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Cleaning The Engine Compartment


Stuart
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So it will be a while before the current motor comes out and I don't like a dirty engine compartment.  Elbow grease can be used on the areas that are easy to reach but for the small places I can't get to I'm looking for a spray on cleaner that can be washed off. 

 

 

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Get Crud clutter from home depot or Lowes its the best cleaner I have ever used. We did James's engine bay when we did the 5 speed swap the dirt just washes off its brilliant

I second that. We used to sell that at my work, and its definitely the best cleaner i've used as well.

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Without a doubt Oil-Eater from Costso is the best stuff I've ever used in all of my years.  It's a concentrate that you mix with water. (Hot water even better)  It comes in a gallon jug with a free sprayer.  It is hand/environment friendly. I typically have two spray bottles going.  One with concentrate and one with HOT water for spray rinse.  I have a solvent tank in my shop and I find myself often times using this stuff in the slop sink with hot water instead. You will be amazed I promise.  Cleans any/everything.  Great on driveways, etc. too

 

Starting to sound like a commercial, but is really does work that well.

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Here's what you can tell your 'friend'...

 

Oil-Eater & water can be safely used to clean anything in the engine compartment.  It's more a matter of how you apply and remove it. 

 

I would avoid spraying directly into any electrical connector, relay or other electrical modules, however a cloth damp with the cleaning mixture can be used to wipe clean their external surfaces.

 

I have a large drip pan I put under the area that I am cleaning.  I remove the major grease/dirt build up with plastic and wood tools/scrapers. Some people use metallic tools but these can leave marks.  Next I give the area a good spray of Oil-Eater and let it soak for a few minutes.  If necessary I work the tough spots more with my non-metallic tools.  I then rinse the area with HOT water from another spray bottle.  Again let the application and removal method match the area/surface you are dealing with.

 

I then move to smaller and smaller tools as the area gets cleaner.  A parts brush followed by a tooth brush usually. Finish with a clean HOT water rinse.

 

When you are done you have a perfectly clean surface with no residue.

Edited by jdeitch
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In addendum:

 

IHMO one of the worst looking things in a engine compartment is the ratty-looking old wiring.  I use Oil-Eater as part of my process to refurbish the wiring looms.  Unlike other chemical cleaners that will remove the color off of wires, Oil-Eater does a great job without damage.

 

You will need a couple clean rags, scissors, Oil-Eater, ArmorAll and some cloth looming tape. (Looming tape is synonymous with 'hockey tape' which in case you're interested, is available in every color of the rainbow.)

 

Here's my process: 

 

I work in small sections. If necessary to gain access, I disconnect one end of the loom. (Disconnect battery if necessary!)  Don't disconnect more than you can remember.  Mark everything and/or take lots of pics. 

 

I start by removing the old cloth tape.  This usually takes very little effort. Once the tape is removed I clean the wires with a cloth dampened with Oil-Eater.  Once clean, I wipe them off with a cloth dampened with HOT clean water. I then wipe the wires with a cloth dampened with ArmorAll.  I do this because OIL-Eater removes EVERY bit of oil/protectant from the wires and I do not want them to age prematurely or get brittle. I also clean the connectors with ArmorAll externally because they are typically already very brittle. If there are metal contact I can get to with a small stainless or brass brush, I clean them at this point too.

 

Now I apply the cloth looming tape, aka hockey tape, to replace what you removed in the first step.  Cloth tape is not like electrical tape.  It does not stretch and you do not need to overlap it by more than 1/4 of it's width. Take your time.  You'll get the hang of it quickly. 

 

Complete be reconnecting anything you disconnected and move on to the next section.

 

When you are done the harness will look as good as new.  But it's not all about looks either... You may find during this process that grease/dirt or other foreign objects have gotten into the loom. With enough time and movement this stuff will wear through the wire's insulation.  Examine all the wires as you clean them for damage and make repairs as necessary.  Don't be tempted to make repairs with solderless connectors.  Get out the soldering iron and heat-shrink and fix it right!

Edited by jdeitch
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Thank you.  Some great stuff there.  My "friend" will be a happy boy.  That engine compartment does not do the car justice.  Good to hear about the armor-all application.  I would not have considered that.

 

Again, my thanks.  I will post a pic of the engine bay before and after

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