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Old 03-07-2003, 08:57 PM   #1
KUgrad
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Default Engine washing - yes or no?

I used to routinely hose down the engine and engine compartment of my 1983 Toyota Tercel. When I bought my 1993 Impreza, everyone told me not to wash the engine. The reasoning was that this car has more electronic sensors than the Toyota did, and that they shouldn't get wet.

My car's engine compartment is SO dirty, though. What is everyone's opinion on this? Wash, or not?

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Old 03-07-2003, 09:04 PM   #2
Basshead
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i do it everytime i wash my car...just be sure the engine is cool...60k and not a problem with it...barely have to prep come show time...
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Old 03-07-2003, 10:07 PM   #3
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My grandmother got one of those gimmicky handheld steam cleaners, so I'll give it a whirl and tell you how I did it once the northeast thaws out

I've heard people suggest to spray the compartment down with Simple Green and use a gentle stream of water to clean small sections at a time, being careful to avoid electrical connections and the alternator. It takes time but the results are worth it.
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Old 03-07-2003, 10:48 PM   #4
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Bah, doesn't take much time at all. Yep, Simple Green. Get a bottle of the automotive formula stuff, and a green plastic trash bag.

Cover your alternator with the bag, spray simple green on every dirty surface, then squirt it off with water. Presto.


Don't worry, I asked the same question last year.
-S2-
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Old 03-08-2003, 03:47 AM   #5
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Why cover the alternator when it gets soaked whenever there's a torrential downpour?
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Old 03-08-2003, 07:46 AM   #6
Siper2
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This is true I suppose, but I'd rather cover up an electrical appliance like that when intentionally spraying it with a direct water stream, I guess.
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Old 03-08-2003, 11:05 AM   #7
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Don't forget to cover up the fuse box as well.
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Old 03-08-2003, 11:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by joefocker20
Why cover the alternator when it gets soaked whenever there's a torrential downpour?
you have to keep in mind that when the car is moving and on, the water usually vaporizes instantly

when the car is sitting off, how would the alt get hit with water?


it wont damage it for good, but it might be a pain in the but
just cover it
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Old 03-08-2003, 02:29 PM   #9
joefocker20
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Well, I always try not to get water in my alternator when I wash my engine, but I dont go through the trouble of covering it. No problems yet
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Old 03-08-2003, 02:38 PM   #10
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I've done it once after a rally (no coverings) and haven't notice any difference except a cleaner enginebay. Why not just disconnect the battery cable?
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Old 03-08-2003, 07:16 PM   #11
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be sure to cover up your cone filters aswell.

But spray your engine down, with cleaner/simple green and rinse it off with a soft stream of water. Don't take it to the presure washer to clean it off. That would force water into places you don't want it to go.
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Old 03-09-2003, 03:57 PM   #12
Legacy777
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I have detailed cars for some years now, did it profesionally for a little bit, but the money and hours weren't what I wanted.

Anyway. I can tell you that no detail shop covers alternator or any other thing up for that matter.

On most new engines about the only thing you'd have to worry about with water is the cone filter like someone else mentioned. If you have an aftermarket ignition, or some other aftermarket electronic device that is not sealed as well as the factory stuff, it may be a good idea to take extra care with that item and bag it up.

As for cleaners. Don't use simple green, it is corossive to aluminum.

Verbatum from the Navy's safety center website: http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/med...ourreaders.htm

"Dear Editor:

The cleaning liquid Simple Green should not be used to clean aluminum equipment or parts because it is highly corrosive.

According to an article AVweb, a 3.5- gram aluminum alloy sample was immersed into a container of Simple Green. After one week, the sample was 295 milligrams lighter. The article further states that the Air Force issued a statement not to use Simple Green on Air Force equipment containing aluminum.

Thought you Navy folks would like to have this information.

MSgt. Larry Stulz
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

We appreciate your information about Simple Green. Lt. David Mims, head of the Occupational and Environmental Health Division here at the Safety Center, researched the Simple Green situation. He found that the Naval Air Warfare Center (NavAir) disapproved of the use of Simple Green for naval aviation in 1993. They have a documented incident of crazing of an F-18 canopy following the unauthorized use of Simple Green. According to an official at NavAir, they have tested the product at least three times since 1989. Simple Green fails sandwich corrosion and total immersion-corrosion tests for aluminum. That official also said NavAir recommended that commands remove Simple Green from their spaces. Its just too easy for someone whos told to clean something to grab a bottle of Simple Green off the shelf and use it on an airplane or equipment made of aluminum.Ed."


As far as what to use, go down to lowes or home depot and get some heavy duty degreaser, usually comes in a gallon jug of some sorts. The nastier it is, the better it works....usually hahaha.

How to apply it & clean. The best thing to use is a pressure washer where you can get some heat to it.

Spray the engine bay down with water, then spray everything with degreaser......allow to sit for a little bit......crank on the heat for the pressure washer, spray a little in the air to make sure the water is hot. Then take it to the engine....spray around everything, moving the wand evenly around.....try not to get super close to one area, as the pressure of the water may not be so good. Repeat if necessary.

If you don't have a pressure washer with heat, that's ok.

Don't use steam, the extreme temp of steam can cause the rubber hoses to dry, crack, and fail pre-maturely.

The most common issues when cleaning the engine bay is water in the spark plug wells. Some compressed air will take care of that. Squeaky belts are also sometimes a problem. But pretty much everything goes away when the engine heats up and water evaporates.

Josh
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Old 03-09-2003, 09:52 PM   #13
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Hmm...I was under the impression that if you washed the engine bay without covering the electronics, you'd fry everything.
Just hose it down with water, eh?
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Old 03-10-2003, 10:44 AM   #14
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Yeah, if they made cars that had problems getting wet, there would be so many cars towed to the dealerships after it rains. Hoods on cars are generally not water-tight. The unside of the engine bay is WIDE open... water can get in thru the radiator and condenser. If a car ever overheats and blows the rad- cap, everything gets soaked... same if a heater hose blows. Now these are not normal things, but they would NOT want to replace all electronics due to a weak hose.
Good info on the simple green tho... I was under the impression that it was the least corrosive stuff... I do like foaming degreaser better tho, as it actually sticks to things. I usually just hose everything down at the carwash. ONCE, my car kind of sputtered when I started it up, but it got on it's merry way quickly.
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Old 03-10-2003, 11:47 AM   #15
BOY
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I used the regualr Greased Lightning engine degreaser (I wanted to try their new Orange stuff but no luck). Anyway, works great! Be warned the last 2 times I've washed my engine I got enough moisture into my ign system that I had to drive misfiring... which is bad m-may.
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Old 03-10-2003, 12:14 PM   #16
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I hit mine with regular 409 everytime I wash it. It stays nice and clean and purdy that way.
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Old 03-10-2003, 04:09 PM   #17
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Cool, I also was not sure if washing your engine was a good idea. From now on I think I will spray the engine off when I wash the rest of the car. Making sure to cover the electric components of course.
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Old 03-10-2003, 10:22 PM   #18
serious
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If you have access to an air compressor use that to dry the engine. You'll want to get into the spark plug holes, but be careful coz the water will be hot when you blow it out. Best to do it on a hot day where it can bake in the sun.
Don't worry about the alternator. Just make sure you let the engine cool down with the hood open for at least ten minutes before hosing it down. I would reccomend you do it at a place with soft water or you will have mineral deposits everywhere which look like $hit.
Most pressure wash places have a soap concentrate option or a degreaser which work decent. This is the way i do it:
Let car cool properly
deposite the minumin amount of cash to get the washer started
put it on the soap setting-high pressure wand
wash off all the loose dirt/dust and other crap
spray down fenders so degreaser doesn't ruin the paint
spray the degreaser/soap concentrate from the wand over everything
let in set on there for 5-10 minutes
rense off lightly with clean water from wand
If that doesn't get it all then get some 409 degreaser or something else that isn't costic and spray it on then hose off.
Be careful of when you do this though: some places have laws that don't allow you to do this. Another thing is don't do it every time you wash you car and you might want to think about changing your oil/brake fluid etc... to be on the safe side.
Brent
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Old 03-10-2003, 10:22 PM   #19
serious
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If you have access to an air compressor use that to dry the engine. You'll want to get into the spark plug holes, but be careful coz the water will be hot when you blow it out. Best to do it on a hot day where it can bake in the sun.
Don't worry about the alternator. Just make sure you let the engine cool down with the hood open for at least ten minutes before hosing it down. I would reccomend you do it at a place with soft water or you will have mineral deposits everywhere which look like $hit.
Most pressure wash places have a soap concentrate option or a degreaser which work decent. This is the way i do it:
Let car cool properly
deposite the minumin amount of cash to get the washer started
put it on the soap setting-high pressure wand
wash off all the loose dirt/dust and other crap
spray down fenders so degreaser doesn't ruin the paint
spray the degreaser/soap concentrate from the wand over everything
let in set on there for 5-10 minutes
rense off lightly with clean water from wand
If that doesn't get it all then get some 409 degreaser or something else that isn't costic and spray it on then hose off.
Be careful of when you do this though: some places have laws that don't allow you to do this. Another thing is don't do it every time you wash you car and you might want to think about changing your oil/brake fluid etc... to be on the safe side.
Brent
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