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  1. #1
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    Cleaning the engine bay

    Just wondering what people use to keep their engine bay clean. I've lived at two places that were actively under construction and as a result my engine bay looks like I take it off-roading on a regular basis (just dust and dirt). Any products you can suggest would be great.

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  2. #2
    Mike
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    Simple Green or a Citrus cleaner works great.

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  3. #3
    Jose Luis
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  4. #4
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shazam View Post
    Simple Green or a Citrus cleaner works great.
    Do you just spray it on and hose off with water? Any precautions to take and cover any parts or areas? I assume the engine should be cold but what do you do with the runoff? I imagine oil, grease and cleaner can't be good when it ends up in street drains. Or do you do this at a self-serve car wash?

    I always thought you should leave the engine bay as is and not mess with it. But it is also nice to have a clean engine. And easier to spot problem areas like leaks and such.

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  5. #5
    Mike
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    I do it in the driveway when the engine is cold. Normally I give it a good spray with a citrus based cleaner or even a mild dish-soap solution, and with a soft brush just start scrubbing everything. I'm careful around hoses, and try to stay away from wires and if I'm getting crazy I wrap up the alternator with saran-wrap to keep it dry. I don't scrub the bottom, just where I can fit my hand and brush which isn't far. So most of what comes off isn't more than dirt. Because such a small amount of oil comes off, I just let it run off the drive way. Really isn't a realistic way to catch the stuff that I can think of; short of parking on top of a tarp and then collecting the run-off. But then what do you do with it? Once I've happy with my scrubbing (under plastic covers and stuff too) and just spray it all off. If I'm feeling real crazy, I'll wax the inside of the bay as well, but it's been years since I've done that... come to think about it, my engine bay is quite dirty.

    I've also heard that you can try Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner. Just spray it on, let it sit for a bit, then spray it off. If you do it every car wash, supposedly it will look like new in two or three washes.

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  6. #6
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
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    I use the spray on engine cleaners available in auto stores, take it to a car wash and spray the whole thing with low pressure water. I keep away from delicate electrical parts (alternator, distributors on cars that have them), etc. Never had a problem, just don't use high pressure water!

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  7. #7
    Saab Enthusiast ChuckC's Avatar
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    Cleaning the Engine Compartment

    Anyone have some good tips on cleaning and degreasing the engine/compartment without jacking up the electrical components?

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    Last edited by nordwulf; 03 June 2013 at 15:27. Reason: merged with other thread

  8. #8
    Dave T.
    Super Moderator Dave T's Avatar
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    There are two reasons to clean the engine, to make it clean and to make it look clean.

    To make it look clean, start by washing the large black plastic pieces. One can do that with a very small stream of water that is unlikely to hurt anything. Wash the radiator cross member, air filter housing, remove the batter cover and wash that, wash some larger hoses. That makes a big improvement.

    To make it clean, do the above but then wash specific components or hoses. A gentle rinse then using Simple Green works. I don't spray the engine but wash specific parts that I can identify. If I can't identify it and it looks fragile, I don't wash it. To change the oil of a 2003-2012 9-3, one has to remove a plastic engine cover to access the oil filter housing. This is a big black piece that, if clean, makes the engine look clean. Under that is a lot of electronics, which I don't wash. At most, I'll wipe it with a rag.

    I don't spray water on the brake fluid reservoir. Instead, I damp wipe it.

    Formula 401, available in supermarkets and used to clean the kitchen counter, might work similar to Simple Green, but I've never used it.

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  9. #9
    mdb99@bellsouth.net
    Oh! I Get It Now Mike Brennan's Avatar
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    To properly clean a motor compartment is a lot of work to do it right. I use blue paper towels and charcoal lighter fluid. I squirt it directly onto areas of grease and it breaks up immediately and flows down. Then I wipe. After the grease is gone I clean it with the towel with some fluid on the towel.. Eventually you have to go under the motor and start cleaning it there too. Most of the grease has flowed off onto the ground. Sounds stupid but it works very well and does not harm anything.

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  10. #10
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    Sounds like with a large plastic trash bag covered with a few news papers to suck up the drippings you would be all set. I still have a few cans of "Gunk" engine degreaser that I use very sparingly on the lower areas that have some old oil build up mixed with dirt. Other than that, it's just a wipe with towels and Q'tips for the notched areas. Any solvent products will also be stripping lubricant from areas that you don't necessarily want to clean. The absoulute worst "tool" to use on a car is a power washer.

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