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Engine Detailing


Full Member
Dec 1, 2002
Romeoville Illinois
I just bought a 2003 Avalanche ?;D and I was wondering what is the best way to keep the engine clean without causing problems to the electrical system.
757Tech, Congrats on your 2003!!

I just got my 2003 one month ago and I plan on doing the same thing I did with my previous truck, Open the hood, use a wet soapy rag and get most of the tops of the covers and major components wiped with the soapy water and then just hose it off with a fine mist.

I just sold my 5 year old Explorer to the 1st person that saw it and when showing the engine compartment to them they were amazed. You could literally eat off of the engine. :cool:

Just a little time and a gently spray of water should keep it clean. Next step would be detailing and I am sure you will get lots of posts to help with that.

Just browse through the advice section and you will find lots of info for detailing every part of the AV.

Good luck,

if you do what GMAN say's that should work just fine. i do it every time i wash. the more you do it the easier it is. the payoff is worth it. i had a '95 Tahoe that i traded in '00. the dealer was very impressed with the engine compartment. i got about $21k on trade-in. i also had only 50k miles on it.
Many ways to clean.......wipe down, spray down etc etc...

After that I suggest using the STONERS MSLT (more shine less time) product or the other one people are using on the cladding as it works well and is a spray and leave it product
I have used the same method for many years and it has worked fine.

Wash engine / compartment with SimpleGreen and a soft rag, rinse with a hose, take a quick ride at around 130 MPH.................Done !
I use the soapy rag method....just be sure not to spray cold water on a hot engine. I always clean the engine compartment first thing on a weekend before we go anywhere. :B:
Here in the land of salt on the roads for winter, I use the soapy rag and gentle rinse trick also. I use the Stoners trim cleaner on the plastic parts like the fan shroud, fuse box, etc. The washing makes a big difference and helps keep the salt corrosion down. I try to do it 1x a week, if the temperature cooperates. :p

Next house, I need a heated garage with a washing bay... hmmm, wait a min, maybe I need to do a mod... >:D
I actually spray mine off at the car wash, but the car wash is not very far from my home so engine doesnt get real hot before. I am careful not to get too much water near the main fuse box or firewall. Then its a quick spray down with WD40 and wipe off excess. Have done this for over a year now without any problems
Have put simple green in a spray bottle and soak the entire engine compartment down and let sit a few minutes and hose it off real well. If you do it every oil change you don't get any of the build up that is hard to get off.
After washing entire AV, i start it and let it run with hood cracked open to dry everything out. Once dry i spray everything down with Son of a gun and start up again to heat it up and dry it all out. Shines better than the tires do. If you live in a dusty area leave out the son of a gun..........dust sticks to it. During hunting season i leave out the protectant so i do not get extra dust clinging to everything under the hood.
Gunk engine cleaner works real well if you have build up, but found out after reading it has alot of diesel type fluids in it and the run off is not good for mother nature so i stopped using that one........
I usually use a rag and spray surface gleam (purple stuff) from State chemical on the rag and wipe everywhere that my beautiful hand reaches, do this periodically and you should not have a problem with build up
you could do it every oil change. that is a good idea. i just do it everytime i wash. takes more time to wash, but easier under the; less build-up.
as far as that Gunk is concerned...that stuff smells like crap. i used it once on my old car. i smelled it for a week. now that you mention it i did have a diesel smell in the car. :7:
I just keep the hood closed, then it doesn't matter what the engine looks like! (y)
I actually outlined how to give your Av's engine bay the big clean in another post a long time ago, but I'll repeat for all. The whole procedure takes about 15 minutes, then about an hour of wait time followed by 5 to 10 more minutes of work.

1) Take your Avalanche and drive it around until the engine bay has warmed up.

2) Go to a "do it yourself" car wash. You'll need to have a bottle of Simply Green and enough quarters for two minimum washes.

3) Almost all "do it yourself" car washes have two settings on the sprayer, a light mist or full blast when you squeeze the trigger. Using the light mist and leaving the engine running, mist down your entire engine bay. The electrical system is tough but be sensitive not to fire hose down your alternator. After you've soaked down the engine bay take the Simply Green and simply spray it everywhere in the engine bay. If you have some really difficult greasy spot consider using the "do it yourself" carwash engine bay cleaner, however I've found that the cleaner is very harsh. Close your hood.

4) Let your Avalanche idle for about five minutes. You should smell a strong odor of Simply Green. You are basically steam cleaning your engine.

5) Open the hood again and take the "do it yourself" car wash wand again and this time use the high perssure rinse. Start on the top of the hood and work your way down first. If you don't the Simply Green that soaked into the insulation will just drip on your engine. ALWAYS stand at a distance, do not blast engine components and leave the engine idling. You won't hurt your intakes or electrical system as long as you take your time, don't get too close with the noozle and work with short bursts.

6) Take a rag and wipe down the cool parts of your engine bay, close the hood and drive home.

7) Once home open up the hood and let things cool down and dry out. Depending on the weather this can take from 15 minutes to an hour. Take a clean dry cotton towel and wipe down and stray water spots in your engine bay. Consider using some 303 or Eagle 1 Protectorant on your hoses and other rubber components.

Congrats! Your engine bay should look like new! :love: :B:
I had a real bad experience with Gunk Engine Degreaser on my new at the time Land Rover.

Seems that some engine compartments and components have an invisible protective coating of some sort which is applied at the factory.

Harsh Engine Degreasers will melt the coating and cause it to skin and peel leaving an ugly mess.

I don't know if G.M. has any coating applied to engine components and I do not want to find out so I stick with Soapy water and or Simple Green.
Another cool way of detailing your engine, especially when the vehicle is still new is to paint raised letters.

I just bought a new 2003 AV. I ordered some enamel paint pens from Testors. I used the fluorescent red to paint the "Vortec" word on the engine cover, anything that is raised on the engine. When done, it really looks cool, makes the engine look like it belongs in a Porsche or any other high performance brand.

Just make sure the engine is not warm when you do this, wipe each surface with alcohol first to get rid of any oily residue so the paint sticks better, and it really helps to have a very steady hand for all those straight lines. Fortunately mine are.

I picked up this tip from another cool website called GM Trucks. com
My Avs engine compartment gets s bath everytime I wash the truck I take the water remaining in wash bucket add a little more carwash liquid and some warm water and splash it on everywhere and take an old wash mit and clean up the black plastic let soak about 10 minutes and the hose off after 15 months its cleaner than the day I brought her home. Thats my method a clean engine is a happy engine. (y) (y) I do part-time work out of my garage and believe me I see dirty compartments and it makes my job well dirtier.

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Mine goes to the spray wash about every 5-6 months. I spray it down rinse it, drive it home. By the time I finish washing/detailing the Av at home, I soak the entire engine compartment down with Armour All.

SHINEY ! ! ! ! ;D

I think I might try the steam cleaning approach. After my little "mudding" adventure all I used was simple green and I was amazed with the results.....looks like a brand new engine. Check out how diry my engine was!

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Conwayavalancher said:
I think I might try the steam cleaning approach. ?After my little "mudding" adventure all I used was simple green and I was amazed with the results.....looks like a brand new engine. ?Check out how diry my engine was!

:eek: WOW! :eek:

That has to be the dirtiest engine bay I have ever seen in my life! :2: Did you go mudding or did you bury your Av!

Still that had to have been one fun trip. (y)
dude, are you serious? i could not do that to my AV in a million years. i almost cried when i saw that pic. :cry:
i feel for your truck. but, keep on muddin' dude.
after taking my AV off roading, my engine bay is filthy, there is grass every where in there and no white paint left. I need to know what to cover up, like electrical wise in order to spray it down, if anything
Here's one way to minimize dirt getting to your engine compartment. It's cheap and easy to install. Go to a Home Depot and buy about 8 feet of water pipe insulating material (looks like a sponge rubber hose). Cut the hose lengthwise in half. Use the part with adhesive and attach around your underhood (so it seals the space between hood, fender and front grill). Remove those two rubber things on the fenders. I've installed on my AV, and engine doesn't get dirty as it used to be. Real cheap and seals dirt out.

cybercop said:
Here's one way to minimize dirt getting to your engine compartment. ?It's cheap and easy to install. ?Go to a Home Depot and buy about 8 feet of water pipe insulating material (looks like a sponge rubber hose). ?Cut the hose lengthwise in half. ?Use the part with adhesive and attach around your underhood (so it seals the space between hood, fender and front grill). ?Remove those two rubber things on the fenders. ?I've installed on my AV, and engine doesn't get dirty as it used to be. ?Real cheap ?and seals dirt out.

cybercop ?

i'm sure it seals out dirt. the same idea entered my head as well. however, i thought that the seal would trap heat. as we all know heat is the enemy. you may want to think about this mod. does anyone feel the same way? ???
I used a product called ENGINE DETAILER made by CD2. My neighbor gave me some and it worked great under the hood of my ole Miata. Aluminum does not get the white dust on it anymore.

Anyone know where to buy this, on-line or in a store. DISCOUNT AUTO used to carry it but they were swallowed by ADVANCE who in my opinion have a poor variety of products.