YES, YES, YES, Thank You all for pointing out where I was going in the first place, the land of acquired leaves, twigs and pine needles!
I first used a leaf blower, then the shopvac, but the decaying leafage under der battery tray required a R&R of the hardware to allow access and removal. This stuff absorbs the water, battery overflow, and whatever else gets in there and turns into a small compost heap!
Fortunately, the hood goes straight up in the air to allow excellent acces to these areas...
Here's a link to John's thread for us all to share:
W126 fire hazard
We should all be driving around with fire extinguishers in our cars. Available at auto parts stores and boat shops.