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newbie engine bay cleaning

 
Old 05-19-2019, 06:49 PM
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Default newbie engine bay cleaning

I just read over several threads talking about cleaning the engine bay and have heard some horror stories. I will be cleaning my engine bay for the first time. The engine bay is very dirty. Literally can see dirt sitting in places I cannot reach my hand.

Since this is my first time doing this what is the safest cleaner to use to minimize any damage? I do not want to use purple power or simple green due to reports of it corroding the aluminum. Are the rumors I am reading about gunk true that can take off paint?

I plan to use a towel to not let water get to the knock sensors and put a bag over the alternator.

TIA

01 trans am

Last edited by Ricky5; 05-19-2019 at 06:53 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:01 AM
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Water and elbow grease....... Gunk will take paint off (engine brite or whatever it's called) and the other cleaners will also turn your hoses white if you let it sit on there long enough. Low PSI water and motivation.... All you will need. Then keep it clean after that

Side note..... I like to use the white can of No Touch tire shine (foamy one) to give the bay a nice shine when I am done. Not too greasy and shine is awesome.

Take your time and have fun!!!!
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:31 PM
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I have used Simple Green several times in the past with no issues. You can dilute it or apply it to an already wet engine bay if you are concerned about it being too concentrated. But, personally, I've never had it corrode aluminum to any noticeable degree in an engine bay that was already neglected enough to have a ton of dirt and grime built up in the first place.

On the other hand, if you're doing a competition-level detailing on a car with an otherwise super nice engine bay that just happens to have some general dust build-up or perhaps very minor road grime, then I'd stick with basic dish soap diluted with water in a spray bottle (plus a soft paint brush, terry towels and/or a sponge depending on the surface). You can rise with a garden hose if you like, but I would use a couple gallons of distilled water for the final rise to avoid mineral deposits in places you cannot dry, and/or use a leaf blower/air compressor to get rid of any water residue before it dries.

I wouldn't be worried about the alternator, mine have gotten soaked before without issues (I have never covered one actually). But some other things to consider are this:

- PCM. If you've ever disconnected the PCM from the harness, then the seal might not be perfect. I seem to remember a recommendation (perhaps in the service manual?) to replace the harness seal any time that the PCM is disconnected, but I doubt many folks ever do this. Probably not a big issue, but I would avoid spraying any water in this area if you're not sure of its status. Or just cover it.

- Intake. You mentioned the knock sensors, but that's not usually a huge issue on the later cars. The bigger concern would be any compromised intake gaskets or fuel injector O-rings. Some folks have seen hydrolock issues from rain water making its way past the cowl, onto the intake and into the engine due to gasket failure or just a poorly torqued intake. Just something to be aware of, since it can be a serious issue.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by RPM WS6 View Post
- Intake. You mentioned the knock sensors, but that's not usually a huge issue on the later cars. The bigger concern would be any compromised intake gaskets or fuel injector O-rings. Some folks have seen hydrolock issues from rain water making its way past the cowl, onto the intake and into the engine due to gasket failure or just a poorly torqued intake. Just something to be aware of, since it can be a serious issue.
How do I avoid this? Any pics of how to do it? I'm more of a visual person.

Thanks
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:51 PM
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As RPM WS6 has probably done this more than once. From his good post. I also used simple green. Sprayed on when already wet & rinse good. No problem. What we always did was use some grocery store plastic bags. Put one over the PCM/connector, over the brake master cylinder, & the ABS unit/EBCM module.
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Old 05-21-2019, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Ricky5 View Post
How do I avoid this? Any pics of how to do it? I'm more of a visual person.

Thanks
There is some discussion on this in various threads throughout the site. Here is one that talks about sealing the cowl for rain water reasons:

https://ls1tech.com/forums/general-l...er-cowl-2.html

To be clear, I didn't mean to imply that this is a definite problem for all examples, it's just something to keep in mind and usually only a problem with prolonged water exposure (such as long duration heavy rain events with a leaking cowl). If your intake is torqued properly and the intake gaskets and injector O-rings are healthy then there is nothing to worry about at all, and even if they aren't perfect it's not likely to be an issue during a typical engine bay wash. I just wouldn't recommend letting water continually flow over the intake for a long period, just in case.

Originally Posted by SoFla01SSLookinstok View Post
What we always did was use some grocery store plastic bags. Put one over the PCM/connector, over the brake master cylinder, & the ABS unit/EBCM module.
Good suggestion. As these cars are getting older, the rubber seal on the brake MC cap doesn't always seal up quite as tight as it once did. It probably wouldn't be an issue unless you directed a very high pressure spray at the base of the cap, but it's never a bad idea to keep moisture away from brake fluid.
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:33 AM
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Thanks for the good information everyone. Got some thinking to do.

I just got the car and it's my baby so I would rather be over careful besides breaking something
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