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Engine Cleaning

Hey Slash,
Firstly, the key to keeping your engine clean is to clean it often otherwise the engine grime tends to build up real fast and makes it a real chore to clean when you do decide to do it. Get yourself to your nearest auto parts store or Walmart and pickup a can of both foaming and non foaming Gunk engine cleaner and whatever type of engine dressing. Before you clean you must make sure that your engine is warm to the touch and not hot and that your fenders are protected by plastic (garbage bag). You also have to cover your alternator and distributor with plastic as well. Now take the NON foaming engine cleaner and spray it everywhere and if you have any really bad areas, brush them with a stiff plastic brush you can get at the $ store. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then hose off. Unless you really know what you are doing, DO NOT use a pressure sprayer, just a regular garden hose sprayer. Now that you've removed most of the dirt, let the engine dry a bit (I usually speed this up by wiping off the excess water with a rag). Then repeat with the foaming cleaner which will attack the more stubborn dirt . Hose off and relube all necessary item like hood latch etc and remove plastic and start her up. Don't worry if the truck stutters a bit since sometimes water gets where it shouldn't but it will go away. Take it for a spin to heat up the engine so it will dry faster. After all that, spray on some engine dressing, stand back and smile. It'll look great. It is really a lot easier and faster than it may sound.

Good luck,

I've been using Castrol SuperClean ever since it came out and really like it. (I was using Gunk and was not happy with all the fuss.)

Now I just spray on the SuperClean and hose it off with warm water. Since I do this on a regular basis, there's no big deposit build up and it only take about 6-8 minutes total.

The SuperClean is amazing. It seems to melt grease on contact!
I'll see if I can find it here in Canada and will give it a try. Otherwise, everything else still applies just maybe substitute with Castrol.


I like to use Dow Bathroom Cleaner or Simple Green.
I found out this works best on a cool motor and engine compartment.

I agree with TLB that simple green is the way to go. I hate the smell of the gunk, it seems to linger for days, and the castrol super clean is way to strong, it even has the acid warning on the bottle, for my baby. It attacks and pits the aluminum. Simple green is safe, bio degradable, and more than strong enough for basic underhood cleaning.
i've never formally washed my engine before.... normally i just use a paper towel and wipe.. but is it okay for me to take a garden hose under the hood??? It won't mess up my engine,spark plugs,etc? if that's the case then i'll spray my engine more often ;)
Poetrybo said:
i've never formally washed my engine before.... ?normally i just use a paper towel and wipe.. but is it okay for me to take a garden hose under the hood??? ?It won't mess up my engine,spark plugs,etc? ?if that's the case then i'll spray my engine more often ;)

A garden hose will not hurt your engine.....if you know what your doing. Avoid full pressure around the alternator and other electrical components. Just use a soft spray and you can use full pressure around areas that dont have electrical components. I hose it down and soak it with simple green....shut the hood and start the engine...this kind of acts as a steam clean. When I'm done I'll shut off the engine and rinse it down. If it's still dirty I will take some sort of sponge and soak it again with simple green and scrub those stubborn areas. Works for me everytime!
I buy gallon jugs of pressure washer degreaser fluid, put it in a pump spray bottle undiluted, and use this to clean the engine. It's a lot cheaper than Simple Green, $5 a gallon, and works just as well.
i just do mine very often with a soapy rag. then i rinse it off. i dry it afterwards to prevent spotting.
those engine cleaners are so harsh. i had the Gunk cleaner eat the paint off a car i used it on. and no, i did not leave it on there very long. and i cold smell the diesel fuel smell it left behind for a week.