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  #1  
Old 12-03-2002, 11:07 PM
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engine cleaning

my engine compartment is getting a little dirty. i've cleaned my other cars with no problems but never my mercedes 96 e320. any other areas i should cover? alternator, cap/rotor? what else?

richard
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2002, 11:26 PM
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Richard, Do Not wash the eng. with a water hose like you would Chevy Truck ( I have a Chevy Surb.) and a 96 E320. The plastic cover on top of the valve cover leaks water into the well that has the plugs and coils. I did it once and learned the hard way. The next time I will clean it an air hose and damp cloth. Norm in FL
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  #3  
Old 12-04-2002, 03:48 AM
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Norm - What happened?

Haasman
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  #4  
Old 12-04-2002, 04:38 AM
caidur
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Engine Wash

Hello,

I have been regularly having my car engine- 230E Soap and water washed without any problems. Just make sure that the engine is properly air dried after a wash and after that keep the engine ON for atl;east 5 minutes before you start off. Engines are basically air and water tight. So dont worry.
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  #5  
Old 12-04-2002, 08:53 AM
LarryBible
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Just go to the car wash and wash it. I've been doing this for thirty years with minimal, easy to correct problems. Worst cases I've gotten into were similar to Norms. You just have to properly dry the ignition components, usually no more than blowing the moisture out of the distributor cap, but in the case of spark plugs in valve cover wells, you may have to blow that out too.

Good luck,
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2002, 05:01 PM
Neil Richardson
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Hi guys.

The only problem I had with hot washing inside the engine bay of my W124 was all the grease that protected a lot of parts got washed away.

I'd NEVER do it again. But that's just my humble opinion.
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  #7  
Old 12-04-2002, 05:16 PM
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Also some cleaners are VERY caustic. Strong enough to remove the anodization off of nuts, bolts and metal pieces. There are some mild cleaners, but you have to look at the fine print carefully.

I generally flood with warm water, top to bottom by-passing distributor cap and electronic modules.
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  #8  
Old 12-04-2002, 06:51 PM
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I use concentrated "Simple Green" on a slightly warm engine, let it sit while I wash the car, then start the car and with it running, hose it carefully down. No problems to date.
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  #9  
Old 12-04-2002, 07:39 PM
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I like to run some water, not a strong spray, around the painted firewall and sides of the engine, use some car wash soap and rag to swipe what i can reach, and then apply some wax right over the wet painted metal and buff out.
Then apply some 303 Protectant to all the plastic and rubber parts I can reach, this also gets buffed out.(make sure no wax or 303 Protectant gets on belts)
I then apply an inexpensive wax to all the metal engine parts I can reach, I have an inline four so even parts of the block and engine mounts are easily accessible.
I also run a strong spray from the inner fins of the radiaor out toward the grill to clean out dust and dirt. This summer for the first time I sprayed some Fantastic cleaner on the outter radiator grill and let sit then sprayed it off.

Finally a bit of grease on the hood hinges and striker parts of the hood release.

Also, it is a good idea to inspect the floor of the trunk, look for moisture and apply a coat of wax. check for any battery leakage around the battery tray, there are some battery mats that help absorb any leakage.
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  #10  
Old 12-04-2002, 08:04 PM
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Ethan's point about avoiding a strong spray is good. The really high pressure spray can knock some things loose..ie..connections, etc.

I use the engine cleaner spray setting, followed by the soft, spot free rinse.

Needless to say, you don't want to do this when the engine is red hot. Fortunately for me, I live just yards from a self-serve car wash.
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  #11  
Old 12-04-2002, 10:32 PM
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Ron - Does Simple Green have anything caustic in it? Does it hurt anything?

Ethan- very thorough .... I especailly like the trunk reminder. Trunks, especailly spare tire well can get nasty and start rusting faster than anyone wants to admit.
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  #12  
Old 12-04-2002, 10:48 PM
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If I were you, I wouldn't do it. I clean the engine on my 97 E320 with a damp cloth. There is no reason to risk some electrical failure for beauty reasons. I don't even apply any of those engine shine products. They only lead to discoloration and become magnets for dust. I only rinse out the air tubes that lead to the air filter on my S420, S600 and 300E. The E320's air filter tubes aren't as accessible and I don't bother. Becareful of the powder coating blisters on the valve cover because they will chip off if rubbed too hard. I've never used MB's engine wax because I am told that aluminum doesn't rust.

Instead of washing the engine, open the air filter assembly and vaccum the debris collected in the air box. I do this every month.

If you engine is leaking oil, then the belly pan cover is probably covered in oil. I just spent 1k to fix the head gasket leak and the dealer washed the belly pan too.
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  #13  
Old 12-05-2002, 08:18 AM
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I pretty much do it the way Ron does. You folks that have the early 80's diesels will want to remember to go back and re-lube the throttle linkage pivot points after the cleaning. I've been cleaning engines for years and the only time I have ever had a problem was with an Isuzu truck that got water in the distributor.
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  #14  
Old 12-05-2002, 06:13 PM
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Been there, done that on vehicles I've owned for the last 25 years!

High-pressure, low pressure, engine cleaners, Simple green, you name it!

What I've learned from experience:

Most high pressure sprayers at the self-service bays have a high/low trigger. Use it! Remove bugs and debris from the radiator fins with high pressure, grease and grime from the lower engine surfaces (where most the really grimy areas reside), and low pressure on everything else, (painted surfaces, upper engine areas, etc.)

MB isolates the sensitive electricals from moisture in obvious ways for a reason...so don't go hosing down the battery compartment area. Also stay away from ignition components...wont do much real damage, but your car will run like $#!# until the moisture is removed.

Pay attention to areas where water can "pool". Swab off the excess with a towel as best you can. Spark plug receptacles are particularly vunerable in this aspect, so use caution.

Hosing is best done with the engine running, but watch out for moving engine parts (pulleys, belts, fan, etc.) especially when you are probing around with the hose or towel or HANDS!

If you choose to do this with the engine off , DO NOT WASH A HOT ENGINE!!! A warm engine is best to assist in grime removal.

Some engine cleaners are flammable (go figure ) so be especially careful using these. Others are caustic enough to remove paint or discolor unprotected metal surfaces.

I perform engine washing maybe once a year, to assist with finding a newly developed leak, or some other potential problem. For a daily driver, dust and dirt accumulation occurs too rapidly to do this for cosmetic purposes.
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Last edited by G-Benz; 12-05-2002 at 07:33 PM.
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2002, 11:41 PM
Q Q is offline
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Simple Green is evil. It is the best cleaner I have ever found, but it is also the most caustic to painted surfaces. I used it to clean the wheels of my wife's old Maxima a couple of times and it turned the clear coat into a translucent coat pretty dang fast!
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