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So, the engine compartment is very dirty. I am use to just spraying engine cleaner on an engine while being careful around the distributor.

Our cars are set up a little differently than what I am used to. Does anyone have any advice on what I should be careful not to get wet?
Help would be greatly appreciated!:cool:
 

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Me personally, I unhook the battery first. I've worked at a dealership for years and detailed cars and engine bays daily. You don't want to spray the alternator directly, or coil packs. I spray the engine bay down with industrial strength greased lightning, let it set for a couple minutes, then spray it down. I like to do it on a sunny day and let the bay dry in the sun for a few hours before hooking the battery back up (just cause it makes me feel better). On our cars especially, be prepared when you're finished spraying it down to have a compressor with a blow gun on the end so you can blow the water out of the spark plug holes (water will puddle there and cause a misfire). pull the plug wires out one at a time and blow the excess water out and off the end of the wire. You're done :)
 

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You definitely don't want to use high pressure water. I use the mist setting on my garden hose sprayer. If you go blasting using high pressure like at a car wash you are asking for problems. It is a good idea if you can use a compressor to blow standing water off the engine afterward. I've never disconnected the battery, I don't think that will do much. I've cleaned engines a number of times.

There are a few good threads around here on this topic, search is your friend.
 

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Degreaser, lots of rags, old toothbrush, windex,armor all, more rags , black paint, clear coat, time and a lot of patients will get you this and I never had any problems with a high pressure car wash and I always leave the vehicle running while spraying.
 

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I agree on the pressure washer. I used them every day on 2010+ year model cars with 0 issues and minimal scrubbing required. My logic behind unhooking the battery is that if you just so happen to get moisture inside a harness, you wont short anything out and by letting it sit in the sun for a while after, that moisture would have time to dry before hooking the battery back up. better safe than sorry ;)

jhiland32 great looking engine bay! Looks better than it would from the showroom floor
 

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Once upon a time, I only used Gunk brand cleaners -- regular, foaming, you name it, I tried it. I broke that habit.

I now use Simple Green "Precision Equipment" degreaser. This is aluminum-friendly, unlike All Purpose Simple Green (the latter and similar surfactants can contribute to and even cause aluminum embrittlement).
Now, you may be thinking that this won't be a problem if you rinse it away right after it cuts the grease. Unfortunately, contact time is important and sometimes you have to leave these products on for 5-10 mins for them to perform well (that goes for many brands). People have had embrittlement issues after using the stuff. Some cases could perhaps be explained away as pre-existing cracks that the user didn't manage to get fully rinsed clean of the stuff, who knows. YMMV.

Better safe than sorry, though. A product that's compatible with aluminum and plastics will say so on the container. You'd be hard pressed to find Precision Equipment -- the Simple Green folks have renamed it Motorsports. I guess "Precision Equipment" lost sales as it suggests exclusivity. Most people don't consider their vehicles "precision" items, they just want something that'll clean a car, so they probably walked right past the product in the aisles and didn't bother to read the label! The rest of the label looks very similar to the Precision version and they even kept the blue color. :D
Or, it could be because they now market an Aircraft and Precision product and didn't want to confuse the masses with two precision products. :zdunno:

You might also try Krud Kutter. It removes lots of different muck and residues from a lot of surfaces. I can say that their all-purpose version works quite well for a non-toxic product, but I haven't tried their automotive version -- if you try it, do let us know how effective it is.

As to the spark plug holes, I'm sure shop air works well enough, but I took a different approach and bought 8 tapered rubber plugs -- just yank the wires, plug the holes and they're bone dry when you're done flooding the bay with water.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the responses!

Hey Torque, thanks for the heads up! Unfortunately the only cleaner that you talked about available in this neck of the woods is the Krud Kutter, it stated that Walmart, Lowes, etc carries it.

Im gonna get some but... where did you get you rubber plugs from?
 

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I just checked a bunch of sites and had no idea the motorsports version was so hard to find. I swear I saw that blue bottle not long ago at a major retailer, but I don't remember which one.
It seems there are more vendors carrying the aircraft version now, which I guess may be about the same strength, and it's supposed to be non-corrosive and safe for plastics as well.

I found the hole plugs at a local DoitBest shop, but I don't see them listed on the chain website, so you may not find them in your area, if you even have a DoitBest in your area.
Lowes and Home Depot list various sizes, but I'll have to check mine again to see if they carry the right size. You could probably score some on eBay, maybe Amazon, and you can certainly order them online from specialty suppliers (such as McMaster-Carr).

Wherever you get them, keep in mind that you not only need the correct diameter for the hole, but the right length/taper as well. You want a little sticking out so you can remove them (unless you plan to rig them with handles of some sort) and you don't want them long enough that they'll push against the spark plug terminals when you jam them in -- you could always cut some length off too-long ones, as long as the taper's right.
 

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The degreaser I use comes in a 32oz bottle that cost $1 from the Dollar Tree stuff is great, so good in fact I bought 10 bottles.
 

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In for the next thread, titled "I powerwashed my engine, now it won't start". I have seen more threads on my car forums with that title than I can count.

I suggest degreaser and rags, with no water. LA's Totally Awsome is a great cleaner for dirt, and laquer thinner will literally wipe grease away.

Al
 

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About 6mos ago me and the Wife were going to Las Vegas, so I detailed the car, including cleaning and detailing the motor, the car ran great after I did so, I then put the car cover on for a few days, The morning we left for Vegas,I packed up the car and fired it up and It started to misfire, I checked everything and found two plug wire boots wet, the plug wells were dry, I dried the boots and stopped the misfire, which is good cause the Wife was getting really mad that I did something that might have kept us from going.
 

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I wouldn't use a high pressure sprayer (with or w/o steam), as it risks forcing water into places it really really should be kept out of (like shaft & electrical connector seals/seats, boots, etc.). However, there usually isn't a problem with a garden hose wash, especially if you don't use the power jet function.

As for not using water at all, most cleaners instruct you to not use them on hot engine/parts, which means you need to remove all traces of it prior to heating up the engine/bay. They very likely will not have completely evaporated on their own by the time you crank up. There is simply no way to remove all the cleaning chemical(s) without rinsing, as it gets into thousands of crevices and textures you can't possibly get a rag into.

The real issue with bay cleaning is keeping chemicals (and usually water) away from the alternator, plug holes/wires and pulley shafts -- some say battery as well, but as long as you don't submerge the damn thing and are careful, you probably won't make a path between terminals.

I know it's tempting to spray the whole bay down and get it over with asap, but don't be lazy. I can tell you from experience that some cleaners are not at all friendly with shaft seals, as they penetrate/seep around them too readily -- even if they don't directly damage the seal, they can corrupt the lubricant and/or promote water encroachment, which are all very bad things.
If you notice your a/c compressor is suddenly making noises after bay cleaning, don't say I didn't warn ya. :cool:
 

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I have always used a "pump up sprayer" to get the chemical and crud off , that way not to get water all over the engine in places it should not be ;)
 

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As jhiland32 said, it's perfectly safe to pressure wash your engine, just don't be stupid about it. I did this EVERY day at a dealership with absolutely 0 issues. And I still do it once a month to my 4.6 cougar and my supercoupe. NEVER had any issues at all
 

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As jhiland32 said, it's perfectly safe to pressure wash your engine, just don't be stupid about it. I did this EVERY day at a dealership with absolutely 0 issues. And I still do it once a month to my 4.6 cougar and my supercoupe. NEVER had any issues at all
Maybe you haven't seen all the threads around here about people washing their engines and having problems after...? Just because you had no problems doesn't mean others won't get a little overzealous on those stubborn areas and wind up blasting water into places it shouldn't be. I'm just trying to say for the average guy, the safer route is to stay away from the pressure washer. If you did it every day, you probably have techniques you used without even realizing that us regular folks don't know...
 

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Maybe you haven't seen all the threads around here about people washing their engines and having problems after...? Just because you had no problems doesn't mean others won't get a little overzealous on those stubborn areas and wind up blasting water into places it shouldn't be. I'm just trying to say for the average guy, the safer route is to stay away from the pressure washer. If you did it every day, you probably have techniques you used without even realizing that us regular folks don't know...
I understand that not everyone does it all the time, I just figured it would be common sense to not spray electrical components or anything at point blank range :rolleyes:, but to each his own I guess. I just don't want anyone spending hours scrubbing their engine bays when it isn't necessary ;)
 

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The last time I cleaned one, I used "black magic engine cleaner" and used a "small foam cleaning tool" all over, to knock the dirt loose.

It rinsed almost clean...

YMMV.
 
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