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WAshing the car engine

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Feb 10, 2010, 3:55 PM

Post #1 of 12 (11267 views)
     WAshing the car engine  

I just purchased a 1992 Ford F150 with the 302. The truck has been very well taken care of and the paint is in great shape, but the motor is a bit dirty with dust and some dirt. How can i clean my engine without doing any damage to it?

Thank you,

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

Feb 10, 2010, 5:02 PM

Post #2 of 12 (11260 views)
     Re: WAshing the car engine [In reply to]  

Don't clean it with water! Use rags and wipe it clean as best you can. Lately I've discovered the no touch tire foam and still touch and wipe it down looks pretty good! More trouble is caused with cleaning than the dirt will do especially pressure washing! Do any detail with engine cold or close and others may disagree but I would strictly avoid water,

Long retired now


Mar 5, 2010, 5:19 AM

Post #3 of 12 (11230 views)
     Re: WAshing the car engine [In reply to]  

Drive the car and get the engine to operating temperature. Rinse it off with a pressure washer but try to avoid electrical components or cover them. The water will just boil on the hot engine and evaporate before it can do any damage to your engine.

Hope this will help

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

Mar 5, 2010, 6:47 AM

Post #4 of 12 (11229 views)
     Re: WAshing the car engine [In reply to]  

Just what I suggest NOT to do! Hot engine = broken parts when shocked cold. Unseen puddles of water in wrong places and more. Broken exhaust manifold(s) cracks in pipes, shields. Degreasers of any kind remove protective coatings from items and causes corrosion. The usual grease and dirt isn't hurting anything, why make trouble?

Is something like this worth it?

Long retired now


Mar 5, 2010, 11:51 AM

Post #5 of 12 (11224 views)
     Re: WAshing the car engine [In reply to]  

Thank you. I suppose i will leave it alone. Not like im going to be showing off the motor any how lol. Just got the truck and been cleaning it up. Thanks for the post.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

Mar 5, 2010, 5:23 PM

Post #6 of 12 (11221 views)
     Re: WAshing the car engine [In reply to]  

I think I was a bit hard on using water on the post that suggested it with warm/hot engine. You certainly can clean it all up without hosing it down or pressure washing! I'm a freak for a few of my TOO MANY vehicles and keep them clean everywhere.

Under-hood, I like to use....

* The tire foam stuff

* Plain yellow can pledge furniture polish!

* Good old WD-40

* Rags, bottle brushes or whatever to reach difficult area.

All of the above don't hurt stuff and done cool colder engine. Also the same products are good for door jams, trunk guttering, the Pledge on rubber door, hood, trunk weatherstripping.

If you want to get fussy with plastic air intake duct work, take it all off and remove electrical stuff and clean that off and away from the vehicle - dry it out completely and re-install.


Engine electrical anything should not be sprayed up hard with water or cleaners - anyone who want to go for it. See what can happen to coils, alternators, starters, this list is endless. All that junk that plugs in everywhere is frequently greased when new and washing that away (water shouldn't get in anyway) doesn't help anything.

If things are way too oily or greasy then there's something to fix. Some over time is normal,

Long retired now

New User

Apr 12, 2010, 1:21 PM

Post #7 of 12 (11123 views)
     Re: WAshing the car engine [In reply to]  

you can do this by vacuum cleaner this will help you without damage your engine and you can clean your engine



(link removed - not allowed)

(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on Apr 12, 2010, 4:16 PM)

New User

Jul 30, 2010, 7:13 AM

Post #8 of 12 (10913 views)
     Re: WAshing the car engine [In reply to]  

  1. Warm up the engine slightly. Do not get the engine to operating temperature, but allow it to run for a minute or so if it is heavily soiled.
  2. Move the car to an area where the soap and material cleaned off will not cause damage or enter a storm drain. If you do not have access to a suitable location, take the vehicle to a car wash with an industrial wastewater treatment system. This is especially important if there is a lot of oil and sludge residue on the engine.
  3. Remove the negative terminal cable on the battery then the positive.
  4. Cover any exposed electrical components with a plastic bag or plastic wrap. This will prevent the electrical components of the car from being exposed to water which will be needed.
  5. Cover the breather or air intake and carburetor on older engines with heavy aluminum foil or plastic. You may choose to tape or tie this in place, since water can cause serious problems if allowed into this area.
  6. Brush any loose dirt or debris from the engine surfaces, either using a stiff bristle paint brush, or a plastic bristle cleaning brush.
  7. Mix a solution of "grease cutting" dish detergent and water, using about 2 cups detergent to one gallon water.
  8. Brush your solution on the engine, working it into the dirtiest areas, wetting them thoroughly.
  9. Get a garden hose. Thoroughly rinse the engine.
  10. Consult the vehicle's service manual and look up material that will be needed to clean the engine block and other metal parts. For heavy grease, you may have to use a solvent like mineral spirits, but engine de-greaser, available at automotive supply stores would be better. A household de-greaser such as Simple Green may also be effective. Be sure to follow the instructions on the container.
  11. Remove plastic after rinsing engine and cleaning away residue of whatever chemical that you used to clean the metal components.
  12. Let the engine dry. Most engines with high energy ignitions will run with the plug wires (and distributor) wet, but may misfire or run "rough" until these components dry out completely.
  13. Remove all the materials you used to cover electrical and fuel system components.

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

Jul 30, 2010, 7:58 AM

Post #9 of 12 (10907 views)
     Re: WAshing the car engine [In reply to]  

Since there is no safe or legal way to wash a greasy engine, we do not endorse doing it all.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

Jul 30, 2010, 8:53 AM

Post #10 of 12 (10901 views)
     Re: WAshing the car engine - NOT WITH WATER [In reply to]  

matthewsmith: Don't know where you found that bit Matthew but it's just plain stupid if not illegal!

I just got thru (old thread) saying what damage comes from cleaning and engine with water and you say to do it.

Folks aren't exactly driving somewhere and engine is cool now for your industrial waste place to wash it are they?

Electrical items everwhere are water resistant but not generally water proof. If you want to do this have at it. When perhaps hundreds to thousands of dollars in damage happens at least they'll be clean parts to throw out.

If it can't be done dry and cold when greasy build up from a problem may have happened then take those parts off to clean them if really necessary.

Washing engine is not endorsed by me other than already stated. Car collectors - do what you need to for show cars and don't know any that already don't have a plan that doesn't ruin parts,

Tom Greenleaf


Jan 20, 2011, 1:46 AM

Post #11 of 12 (7612 views)
     Re: WAshing the car engine [In reply to]  

Thank u for giving information of washing tips. It will helpful to me for caring my car.

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

Jan 20, 2011, 8:20 AM

Post #12 of 12 (7608 views)
     Re: WAshing the car engine [In reply to]  


Your worthless comments to all these old threads is of no benefit to anyone. You can't be here simply to promote your business.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

WAshing the car engine

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