Degreasing engine

wash, wax, polish, products, methods, fine fettling

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Degreasing engine

Post by MK21800 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:03 pm

I've noticed a few threads on cleaning engines, what to use etc. but can't find any "For dummies" style ones that I need - Fed up with looking like a complete grease monkey through so much as touching anything in the engine bay. Can't go on like this.

Don't think mine has ever been cleaned, I've certainly never done it. I have gunk, and a normal garden hose with a gun where I can adjust to fine spray or thin more high pressure jet, or anything inbetween. Don't really want to use pressure washer or anthing like that. Want to go old school and gentle.

I'm understanding something like - cover distributor cap and alternator with plastic bags or clingflim or foil, disconnect battery (take it out?) then spray on gunk, let it soak for a short while, then hose off with mist spray setting on gun. What about where the spark plugs are, for example?

Also, I want to do the area where the wiper motor is etc - take the full width black plastic cover off and do the shelf where these sit. Cover the motor etc. with bags too?

I think I'm on the right track of thinking, but never done this before, don't want to botch anything up so car doesn't start or anything. Should I run engine when spraying gunk off with hose? You know, that kind of thing. Should car be on stands so underside can be accessed, like bottom of sump etc. or just crawl underneath and aim spray?

Are there any threads on this I've missed, or any advice you can give me? Bear in mind I've never done this before. My engine is getting disgracefully dirty, and I want to clean it up to check for oil leaks etc. Not to bothered for now about high level detailing or anything, just want it looking honest.


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james butler
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Re: Degreasing engine

Post by james butler » Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:29 am

i just gunked mine and jet washed after.
plugs should be fine but avoid dizzy at all costs
stay away from battery and alternator but its not the end of the world if they get a bit wet.
i bought a cheap bog brush from pound stretcher as a scrubbing brush which works well as the bristles are quite stiff and the handles plastic so wont mark any paint work.
i did run the engine but thats only because if it cuts out whilst you are jet washing then the last thing that you washed was what killed it.
but to be honest its much safer to clean it with the engine off and just be careful.
dont flood the chamber where the wiper motor is as it will flood into the car if you spray the right area.
i found industrial wipes good for spot cleaning areas sensitive to water, just be careful you dont rub too hard or it can take fresh paint off.

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Joined:Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:41 am
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Re: Degreasing engine

Post by MK21800 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:20 am

Cheers James!

I'll probably take the battery out, as it goes, so I can do around underneath it. Will bear what you say in mind, good hint about the front shelf, may do that kind of more carefully by hand. My alternator's fairly new and clean, so will probably cover that up.

I reckon I may lift the front as well, to get underneath properly.

Not going to do it for a short while, bit tied up at the moment, but will check back here before I do it to see whether there's any more little useful hints.

Thanks a lot.

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Re: Degreasing engine

Post by Nate » Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:23 am

There is no need to remove, or particularly avoid the battery and alternator. They will get soaked anyway when you drive in the rain. Plugs and plug leads shouldn't be harmed either, and if they are they needed changing anyway. I'd just stick a bag over the dizzy to keep the worst of the wet off it and go nuts


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Re: Degreasing engine

Post by mark1gls » Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:47 pm

I Warm the engine, paint the gunk on with a paint brush let it soak in then scub it with a still brush I use a washing up brush add more gunk and a bit more scrubbing and let is soak for a bit longer then wash it off with a normal garden hose. If any bits I've missed give it another go with the gunk. Once it's clean start the engine and let it get nice and warm as it will dry it quicker and job done.
I would advoid to much scrubbing of the scuttle area and just use an old sponge and warm soapy water, VW did put waxoyl in there to stop it rusting and you don't want to scrub off all the protection.

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Joined:Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:41 am
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Re: Degreasing engine

Post by MK21800 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:39 pm

Well, had a go at it earlier, for my first go I don't reckon she came out too bad. No detailing or anything, this is just spray on, brush and wash off.

Bear in mind it was pretty dirty beforehand, and I ran out of gunk right at the end.

Started up, which was the important thing. For a while my bloody rad fan didn't work again, and then magically started working. However, I'll post that on my rad fan thread.

Here's a pic. Not perfect, but a good improvement. Ok-ish for a first attempt I guess.

Please excuse my crummy Motorola alternator, although it does seem to be doing the job (just).

Also, yeah I did kind of more "wipe" the scuttle bay with some jay cloths etc. although I did spray it with the gunk. Didn't really scrub it, didn't hose it down. Came out ok, although not visible at all in the photo. How would I know if I'd accidentally taken any waxoyl off?

Edit - sorry forgot to say, thanks for all the help everyone, much appreciated!
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Rusty dan
Joined:Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:00 pm

Re: Degreasing engine

Post by Rusty dan » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:58 am

Good result there.. need to do my engine bay badly and will in the coming week or so before SR Nats

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