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Old 11-20-2013, 03:40 PM   #1
Dominic Toretto
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Default Engine Bay Cleaning

Since installing the more exposed upper grill and construction on 820, my engine bay has gotten pretty filthy VERY quickly. Needs to be cleaned. Anyone have a picture of a prepped engine bay prior to washing? Want to clean it out but, more importantly want to make sure I don't forget anything that should be covered. Never done this before to any car. Also do you guys use full water pressure or no? Any additional tips are welcomed.

-Alex
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:49 PM   #2
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I only use a damp towel to wipe mine down. Maybe throw a little detail spray here and there. Never used a hose on it
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:17 PM   #3
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My technique is really easy and I've never had any problems. Always do it with your motor cool. I cover my intake (it's an open element) and battery with a towel. I spray Kaboom over everything. Simple Green works too. Don't soak it but a good mist. Let it sit for about 5 min then I spray it again and this time use a microfiber towel on the delicate stuff and a cotton towel on the blower/motor and other stuff that requires a little more scrubbing. I rinse it off on the lowest setting on the hose or pressure washer, whichever I'm using. Then I'll very lightly mist it all with armor all then wipe it down with a microfiber or cotton cloth depending on what it is and done. It looks great.
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JDBishopArts View Post
My technique is really easy and I've never had any problems. Always do it with your motor cool. I cover my intake (it's an open element) and battery with a towel. I spray Kaboom over everything. Simple Green works too. Don't soak it but a good mist. Let it sit for about 5 min then I spray it again and this time use a microfiber towel on the delicate stuff and a cotton towel on the blower/motor and other stuff that requires a little more scrubbing. I rinse it off on the lowest setting on the hose or pressure washer, whichever I'm using. Then I'll very lightly mist it all with armor all then wipe it down with a microfiber or cotton cloth depending on what it is and done. It looks great.
So other than the battery and intake element, you don't cover any of the wiring, alternator, etc?

-Alex
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:35 PM   #5
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I clean the engine compartment every other time I wash the car. Leave the hood up for ~10 mins first, and then use a light cleaner like Simple Green or if you're at a self-service car wash, use the Presoak. Then rinse it. I use the high pressure spray but do it from a few feet back so it's not so focused.

I have a "third" chamois that I use for drying the lower body cladding and the engine compartment ("first" and "second" chamois are for glass and paint, respectively).

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Old 11-20-2013, 04:45 PM   #6
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I just use the turtle blank interior cleaner that's in the green bottle. Cleans while making everything shine.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dominic Toretto View Post
So other than the battery and intake element, you don't cover any of the wiring, alternator, etc?

-Alex
Nope. Most of that stuff is sealed good anyway but I don't even put enough water on it to cause trouble. Just mist it and dry it with a rag.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:37 PM   #8
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Start with a cold engine, not hot! I always cover the alternator, battery, mass air, and as many sensors/electrical as possible. That 303 protectant works great on black plastics as well. Here's a decent link below:

http://www.autogeek.net/engine-guide.html
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Old 11-21-2013, 02:30 PM   #9
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Most everything in your engine bay is sealed to prevent dirt and moisture from destroying those parts.

My method is very similar to Josh's.

* Cover all exposed areas that might worry you like the intake, exposed wires, etc. ( I actually remove the intake tube, battery, plenum cover, radiator cover, and coil covers, to get in those areas under those parts that normally don't get as much normal attention)

* I generally wrap things like the throttle body, battery leads, and my HID ballasts / wiring with tin foil. I like to use tin foil because I can easily bend the foil around the areas I need to cover. Also the foil will repel the water and not soak it or become compromised it if gets damp.

* Then I fill up a spray bottle or two with water mixed with a bit of dawn dish soap and spray the entire engine bay down. ( I like to use dawn because it is non intrusive and doesn't contain any harsh chemicals like simple green or any of those other harsh chemical cleaners)

* Let sit for 10-15 mins to eat on the dirt, spray more if needed. Use a microfiber towl to scrub on any areas that need more attention.

* Rinse the engine bay with a hose on lowest pressure (You don't want high pressure because you could dislodge something or get water in areas you don't want. You want to control the water as much as possible) I suggest not running an open hose as the water will get everywhere and you will have little control.

* Let air dry. (park in the sun to dry quickly or put a fan on it)

* Once dry put everything back together and fire it up!

I have had great success with the method and actually I don't need to do it much. I try to maintain the engine bay with each car wash by wiping the water down after a wash and following up with some detail spray.
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Last edited by Dan12GT; 11-21-2013 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:00 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the advise guys!

-Alex
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dan12GT View Post
* Then I fill up a spray bottle or two with water mixed with a bit of dawn dish soap and spray the entire engine bay down. ( I like to use dawn because it is non intrusive and doesn't contain any harsh chemicals like simple green or any of those other harsh chemical cleaners)
You've got it backwards. Simple Green is about the least harsh cleaner you can buy. You can even drink it. Dawn is a fine cleaner, but it strips wax so keep it off your paint. If I were being picky, I would suggest a good car wash soap instead of the Dawn, since it has gloss enhancers for the engine plastics and it won't strip wax off your exterior paint.
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:30 AM   #12
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Default Engine Bay Cleaning

Originally Posted by 46Tbird View Post
You've got it backwards. Simple Green is about the least harsh cleaner you can buy. You can even drink it. Dawn is a fine cleaner, but it strips wax so keep it off your paint. If I were being picky, I would suggest a good car wash soap instead of the Dawn, since it has gloss enhancers for the engine plastics and it won't strip wax off your exterior paint.
Do some research simple green is harsh. Most of the application instruction suggest to dilute it. When I was younger I used it on a previous car and let it sit too long. Came back to bubbling paint. I refuse to use it ever again. Dawn is not intrusive on paint it just removes wax / sealants. It does a very good job of removing the greases in the engine bay, especially if you are running open breathers on the heads. It's also not hard to follow up after everything has dried with some detail spray / sealant spray. Also there engine bay isn't exposed to UV like the exterior paint so I don't see any reason to apply actual wax to painted surfaces in the engine bay.

Also why are you mentioning exterior paint? We are talking about the engine bay...
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:39 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dan12GT View Post
Also there engine bay isn't exposed to UV like the exterior paint so I don't see any reason to apply actual wax to painted surfaces in the engine bay.

Also why are you mentioning exterior paint? We are talking about the engine bay...
Seems obvious that Dawn in a spray bottle will end up on your fenders, but maybe it's only obvious to me. If you've got something working for ya and you're happy with it, more power to you. For me, Dawn is only used around a car to strip wax in preparation for paint or a full detail.
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:57 PM   #14
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I agree with both of you really. Dawn is great for stripping off old wax. I use Meguairs Car wash stuff which is more gentle.

As for Simple Green, it's for greasy, grimy areas but I don't use it on painted surfaces because if left on for too long it will damage/strip paint. On some plastics it will dry it out leaving a dull, dryed look.

For black plastics under the hood I use Back To Black. It leaves a nice, new look rather than an overly shiny look like Armour All.

Soap and water go a long way under the hood and a good detail spray like Wizards.
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:46 PM   #15
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I actually rarely use dawn for the engine bay cleaning. Maybe once a year if it gets bad. I can usually maintain it between washes by simply wiping water away and spray detail to shine things up.

It's very easy to not get dawn on the areas I don't want though. It's called laying down towels over the fenders . Again the spray bottle is very very controllable I really don't need the towels it's just a precaution.
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