Thanks for that. Similar to " which motor oil is best", this is an argument discussion every time it comes up. For all the reasons you mentioned, I use either Kerosene or diesel fuel, which ever I have on hand at the time. Both do a nice job of cleaning and neither have been refined enough to do damage the o rings or wash out the grease from inside a sealed chain. I also use a 90W gear oil to lubricate my chains... cause it works well and is inexpensive. And if I take the time to wipe the chain off properly, after I've lubed it, it's no messier than any other method.Diesel will work fine as it is essentially kerosene.
I'm not a fan of water based degreasers as they strip all the oily film off the parts. Kerosene and diesel clean the part but leave an oily film that inhibits rust. Personally I use some mineral spirits (paint thinner) to clean the gunk off and lube with 90W gear oil using a brush. Suzuki recommended gear oil in the owners manual of my K6.
As always, well stated Chuck/Geek!Just a few comments.
1) Yes, the manual says use kerosene to clean the chain. But, it also says use engine oil to lubricate it. If you're not using oil on your chain, using kerosene may not be the best choice. Many of the aftermarket chain lubes aren't even oil based. Kerosene won't do a damn thing to those. Know what you're using and use a cleaner that compliments it.
2) If you're using something like Maxima or PJ1, read the label. PJ1 is petroleum based and Maxima is waxed based. If you're going waxed based, you need to degrease the chain first so the wax can bond to the surface.
3) O-ring chains are internally greased and your lubrication on the outside of the chain really does only 2 things. It helps sprocket wear, and slows corrosion. Most people don't understand this and clean/lube their chain far more than necessary.
4) Lastly, if you're using aerosol based products, you can usually get away with not using a cleaner. The solvents in the can are usually enough to soften the existing layer of lube enough that you can apply liberally and then just wipe off the excess and the dirt comes with it. You'll use more lube, but the expense is less than buying an additional can of cleaner.