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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-12-2012, 08:07 PM
jim165 jim165 is offline
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Scrubbing Bubbles is a great engine cleaner!

I was wanting to clean the filthy engine in my wife's Infiniti FX35 and did a Google search for the best product to use. Came across a thread on the M5 board where they were using Scrubbing Bubbles to clean their engines. I bought two cabs for $4 and used my awesome 240k mile Honda Accord as a test subject. The engine has never been cleaned and the only dressing I did afterwards was wipe down the plastic cover with an Armor All moistened rag. Turned out great! Cut right through the gunk and grime. I simply used my garden hose to rinse off with a moderate pressure stream of water. I then used my leaf blower to remove the excess water and allowed it to idle for 5 minutes to burn off the rest. Came out great! Still gotta do some additional detailing, but just wanted to get the majority of the dirt off.
Honda before:

Honda after:


Honda ran fine, so I went ahead with the wife's car. Pics don't really convey the amount of dirt on her engine because of the big cover, but it was significant. I did no dressing of anything afterwards.
FX before:


FX after:


If this has been posted already, sorry. I just thought I'd share a cheap, safe method for cleaning the engine...
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  #2  
Old 04-12-2012, 08:21 PM
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Oceans10 Oceans10 is offline
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Stellar! I did the same a few weeks back. Engine looks like new. Especially good on metals.
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  #3  
Old 04-13-2012, 07:48 AM
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Jaycal3 Jaycal3 is offline
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Seriously?? I gotta try this!
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  #4  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:59 AM
midair midair is offline
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Thanks for tip!! Wonder if it works as well on a bathtub? Ha...
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  #5  
Old 04-14-2012, 04:40 AM
ssmokn ssmokn is offline
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Interesting. I never heard that one.

I use Simple Green with similar results.

My process that I've been using for years...
  • I start with a stone cold engine (not good to wash a hot engine)
  • I warm it up at idle for about 3 minutes (just enough to get a little heat in things but not too hot so I'm shocking all the metal).
  • Liberally apply Simple Green (I used it 5:1, 5 parts water to 1 part SG -- you can even use it straight if needed) everywhere noting any deposits and giving them an extra shot
  • Let the product dwell for about 15 minutes
  • Go over areas that i can reach with one or two different brushes to agitate the dirt (optional but good to do)
  • Rinse with a hose (not pressure washer) and a hard stream of water (if you have hot water available at your hose use the hottest water available
  • Repeat if necessary (rarely is).... I guess this is the lather, rinse, repeat part
  • Dry what you can with an old towel
  • Start the car and let it idle a bit to help dry things off
  • Spray 303 Aerospace protectant on everything (won't hurt anything), let it sit for about 30 minutes. Buff with a rag if you want a satin finish or leave as is for a high shine
  • Enjoy

Detailing engines is one of my FAVORITE things to do and oh how I hate to work on a dirty engine. I'm always amazed how some people have spotless cars inside and out but the engine compartment is FILTHY!

My XI has 7500 miles but I've got vehicles with 150K on them and the motors look this good...



I've got plenty of other engine pics I can share but they aren't BMW so I won't bore you

Last edited by ssmokn; 04-14-2012 at 04:45 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-14-2012, 06:54 AM
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Hogie Hogie is offline
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Looks really good. Never heard of the 303. Searched a little for everyone else, here is a link

http://www.autogeek.net/303aerprot.html
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2012, 10:19 AM
jim165 jim165 is offline
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Wow, Ssmokn! i could eat grits off of that engine! I will try that 303 aerospace stuff when its time to clean the 550i!
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2012, 01:32 PM
ssmokn ssmokn is offline
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Thanks guys. Glad you like my engine detailing work.

303 is SUPER stuff. I've been using it for years. It's also my favorite dressing for tires, mudflaps and the like. Good for rubber, vinyl, plastic. You can even use it on most of the interior surfaces.

It's available online. Also available at most any boat store (because of the great UV protection). Cabelas stores have it and occasionally you will find it in an auto parts store or independent hardware store.

A 32 oz (I think it's 32 give or take) bottle will last me about a year.
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  #9  
Old 04-14-2012, 01:42 PM
Shiny151 Shiny151 is offline
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Are there any areas of the engine you should be careful of while using a hose? I've always been a little leery of doing this for fear of 'hosing' (no pun) something up in my engine compartment.
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2012, 01:51 PM
ssmokn ssmokn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiny151 View Post
Are there any areas of the engine you should be careful of while using a hose? I've always been a little leery of doing this for fear of 'hosing' (no pun) something up in my engine compartment.
I don't cover anything. If you have an aftermarket intake or something like that it would be prudent to make sure you don't get water into the intake. Depending on the car also make sure you aren't spraying water into a stock intake. Most have a drain hole or two in them but you don't want water in the engine. That's bad.

I do clean the alternator but I don't go crazy spraying cleaner or water on it. I have no concern getting it wet but I don't go nuts blasting it with cleaner and or water.

I also try not to spray hard streams of water at electrical connectors either. Again, no issue getting them wet but I try not to soak them either.

In 20 years of doing this on dozens of cars I've had 3 issues. One was a '91 Camry with plugs and wires. The wires were OLD and the car wouldn't start. New set of ignition wires and it was fine. Next issue was a 2001 Crown Vic. Started fine but was missing. One coil (coil on plug car) was shorting from water. Coil had about 105K on it and I changed it out and it was fine. Last one was same issue on an '01 Isuzu. Same thing but with 2 coils (car had 140K) on it.

In my opinion, in all three cases, these were components that were marginal to start with (old and starting to fail) and the water did them in.

I've heard others say they have all sorts of problems and you should never wash an engine.

Only you can decide what is right for you but I cannot stand a dirty motor. It drives me NUTS
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