cleaning engine bay

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Upkeep' started by reggiecab2000, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    hey guys,
    im just curious as to the best, most effective, techniques/methods there are for completely washing/cleaning out underneath your hood???
    any advice is appreciated, just looking to thoroughly remove as much dirt/grime/crap as possible.
  2. aloxdaddy99

    aloxdaddy99 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I spray the engine bay with Simple Green let it sit for a few minutes than hose it down. You may need to do it a few times for the first time. But know when I wash the truck I also clean the engine bay. This helps with a few things. If I see a build up of a fluid or something I know there is a leak and it also keeps the engine bay looking clean.
  3. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I do something similar with simple green, then I scrub a little with a soft brush and then I wash it off with a pressure washer.

    Typically I will spray down the engine with the simple green or light degreaser, scrub it, and have the power washer ready, next I jump in and start the engine and then jump back out and hit it with the pressure washer.

    the reason for that is,

    if the engine is not running, you can potentially get it wet enough that it will not start back up if water gets somewhere it should not. The down side is, you have to get the simple green off before the engine gets too hot cause you do not want to crack the engine. ( that is why you start with it off, and then turn it on before hitting it with the water, the engine is cold so the water will not cause the engine block to crack, but the engine heats up quick, so it is a timing thing.

    Disclaimer: I am not an expert and if you drowned your engine by cleaning it and it will not start, or cause any damage of any kind to your engine; I am not liable for what you did.
  4. Cheez

    Cheez Rockstar 100 Posts

    I'm going to go with simple green as well. I've just sprayed it under the hood before washing the truck. When I finish washing I just hose it off. I've done this for quite awhile so you may need a pressure washer depending on the grime thickness.
  5. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    well so far simple green seems like a unanimous winner
    are there any electrical spots to really try to keep the water away from? or is it all fair game for the most part
  6. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    My truck is the same year as yours, but I have the 5.3L engine.

    The last time I did it, I wanted to get as much grime off as possible. We don't have distributor caps on our engines, so almost anything is fair game.

    I tend to be careful around the fuel rails and coil packs to the left and right of the intake manifold and then the spark plugs. I did get too much water around my knock sensors and they were lighting up my dash with error codes for 2 months until they completely dried out (under the intake manifold) so be careful there.

    Also watch the spark plug wires and make sure they are tight around your plugs so water does not get in there.

    I also put the truck on ramps and degreased and power washed the under side of the engine/transmission also, but you can be less careful from the bottom.... any time it rains water splashes around under the truck.
  7. ChevyBoy2009

    ChevyBoy2009 Rockstar 4 Years 500 Posts

    I would keep the water away from your alternator also
  8. Skippy

    Skippy Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    I take the vehicle to the car wash and use the Tire-degreaser (it's green usually when it finally comes out the hose) all over the engine. Occasionally, after some serious mudding, I have to wash first. I ALWAYS use the low pressure wash spot free rinse (usually pure water) to clean the engine compartment before (if muddy) and after the degreaser.

    When I spray the degreaser, I do it over EVERYTHING in the engine compartment. I've done this for years, and never had a problem. (It also helps that I use dielectric grease on 100% of my electrical connections, and those I work on. I go through a couple tubes a year.) It has the added value of making the black plastic stuff look great when you're done.

    Once I let the degreaser sit for a while (a couple of minutes) I wash it down with the low-pressure spot free rinse, until it's all washed away. The sole exception to the low pressure wash is when I'm trying to get the bug grime out of the radiator fins. I'll use the standard rinse, but always hold it well away from the fins (to not bend them under the pressure).

    I've done this with both the engine running and off, no problems either way.

    I do this to LOTS of vehicles I work on, as I find the engine compartment's nastiness is a real inhibitor to working on some parts or doing basic maintenance (like spark plug changes). Much easier to work in a clean environment. For 3 bucks and 5-100 minutes, it sure beats hand spraying things down with simple green! Since my shop prices are "free plus the cost of parts," (select clientele, don't bother asking if you can bring it over, it's pretty much a neighborhood and family thing I do as a hobby!), if a compartment is nasty, I require folks to clean it up before I work on it. I typically will just ride with folks over to the car wash (a couple blocks away) the day before we do the work.

    The only thing you have to watch for is getting the degreaser on paint. It WILL strip wax. Typically, I'll clean and throw a coat of wax over anything that gets splashed, afterwards. Easy to do with modern applications. The same should be done for Simple Green overspray as well.

  9. Enkeiavalanche

    Enkeiavalanche Loving the Outdoors Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    White Lightning or Simple Green both work good There is also P-21 Moyorcycle cleaner that works great. As for High Preasure?? I would NOT use that. A light spray (more then a mist) Is all I would do and keep the water away from the Alt and Air cleaner.
  10. aloxdaddy99

    aloxdaddy99 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    When I come off the beach after a day of slinging sand the first car wash I see I stop. I do as Skippy described. I want to get all the sale water and sand off of anything that can be taken care of. I have done this on all my Jeeps as well as my truck. I try to keep my engine bay as clean as I keep my truck. Especially since I have painted the parts that I have. I have never had any kind of issue by doing this. It might not be the best to do but it is how I do it.

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