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Old 01-14-2020, 07:25 AM   #1
rrich1
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Default Steam cleaning engine/trans?

I plan to take my radiator out at the beginning of next month and take it to a radiator shop and get some leaks repaired. While the radiator is out I would like to clean and paint my engine. Would taking a small steam cleaner be ok to clean parts of the engine/trans? I have a lot of caked on oil especially at the trans area. We have a small shark steam cleaner but dont remember exactly what attachments we have. I know there is at least a concentrated mister tip.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

I have one of those and it could do nothing for me. Way too weak.
Can you rent to old big steam cleaners we had when I was a kid? That's what we need.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:50 AM   #3
Ray64
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

A power washer with a least 2500 psi will do a good job but will put a lot of water where it should not get to You be the judge
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

If pulling the motor is not an option (would be the best way to do the job), and power washing proves too messy.... I would try an engine degreaser that comes in a spray bomb. You can get that stuff at Auto Zone. Spray it on, then lightly hose off with water. You may be able to use your small steam cleaner to touch up areas. When you get ready to paint a trick I learned long ago was to use aluminum foil to 'mask' up areas that do not get painted. Works like a charm on hard to tape things.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

I figured the steamer wouldn't be the only tool used but wondered if it would at least help break some of it up and/or get into hard to reach areas.

If prefer not to pull the engine even though I know it would be best. I bought a large cement mixing pan to place underneath the engine to help clean up from any degreaser I use.

I like the aluminum foil idea and could get a healthy supply from Sam's. lol.

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Old 01-14-2020, 10:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

I used a power washer, with a bio-degradable degreaser I bought at walmart, two apps and engine and tranny were clean as a whistle.
Of course I did not have the interior in the car at the time so cleaning the tranny was not an issue.
Change all your fluids when you're done, water will get into the tranny and engine.
I Also used foil when painting, worked great.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

No easy way to accomplish a good job. Raising the vehicle would be a plus.
A pressure washer is messy....
Manually scraping all of the heavy caked on oil & dirt off will save you time.
Purple power or Zep purple degreaser from Home Depot is my 1st choice, HD orange degreaser is good to. The purple zep will soften the paint to if left on long enough.
I use the purple zep in a soak tank for greasy engine parts, it works well!
A spray bottle, brushes, and whatever else works. My favorite is a stiff bristle household brush, looks like an over sized tooth brush with a curved handle.
I use a 2nd bottle with water to rinse.
Eye protection and skin barrier protection.
Old towels, old pans, etc work well to catch the junk.
And a few hours of your favorite music.......
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:15 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

Using any degreaser will require the heavy crud be scraped off. I used oven cleaner and it worked very good.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

I used one of the small home type steam cleaners(almost worthless but did help a little) and oven cleaner. Lots of scraping, but was able to keep the mess relativity contained in a small area.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:45 PM   #10
Richard in Anaheim CA
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

Oven cleaner will remove paint if it splashes.

I use oil eater. Spray it on generously and then use scraper. Spray it again and use hose with nozzle. Repeat if necessary. Mask and spray paint.

Oil eater is bio-degradable. I even washed my hair with it when I laid back into drain oil.

No question, it will make a mess like most anything.

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Anaheim CA

For light cleaning, spray the undercarriage with WD40 and wipe dry.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

This is how I do it with my pressure washer for antique, modern or farm equip where engine is not removed. For any part that I do not want water to get to in quantity I use heavy clear plastic like you buy by the roll at Lowe's, Home Depot etc usually in 10' X 50' rolls I cut a piece about 7-8' long then unfold it to the 10' wide width and for an A I snake it between the trans and body cutting the plastic to get around the shifter, pedals etc, up the firewall behind the motor. You have to work around the wires or better yet disconnect them. I put a ZIP close large bags over the distributor and another over the carb. and depending on fit sometimes use a zip tie as well to close the bag. I disconnect some of the rods to allow easier placement. and wrap the generator and starter as well, duct tape is your friend in securing the plastic. I drape another piece of plastic over the frame rails and over the fenders. Where I use more plastic, I tape the plastic together with duct tape, not touching the paint. I also put a piece between the radiator and motor extending out over the fenders and headlights and horn. It is a bit of a pain to do but really works great. I also use welding magnets to hold the plastic to the fenders, and those SS dishes with magnets to hold parts like you get at Harbor Freight also work good. I have hood holders on my A's which get it up high and out of the way. Finally I use plastic to keep the spray off the windshield and body. I run a line from my Hot Water heater, and some Simple Green in the washer and your good to go. Be careful when spraying where you put the water, I also start with lower pressure nozzles. After I do the engine bay and trans, I shut off the detergent and wash it all down with only hot water. I then remove the plastic and then wash the car at least 2 times to remove any of the de greaser that might of splashed somewhere.. I guarantee that you will get wet doing this, so summer time is best.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:22 PM   #12
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

Rich
I do a lot of engine and chassis cleanups in the process of doing service work for folks.
For chassis and firewall and engine compartment cleanup standard non-pumice type cleaners like gojo hand cleaner work well. You can use them in conjunction with paint and parts cleaning brushes for axles and irregular areas . It is kind to the paint and dissolves grease and oil .

Those of you who want nice firewall cleanup you can’t beat it!
You can also wash it off with water or just asile down. The messier the car the more of rags and product of course. On cales areas I would scrape them and then use the spray on disolvers and then rinse.
I don’t use a lot of pressure washing e
As was stated the pressure washing gets messy. It doesn’t take much splatter to soil an interior or headliner so be careful of the pressure washers.
No interior , then no problem.

Try the gojo creme (non-pumice) cleaner. You will be amazed.
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Old 01-15-2020, 12:04 AM   #13
vern hodgson
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

Ditto on the oven cleaner
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:24 AM   #14
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

Steam cleaning. The high pressure steam heat cuts the grease. Be careful how you do it you can force water into the engine. I played the restored clean and polished game with several cars over the years. I was a slave to my cars. Sold all of them and now have a nice unrestored "T" and "A" and having more fun. A dirty engine work for me.
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vern hodgson View Post
Ditto on the oven cleaner
Which part, to remove grease or it takes paint off.
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:42 AM   #16
rrich1
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

Thank you to everyone for the advice!

Larry, I believe I have some gojo an will give it a try.


Daren, my AA was previously owned by my grandfather and there are no plans to ever sell it so I dont mind getting it cleaned. The body isnt perfect and I dont expect the engine to be either but at least it will be easier and less messy to work on it too.

Again thanks for all of the recommendations!
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:32 AM   #17
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

I’ve using a spray bottle clean that comes from the dollar store, it’s called awsome orange.
It’s a dollar for a spray bottle full and a half gallon refill bottle is another dollar.
Just spray the heck out of it for a couple of days then start with a bristle brush to loosen up the heavy stuff while still spraying. Once every thing is loosened up you can use a garden hose to get every thing off.
It emulsifiers the oil and grease real well. I also use it in boat bilges to clean them out.
No bad smells either like gunk leaves.
Works for me.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:31 PM   #18
vern hodgson
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Master Cylinder View Post
Which part, to remove grease or it takes paint off.
Grease
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:50 PM   #19
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Default Re: Steam cleaning engine/trans?

If your going to get leaks fixed at the radiator shop, do yourself a HUGE favor, ... have them pop the top and have the tubes rodded out.

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