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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-22-2006, 03:57 PM
iToast iToast is offline
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Location: Lubbock, TX
 
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Degreasing and Cleaning the Engine bay?

After the issue with my ASC that was essentially caused by a lack of cleaning the engine bay and the surrounding parts I decided that cleaning the engine bay would not only look good but keep dirt and dust out of parts that aren't protected.

What is the most efficient/safest way to clean the engine bay without harming engine components?

I am pretty sure that just spraying the whole thing down with a high pressure hose could cause some problems so I want some good advice from other clean freaks out there.

Thanks again

-iToast
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  #2  
Old 07-22-2006, 04:17 PM
poolman poolman is online now
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This is the method that I've used and works great-There is a foaming engine degresser that I bought at Advance Auto-spray that on a cool engine and then wash off. After the clean up-spray Armor all on- all around and drive the car a short while and then park it and leave it sitting over night. The under hood will sparkle and stay that way for a long time-no kidding it works great-I think I first saw about this in the BMW tips listing.
Poolman
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  #3  
Old 07-22-2006, 05:04 PM
iToast iToast is offline
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What about electrical safety?
Just use my hose and a spray nozzle?
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  #4  
Old 07-22-2006, 05:51 PM
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chivas chivas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iToast
What about electrical safety?
Just use my hose and a spray nozzle?
that's what i'm worried about..
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  #5  
Old 07-22-2006, 06:52 PM
Vette528i Vette528i is offline
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I dont like spraying water on engines, I use spray brake parts cleaner, spray on small area wipe with rag if you have access to compressed air you can spray cleaner into tight areas and then hit it with the air. And as for the armor all it looks real good when just done but it atracts dirt
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  #6  
Old 07-22-2006, 06:56 PM
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Redshift Redshift is offline
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I use Simple Green and then rinse. Cover any exposed air filters or electronics with a plastic bag, but typically nothing will happen if they get wet. Have cleaned many, many engines this way...modern cars are zipped up pretty well. Imagine if you were out on the road and your car broke down so you raised the hood and then while you were looking under it, it began to pour rain. Your engine gets soaked. Will the car then not start? The manufacturers realize the engine will get wet sometimes and build them to withstand it.
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  #7  
Old 07-22-2006, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redshift
I use Simple Green and then rinse....
Yup, same here. When I wash the car, I start by sprsying the cold engine bay with Simple Greem, let it sit 10 minutes or so, and rinse. After I'm done washing the car, I wipe the engine and bay dry with a rag. Always looks like the day I bought it.
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  #8  
Old 07-22-2006, 07:35 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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My tips and tricks

Quote:
Originally Posted by iToast
After the issue with my ASC that was essentially caused by a lack of cleaning the engine bay and the surrounding parts I decided that cleaning the engine bay would not only look good but keep dirt and dust out of parts that aren't protected.

What is the most efficient/safest way to clean the engine bay without harming engine components?

I am pretty sure that just spraying the whole thing down with a high pressure hose could cause some problems so I want some good advice from other clean freaks out there.

Thanks again

-iToast
Works on every single car I clean:
1. Make sure the oil filler cap is tight, wrap abit of xiplock around and use rubber band to tighten it.
2. The E39 brake reservoir is hidden so OK. For other cars, warp a ziplock around the neck.
3. Make sure engine dipstick is down and tight, warp with ziplock
4. if Auto, same thing for dipstick.
5. Alternator is an option but I never worry about it because the alternator is designed to be water-proof.

Clean using a toohbrush and Castrol (or the like) engine cleaner with slightly warm engine (not hot).
Let it sit for 5 minutes, then rinse with garden hose using a nozzle and water stream turned down to a slow stream of shower (It should spray out a stream similar to a spray bottle), i.e. just enough to clean. Too much water will find its way to unwanted places.


HTH

cn
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  #9  
Old 07-23-2006, 12:37 AM
SoCaLE39 SoCaLE39 is offline
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FYI for those guys using Simple Green. I would definitely recommend using something else. I used to use the solution but after a test was done by the US NAVY/ARMY (where a lot of tests are done on vehicles/metals), they found that this solution is corrosive to aluminum by soaking into the metal and causing pot holes And what do you know, our engines are aluminum. Of course under some conditions it works great, but i always dilute the solution a little so as to ensure the least amount of corrosion.

Also, if you use brakekleen, this is a very corrosive spray on plastic parts. In fact you spray enough you could do some serious damage to sensors and/or rubber hoses.

My personal suggestion is purchase the foam engine spray that is water or citrus based as this solution has enough degreasing agents to do the job, yet offer the protection against corosion mch better than these others. I believe the last time i purchased the spray it was in a chrome/orange theme spray container.

Here is what i use:

http://www.gunk.com/product_images/LG_CEB1.jpg

Yeah it may not get rid of grease as easily and it make require a few sprays, but it sure beats replacing sensors and any other rubber/plastic parts.

Check out this link for good info:

http://www.autopia-carcare.com/inf-engine.html
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  #10  
Old 07-23-2006, 02:43 AM
nightkrawler nightkrawler is offline
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be careful with the gunk stuff, it leaves a terrible smell that makes its way into the cabin, even the citrus stuff, and takes a long time to go away. i'd suggest a good dishwashing liquid dilute a bit so it will spray from a bottle. dont use the armor all or any other greasy type interior protectant. it looks great on the engine after a clean but will quickly attract dust and dirt from the road. that nice shine will be covered with a nice coating of grime in a few weeks.
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  #11  
Old 07-23-2006, 08:29 AM
poolman poolman is online now
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The Armor all spray method I mentioned-should add this-I do spray down with water and have been doing so for year and years-last time I worried about this is when I had cars with points in the dizzies. Thats been sometime ago gents-now with the Armor All once its been sprayed on-drive the car just enough to get it about half warmed up. Let it set for over night and then the next morning rince off with water again and if you want wipe down. The Armor All is like a soft solvent and will shine the dickens out of everything in the engine bay. Is it safe-hell if I know-but I've used this method on my cars for the last 5 years and I've had no problems to date-choose to try on your own-but works for me-once the final rince has been done I don't see where this is attracting dirt.
Good Luck
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  #12  
Old 07-23-2006, 09:54 AM
mrclean mrclean is offline
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I posted these steps in the Detail Dept Forum last month. Hope it helps.

I use a garden hose and Simple Green degreaser. 1st I wet the engine down, takes no more than 10 sec to just get water into the engine bay, then I generously spray simple green all in the engine bay. Then I use a sponge to loosen grease and grime. Then I hose off the Simple Green. Using a cotton towel, I dry off the engine. No need to dry the hard to reach areas, engine heat will do that. Once its dry using the towel, start the engine and use a vinyl/rubber treatment and spray the engine using a thin coat and allow it to penetrate the rubber parts. I let the engine get up to temperature before I shut it off. Then close the hood.

That's the short version. You may have questions so please ask. I'm no expert and I'm sure you will get other opinions. This works for me. I been cleaning my engine since 1990 with this method.
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  #13  
Old 07-23-2006, 11:44 AM
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lex89 lex89 is offline
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Try out CD-2 Engine Detailer (not cleaner). I've heard nothing but rave reviews about it on other detail forums. Just got a bottle myself, and I'm going to try it out when I get back from college searching. It's for dressing, not cleaning (i.e. clean, dry, THEN spray this so everything looks nice )
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