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Old 01-25-2005, 04:13 PM   #1
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Default Detailing engine compartment?

when i bought my wife her 1993 sl-1 last year, the car lot had under the hood looking like brand new and i dont know how they did it, i mean everything was like new, i want to detail under the hood of another saturn i have, what do you guys use? Need something that will eat up the grease but not the metal or rubber parts..
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Detailing engine compartment?

Try the suggestions in this post:

If you do a search on "Pressure Wash Engine" or "Pressure Clean Engine" you will find a wide variety of posts with guidance on cleaning the engine compartment.

I know one of the key areas to watch out for is to avoid water being left in the spark plug wells. The first Saturn I bought had been pressure cleaned before I got it. About a month later, I pulled the plug wires and one of them was almost orange due to rust buildup. Needless to say, replaced the plugs and wires. Low pressure cleaning is the way to go as well as some strategically placed covers on things.


Last edited by jambra1; 01-25-2005 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 01-25-2005, 11:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Detailing engine compartment?

Ok here is my brief overview of how I clean an engine. I'm assuming the engine is REALLY dirty with heavy deposits. If not, you may skip a step or so.

[step 1]
Cover up any "delicate" parts of the engine that can be damaged by water and/or degreaser. It is unlikely you will damage these parts even if you don't, but its good to be on the 'safe side'. Take plastic bags and a big of tape or any other securing device to make sure they're on steady. I would suggest covering the spark plug areas, battery terminals or any other exposed wires or electrical apparatus. You be the judge here.
[step 2]
Pull out the heavy duty engine degreaser. Available at any wal-mart, discount auto, etc... This stuff is pretty powerful, so dont expect it to smell great and it irritates the skin quite nicely. You 'may' want to do this step while your car is on the street, as when you house it down.. the runoff is somewhat hazardous. Apply it to any heavy deposits. Use *SPARINGLY*.... most dirt/grease will come off with a little elbow grease.. and the degreaser runoff is bad for environment. Let sit for 15 min or so.. or per the cans directions.
Using a hose.. *LIGHTLY* hose off the degreaser. Excessive deposits may require a little scrubbing. DO NOT go rambo style with a ultra high powered hose nozzle... You will get water where it does not belong! You can apply a little water to other spots to help loosen up the dirt. You can remove the plastic baggies after the hosing is finished if you would like.
Using "Greased Lightning" degreaser (purple spray bottle, available at wal-mart among other places) or a similar light degreaser, remove any other oils and dirt. I like to spray it onto a shop towel and then wipe the engine with it.. vs spraying it directly on the engine and getting it everywhere.
THOROUGHLY dry and wipe off any remaining dirt with clean dry towels. Try to pick up as much of the water as possible.. Compressed air would be handy also.
---And then finally.. start up the car! There may be some degreaser left on the engine so it may smoke a little and smell. You might wanna take it for a spin to allow any remaining water to run off.

-You 'may' use a plastic/rubber polisher/treatment on the plastic parts and the hoses if you want (such as armor all protectant, etc). This will make it "shine" and more smoother. However, the heat from the engine will kill the shine pretty quickly... but it does leave a noticeable difference even after this.
i strongly suggest wiping down the engine weekly to prevent this thorough cleaning from being required in the future. It just takes a few minutes with a dry towel or cloth.... you can do this when checking the fluids and other such things.

This is only my opinion.. people may disagree and have other suggestions.. and of course i'm not responsible for your actions

I have attached a recent pic of my engine (9 yrs old w/ 107k miles!) for demonstration purposes..
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Old 01-26-2005, 02:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Detailing engine compartment?

Take a look at my 91 engine under my gallery. I did it by hand with cleaner using old tooth brushes, tooth picks with cotton balls, and old clean cotton T-shirts. It had 98,000 miles of grease and dirt before I started. Watch out for sharp areas etc. really rough on knuckles. I don't drive it much and I really enjoyed taking my time. Of course spraying it is faster but that takes the fun out of it. But if you do it by hand you don't have to worry about covering it or getting water in the spark plug holes or unto electrical parts.
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Old 01-26-2005, 03:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Detailing engine compartment?

Originally Posted by RalliArt16
I have attached a recent pic of my engine (9 yrs old w/ 107k miles!) for demonstration purposes..

Your car doesn't vibrate a lot, does it? That T-Mount looks worn. ;-)
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Old 01-27-2005, 01:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Detailing engine compartment?

At the Saturn Retailer I work for the detailers use a can of Instant Shine. They spray it on the whole damn engine compartment and it makes it look like new again. I think they go overboard with the stuff but I am just a lowly salesman, so what do I know.

The above given advice is good, be careful when high pressure washing. Avoid blasting the coils, wiring harnesses, etc. I pressured my girlfriends old Mazda once and the water got into the plug boots. It was a fun rid home as the car was missing something terrible. Just had to use some compressed air to blow the water out. Just be careful and use COMMON SENSE when pressure washing your engine.

Here is my 11 year old engine with 270,000 miles on it. Pretty damn clean if you ask me lol.
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Old 01-27-2005, 07:27 AM   #7
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Default Re: Detailing engine compartment?

where can i get that 'instant shine'?
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Old 01-27-2005, 10:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: Detailing engine compartment?

Great engine cleaning job, RalliArt! Boy, you could eat off that thing!
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Old 01-27-2005, 07:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Detailing engine compartment?

I just spray everything down with simple green and let it sit a few minutes. One a cold engine of course. Been doing that for 20 years and its always worked just great! Might have to repeat a couple times if itís really nasty. I donít like probing around in there too much or using high pressure. You would be surprised how well this works.
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