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I’m looking for SAFE method of cleaning my Jeep’s engine. The previous owner obviously loved mud and there is a thin layer of it from just under the alternator all the way down. On hoses and every thing. I’d like to clean it up and not damage anything. What have you used that you know works safe and well?
 

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Cleaning an engine is a process and if it hasn't been done in a long time, usually takes several tries.

When I do mine, usually once a year, I get a few cans of foaming engine cleaner, a couple plastic trash bags, a baggie, roll of masking tape, some Zep fast 505 (everyone has their favorite degreaser/cleaner), rubber gloves, a long handled brush and a large piece of cardboard.

By the time I get to the quarter car wash, my engine is good and warm. I usually spend $10.00 to $15.00 for quarters. Nowdays, most quarter car washes take credit cards.

First, I remove my air cleaner (I have a carb) and tape a baggie over the opening of the carb and where the choke plate shaft passes through the top of the carb.
Then I tape one garbage bag around the alternator and another over the distributor. I use my pocket knife to cut away the loose garbage bag material. None of this takes too long and my motor usually is still warm.
Then I spray one side of the engine and engine compartment with one can of engine cleaner and use a second can on the other side. I take a bit of extra time to make sure I get the back of the valve cover and block because the rear of the valve cover has a tendency to want to leak and when it's clean there it's easier to monitor.
While the foamy cleaner is soaking on the engine area, I lay the cardboard on the floor and use a half a can of the foamy engine cleaner on each side of the bell housing, transmission and transfer case. If the underside is really bad, a guy might use more. A guy might use more foamy engine cleaner if he wants to do his axles too.

By the time I get the underside sprayed with the cleaner, the top side usually has had time to soak and loosen the grease. I plan on spending around $5.00 with the sprayer on "soap" as I blast the grease and oil off the fender aprons, the firewall, the grill panel and the block. Then I plan on spending a few more dollars spraying the underside.

Once the sprayer times out and I'm satisfied that I've removed as much grease and oil as I can for this go around, I get out the Fast 505 and begin spraying it around just like I did the foamy engine cleaner. I soak the sheet metal and motor, then the do the underside. Sometimes I use a old wash mitt and recently I've been using a long handled brush (a toilet bowl brush might work if that's all you have handy) to reach the areas where my big paws have difficulty. The brush works to work the Fast 505 into the cracks and crevasses and the Fast 505 cuts the oily film that the engine cleaner leaves. I continue to spray as I scrub.
I don't pay a lot of attention underside with the brush because I'm an old buzzard and don't like getting up and down and up and down. I like to give the axles a shot with the Fast 505 around the rubber differential plugs so that once they're clean, I can watch for leaks.

Dump a bunch of quarters in the machine and blast away with the control on "soap" and then finish up with rinse.

Get the bags off the alternator, distributor and carb and replace the air cleaner. Start the Jeep as soon as you can so that the engine will begin to warm up and dry what's left of the water. Naturally you want to avoid spraying high pressure water directly onto your alternator, distributor, carb, throttle body or air intake. I don't know how susceptible direct injection is to being flooded by engine washing, so if that's what you have, do some research.

Anyhow, that's the long story of how I clean my engine. It took a few times and still I haven't been able to get the fender aprons and firewall as clean as I would like.

Good Luck, L.M.
 
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With the engine cold.
I use soap and water (plant spray amd hand foamer) no high pressure.
I remove covers air ducts/boxes and clean them separately.
I dont spray any electrical parts like ignition coils or fuse boxes, just wipe them with a wet microfiber.
After i finsh I drive it around until it dries and the cooling fan kicks in.
If you use pressure washer remove ignition coils and check for water in the spark plug tube.
 

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I recently detailed the engine bay on my GC. It wasn't all that dirty in the first place but it's something I'm going to do once a year.

First, cover any electronics that shouldn't get wet with grocery plastic bags or something. Things like the alternator, fuse box, etc.

Next, hose off any hard deposits like mud. My GC is never driven offroad, so I didn't have any of that.

Spray everything down with Simple Green and let it soak in for 10 minutes. Scrub any stubborn grease deposits with a brush.

Rinse it off with a gentle spray, not like you're trying to put out a fire.

I use a leaf blower to dry things out and get any standing water out of crevices and then apply Gunk Engine Shine. Spray it on LIGHTLY and wipe off the excess with a cotton towel. Leave the hood open for a few hours to let everything settle in.
 

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