Review: Big Red 3.5 Gallon Parts Washer
Dealing with mud, dirt, sand and even snow - parts on your bike are going to get dirty and sometimes a simple washing is just not going to cut it. It is also recommended that at least once a year you break down your bike and clean/wash/grease each and every moving part.
This is often a job that you might outsource to a bike shop and is packaged as a "Tune-Up" and it's usually the most expensive super deluxe tune-up on the list, ranging form $150 to over $250 bucks!
But what if you could do it simply yourself? Enter the DIY Arena is Torin's Bog Red 3.5 Gallon Parts Washer and at less than $60 smack-a-roonies is an excellent tool for your garage!
This is my second Big Red as I left my old with a friend in Colorado when I moved to Florida. I almost didn't buy the same one because I ran into some issues with the first one. But at 1/2 the price of most of the others - I decided that the issues where just not that big a deal.
The issues I ran into with the first one was the switch fell apart about 2 months in. I just hard-wired the cord and plugged it in when I wanted to use it and unplugged it when I was done. The second issue was the paint on the cleaning tray and inside the tub was stripped after about a year of use. Even though I am using a Citrus-based degreaser at full strength, I wold have thought a parts cleaner would have the proper paint to last a little longer.
Word of Caution: Let's quickly talk about thedegreaser; I use Zep Citrus Degreaser from Home Depot and this stuff is awesome! Even though it is all natural and doesn't contain flammable petroleum based solvents - it is powerful and you need to be very aware of what your washing and how long it sits on your parts and bike, especially painted areas! I have used this stuff for many years without any issues. I use it in my parts washer, a small spray bottle, and the Park Took Chain Cleaner. When washing bikes, I spray it on greasy areas & parts. I use a non-metal brush to lightly scrub the areas I sprayed and then I thoroughly rinse it off with soapy water and and then just water. Never let it dry; spray, clean, rinse.
Setting Up Your Big Red
While this can be used as is out of the box, I like to modify it a bit making it better for small heavily soiled bike parts. I'll put a full parts list with links below, but it goes something like this (view the photos w/added instructions):
- Remove the washing tray to get access to the pump and nozzle.
- Remove the nozzle form the pump and using a hacksaw, cut it about an inch and a half from the base. This give the brush tubing something to latch onto.
- Spread out 6-8 magnets thought the bottom of the washing tub. These are used to collect metal shavings so that their not pumped back onto your parts. These do not collect aluminum, so you'll still want to change out your degreaser once in a while to remove any aluminum, dirt, sand or crushed rocks.
- Reattach your modified nozzle to the pump, hand-tight is all you need. Place the base end of the brush over the modified nozzle and push down gently.
- Fill your washing tub with about 3 gallons of degreaser.
- Put the washing tray back into place - this will also keep your brush tubing in place.
- It's a good idea to have a small magnetic parts bowl for all the tiny nuts, bolts & bearings.
- Plug it in, switch it on and start cleaning!
The Parts List:
- Big Red 3.5 Gallon Parts Washer
- Oriflo Flow-Thru Parts Washer Brush
- Zep Citrus 3.5 gal Degreaser or 1 gal Degreaser
- Ceramic Bar Magnets
- Titan Magnetic Mini Parts Tray