I use Simple Green or whatever good degreaser I have sitting around diluted 2-1 with water and spray it over everything. Then use a couple different brushes to get into the tight spots to loosen up the dirt and grime. Spray the degreaser again and let it sit for 5 minutes and then rinse. Be extremely careful not to get any water in electrical connections. Then run the engine for 15 minutes to dry everything.
Also, if you are on well water I would not wash it at home because the minerals can be a pain in the rear to get off later. If you do it at the local coin-op use the spot free setting to make sure you don't get the water somewhere you don't want it.
Ah I've used the coin-op method since new and she still looks new.. If you don't pull the trigger it doesn't spray THAT ferociously. I spend some quality time in and out of all the nooks and crannies. Don't forget to blast the underbelly of your hood! :bigthumb:
I have a question regarding cleaning the engine after an "accident" caused by an incompetent "apprentice" at a dealership....this person changed my oil, left part of the old gasket on, and proceeded to put another new gasket and filter on, do the oil change and then of course when I drove it home the filter gasket exploded and oil went all over in the engine compartment. Despite the severity of the oil going all over my windshield I had the presence of mind to pull over immediately and turn the FJ off before any damage to the engine could take place, and boy did that thing smoke! Needless to say the toyota dealership paid for the tow, and complete car cleaning, but I still have oil coming out of the hood underside (where the drain holes are) and I am worried about the alternator getting oil in it. Hubby and I cleaned the engine at car washes that use hot water several times, and it looks pretty good considering what happened, do I need to worry about other components of the engine?
CruiserArtist- I wouldn't be too worried about the left over oil under your hood messing with the alternator. Excess oil getting on the headers or other parts and starting a fire is what I would be most worried about, but it sounds like you have done a good job cleaning everything. Water is what will cause corrosion and other issues in your electrical connections and the alternator. Since oil displaces water it is not of a big concern messing up electrical systems. In fact, WD-40 can be used to PROTECT electronics.
Go ahead and look closely at the alternator. If there was an excessive amount of oil in it at some point, the oil could have attracted all kinds of dirt and stuff. If enough got in there, it could create some problems.
Not to hijack the thread but to expand the discussion
WD-40 can be used to improve a poor electrical connection.
It will displace water from inside a wet distributor cap.
But a word of warning - WD-40 does conduct electricity and using too much could cause a short.