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Author Topic: Question about Cleaning my bus engine  (Read 3506 times)
mugsytrpt
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« on: April 12, 2011, 02:46:08 PM »

What is the best product to use when cleaning my engine.  I have a few slow oil leaks.  Its an Old Detroit and I expect it to leak.  However, if it is just because a hose is not tightened I could  fix it without a problem.  I do not expect to keep it from leaking some.  With that said, I do not want to use anything that would harm my belts, hoses, and engine parts.  Be nice....I am new to the bus world and just do not want to mess anything up.  My engine runs GREAT.  Just want to know where the oil is coming from.

Thanks,
James
« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 02:47:44 PM by mugsytrpt » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2011, 03:10:32 PM »

James,

I use Gunk from WM. Spray it on, let it sit and spray with water. Warm or hot water is better but not essential. It is better if the engine is slightly warm, not hot. You don't want to spray cold water on a hot exh manifold.

I cover the alternator but nothing else, and don't get carried away around the fan bearings or belts. Depends on your setup, anything electronic is especially easy to mess up.

There are many other things to do the same job as you will soon find out!
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2011, 03:56:11 PM »

  What an opportune thread, seeing as it was a question I had been considering after recently getting my Bus. I didnt want to just start blasting away with the pressure washer without knowing what we could wreck.

  On aircraft we put a big drain pan under the engine and sprayed it down with solvent. Dont know why that wouldnt work on the Bus, but again, we dont want to get anything inside the engine or whatever. Gunk (or simular) aerosol engine cleaners have always been great at helping loosen up thick buildups of oiley greasey dirt and gook.
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oldmansax
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2011, 05:26:33 PM »

I picked this from Pete Masterson over on the Wanderlodge board. They are pretty anal about keeping things looking good.

TOM

 5 Steps to Detailing a Engine - With Professional Results
First of all, barring any health issues detail it yourself. It's not too hard and if you stay AWAY from a high pressure water nozzle you should be fine.

Here's how I did our coach and previous vehicles I've owned (won my class at SuperChevy years ago). It's proven and looks great:

5 Steps to Detailing a Engine - With Professional Results



Supplies:

    * Windex (3-4 bottles)
    * Armor All (or some other tire/rubber protectant 3-4 lg bottles)
    * A couple of old socks
    * Water hose and low pressure nozzle

Buy extra, you can always use it somewhere else. Naturally stay away from any potentially sensitive areas that are not water resistant. On my car I had a cone intake filter and the distributor but everywhere else was good to go, on the coach there was a couple of areas with fuse blocks and I just stayed away from there. Don't forget the genny if it's an open design.

Step 1: Liberally spray Armor All EVERYWHERE you can, don't be stingy. It'll act as a penetrating agent and is safe for every surface I can think of. You want it to cut the grime.

Step 2: Close the compartment then Start and run the engine to warm it up. The heat will help the Armor All penetrate the accumulated grime. Apply more ArmorAll anywhere you see soaking up and drying out. After 5 minutes of running warm (doesn't need to get to full temp). Turn it off.

Step 3: Apply the Windex EVERYWHERE. This will cut (dilute) the Armor All. Start and run for 5 more minutes (close the hood you want it to be steamy if possible).

Step 4: Take the water hose and gently wash away the grime and stuff from years gone by. There's not much that's not waterproof on a engine but stay away from high pressure.

If you still have pockets of heavy grime you can spot treat directly, scrape it away, etc... or repeat 1-4 again.

Now you can stop here if you want and the results will actually be quite good. Subsequent Windex treatments are needed if you are going to touch up the paint anywhere, as the Windex doesn't totally remove all of the ArmorAll. But to take it to the next level try the socks and a little more ArmorAll.

Step 5: With the socks on your hands spray a little more Armor All lightly and wipe down everything in sight. This will even out the protectant and get rid of dry spots on the hoses. They will look ,like NEW. Be careful of sharp edges. The results generally will make the engine, hoses, paintwork look FACTORY FRESH. Better results than any I have ever seen from a "Detailer".

One last note: Don't do this in the driveway. The road grime coming off is disgusting and will stain your concrete and possibly garner the DW's wrath. Do it at the curb if possible. And don't forget the Generator as well.

Time? 2-3 hours by yourself. Get help, there's a lot of room to cover in a pusher.

Repeat Annually and you'll be proud to show off the mechanicals at any time. And your mechanic will love not working on a grimy, slimy motor.
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Mike in GA
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2011, 05:29:10 PM »

An old sage once told me that Gunk wasn't the best for seals and hoses, etc. Also, not sure if it's biodegradable. I have always used Clean Green via hand sprayer, on a cool engine, cut 50-50 with water, and worked into the corners with a stiff parts cleaner brush. Flush with cool water.
    I do this after every trip and it keeps my engine clean, and reduces the chance of a bad engine fire.
    As has been mentioned - never spray cold water on a hot engine. This practice cost me an exhaust manifold last year.
    Just my way - YMMV.
Mike in GA
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mugsytrpt
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2011, 05:12:30 PM »

Thanks so much for the info.  I started cleaning it today and looks pretty good.  There are still some bad spots and I will get them this weekend.  I wanted to hit the high spots this afternoon.  I plan on doing a more detailed cleaning this weekend.  Again, thanks for your help.

James
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2011, 06:25:42 PM »

An old sage once told me that Gunk wasn't the best for seals and hoses, etc. Also, not sure if it's biodegradable. I have always used Clean Green via hand sprayer, on a cool engine, cut 50-50 with water, and worked into the corners with a stiff parts cleaner brush. Flush with cool water.
    I do this after every trip and it keeps my engine clean, and reduces the chance of a bad engine fire.
    As has been mentioned - never spray cold water on a hot engine. This practice cost me an exhaust manifold last year.
    Just my way - YMMV.
Mike in GA

And "YMMV." means what?

BCO
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2011, 06:47:23 PM »

YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2011, 06:48:36 PM »

YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY

Got it.

BCO
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2011, 07:15:27 PM »

best way I have found is to blow a fuel line going down the highway spraying $200 of diesel on your motor, engine compartment , and all the cars behind me.
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2011, 07:38:28 PM »

We have a PD 3751 1948 Silversides a very very leaky GMC 671. The system that I use is Simple Green on the engine, and other components with no spray on the belts. I then wash it off with a 1200 psi power sprayer. I have used this system for years with no problems what so ever.

Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.

Dave
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2011, 08:17:23 PM »

Whatever soap I have, from engine degreaser to whatever I have in a spray bottle. Then I use a high power pressure washer to finish the job. The setup makes a good paint stripper if you get to close.
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« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2011, 09:35:50 PM »

Be sure to protect electronics with plastic bags etc, alternator and anything you wish not to get wet: then

I have used just DAWN Dish soap mixed with water in a spray bottle, Mix about 5 table spoons into bottle after putting in the water first.  Shake bottle and spray over engine.  let set about 5 minutes, repeat without rinsing yet.  Then rinse good with water hose then start engine to dry off.  It is better though to scrape the very biggest globs of oil / dirt debris off first if mixed with dirt etc. 

They use DAWN to treat oil contamination off animals in oil catastrophes and it works real good.  I use the bottle of DAWN mix as my portable sink in my shop to rinse off hands.  It takes off all the grease possible, but need to do it twice to get penetration and absolutely squeaky clean.

This will not make your paint peel or harm your bus in any way, it doesn't hurt little birds or ducks!!
Hope all this helps you out, you got a few choices for sure.
Gary
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2011, 03:23:40 AM »

Just be careful around the flapper on your blower. Don't ask how I know OK! Shocked It is quite embarrassing going down the highway blowing a significant amount of black smoke with a trooper following you. Tongue

Oldmansax, that is a very interesting way to do it, one I had not heard of.
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« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2011, 04:50:30 AM »

Oldmansax, that is a very interesting way to do it, one I had not heard of.

I tried it a little & it does do a good job.

As I said, it's not my formula. I got it off the Wanderlodge Board. Those folks are ..... shall we say....... somewhat picky.   Grin Grin

TOM
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« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2011, 07:41:56 AM »

after protecting the relays, and so forth, I use my hot pressure washer with a commercial biodegradable product similar to superclean to wash epuipment engines,  (and the whole thing for that matter). Same for otr trucks, busses, n all my stuff... As far as using a hand sprayer, i use a backpack one for weeds... only lasts abt a year cause the solution eats the seals, but a double headed sprayer does a fast job... Its not necessary to presoak with solvent with a hot washer...
I have done hundreds, and have never ruined one alternator, etc... Course, one has to turn the pressure down for certain areas...
 i normally paint everything back to the original colors as this stuff is for resale.
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« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2011, 08:32:53 AM »

A fellow bus owner turned me onto "oil eater". found at some wal-marts and most o'reily's, kragen etc. works great. i use it on a cold engine and rinse with normal pressure from a garden hose. keeps the old girl spic and span and no scrubbing involved. doesn't hurt hoses, belts, paint or any thing else.
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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2011, 08:35:14 AM »

What BCO said.

I go over a dirty engine with that HIGH PRESSURE washer.  Buy one....you need it.  3,500 PSI is fine.  It will lift pealing paint but won't blow "good" paint off the metal.  Lots of the oily grime on your engine will lift off with just High Pressure water.  Why use solvents and such if there is an alternative that will reduce their level of.... 1,300PSI and below are not all that effective but certainly better than a garden hose.  Bag the alternator for the High Pressure stuff but spray it down with simple green AND RINSE IT THOROUGHLY with clean water and that includes running water inside it.  It is not water soluble and water doesn't conduct but dirty greasy soapy water will hurt'cha if you start it up with any of that in it.

My process?  Blast all the crap off that will go with HP water.  Spray the ICE COLD COLD engine and compartment with "EASY OFF" oven cleaner.  Let it soak for NO MORE than 5 minutes.  Spray the engine compartment/bay with lots of  HP water.  You are now "grease free" and can paint or spray down the compartment with Armour All if you like.  Talk to any "Detailer" and he will tell you :never ever use Armour All on anything.  It leaves a paint like layer that is nearly impossible to remove....on the interior but I have never heard of it for a engine.  FIND OUT WHAT THE DETAILER uses.  Mine sells me quarts of professional stuff for a buck and that aluminum cleaner stuff that you spray on and rinse off is the Duck's A$$.

Easy Off on a warm or hot engine will remove paint in minutes but you don't notice till it goes down the drain.

I use the local car wash in the soap mode for that first "rinse off"  with HP water.  Their traps catch all the dirt and grease cause the local ordinances require them to be non polluting.  My guy has a bay labeled "for engine cleaning".  You don't have to be "mean" to be Green.

Check what your local truck garage will charge you to have the engine "steam cleaned".

Start your engine after cleaning and look for the oil leaks.  I have seen way to many bone dry and spotless DD engines to ever believe that they can't be sealed up as well as any other.  Front and rear crank seals might present a sticky wicket.

John
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oldmansax
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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2011, 10:44:53 AM »

Guess we gonna hafta hava "whose engine compartment looks better contest"

 Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin

Won't be mine!

TOM
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« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2011, 11:14:13 AM »

Guess we gonna hafta hava "whose engine compartment looks better contest"

 Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin

Won't be mine!

TOM

Occasionally when I am showing my bus to someone, I will reach down and grab the hood lever, and then I smile and tell the person .... "Pretty and clean, stops here."  It is too much trouble to keep up with, I have enough on my plate now, I might hose it off once or twice a year, and that is about as detailed as it is gonna get.

BCO
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« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2011, 03:30:59 PM »

I just tell people that the oil in the engine compartment is an anti-corrosion spray!
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« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2011, 06:46:28 PM »

This may come as a surprise to few but  the more seasoned DD hands will all tell that during WWII the Navy commisssioned GM to solve the corrosion problems on the landimg craft engines used in the South Pacific, the solution was a DD block that would "sweat".
the current PN # for the paint used is the remedy for this current "sweating" and was accepted by the EPA, deeply worded in sub paragraph 1972.
Because of the later EPA requirements GM's legal advisors decided that it was cheaper to turn the design and tooling over to R Penske.
The rest of course is common knowledge.
This is/has been substatiated by the US Department of the Freedom of Information Act Department.
Google it....
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« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2011, 10:38:25 AM »

Great thread! Thanks for it!

Question regarding covering all the electronics- I understand the logic here and experience it in my home kitchen as well. Many appliances say "Do not submerge" But I often do submerge when cleaning. I have learned that it is okay to submerge kitchen appliances as long as it THOROUGHLY dries out before plugging it back in and turning it on. Soooo in cleaning an engine with alternator, relays and various electronic components wouldnt it work the same way? If these items get wet, let it sit for a couple weeks or more before turning the engine back on and things will work again?
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« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2011, 04:33:03 PM »

hcb,

That theory is good except that washing out an alternator moves grit and oil all around inside the alternator which does not come out. Plus, some solvents will probably soften or dissolve lacquer and plastics in the alternator.

You may be right, but I would never try it. A little grit inside a fast turning alternator goes a long way.
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« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2011, 09:20:01 PM »

 Be careful with pressure washers too. While they will certainly take off paint from metal, they can also blow gaskets into the engine, permeate flexible hose, blow seals out inside electrical components, etc.. Clean but broken is not what were after here. Well maybe some here, but not me.

  Im going to try the armor all/windex thing. It sounds just crazy enough it might work.
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« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2011, 09:26:47 PM »

hcb,

That theory is good except that washing out an alternator moves grit and oil all around inside the alternator which does not come out. Plus, some solvents will probably soften or dissolve lacquer and plastics in the alternator.

You may be right, but I would never try it. A little grit inside a fast turning alternator goes a long way.

hehe! I dont have the money to experiment with something like this lol But I thought one of you millionaire bus owners would have already done this  Grin
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