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Old 01-19-2010, 08:11 PM   #1
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Dirty Engine. Good ideas to clean safely...

Hey guys. At the end of a thread I posted this past weekend concerning removing my engine cover for the first time, a user suggested that I should clean my engine. Since I haven't done this before on the coach (bought it in Dec), I figured I would attempt this on the next warm day. I would like to first gather some ideas for a safe cleaning. I don't want to end up with a nice shinny engine that doesn't run. I have the 275 Cummings Turbo in my coach.
1.) What areas do I need to avoid getting wet.
2.) Do I soak the entire engine down?
3.) Should I use engine gunk or is there a better product?
4.) Should I blow dry with my leaf blower when finished?
5.) How long should I wait to allow any electrical leads to fully dry before starting engine?

Thanks guys for any suggestions.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:49 PM   #2
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Diesel or gas?

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Old 01-21-2010, 12:39 AM   #3
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Spray it with GUNK engine cleaner and hose it off. Truck washes pressure wash their diesel engines when they get their trucks washed. I wash mine down with paint thinner. You can use any kind of a sprayer, it is not volitile and it evaporates and leaves the dried dirt on the ground. Sorry Al Gore types but it works great.
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Old 01-21-2010, 03:53 AM   #4
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I use a degreaser that comes in a 1 gallon bottle at Home Depot. Using a weed sprayer mix whatever strength you want. Some times I use the sprayer with clean water to wash it down or the water hose. I would recommend doing this with the engine cold not hot because of the alternator and all of the electronic/ electrical that's in and around the engine compartment. You can blow dry if you want .I've started them right after cleaning 'em, either way you should be good to go.Been doing this for years on my equipment and never had a problem.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:36 AM   #5
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I cleaned my CAT the last time I cleaned the cooling pack. I used a spray engine cleaner I got from Advance Auto Parts...(their private label form of Gunk). I followed with the Simple Green mix I was using on the cooling pack and washed it down with the hose. Started the engine after that and everything was fine.
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Old 01-21-2010, 05:27 PM   #6
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I would stay away from engine degreasers or any harsh cleaners. I am worried of gaskets and seals drying out and failing early. I like simple green myself. Warm engine, spray it on and wash off with a hose. This always cleans pretty good for me. Just like many have done to clean their radiators.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:31 PM   #7
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This topic is very interesting so let me ask you guys who do clean your engines a few questions:
1. Why clean them? What I mean is I have read so many pros and cons on this my head is spinning. On one hand one camp maintains a clean engine will run better and a clean engine reveals leaks and problems better than one that is dirty for starters.
2. The other camp maintains why in the world would you want to spray harsh chemicals into all your sensitive electronic components such as the alternator, starter motor, junction connectors, etc. If you must, must clean your engine then cover all those sensitive components first. This camp also advocates their is no advantage of cleaning the engine and actually you do more harm than good. My personal Cummings shop says it is not recommended and there is not need to do this.
Well, now you can see why my head is spinning for all these years on this topic. Can someone give me some real evidence as to which is best? Thanks guys.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:21 PM   #8
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If you enjoy working on a dirty engine and are not concerned about an engine fire then by all means don't clean it. Otherwise, as stated in an earlier reply, I rinse my engines with paint thinner, not laquer thinner. It dissloves grease and oil, is not very flammable, and dries completly without leaving water in those sensitive parts. I have done this on car, trucks,dirt bikes, for years with no ill effects. The worst thing you can do is rinse with water an then let the vehicle sit.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:21 PM   #9
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Follow up question guys. I cleaned my engine with gunk and cleaned the radiator with Simple Green. The engine was easy and looks great. The radiator was easy as well from the backside of the coach.

My problem was how do you guys spray effectively the radiator from the inside under the bed with that huge white fan that doesn't turn by hand in your way? I could surely see oil film mess on the inside but could not get an effective spray into that area for that fan. Is there a better way to do this? I don't feel my cleaning was very effective with as little Simple Green as I was able to get on. Any ideas or better methods?
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:58 PM   #10
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When we had a CAT 300HP C-7, I used to spray the Simple Green solution thru the radiator and CAC from the bedroom side with the engine running. By checking on the outside I could be sure the cleaning solution got through the entire radiator by monitoring the bubbles. Then shutdown for a while and wash it out with a garden hose from the bedroom side first then from the rear, again with the engine running. The radiator coolant heat seemed to make it easier to clean and the fan seemed to help it wash out the gunk.

I used a 2 1/2 gal pressure garden sprayer to deliver the cleaning solution, and of course was very careful around the rotating fan and fan belt. I also used the same technique to clean the engine itself. Spray with Simple Green dilute solution and wash off with a hose.

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Old 03-01-2010, 06:35 PM   #11
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Advice given by others above is good. Cleaning the radiator has been the subject of many threads on the forum because dirty radiators lead to overheating problems. Check this thread:
http://www.irv2.com/forums/f101/2004...lls-24352.html


I have a 2004 Journey with Cat C7 diesel engine. Unfortunately the design of the crankcase oil breather tube allows oily vapors to be sucked into the bottom of the radiator, thereby clogging it with an oily diry film--leading to the overheating. After experiencing the overheating problem myself, I found the forum thread above which helped me tremendously. I would say it is not easy to clean a thick oily film from the radiator bucause the charge air cooler (I think) radiator is located in front of the engine coolant radiator. I had to use the jacks to raise the engine portion of the RV and squeeze underneath where I could see the bottom driver side portion of the radiator. I sprayed with 1:1 simple green and water with an insect sprayer. I had to forceably move the fan blade to get the this portion of the radiator. I could not get to the bottom passenger side of the radiator from underneath because this was obscured by the fan blade even after rotating it. From the top, I removed the engine cover and sprayed the solution through the right and left top portions of the radiator fan cowling and also foreably moved the fan blade. From the outside rear I again sprayed the solution into the outside radiator. I used the entire gallon of simple green which created 2 gallons of solution. I then sprayed with a water hose both inside and outside to remove what remained. But even this was not enough as I still had overheating. I then went to a car wash and used the hight pressure water to carefully clean each section of the radiator. Only then did I see large amounts of thick oily sludge. I had to be careful not to let the high pressure water bend the folds of the radiator. This worked. Overheating was completely gone. Now I spray only from the rear but I do this after each trip. You can tell when the radiator is clean because air flows through it uniformly over the radiator and you can feel this air flow.
I learned this from others on this forum who have much more experience than I.
good luck

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