Author Topic: Washing engines...  (Read 458 times)

Offline Cape Cod Fleetwood

  • Posts: 191
  • Name: Laurie Kraynick
Washing engines...
« on: February 07, 2018, 09:10:50 AM »
Back in the OLD days it was common to take my cars to the car wash and into the DIY bay, and wash the engine with the wand. Kept the car running, brick on the gas to keep the RPMs up. If the engine faultered when a certain area was hit with water/soap you didn't wash that area again...

So I told Mike I wanted to wash the engine and do all the engine mntx before the car goes into the shop.

And he fainted. " do not wash the engine "

Why can't I wash the engine?

Laurie?
There are 2 kinds of cars in the world, Cadillac and everything else....

The Present -1970 Fleetwood Brougham

The Past -
1996 Deville Concours
1987 Sedan De Ville "Commonwealth Edition"
1981 Coupe De Ville (8-6-4)
1976 Sedan De Ville
1975 Sedan De Ville

The Daily Driver and work slave -
2008 GMC Acadia SLT *options/all

Offline 57shark82

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  • Name: Tim Neumann
Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 09:52:15 AM »

There are some chemicals and degreasers you can buy to scrub an engine.  I personally wouldn't recommend doing it when the engine is hot or running.  You run the risk of causing damage.  Hot engine+cold water=metal fatigue.
Tim

CLC Member #30850

1957 Cadillac Series 62 "The Shark"
**coming soon 1955 CDV

Former classics

1940 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Coupe "Scarlett"
1941 Ford 1 ton truck
1954 Buick Special 48D 2 Door "Betty Buick"
1955 Packard Clipper Super
1962 VW Beetle
1962 Dodge 880
1966 Mercury Montclair 4 Door "Mr. Merc"
1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396
1968 Plymouth Barracuda 318
1977 Lincoln Continental MK V

Offline Dan LeBlanc

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Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2018, 09:56:01 AM »
LISTEN TO YOUR MECHANIC!!!!

A pressure washer under the hood is a recipe for disaster.

My method is to remove the air cleaner, place a plastic grocery bag over the carburetor and secure tightly at the base.  Also protect the alternator.  Spray with degreaser (many options there) and use a detailing brush to scrub heavily soiled areas.  Then, I use a garden hose with a gentle stream to just rinse away the cleaner.  Dry everything with a chamois or where i cant get a chamois into, I use an air hose with very light air pressure to blow out the water in the nooks and crannies.  Follow that up with Griot's Engine bay dressing.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 09:57:43 AM by Dan LeBlanc »
Dan LeBlanc - CLC # 27657
1970 DeVille Convertible
1977 Continental Town Car

Online Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

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  • Name: Eric DeVirgilis
Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2018, 10:03:30 AM »
The man is right.

Firstly, keeping the engine running while pressure washing is a terrible idea. Water can be sucked into the air cleaner, into the carburetor and into the engine resulting in severe engine damage. Nor would I ever trust a brick on the pedal which is also a terrible idea. Engine should be washed when cold as well.

Older engines should not be pressure washed at all. Cleaning should be done by hand as much as possible. Water should be used as sparingly as possible when rinsing. Before restarting, always remove and inspect the distributor cap for moisture. DO NOT restart until all moisture is removed! Timing chain can be destroyed.
A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for Which There is no Acceptable Substitute

Offline Barry M Wheeler #2189

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  • Name: Barry Wheeler
Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2018, 10:22:08 AM »
Or, you can try very hard to not get it dirty...
Barry M. Wheeler #2189

1979 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville
2016 Cadillac ATS

Offline "Cadillac Kid" Greg Surfas 15364

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Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2018, 10:35:03 AM »
I've used "Gunk" degreaser for decades and it works well for light grease.  I just tried a degreaser Sold by Northern Tool and it seems to work even better. Trick is to keep any chemicals away from your paint and avoid excessive water spray and pressure around wiring.  With the air cleaner on avoiding water into the engine (with the engine OFF) is not a problem. 
Once the engine compartment and the components are clean and painted, using simple green seems to work quite well.

OR, you can spend a fortune, have everything coated, chromed or polished and then spend all your free time keeping it up
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
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514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline 59-in-pieces

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Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2018, 11:23:22 AM »
Barry,
Impressive - vary sanitary.
Have fun,
Steve B.
S. Butcher

Offline Cadillac Nut

  • Posts: 280
  • Name: Garrett C. Baker
Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2018, 12:52:53 PM »
I do what Dan does, can us a leaf blower to blow it off as long as carb is tightly sealed.  Put a plastic bag over the distributor too. 

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

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  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2018, 04:51:33 PM »
Back in the day, I used to wash my engines using the wand, and never had any problems at all, except sometimes I used to put plastic around the Alternator, and also sprayed the distributor cap internals with DWF.

Where I used to work, the engines on every car we sold was washed down with the wand, and concentrating on the inner fenders and firewall, and suspension.   We washed on an average 8 cars a week, for 51 weeks of the year, every year.

After the wash, we would blow off the engine with compressed air, then spray a bit of something on it to stop any rusting, and that was up until I transferred out of there in 1996.

The engines were never left running, and immediately started up at the conclusion, and occasionally there would be a bit of a miss, but everything soon ironed out.

As for washing down a late model engine with all the electrics and stuff now....... heck no.

The biggest thing to do is not be stupid and hold the spray directly onto the electrical components.

Bruce. >:D

PS.   One has to remember that water gets into the engine bay whenever the vehicle is driven in the rain, or through standing, or flowing water.
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
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Offline Jeff Rose CLC #28373

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  • Name: Jeff Rose
Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2018, 05:55:57 PM »
I am cheap--- Just keep the hood closed.
Jeff
Jeff
CLC #28373
1970 Coupe DeVille
1955 Series 62

Offline cadillacmike68

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  • Name: M Santos
Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2018, 05:57:47 PM »
Don't go crazy with it and you should be Ok. You only need water from a hose to rinse off the top areas. The bottom areas - well it depends on how dirty it is...

I get the car warm - but not hot. I shut it off, spay the cleaner, brush where it's really bad, etc, wait a bit and then rinse it off. After a few more mins, I start it. I usually keep the air cleaner on when washing it, that gets dirty too!, and then I take it off after when I start it to dry it all up. Very minimal spraying around the distributor cap. Alternator was never a problem, It's mostly sealed and unless you aim the hose at the back vents, you're not going to hurt it.
Regards,
"Cadillac" Mike
Current:
1968 DeVille Convertible
1996 Fleetwood Brougham
2009 STS NorthStar Platinum ed RWD
2011 CTS PRemiun ed Sedan RWD
Past:
2008 CTS Premium ed Sedan AWD
2005 CTS Hi-Feature Sedan RWD
2000 ElDorado ESC Hard Boot Convertible
1995 Fleetwood Brougham
1973 Sedan DeVille
1970 Fleetwood Brougham
1969 DeVille Convertible

Offline Cape Cod Fleetwood

  • Posts: 191
  • Name: Laurie Kraynick
Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2018, 10:57:50 PM »
WOW! A CLC forum hung jury!
Its winter here, no outside water now.
I own pressure washers for work, that DIY bay isn't 2K psi.
<sigh>
Really wanted a clean engine....
Laurie
PS Mike is body/paint, Scott is the mech, haven't asked him yet....
PSS Can't keep the hood closed, gotta show off that $360 period correct battery!
There are 2 kinds of cars in the world, Cadillac and everything else....

The Present -1970 Fleetwood Brougham

The Past -
1996 Deville Concours
1987 Sedan De Ville "Commonwealth Edition"
1981 Coupe De Ville (8-6-4)
1976 Sedan De Ville
1975 Sedan De Ville

The Daily Driver and work slave -
2008 GMC Acadia SLT *options/all

Offline jaxops

  • Mark Monaghan
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Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2018, 07:50:40 AM »
We can empathize with the $360 battery!!!!  Oi!

The comment about "...just take it easy" is best. Keep a nozzle on the hose to control where you wash and keep away from the air cleaner/inlet, generator/alternator, and distributor.  Covering them up as stated is the best idea.  I run the engine after I blow down the engine bay with LP air.

1970 Buick Electra Convertible
1956 Cadillac Series 75 Limousine
1949 Cadillac Series 75 Imperial Limousine
1989 Ford Crown Victoria Station Wagon
1997 Lincoln Town Car
AACA, Cadillac-LaSalle Club #24591, ASWOA

Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2018, 01:29:32 PM »
Both as a working mechanic and as a hobbyist, I have never shied away from washing a motor.  I normally get the engine hot, spray it with a parts store de-greaser with the engine off, let the de-greaser soak in for a few minutes, restart the engine, and rinse it off with a hose while the engine is running.  I often will protect the distributor with plastic (but not always!).  I am very careful not to spray the distributor with water.  And I keep water away from the air cleaner's intake.  I prefer a garden hose over a high pressure wand for greater control of where the water ends up.

In general, getting water on the outside of the engine is not a problem.  Heck, what do you think happens when you drive a car through a puddle?

I find it much more enjoyable to work on a clean motor.  I find that I am less stressed and do a better job.
Art Gardner


1955 S60 Fleetwood sedan

Offline Bobby B

  • Posts: 1828
  • Mendham, New Jersey
  • Name: Bob Bender
Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2018, 02:00:41 PM »
Both as a working mechanic and as a hobbyist, I have never shied away from washing a motor.  I normally get the engine hot, spray it with a parts store de-greaser with the engine off, let the de-greaser soak in for a few minutes, restart the engine, and rinse it off with a hose while the engine is running.  I often will protect the distributor with plastic (but not always!).  I am very careful not to spray the distributor with water.  And I keep water away from the air cleaner's intake.  I prefer a garden hose over a high pressure wand for greater control of where the water ends up.

In general, getting water on the outside of the engine is not a problem.  Heck, what do you think happens when you drive a car through a puddle?

I find it much more enjoyable to work on a clean motor.  I find that I am less stressed and do a better job.

Art,
 I agree with you 100%. Never had a problem as long as you take certain precautions. I tell all my friends who drop off cars for me to do major work on to either bring it in clean, or I'm doing it. Can't stand doing a lot of work on a filthy, leaking, greasy engine. Everything goes way quicker when the engine's clean. Plus a good coat of paint afterwards makes it look like a Million bucks.....
                                                                                                        Bobby
1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
1968 Mustang Convertible
1973 Mustang Convertible
1969 Jaguar E-Type Roadster
1971 Datsun 240Z
1979 H-D FLH

Offline Chuck Swanson

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Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2018, 07:32:17 PM »
Same here, have done hundreds of times with no issues, ditto on all of the tips , alternator, dist, etc...  I also ran a hot water spigot to outside so I can use all year :)  Chuck
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 07:35:28 PM by Chuck Swanson »
66 DeVille Convertible (3)
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64 2 door
66 Sedan DeVille hardtop
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67 Chevy II Nova (AACA GN 2016)
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Offline Cape Cod Fleetwood

  • Posts: 191
  • Name: Laurie Kraynick
Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2018, 12:29:49 AM »
AND its going to be getting a bath....
Talked to the mechanic today, he said "are you nuts?" I said the Caddy, not the Acadia. "Oh, don't let it inhale any water..."
You guys rock!
\m/
Laurie!
There are 2 kinds of cars in the world, Cadillac and everything else....

The Present -1970 Fleetwood Brougham

The Past -
1996 Deville Concours
1987 Sedan De Ville "Commonwealth Edition"
1981 Coupe De Ville (8-6-4)
1976 Sedan De Ville
1975 Sedan De Ville

The Daily Driver and work slave -
2008 GMC Acadia SLT *options/all

Offline jdemerson

  • 1952 Cadillac 6219X Vermont -- Emerson
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  • Name: John D Emerson
Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2018, 06:50:32 AM »
Here's a link to a very detailed description of how to clean and engine, with illustrations on four different cars and trucks. It's pretty good and does cover a lot of bases. Video is 21 minutes long.

John Emerson
1952 Cadillac Sedan 6219X
John Emerson
Middlebury, Vermont
CLC member #26790
1952 Series 6219X
http://bit.ly/21AGnvn

Offline Scot Minesinger

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Re: Washing engines...
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2018, 08:11:22 AM »
I agree with your mechanic do not wash the engine with the wand because the engine should not be running when you do it, and you did not know that.  People who understand the purpose of each engine bay part and know what to stay away from with the wand while engine is off can do it.  For example, you stay away from electrical wiring connectors, but hit the inner fenders. 

Plus there is a big difference between a quick wash and a detail in terms of labor.  If you drive only in good weather and put less than 5k miles on a year, it is easy to keep engine clean once it is detailed. 
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

 

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