horizontal switch. Normally it is supposed to be located on the pulley end of the motor. Carefully look for the massive bundle of copper wires and a metal piece that’s holding them. Pick the metal piece and patiently pull it out. The metal piece is called a starter switch.

Be careful! Breakage of any wire might result in irreparable damage. Don’t forget to keep a note of the positions of shims if found any.

STEP 2: Cleaning the components

Cleaning the components

For this step, various non-flammable solutions are found in the market, especially in the automotive stores. You can pick any of your choice or any degreaser that is available near your hand.

1. Take a cloth and wipe the dirt off from your motor’s body. Bear in mind that usage of any water must be avoided.

2. A 220-240 grit sandpaper will be a handful to brush the motor’s body. This includes the areas around the copper wire in the starter switch and housing. Be gentle while rubbing the particles.

3. What does the interior of your motor look like? Does it look dirty? Pick up your cloth again and put some fluid on it. The fluid has to be a non-flammable cleaner or a degreaser. Now wipe off the dirt using those clothes gently. Where your fingers can’t reach, use the blowing technique!

STEP 3: Repositioning the components

Repositioning the components

You have reached the last part of your clean game. In this step you will be finishing the quest of going back to the start. Hold you gears and go through the following process :

1. Did you make any coil loose? Don’t worry! Just carefully fit teb wires back in coils. The process is as easy as just simply wrapping them around. Now it’s time to put them back into the switch or brush rings. But if any wire is broken, the motor won’t be running so please keep that in mind.

2. While you reassembled the pulley, gear shaft, rotor and the bells, drop a few amounts of lubricant oil. In this process your previous notes and markings will help you to reach perfection. Machineries will malfunction if their components are not positioned precisely. So this part is very sensitive.

3. Remember the 8 bolts you unscrewed? It’s time to pick your socket wrench again and fit them tightly back to their place.

Are you confused in which direction you need to turn the bolts? Just go clockwise again!

4. Make sure the end bells are touching the housing behind them. In order to do, this take the help of a hammer and hammer them down until they are in the correct position.

  • Repeat the process twice for two bells and ensure all the components are in their designated place.

5. Have you installed everything correctly? To know this, you can hand test your motor. Your machine must be moving without causing any trouble. If not, there must have been some mistake in aligning them.

  • Take the help of a professional if you think the issue is big.
  • Are your bells located according to the punch marks you’ve made earlier in step one?

6. Now bring out the notes or guidebook to reconnect the wires that we have cut off from their terminals.

  • Are you confused? Don’t worry! Just match the colours and reassemble accordingly.

7. Last but not the least, put the power source back on and check if the motor is working. Is it working?

Hurrah! You did it!

Congratulations on saving bucks and cleaning your motor successfully.

Final Opinion

How to Clean Electric Motor?

If you think there is something wrong, take your motor to a professional and get it fixed. If the shaft is stuck, you might need to reassemble the components and make sure the shaft is moving freely.

If any wire is damaged severely, your motor might stop working forever. Please be cautious about this fact.

Lastly, you can collect all the tools from your nearby hardware stores. They are long lasting and sustainable so learning how to clean electric motor has saved you for a long time!

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