My Canon MP160 printer started leaving ink splotches on pages on a regular basis. Paper was beginning to jam and the cleaning utilities that are provided with the driver didn't seem to have any effect. What's worse was when I tried to move the printer, I noticed that ink was leaking out of the bottom of the unit. I couldn't pick it up without getting ink on my hands. Clearly something else needed to be done.
After a lot of searching around the internet, I could find very little on taking this printer apart, so I ventured into it myself. I am posting this article in hopes that it may help others who are dealing with a similar situation. While I didn't find much disassembly guidance, I found lots of forums where people had similar complaints. There were some helpful responses, but no pictures to go by. So, I've tried to take some useful pictures.
Admitedly, most of my pictures were taken during reassembly. (Note the ink all over my fingers.) Frankly, when I started out, I wasn't sure that I would be successful. In retrospect, however, if I showed you the messy interior, you might just give up before you start. This was a messy job and it took some time.
This is probably a good time to state that this is not for the faint of heart. Canon would surely not approve of this procedure. But if you have no other recourse, then hopefully this article will help. I'm sure it would have taken me less time if I had some guidance in taking the unit apart.
Because I was going to clean the chamber to the right, I wanted the cartridges out of the way. So, I lifed the lid and unplugged the unit after the carriage unit moved to the left. The left the carriage unit out of the way.
These next couple of pictures give you a better idea what things looked like before I started cleaning. To get the cap-blade unit to look like the photos above, I literally ran it under water in my kitchen sink.
Once you have the unit apart, you simply have a lot of cleaning to do. This chamber in my printer was a mess. The ink was pooled and leaking out the bottom. There was debris--probably paper and ink.
There are not a lot of electronics in this section, so I rather mercilessly sprayed the chamber with window cleaner. That seems to work well if the ink is wet or is on a plastic surface. I used quite a few paper towels to sop up ink and window cleaner. I then went back with a cotton swab to more thoroughly clean the crevices and chambers in the tray.
After I was satisfied that I couldn't clean any more from the inside of the unit, I remembered that there was a film on the bottom of the printer. It seemed obvious now that this film is basically a plug for this chamber that catches the excess ink. I carefully removed the film and washed it in water. I was able to get at the bottom of these chambers now with a cotton swab.
I found that there was enough adhesive still on the film, so I simply pressed it back into place. If there was not, I would probably have used a rubber cement around the edges to glue it back into place. I may have to do that yet. This is likely to be the area where the ink was leaking from to begin with.
After reassembly, my last step was to clean the receptacles for the ink cartridges in the carriage unit. It seems likely that this is where leaking problems originate. Certainly there was debris in addition to ink in this area that might keep new cartridges from seating properly.
Well, that was it. I put my printer back together, loaded some paper, and I got nice clean printouts.
Now, the only thing left was to clean all the ink off my fingers. After a little searching around, it seems that nail polish remover or bleach were the best options. I didn't have any nail polish remover, but the bleach did a pretty good job. Make sure to wash with soap and water thoroughly after cleaning with bleach. It does nasty things to the skin.
Well, this guide only goes so far into disassembling the MP160 printer. I haven't delved into the electronics at all. I'll leave that to others, but hopefully this will provide enough information for the average computer user to dig into their printer if they have to.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
rlawrence41 (author) from Essex, Vermont on December 09, 2014:
I don't recall waiting any length of time for the unit to dry. I probably wiped it dry with a paper towel and gave it a little time to make sure I wasn't introducing drops of water into the assembly.
Mike on December 09, 2014:
Hi, it's been a while but hopefully you still get this message.
After you cleaned the cap-blade unit in your sink, did you dry it for a longer time or just wipe it clean with a paper?
My MP 160 printer exactly looked the same and the ink was tripping was and leaking out of the bottom of the unit. Thank you very much for your detailed description! You helped me a great deal!
rlawrence41 (author) from Essex, Vermont on June 03, 2013:
Way to go Aimee!
Aimee on June 02, 2013:
This worked like a dream!!!!
Thank you so much for posting this, my printer is running smoothly now!
rlawrence41 (author) from Essex, Vermont on March 10, 2013:
I'm not sure if I can help you. Does the assembly look the same as the MP160 pictured here? This step is a little tricky because clearly the tray is designed to snap into place. You have to press it all the way to the right, and then stress the stop a little bit to get the pins on the tray to align with the slots in the chassis for removal. You have to do the same to return the tray to the track when reassembling. Hope that helps.
Neeraj on March 09, 2013:
Hi...Very much thankyou for this post. I have a Canon MP 287 and I managed to expose the cap blade unit but I am not able to remove it for cleaning.
rlawrence41 (author) from Essex, Vermont on June 29, 2012:
Thanks Demilh. I figured that others might be looking for the same information based on my own research. There's a lot of people sharing good information out there. It's nice to contribute once in a while.