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Discussion Starter #1
Is there a particular way to clean the engine and engine bay while the engine is still in the car? I've cleaned machinery and bike engies in the past with a spray of kerosene and oil mix, but they were in different states of disassembly and never mounted on the frame or housing. I'm pretty sure it would be a bad idea to spray kerosene on my car while it sits in the driveway. On second thought, I'm pretty sure it would be a very bad idea to do so.

I've seen products to wash the engine at the car parts shop, but I'm hesitant to hose the engine. I just surveyed the underside of the car and it's really dirty, with oil, gunk and road dirt. I'm intent on doind transmission maintenance soonly, but I would like to clean up a bit, and rags really aren't doing a great job.

So you know, I don't have a power washer, although I do have a compressor and one of those steam cleaner thingies (FWIW) that I thought I could bring to bear on the gunk/grease mess.

Any thoughs or pointers much appreciated.
 

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Gunk works fantastic, although it stinks for a while and is hard on everything, and don't breath it or touch it, but if you rinse it with some hot water all the grease just flows off.

Safer alternative is Simple Green, requires some elbow grease but not nearly as nasty and toxic.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
:roll: does this means it's ok to slather that stuff on and just hose it off?

I don't know... something about taking a garden hose to the engine gives me a bad feeling.:roll:
 

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Ah, the wonderful thing about having a car that's not on the road at the time, is being able to attack the car with not just a hosepipe, but a pressure washer without fear of it refusing to start afterward.

Preperation:

Remove HT leads. Stick them somewhere safe (I stuffed them in the boot).
Tie plastic bags around air intake, distributor and anything else you think might be overly water sensitive. Put one over the air intake too.

Then get the detergent in (I had good luck on the Fiesta using washing up liquid), give anything you can get to a quick scrub if you like, then blast the detergent off. If using a pressure washer, obviously, be careful around fraglile things like the radiator as it is quite possible to remove fins from a slightly aged rad with one. I blasted everything pretty well as my car had been totally neglected for at least five years, and it was a MESS. During this time, the bag came off the distributor.

Put everything back on afterward, and it started fine.

Four cars of my own I've pressure washed the engine bay of so far, and no disasters yet.

And two of those were cars known for dislike of water: Lada and Skoda (Real Skoda not those downmarket VW's they sell these days).

Word of note though: Wear eye protection and be aware of the fact that more likely than not, you'll walk away as wet as the car is.

Not sure about using Gunk or such like that. As I recall Gunk does nasty things to rubber...and that would be bad.
 

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Good advice from Zelandeth, but do be carelful if you use a power washer. I have never seen any problems from using chemical correctly, but power washers have a habbit of getting things loose or wet that should be left alone.


Gunk will NOT hurt rubber or plastic if you follow the directions. Use a few buckets of hot water to rinse and you can avoid the hose and associated stray water problems completely. Only use the hose on the underside, to clean the pan and trans. bottom.
 

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I swear by "Purple Power" degreaser from Wal-mart, in the automotive section. It's cheap and powerful. I put it in a spray bottle, follow with a toothbrush, cleanup with a spray bottle of water.

My backup is the "Castrol degreaser." This can be found in many department and auto stores.

These products can also be used to remove sticker residue on windows, or diluted to clean cloth.

Wear rubber gloves if you are using the product at 100%.
 

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Not sure about using washing up liquid on the engine bay. Those detergents contain a lot of salt, which is the last thing you want. There will always be traces of the detergent left in corners of the bay.

I've had two engine bays steam cleaned at a valeters with no ill effects other than a bit of water inside the distributor cap. Made one of them much nicer to work on too!

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I just had some enviro friendly degreasser lieing around and used it in a 60:1 ratio,I just sprayed the degreasser on the greasy parts of the engine with the engine still warm/hot and let the degreaser sit for five minutes and used a pressure washer from a car wash.Be warned make damn sure that you cover the dizzy cap very well...

BTW my car fired right up after pressure wash(even though my dizzy cover wasnt that good,I just keept most of the pressure away from its general location...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
ok, it seems to be a consensus that the engine must be hosed or steamed.:cheesy:

I will try steaming first... I hate getting wet (and oily), tho I will if I have to.

This will be a fun weekend. I want to wash up the engine so I can service the transmission with a modicum of neatness.

Thanks for all the tips, suggestions and step by step instructions.
 

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MSOEMiller said:
I swear by "Purple Power" degreaser from Wal-mart, in the automotive section. It's cheap and powerful. I put it in a spray bottle, follow with a toothbrush, cleanup with a spray bottle of water.

My backup is the "Castrol degreaser." This can be found in many department and auto stores.

These products can also be used to remove sticker residue on windows, or diluted to clean cloth.

Wear rubber gloves if you are using the product at 100%.
Yes. I agree completely. The Simple Green degreaser has been effective, too.
 

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One problem with thoroughly cleaning out the engine bay is that it strips off all the grease and oil deposits which protect the bay and engine from surface corrosion. Some of the engine bays in best condition are those which are caked in grease!

I was discussing that with a now ex-member of these forums, and he recommended the use of a "lacquer" on the engine bay after steam cleaning. That "lacquer" is more of a silicone-type spray, which coats and protects exposed metal and paintwork to prevent corrosion.

I'm just wondering if I've seen an Autoglym product to do that job, but can't remember. Do any of you have experience of that engine-bay lacquer stuff?

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Matthew said:
I'm just wondering if I've seen an Autoglym product to do that job, but can't remember. Do any of you have experience of that engine-bay lacquer stuff?
Finegan's Waxoyl. Not a lacquer but very effective...
 

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Matthew said:
Blasting ice cold water onto a hot engine is not advised :lol: Either do the job when the engine's cold, or use a steam cleaner.
Blimey, I've done just that! I reckon it can do damage to the cylinder head, but since I've not experienced any engine malfunction (apart from a strange intermittent temperature gauge dropping from normal, something I expect to be caused by the thermostat) I didn't break anything this time? Or may I expect trouble later on? I have driven over 700 miles since doing that hopefully not fatal wash.
 
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