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Old 06-16-2013, 07:43 PM   #1
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cleaning engine bay

So after year of mudding my engine bay I can honestly say is has looked better, I know nobody sees it but I can any advice on get mud stains of the block and cleaning up my engine bay

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Old 06-16-2013, 08:11 PM   #2
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I'd put a bag over the battery, alternator and spray everything with simple green, let it sit, then pressure wash everything being careful not to hit any fluid openings. You may need to repeat several times. You could use a hard bristle brush to scrub some simple green In

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Old 06-16-2013, 08:17 PM   #3
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Good plan
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:26 PM   #4
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I used a rag with some car wash cleaner. It leaves a bunch of spots still dirty.

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I'd put a bag over the battery, alternator and spray everything with simple green, let it sit, then pressure wash everything being careful not to hit any fluid openings. You may need to repeat several times. You could use a hard bristle brush to scrub some simple green In
You need to be a bit careful with simple green. It will remove paint if you don't wash it all off. I don't have too much experience with it. I cleaned an army ammo box with non diluted simple green. After about five minutes half the paint was gone. They recommend 30:1 for light duty stuff.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:36 PM   #5
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I used a rag with some car wash cleaner. It leaves a bunch of spots still dirty.

You need to be a bit careful with simple green. It will remove paint if you don't wash it all off. I don't have too much experience with it. I cleaned an army ammo box with non diluted simple green. After about five minutes half the paint was gone. They recommend 30:1 for light duty stuff.
Good call on the dilutions. You could probably spray it full concentration on plastic and bare metal like the block and headers right? And then dilute it for the painted hood, or even just use car soap
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:22 PM   #6
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Here's a process I used on my Mustang GT/CS that I learned from someone in the Mustang community. It worked great for me and everyone who tried it. Had the engine compartment looking almost showroom new:

1.) With the engine good and hot, cover the critical components (alternator, fuse box, etc) with aluminum foil. Proceed to spray down everything under the hood with a 50/50 mix of Simple Green and water.

2.) Close the hood and allow the spray and the heat to essentially steam the engine compartment for a good 10-15 minutes

3.) Hose off everything you sprayed, taking caution around those parts you covered with the foil

4.) Assuming everything appears to be cleaned of dirt and dust, spray (insert brand name here. I used Turtle Wax F21) tire foam on the black plastics such as the engine cover, air filter box and intake tube, etc, and allow it to do its thing for 5-10 minutes.

5.) Hose off and remove the foil. Everything should be nice and clean and the black plastic parts should be black, not dirty black/gray looking.

If it doesn't look clean, you may either need to repeat steps 1 & 2 if there's still caked on dirt/dust, or repeat steps 4 & 5 if everything looks clean, but not new/black enough.

I did this several times with my Mustang and it worked each time, with no ill effects on the engine. And I had a CAI on it too. The engine bay looked brand new. The key is to make sure the engine compartment is good and hot (I did mine after my 25 minute ride home from work) so that the Simple Green solution gets help from the steam/heat of the engine to do its thing.
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:52 PM   #7
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I have ended up with diluted simple green on the body paint numerous times and it doesn't hurt it. No streaks or marks. Just rinses off.

It does work better if you lightly wet the engine bay down first, spray on the simple green, and let it soak for a few minutes before rinsing off.
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:12 PM   #8
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So what do car dealerships do? I notice used vehicles, on legit dealer lots at least, have beautiful spotless engines. What's their secret?
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:43 PM   #9
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I have ended up with diluted simple green on the body paint numerous times and it doesn't hurt it. No streaks or marks. Just rinses off.

It does work better if you lightly wet the engine bay down first, spray on the simple green, and let it soak for a few minutes before rinsing off.
Roughly how much are you diluting it?
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Old 06-17-2013, 02:01 AM   #10
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Simple Green attacks aluminum, so do not use it full strength and rinse the engine thoroughly on all sides, even underneath. S.G. is a aqueous alkaline solution with a pH of about 9.5. Water itself corrodes untreated aluminum and produces aluminum oxide, so when using a binary solution of S.G. and water, be careful.

Do not let it sit longer than about ten minutes at about 75*F without rinsing completely. Less time in hotter weather.

Simple Green does make aluminum-safe cleaners that used in the aviation industry to clean aircraft and aerospace vehicles.
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Old 06-17-2013, 06:19 AM   #11
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So what do car dealerships do? I notice used vehicles, on legit dealer lots at least, have beautiful spotless engines. What's their secret?
Back in high school, a buddy of mine worked at a Chevy dealer as a detailer.
I stopped by one day to BS with him. He had just pulled a used car in the wash bay from off the lot. He raised the hood and using a spray bottle, started wetting down the entire engine compartment. I detected the scent of kerosene and asked if that's what it was. Sure enough. He then proceeded to hand wash the car with soap and water. When he was done he used the sponge to splash soapy water all over the engine. Finally, he rinsed it off. I asked why the kerosene and he claimed it helped clean off the accumulated dirt and grime.

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Roughly how much are you diluting it?
12:1


As a side note: when aluminum corrodes, the aluminum combines with oxygen in the air to form aluminum oxide. It is a whitish looking coating. But........the corrosion on happens to a depth of about 20 microns.
Aluminium oxide is impermeable and, unlike the oxide layers on many other metals, it adheres strongly to the parent metal. If damaged mechanically, aluminium’s oxide layer repairs itself immediately.
This oxide layer is one of the main reasons for aluminium’s good corrosion properties. The layer is stable in the general pH range 4 – 9.


I have used simple green on many aluminum engine parts. In my experience, as long as you only leave it on for a short time and rinse it off thoroughly, it will not harm aluminum.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:31 AM   #12
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From Simple Green's website FAQs:

Aluminum - Is it safe to use Simple Green® on aluminum?
When used with caution and according to the instructions, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner has been safely and successfully used to clean aluminum. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner, Crystal Simple Green® Cleaner/Degreaser, Simple Green Pressure Washer Concentrates, and Pro Series™ Simple Green® Automotive Cleaner have been used on aircraft, automotive, industrial and consumer aluminum items for over 20 years. However, caution and common sense must be used: aluminum is a soft metal that easily corrodes with unprotected exposure to water. The aqueous-base and alkalinity of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner can accelerate the corrosion process. Therefore, contact times for unprotected or unpainted aluminum surfaces should be kept as brief as the job will allow - never for more than 10 minutes. Large cleaning jobs should be conducted in smaller-area stages to achieve lower contact time. Rinsing after cleaning should always be extremely thorough - paying special attention to flush out cracks and crevices to remove all Simple Green® product residues. Unfinished, uncoated or unpainted aluminum cleaned with Simple Green products should receive some sort of protectant after cleaning to prevent oxidation.
Simple Green has also developed break-through water based cleaners that are safe for use on metals, plastics, rubber and high tech alloys. Extreme Simple Green® Aircraft & Precision Cleaner and Simple Green® Pro HD are available on both the industrial and retail markets, respectively. These products were initially developed for the aircraft industry and extensive testing shows that they are safe and effective on a variety of metals and other sensitive surfaces even in the most extreme circumstances.

Simple Green® Stainless Steel One Step Cleaner & Polish is another option for cleaning polished aluminum. This product is designed for light duty metal cleaning and polishing.


Notes: The aircraft or Pro HD versions are better for aluminum. According to one amazon reviewer, both products are exactly the same but the ProHD is simply made for retailers and is available at Home Depot. I am going to order some Pro HD from Amazon for the next time I need to clean up my engine bay.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:52 AM   #13
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Commercial steam pressure cleaner - nothing cleans better.

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So what do car dealerships do? I notice used vehicles, on legit dealer lots at least, have beautiful spotless engines. What's their secret?
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:30 AM   #14
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I went to a car was in my neighborhood and they sprayed the engine compartment and then just hosed it down.
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Old 03-23-2014, 02:33 PM   #15
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1.) With the engine good and hot,


Is it just me or does it seem like a really BAD idea to spray cold water onto a hot engine?
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Old 03-23-2014, 03:13 PM   #16
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Is it just me or does it seem like a really BAD idea to spray cold water onto a hot engine?
Any more dangerous than a water crossing? It can handle it.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:00 PM   #17
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Is it just me or does it seem like a really BAD idea to spray cold water onto a hot engine?
I don't think there's an issue with that, but whatever cleaner you're using will dry onto the engine before it has a chance to break down the dirt and grime. I also wouldn't recommend a pressure washer as that could force water into places you don't want it. Most components are water tight, but not at high pressure. Just use the hose.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:58 PM   #18
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I'd put a bag over the battery, alternator and spray everything with simple green, let it sit, then pressure wash everything being careful not to hit any fluid openings. You may need to repeat several times. You could use a hard bristle brush to scrub some simple green In
I use to do it like this until one time I had my nephew do it for me he didn't cover anything no simple green just the power washer while it was running. Now I do it like this, I guess I wonder if you can submerge most of the engine with a snorkel what's the difference with a little spraying water.
I power wash under the hood and back down a boat launch to soak the underside clean.

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