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Engine compartment cleaning

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by Autohaus, May 30, 2009.

    Autohaus guest

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    I plan on cleaning the engine compartments on all of the cars. What brand is considered the best to get at a local auto parts store? Also, does a brush do a great job or should I use a rag after applying/spraying on the surface (excluding wires/electical) of the engive, shock towers, etc...?
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    lcjhnsn

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    Chris, I usually use a citrus based mild degreaser like Citrus Blast from Walmart. I also like a soft synthetic bristle brush to go over things.

    Autohaus guest

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    Lance, do you have to let the solution sit on the engine for a while or do you spray on, brush away and hose down (light or full pressure) at once?
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    lcjhnsn

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    Chris, I spray the stuff and wait about a minute. Then hit it with the brush and finally rinse off.

    I do this pretty much every time I wash the car, so I never let it get really grungy.

    Autohaus guest

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    Thanks. I'll try this tomorrow. The engine bay in the E39 is nasty. Not too bad in the E46. The E28 will be the most difficult since I have to be careful with the spark plug wires. OK to spray that stuff on coolant/rubber hoses?
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    mooseheadm5

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    The plug wires will be fine.

    Nicholas Alley guest

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    Pressure wash the engine

    I have had good luck in using a pressure washer to clean really bad engines and engine bays. Those do it yourself car washes are perfect and I try not to shoot the electrics directly, the only problem I have ever had is a heat shield falling off the oxygen senser.
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    bluewagon

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    Engine Bay cleaning

    I use Simple Green. I purchase two Garden sprayers with narrow hoses, one for detergent
    one for rinsing. I did my E28 (535is) this way. Brushing as necessary.
    bluewagon.

    M3Driver guest

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    venona7

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    The best stuff I've ever used for engine bays is Griot's Engine Cleaner and Engine Bay Dressing. The first time I ordered them (together as a kit) I tried them on my lawn tractor engine just to get a little experience and was amazed at the results. Easy to use and perfectly safe - I'm a little reluctant to use my pressure washer on my engine bay because I'm afraid of dislodging something that I might not detect until it's too late. I've sung the praises of Griot's products in these forums before - they are the absolute best.
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    venona7

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    Good point - the first engine cleaning is not easy but after you've done it maintenance of a clean engine bay can be easily done every time you wash.

    lex99m3 guest

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    Clean the engine without water

    At the risk of being accused of marketing a product I represent...

    Go to this link and take a look at the picture of the engine compartment of my 99 M3. No water used and I only reapply about every 4 months. I am a vendor at alot of car shows and it is a popular item.

    http://shop.bluegrasswaterless.com/product_trimtireluster.html
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    Zeichen311

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    Same here. Simple Green, garden hose, sponge, a few times year...basic and effective. If I'm in a make-it-pretty mood, Zymol interior protectant dresses things up nicely.

    lex99m3 guest

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    bcweir

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    And to think that we M70 owners have been doing it the hard way...

    ... engine semi-disassembly to replace all of our seals and gaskets, then scrubbing the parts individually.

    We kill two birds with one stone that way.
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    327350

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    Motorcraft foaming engine degreaser

    Quite by accident I got a chance to use Motorcraft engine degreaser - was thrown in as a freebie by my Ford dealer when filling an order for me.
    I was apprehensive so I used the lawn mower as the test bed. Stuff goes on as a foam and then "melts" into a liquid that gets everywhere.
    I let it sit for about 10 minutes and hosed the mower off and WOW it was spotless!
    After air drying everthing looked new.

    Use it on my 330ci once a year; that's all it needs.
    A great, little known product!
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Yeah, but- Yeah, but-

    Those of us who live in the Parched Lands are not allowed to use any of that fancy H2O when washing our cars, let alone the engine compartments. . . basically, if I can reach it, I can clean it-much as I would love to try something that foams on, dissolves, and rinses off. . . .

    sjz1983 guest

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    In my other cars, I've used Engine Brite (found at walmart, pepboys, autozone, etc). You could also use Simple Green (which is also great for wheels and removing break dust).

    I used to work at a friends detailing shop when I was younger, he used to spray the engine compartment with WD-40 to give it that shinny look after he cleaned the car. It lubricates everything, keeps hoses from drying out and gives it that "wet look" for a long time.

    Spray the WD-40 on after degrease/cleaning the engine compartment, start the car, let the excess burn off (will smoke slightly) and admire your work.
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    John in VA

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    PLEASE don't do this! There are many products especially made for this purpose. WD-40 is a "water displacer," not a true lubricant, and is not the best thing to use on the mostly- plastic covers and other bitscurrently on BMW engines. Maybe in the olden days...
    Try some CD2, or dilute Meguiar's Hyper Dressing, for example, and leave the WD in the utility closet.
    http://www.turtlewax.com/main.taf?p=2,2,2,1
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    dms540i

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    I've had great results using just ordinary car wash sprayed on a with a pump spray bottle. I don't do this on a hot engine but I do warm the engine just briefly before I start. I've use an orange based Simoniz car wash product and it really does a great job on everything from the painted wheel wells to the greasy dirt that builds up over the years on the engine. Once you've hit everything with the wash you can use any common kitchen bristle brush to work the heavier dirt loose. For long reaches I bought a dryer lint vent brush at Lowes. It works like a long flexible pipe cleaner for those real tough to reach spots. For the rinse I use the garden hose carefully set to mist (nothing higher) and a car wash mitt that I keep soaking wet in a bucket of water. After the rinse I start it up to get the drying underway. Then after a minute or so I shut her back off and towel dry the rest. Then I spray the whole thing down with Armorall tire foam (keep clear of the belts, though, you don't want them slipping). This will work into the tiniest areas removing dirt and leaving a great luster on the plastic and rubber. Now just close the hood and wash the rest of the car.

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