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How to Clean Your Engine Compartment

Wash and detail the engine.

How to Clean Your Engine Compartment

Postby EKinMN [OP] » Sep 11 2011, 3:15am

Cleaning your Engine Compartment not only looks good, but helps remove old oil, tar, dirt, grime, and contaminants. This in turn may help your engine run cooler. If for no other reason, it looks good to have a clean engine bay! A friend and co-worker of mine showed me this method. I tried it and was impressed, so I thought I would share.

Supplies:
A can of degreaser with a pump sprayer, or simply use what I use, which is "Simple Green".
A can of rubber and vinyl protectant like Meguiar's Natural Shine.
Some rags
An old toothbrush
A water source, like a garden hose.
A bucket, sponge and vehicle shampoo; because you will be washing the truck, too.

Step 1:
Start with a cool engine, with the hood open.
Take a good look at your dirty engine, because it's about to get nice and clean!
Dirty Engine 1.jpg


Step 2:
Set your degreaser nozzle to spray. Spray the entire engine compartment, focusing on the dirtiest areas around the oil filler, head gasket covers, brake reservoir, and what ever is most dirty on your truck.
Do your best to avoid spraying into electrical parts directly, including the alternator.
Spray from various angles. Remember everything has a top, bottom, and sides.
Let the degreaser sit for a few minutes. With Simple Green, I wait 10 minutes, or until the stuff starts to dry.
Use a rag and an old toothbrush to scrub any set-in grease or stains.

Step 3:
Use the garden hose to spray off the degreaser.
Be extremely careful to avoid the major electrical components. Less is more, here.
After rinsing the engine compartment, look again for set is stains, and clean with rag or toothbrush.

Step 4:
While the engine is still wet, spray the engine compartment with the protectant. Spray it generously, but as stated before, try to avoid things like the alternator, etc. Spray everything that you want to shine, like the steering rod, support rods, hinges, firewall, etc.
Close the hood.
Start the engine.

Step 5:
While the engine is running, wash the exterior of your truck.
Take your time, you need about 15-20 minutes for the protectant to work.
What is happening is, as your engine heats up it begins to evaporate the water, and dry the protectant. Kind of a mini-steam cleaning!
After the wash, dry your truck, and turn off the engine.

Step 6:
Open the hood. WOW!
Clean Engine 2.jpg

Wipe down any areas that have water puddles or too much protectant.

You did it!

Another set of BEFORE and AFTER pictures:
Dirty Engine 2.jpg

Clean Engine 1.jpg
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Re: How To Clean Your Engine Compartment

Postby Chasmanian » Sep 11 2011, 3:23am

Dang, looks great. Good work. Can you come pick up my truck now? :)
Buying things I don't need to impress people I don't know.
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Re: How To Clean Your Engine Compartment

Postby Line » Sep 11 2011, 6:04am

never thought of the closing the hood thing good call

note to self......do that
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Re: How To Clean Your Engine Compartment

Postby stolivanil » Sep 11 2011, 11:47am

Good write up! Time to do that next weekend.
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Re: How To Clean Your Engine Compartment

Postby Onlyina_Chevy » Sep 11 2011, 12:27pm

Eric, damn! Looks great.

One note though, and I have experienced this firsthand with a carburetor rebuild...Simple Green, while being a great degreaser, if left on aluminum pieces too long, such as the alternator or throttle body, will start to oxidize the metal within 15 minutes. One should make sure that when using that product, they make sure they rinse off any metals very well. Even if it pools under something round, such as the lowest point of the curve or on top of the engine, it will make the piece look considerably older than the pieces around it...just sayin'.
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Re: How To Clean Your Engine Compartment

Postby stolivanil » Sep 11 2011, 12:41pm

Any thoughts on a good alternative to Simple Green that will not have these effects?
Last edited by Trumpster1 on Sep 11 2011, 1:39pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Removed unnecessary quote. It is implied you are responding to the post above.
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Re: How To Clean Your Engine Compartment

Postby Line » Sep 11 2011, 12:46pm

Another degreasser out there is BH-38 if u can find it i think my dad got it from napa, under the counter though in 5 gallon buckets

down side is that if u let it sit to long itll strip paint off, its some serious stuff
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Re: How To Clean Your Engine Compartment

Postby gregs08sierrra » Sep 11 2011, 1:28pm

I use wheel cleaner, just a good all wheel cleaner, like Mothers, Meguirs, or Eagle One. Folllow the same methods, and your engine will be just as clean as the rest of the truck.
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Re: How To Clean Your Engine Compartment

Postby starspangled6.0 » Sep 11 2011, 1:36pm

Looks good, Eric! It makes me want to go through some mud, just so I've got an excuse to clean it up :D!
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Re: How To Clean Your Engine Compartment

Postby Onlyina_Chevy » Sep 11 2011, 8:52pm

Well, SImple Green is great stuff. The thing to remember here is to make sure you clean out everything you sprayed down really well. Just as with the outside of your vehicle, you don't leave soap in the window or door channels.
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