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Super Moderator
2007 Outback H6 LL Bean - Champagne Gold Opal
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6,009 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm talking about the external surfaces of your engine. Everything you see under the hood.

Clearly you shouldn't just go at it with a hose and spray the sucker, so what have any of you tried that works well?

My '97 OBW is FILTHY under there, especially after we received over 63 inches of snow in January alone. Dirt, Mud, Grime, Oil, Salt...it's everywhere.

Anyone got any ideas or experiences? Anything I should avoid? Chemicals? Products? Service?
 

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Superb Moderator, ,
MY12 WRX, MY07 FXT
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6,186 Posts
Allegedly Subaru does not want any water in the engine compartment-but that's understandable and unrealistic. Always clean and engine cold is what I have learned. Do not use anything harsh-Simple Green is one of the best I guess, and so are the new citrus cleaners. Stay away from the alternator, and fuse boxes in general. Don't use too high of a pressure to get water in places it shouldn't be.
Other than that, I have done mine at a local car wash bay but that goes against the 'cold' principle. Get an empty spray bottle, put in sopa/degreaser, spray engine. Then carefully spray down and wipe everything up. I personally like a clean engine compartment. Brian
 

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Tokyo's between my toes
2001 Wintergreen Outback 5MT
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6,684 Posts
I clean mine in a car wash, too, using the "engine degreaser" setting to apply soap. I like to put that on, then let it soak while I wash the rest of the car.

I like a clean engine compartment, too - been washing the engine bay of the Escort for 15+ years and never had a problem with water getting where it causes problems. Pretty funny to lift the hood of a car that looks like a sun-faded POS and see a clean engine. Great way to spot fluid leaks in the early stages, too.
 

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Super Moderator
2007 Outback H6 LL Bean - Champagne Gold Opal
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6,009 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
So, if I go in and spray Simple Green on all the external surfaces, plastic and metal, I won't harm anything - just as long as I avoid delicate items?

What exactly is engine degreaser...something I can pick-up at the local auto parts store?

And why would I want to do this at a car wash rather than in my driveway? (Note that my driveway is in bad shape, so staining isn't really something I'm worried about)

Thanks for your help as usual guys!

edit:
A google search sent me in these directions. The first link is actually very informative and well written (apparently it's intended for a female audience)

http://www.womanmotorist.com/index.php/news/main/2341/event=view

http://www.simplegreen.com/products/consumer/automotive1info.html

I'd still appreciate your opinions on things.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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17,572 Posts
Can't argue with anything the others said.
I always try (sometimes tricky) to spray from the inside out throught the radiator. It helps dislodge bugs and other debris stuck in there.
It is nice to have a small spray can of WD-40 in your car. It can be used if the car refuses to start after washing the engine bay or driving through a deep puddle to 'displace' the water around the plugs/coilpack. Rare problem these days but still possible. It will work well to remove tar from the paint too.
 

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Tokyo's between my toes
2001 Wintergreen Outback 5MT
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6,684 Posts
One good payoff from keeping a clean engine bay is being able to work on the car and keep your hands and arms (and sleeves) reasonably clean.

*sigh* as I type this, a ferret is gnawing at the grips of a set of needlenose in the toolbox next to me...
 

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Satin White Pearl 2009 OBW 5M, Red 2003 OBW 5M, 2002 BMW 325Ci, 1999 Corvette C5
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163 Posts
I always use Armorall to clean the engine and engine compartment. Just squirt it thoroughly and then run the engine for about 10 minutes. Use a hose to get off the dirt while engine is still running. That usually removes most of the grime. Avoid wetting the alternator and electrical connectors with pressurized water as much as possible. Then, spray it again with Armorall once the engine is off. Wait about 20 minutes until engine is relatively cool and then wipe with a rag and get in all the places that collect dirt and grime. Comes out looking great. Repeat about every 3 months and it is fairly easy to keep it looking near showroom.
 

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2001 Outback 2.5L Wagon
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255 Posts
No, no no! Don't use Simple Green. :14: It can & will etch the aluminum and there are plenty of better cleaners.

Here is what you need, all from Meguiar's of course:
- Super D-Greaser if the stuff is really oily and caked on
- Safe D-Greaser or All Purpose Cleaner Plus if it's light dirt and grime
- Hyper Dressing

Make sure you disconnect the battery and cover the alternator, fuse box, intake, and anything else important with tinfoil.

After you wash/dress once, it is very easy to maintain by misting with Hyperdressing. At any subsequent washings, everything comes right off usually without any cleaner.

You can order everything from Meguiar's or my favorite Auto Detailing Solutions.

See my post here.
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=5468

You saw my post last time. I think it's time for a refresher. ;)

Join the Meguiar's forums and become a detailing freak.
www.meguiarsonline.com
 

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2011 Outback Premium
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40 Posts
I was checking my oil and noticed the build up of dust and dirt in the engine compartment after three years. So just wondering is there good products for this at the local auto parts store?
 

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2016 Outback Ltd 2.5 eyesight Nav push button Hole in roof, Lapis Blue
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738 Posts
another detailing freak forum: Autopia Forums

An old school engine cleaner: Kanolabs Floway (kanolabs also makes Kroil a very good penetrating oil).
Kroil is the bomb for getting rusted stuff loose, have even used it on tools left outside and found messed up in spring, darn kids!
I have never used their Floway, anyone have detailed info on it's performance??
 

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2006 Outback XT
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228 Posts
with the densely-packed engine compartments offered these days, I tend to do best with a spray bottle full of water with just a little detergent, sticks and rags to reach in there, and a couple of large bottle brushes. That way I can reach around and through parts, pass wet rags around bits and floss it clean. I start with a big basket of clean rags and end with a basket full of dirty ones.

I used to use the aerosol degreasers on older cars but I feel like they need a very thorough rinse to really work, and I just don't want to put that much water under the hood of a modern car.
 

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2013 Outback 2.5 Premium CVT
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611 Posts
Extreme Simple Green Aircraft & Precision Cleaner

This is safe on plastics, aluminum and other related parts when cleaning.

Best used in a spray bottle to direct the product on the area to be cleaned.

Then, using clean water in spray bottles to rinse off along with clean compressed air on a cold engine and a few shop rags will be the best way to clean the engine from top to bottom.

This product also works really well for undercarriage as well.
 

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2013 OB 2.5i Premium/DDD Graphite Gray Metallic OP#2 Weathertec Window Deflectors
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405 Posts
Brake cleaner, works well on oil & grease, even on driveways & garage floors
 

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Premium Member
2005 3.0 R n totaled
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7,529 Posts
I used to have my engine "steam" cleaned but I can't find anyone who does that type of cleaning nowadays....
 
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