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How to Take Apart the Canon MP160 Printer for Cleaning

Updated on January 3, 2017

Introduction

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.

The Process

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.

Make sure that the cartridge carriage has moved to the left, and then unplug the power to the printer.
Make sure that the cartridge carriage has moved to the left, and then unplug the power to the printer.
Remove the paper feed support.
Remove the paper feed support.
Remove the output tray by gently pressing the tray against the hing on one side.
Remove the output tray by gently pressing the tray against the hing on one side.
Remove the tray.
Remove the tray.
To remove the front panel, press a screwdriver into the clip slots on each side.
To remove the front panel, press a screwdriver into the clip slots on each side.
When you release all 4 clips, the panel should tip forward.
When you release all 4 clips, the panel should tip forward.
To remove the side panel, you need to remove the three screws in the front.
To remove the side panel, you need to remove the three screws in the front.
One screw points downward.
One screw points downward.
The other two point into the unit.
The other two point into the unit.
Finally, there are two screws in the back.
Finally, there are two screws in the back.
Now you should be able to carefully pry off the righ side panel.
Now you should be able to carefully pry off the righ side panel.
This exposes the "cap-blade unit".
This exposes the "cap-blade unit".
The cap-blade unit slides to the right.  To remove it, you'll need to stress the plastic  a little beyond the stop (on the right of this photo).
The cap-blade unit slides to the right. To remove it, you'll need to stress the plastic a little beyond the stop (on the right of this photo).

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.

You can carefully lift the cap-blade unit out of its tray.  There is a spring that holds the unit to the left when in place.  Carefully unhook the spring
You can carefully lift the cap-blade unit out of its tray. There is a spring that holds the unit to the left when in place. Carefully unhook the spring
I'm assuming these are vacuum tubes attached to the bottom of the cap-blade unit.  Carefully pry these tubes off their fittings.  Take note which tube goes where.
I'm assuming these are vacuum tubes attached to the bottom of the cap-blade unit. Carefully pry these tubes off their fittings. Take note which tube goes where.

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.

There is a plastic film on the bottom of the printer that seems to function as a plug for the chamber that catches all (well most) of the excess ink.  Carefully pry this film off.
There is a plastic film on the bottom of the printer that seems to function as a plug for the chamber that catches all (well most) of the excess ink. Carefully pry this film off.

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.

The last step was to clean the carriage unit.
The last step was to clean the carriage unit.

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.

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    • rlawrence41 profile image
      Author

      rlawrence41 2 years ago from Essex, Vermont

      Hi Mike,

      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.

    • profile image

      Mike 2 years ago

      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 profile image
      Author

      rlawrence41 4 years ago from Essex, Vermont

      Way to go Aimee!

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      Aimee 4 years ago

      This worked like a dream!!!!

      Thank you so much for posting this, my printer is running smoothly now!

    • rlawrence41 profile image
      Author

      rlawrence41 4 years ago from Essex, Vermont

      Hi Neeraj,

      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.

    • profile image

      Neeraj 4 years ago

      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 profile image
      Author

      rlawrence41 5 years ago from Essex, Vermont

      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.