It wont kill your engine to run bad oxygen sensors. I ran my 97 silverado 350 for a year on bad ones before I replaced them. The only thing I noticed was a slight drop in fuel mileage. No performance loss or other adverse effects besides the mile or so per gallon drop in mleage. Cleaning them is a very tedious process and probably will not do you much good. Mine were $35 a piece, fortunately I only replaced had to replace 1
First of all. It's not whether it can or can't be cleaned. Anything can be cleaned, if you go about it right. The question should be, first of all, whether cleaning it would do any good, and if so, whether it needs to be cleaned. Oxygen sensors are exposed to such extreme heat that the only thing that it can get (dirty) with is carbon. Extreme heat will turn any organic matter, such as gasoline or oil, into carbon. Well the bad thing about that, is that baked carbon is not soluble in any kind of solvent, and even if it was, the sensing unit within the o2 sensor module, is not exposed, and is not visible. It is covered by what is usually a louvered steel cylinder. Therefor if you're going to brush it, use a wire brush and brush it as hard as you want, because it isn't going to hurt the steel cover. But this is the problem. The only thing that you can really clean with any success is the outer cover. Since solvents won't do any good, I really would not recomend using electric motor cleaner, since the active indredient in it is Trichloroethylene which is not a very strong solvent. not only is it's strength very low, but also, since it is designed to clean electronic components, it evaporates very rapidly, resulting in a very short working time.
Since o2 sensors are disigned to hande such extreme temeratures. The best method of cleaning them, is to heat the bottom part of the sensor (the part that inserts into the exaust) with a propane torch, to the point that it just begins to turn red. You do not want it to glow chery red, even though they are designed to take extreme heat, you can still over do it. Once you have it heated to the point that is just turns red, or to the point just befor it turns red, quench it in water. This will break free any carbon build up inside the sensor. After the first time, some pieces may still be to big to come out of the sensor so I would recomend doing it 2 to 3 times, blowing it out with an air compressor between each time. But I would have to say, good luck, since O2 sensors very seldom fail do to being dirty. This is not common at all.
on Sep 03, 2018