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Old 03-25-2007, 11:22 PM   #1
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Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

I've noticed recently in a few threads ppl are scared to "wash" their engine.
I don't mean take a water hose and soak everything in the engine bay, but simply taking a hose and spraying particular areas to clean the dirt and such.

Personally, I use a bottle of degreaser, a toothbrush, a sponge, a small dish sponge, and a water hose with a nozzle on the end. I take the air filter off and cover the maf assembly with a plastic bag to keep water off of it. As far as other parts, just don't directly spray an electrical part and you'll be good.

Just spray it with the degreaser, use whichever tool you need, and scrub it down while lightly spraying water.

I've never had a problem with my car acting up after this.

Just wanted to say this for ppl that think otherwise.
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Old 03-25-2007, 11:38 PM   #2
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

oh yea, its definitly fine to clean up your engine. its just when ppl go over board with the hose that they end up ruining their engines.
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Old 03-25-2007, 11:48 PM   #3
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

i think the problem is our fathers did this on cars back in the day, and passed the knowledge down to us, "never spray your engine down son, it will not start afterwards" because the electrical systems of their time were not protected like they are today. almost every electrical connection has a waterproof plug, that you would need to stick a power sprayer right up to the joint to compromise its seal.

really, a light spray is perfectly fine, as when you are driving in the rain the same thing is happening, water is coming through the front openings, headlight crevasses, and from underneath the chassis.
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Old 03-25-2007, 11:50 PM   #4
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

Actually if you look in your engine bay after driving in rain, its not wet at all.

Its fine to water down your motor though... just dont get carried away on the electrical stuff.
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Old 03-26-2007, 07:26 AM   #5
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowflyn View Post
I've noticed recently in a few threads ppl are scared to "wash" their engine.
I don't mean take a water hose and soak everything in the engine bay, but simply taking a hose and spraying particular areas to clean the dirt and such.

Personally, I use a bottle of degreaser, a toothbrush, a sponge, a small dish sponge, and a water hose with a nozzle on the end. I take the air filter off and cover the maf assembly with a plastic bag to keep water off of it. As far as other parts, just don't directly spray an electrical part and you'll be good.

Just spray it with the degreaser, use whichever tool you need, and scrub it down while lightly spraying water.

I've never had a problem with my car acting up after this.

Just wanted to say this for ppl that think otherwise.
Never had a problem either It's all about prep work
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Old 03-26-2007, 07:50 AM   #6
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

what about the a carbed motor... is there anything i need to cover of specifically avoid spraying..?
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Old 03-26-2007, 09:33 AM   #7
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

I clean the motor in my carbed 5.0 at least a few times each summer.

I take off the air filter and put something like a sour cream container over the top of the carb (I can't remember where I got the container I use, but it sits on the top of the carb perfectly) and put plastic bags over the crankcase breathers on the valve covers (if you've got them). Then, like they've said above, grab a spray can of degreaser and a toothbrush and have at 'er.

Once you're done with the degreasing, I've got a hose attachment with a light spray setting on it that use to hose things down - no need to soak things, and if you've done the job right there's no need to blast your motor with the hose.... just a nice rise will do it.

Take a rag and soak up the puddled areas (I usually have a good collection area on top of the water pump and in the crevices of the intake). Once you've got the puddles taken care of, put the air cleaner back on (and uncover the breathers if you've got them), then start up the car and let the engine do the rest of the drying for you as it heats up........... if your motor won't fire up, you might have some moisture under the distributor cap - just unclip the cap, take a rag and wipe off the contact points. Snap the cap back on and you should be OK to turn it over now.

Now depending on whether or not you've got polished accents under the hood, you'll have to go back in and do that detailing, but this is the method I've used for the last 6 years and it's worked perfect every single time.
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Old 03-26-2007, 10:15 AM   #8
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

Its actually good to have your car running (in FI cars) so if water hits something its not supposed to, you'll hear a change in the way the motor sounds and you can get water off that area.
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Old 03-26-2007, 11:16 AM   #9
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

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Its actually good to have your car running (in FI cars) so if water hits something its not supposed to, you'll hear a change in the way the motor sounds and you can get water off that area.
Hm...not something I would recommend...
Moving parts plus hands in engine bay could equal bad results. Not to mention the burns that can occur.
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Old 03-26-2007, 11:19 AM   #10
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

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Originally Posted by lowflyn View Post
Hm...not something I would recommend...
Moving parts plus hands in engine bay could equal bad results. Not to mention the burns that can occur.
If you go out to that autopia.com place I think it is...there is a video on how to clean your engine. It actually recommends you do as Zim stated. However, they are only referring to the rinsing of the engine, not cleaning with a brush. And, it says not to have the engine at operating temps...just started up and idling while you rinse only to listen for hiccups.
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Old 03-26-2007, 11:34 AM   #11
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

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If you go out to that autopia.com place I think it is...there is a video on how to clean your engine. It actually recommends you do as Zim stated. However, they are only referring to the rinsing of the engine, not cleaning with a brush. And, it says not to have the engine at operating temps...just started up and idling while you rinse only to listen for hiccups.
I could see that. I was just imagining someone reading that and shoving their hands into the accessory belt with the car running to clean the pulleys.
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Old 03-26-2007, 11:35 AM   #12
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

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I could see that. I was just imagining someone reading that and shoving their hands into the accessory belt with the car running to clean the pulleys.
That would be great to read about honestly...would definitely be a darwin runner up.
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Old 03-26-2007, 12:12 PM   #13
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

i recentrly washed my engine. But i think i got to exited and i used a strong degreser and lots of water on top of the engine..
after that, my abs light came on (antilock). also i noticed that my acceleration is very poor since. very slugish. i can hear the exhaust louder than before. my car is no running good. low end torque, low throttle response, slow.
i have a 94 v6 3.8 l. it was running great. i ruined my engine i think..
my check engine light is not on dough. dont know what it could be.
somebody with some ideas/????
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Old 03-26-2007, 12:14 PM   #14
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

How long ago did you wash the motor? Try letting it idle for a while and heating up to operating temp... letting it run like that for a while, let it sit overnight, and hopefully you'll burn off any water that might have gotten into any connections or something.
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Old 03-26-2007, 12:47 PM   #15
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

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Hm...not something I would recommend...
Moving parts plus hands in engine bay could equal bad results. Not to mention the burns that can occur.
Ya, but with that good ol' clutch fan constantly going and not really covered too much like the electric fans are, it'll be a cold day in hell before I do that. I've bounced the very tips of my fingers off the fan before and it's not something I care to repeat.
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Old 03-26-2007, 02:36 PM   #16
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

i'll actually wet-sand the upper intake to get the crud off of it, but im usually very lite on the water and i always have a towel in hand to keep it from getting other parts of the engine dirty

i really should do a port and polish anyway--maybe get a color match intake and really clean up the engine bay
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Old 03-26-2007, 02:40 PM   #17
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

Some of the engine parts will rust. Putting water on the engine may make it look nice today but... a bit down the road that water you put on it will make the rusting process much faster.
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Old 03-26-2007, 02:42 PM   #18
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

what would u recommend to use to clean in there then?
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Old 03-26-2007, 02:46 PM   #19
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

So will the 100% humidity that occurs here in the south. Nothing is going to stop parts that might rust under the hood unless you paint/powder coat them. As long as their is bare metal under the hood, you will get rust whether you wash your engine or not.

Hitting it with a dash of water isn't going to speed the process up really unless you let the water pool and sit for weeks on end. Once you drive and dry everything up, everything will be just fine anyone.
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Old 03-26-2007, 03:20 PM   #20
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

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Ya, but with that good ol' clutch fan constantly going and not really covered too much like the electric fans are, it'll be a cold day in hell before I do that. I've bounced the very tips of my fingers off the fan before and it's not something I care to repeat.
never come that close to 'em, but I'm with you on not hosing down a belt-driven fan style motor while its running...
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Old 03-26-2007, 06:48 PM   #21
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

Never more than dust on mine so all that's required is a rag
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Old 03-26-2007, 08:30 PM   #22
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

yea if you wipe it off every week or every other week even your pretty much covered
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Old 03-27-2007, 09:43 AM   #23
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

Only problem I had was water getting into my fog light relay making them stay on all the time unless I unplugged it. This was actually kinda cool considering it's impossible for me to JUST turn my fog lights on with no other lights on at the same time.
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:20 AM   #24
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

^ yea, that would be pretty cool.
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:47 AM   #25
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

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i'll actually wet-sand the upper intake to get the crud off of it, but im usually very lite on the water and i always have a towel in hand to keep it from getting other parts of the engine dirty

i really should do a port and polish anyway--maybe get a turbo and really speed up the engine bay
fixed
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Old 03-31-2007, 05:21 PM   #26
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

^one day, if only i could afford it, OR just borrow someone's 5.4 and drive that around
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Old 03-31-2007, 10:10 PM   #27
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

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yea if you wipe it off every week or every other week even your pretty much covered
In the 5 months I drive it I cover a whooping 600 miles. It's way to easy to keep it spotless
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Old 03-31-2007, 10:20 PM   #28
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Re: Common misconceptions of cleaning an engine

^some of us are not that lucky and that our stangs are our DDs.
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