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Discussion Starter #1
I thought about posting this in the detailing section but normally get more responses here.

Any advice on how to detail the engine?

Products to use?

Tips?

Thanks
 

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Don't use chemical cleaners or degreasers that turn your raw aluminum black. There are many discussions on this.
Don't use strong cleaners that will ruin your maintenance stickers and labels - I've done this on several cars!
I think start with a diluted Dawn mixture or a Simple Green mixture, and some soft bristled brushes and sponges you don't plan to keep.
Keep the water out of the electrics.
Try not to spray much water, and don't use high pressure sprayers.
Heavy grease I start with a soft putty knife and dull flat screwdrivers, old toothbrushes - don't make scratches. Then brake cleaner sprayed into a rag to wipe, then soap.
 

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Soapy water or some mixed simple green. paired with a medium to stiff bristled brush, not metal bristles though, along with a putty knife to scrape away gunk. A old tooth brush can help in small spots. If you use a screw driver cover the end in a rag to keep from scratching. If you have the time removing stuff like the exhaust manifold can make acsess easier. I would also use a towel to cover the alternator and anything else electrical. Also make sure to remove the battery not just disconnect it.
 

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Fill your pockets with quarters, go down to your local SpeedyWash® place, & blast the behoosis out of all that looks like it could use it [ watch the the area above the spark plug wells - bring along a hand towel ( or invent something better ) to lay on top of them and a old washcloth to osmos the water out that area -inevitably will sneak down into there ],
I also use this opportunity crawl around on hands/knees to spray off the underside ( what I can get to anyhow ), plus more quarters!
When you run out of quarters/dirt/goo/, dry out the spark wells ( by pushing 4 corners of washcloth one corner per well ), button 'er up, take a nice cuppla mile drive home to use engine heat to dry off most of engine moisture, get it in the garage/driveway/carport, wipe off the water spots on the paint, get a beer, open the hood, start noticing the things that might need detailing ( now that you can seem ), another beer, etc., etc. ( maybe change your pants for a pair that don't have giant wet spots on their knees would be helpful...
I do it approx. quarterly with exceptions for club rides through miles & miles of fresh sheep poop ( we had to stop to let the sheep go by on the same roadie were on, to another pasture, and there must have been a thousand of them if there was one. All being rounded by cabaleros riding quads... it was amazing.
 

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Here is one of the best engine video's I have ever seen (includes the above tips and more):

Mark
Thanks Mark. Lots of good tips there.

One critique though (I know this isn't your video, Mark!): the engine doesn't need to stay THAT dry. You want to avoid blasting pressurized water into connectors, but there is nothing in the engine bay that will be harmed by water dripping off the hood or even being gently sprayed. Otherwise you'd be in big trouble every time you drove in the rain! Spider doesn't seem to be bad but a lot of engines get absolutely soaked when driving in heavy rain.

I spray mine down pretty good when cleaning it. A couple of times I've gotten a little overzealous and filled the TPS connector with water and it didn't want to run right. A quick disconnect and dry solves that.
 

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Don't use chemical cleaners or degreasers that turn your raw aluminum black. There are many discussions on this.
Don't use strong cleaners that will ruin your maintenance stickers and labels - I've done this on several cars!
I think start with a diluted Dawn mixture or a Simple Green mixture, and some soft bristled brushes and sponges you don't plan to keep.
Keep the water out of the electrics.
Try not to spray much water, and don't use high pressure sprayers.
Heavy grease I start with a soft putty knife and dull flat screwdrivers, old toothbrushes - don't make scratches. Then brake cleaner sprayed into a rag to wipe, then soap.
Agree - I do the same.


Ken Smith
 

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Watch out if you hit the braided hoses with a high-pressure spray...you'll the eat the bejesus out of the braid. The Harley Davidson guys use an aluminum cleaner (sorry I don't recall the name..might have a number in the name) that is reputed to be magic. If you use high pressure keep it out of the electronics..nice to have compressed air to dry her out if necessary!! Good Luck
 

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A while ago I had the engine bays of my three classic cars blasted with dry ice. Works really well, but not really suitable for DIY as it takes quite a bit of specialised kit!


Only on very thick oil/crud/grime the dry ice doesn’t work that well. My Spider also had a Dinitrol anti-rust treatment. And that stuff was applied to the underside of the bonnet too. So twenty years of Spidering left it very mucky. I used very heavy industrial strength degreaser/cleaner and hosed it down with water:

 

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I've had amazing results by using engine degreaser and then rinsing off with just water. Engine looks brand new afterwards

Pete
 

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You can use an old turkey baster to suction water from the spark plug wells.

Take out the OVS and the top of the air box (S3 & S4), clean 'em up, and respray with SEM semi-gloss black (mask over the factory part no on the air box). Radiator top you can mask around and repaint in place. Same with the brake booster (flat black).

Maguire's Back to Black for the plastic air ducts. Wipe leakage or efflorescence off the vacuum hoses. Wire-brush rusty hose clamps and replace hardware-store clamps with the original Romabloc type. Trim the frayed ends off the fabric hoses; shoe polish can make them look almost new again.

For the love of God, please no blue hoses.

The aluminum castings - plenum, cam cover - come up nice with a hand-held brass wire brush. Oil, radiator & overflow caps, wire wheel with the electric drill.

Check the wiring, after 30+ years there's usually a few bodges and sloppy work to tidy up. Shakey can replace missing or broken wire clips with perfect 3D printed parts. A set of factory plug wires, properly routed . . . .

Several vendors sell replacement factory sticker sets.

Almost no money, a few hours of very enjoyable work, and worth about 50 HP in owner satisfaction. Be proud when you pop that hood!

David O'D
Laguna CA
 

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A while ago I had the engine bays of my three classic cars blasted with dry ice.
That is interesting. A dealer had the underside of my Montreal dry ice blasted and repainted too. I suspect dry ice blasting did an amazing job getting rid of old asphalt based undercoating as none remains. It was harsh on a couple of plastic or rubber bits. I am surprised to hear of using this technique on an engine compartment. Could the paint on the inner fenders be blasted without damage? I imagine he had to be very careful around plastic and rubber parts.

Mark
 

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Check out Chris Fix on You Tube - Great young man with many DIY videos; and one on washing your engine bay.
 

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For solvents, I use mineral spirits on metal surfaces and a 50-50 mix of liquid dish soap and water on rubber or plastic surfaces. Old toothbrushes, Q-Tips, toothpicks, rags, and papertowels are the tools.
 

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I use Gunk Foamy engine cleaner. Not as strong as the original Gunk, but no strong smell that can last a while.

And, if you haven't already found out, Alfa carefully designed the spark plug wells to deflect any water sprayed at them right back in the user's face. Using a residential water hose to rinse off any cleaner can demonstrate this characteristic, but it's especially noticeable when using the wand at a coin car wash.
 

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condedrive said:
And, if you haven't already found out, Alfa carefully designed the spark plug wells to deflect any water sprayed at them right back in the user's face.
LOL!

Pete
 
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