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Do You Wash Your Engine


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I keep my engine fairly clean, don't pressure wash it. If you are washing anything under the hood, I would not be worried about the electrical. Volvo seems to have pretty good seals. Just be careful not to shoot even hose-pressure water directly at a seal, like the pulleys, steering box etc wherever a moving part exits a stationary one.

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For those who did not see the above thread: In general, the problem with washing a Diesel is not electrical, it is thermal shock. Spraying cold (comparatively) water on a hot engine can do some seriously expensive damage if the "possible" happens. Anything from cracked manifolds to frozen Injector pumps. I do wash my engines, I just make sure I wash them when they are cold.

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Jeff,

 

Surprisingly History channel just did a show on truck stops today and showed Blue Beacon washing trucks and engines. The technician said they use high pressure water warmed to 180 degrees which should equal operating temps most of the time, so should not shock the engine. On a side note interesting to see the growth of Iowa 80 Also IdleAir started here in Knoxville then went bankrupt now has reopened.

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PEI--afterward makes no difference, any water left will warm up with the motor. The important thing is that the temperature of the water be roughly the same as the motor when it hits it.

 

So Blue Beacon above should be "better" (although water cools down FAST when sprayed thru the air...I'd question how hot it is by the time it hits the motor). My worry would be the guy handling the spray wash...180 F water is HOT...hope he is wearing some protective gear!

 

Think what would happen if you took a "non pyrex" glass cooking pot right out of the freezer and set it right onto an already hot burner. My DW did this without thinking once...with predictable results. BLAM! Glass and dinner everywhere! But take the same pot and let it gradually warm up as the burner heats up...no problem.

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I like to keep my motor clean simply so I don't get filthy when I'm working on it and checking fluids. And yes, a clean motor also helps you spot problems. I've had good luck by first spraying on plain old Simple Green, then hose off with a normal squeeze-gun sprayer on a garden hose. :D

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So Blue Beacon above should be "better" (although water cools down FAST when sprayed thru the air...I'd question how hot it is by the time it hits the motor). My worry would be the guy handling the spray wash...180 F water is HOT...hope he is wearing some protective gear!

 

 

My thoughts too Jeff, but at least they were probably thinking about the problem you alluded to. Gives me some kind of faith.

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Hot water and high pressure cleans the best and fastest, if/when I have access to a steam cleaner it's always the first choice, put on a rain suit or at least a rubber apron and face shield and git it done, second choice would be a pressure washer and third would be a hose and preferably hot water. thermal shock should not be a problem for an engine that is at operating temperature, 180/195 degrees f. not the same as an engine that is at full load and running 1400* f exhaust temps, if you let your engine run for the five minutes that it takes to turn the pressure washer on and pre spray a cleaner it will be cool enough to be a non issue. Some parts of the engine will clean best with the engine running like pulleys and the fan assembly, just be real careful to not stick the spray wand or your parts into any rotating parts. I personally like to apply cleaners like simple green or purple degreaser with a pump up garden sprayer and letting it soak in before washing it off for best results

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I wash a lot of equipment on the farm. Cold engine, cold water. Blast off the big lumps with water, soak with your favorite de-greaser (I use Simple Green, or diluted Dawn), hit it with the pressure washer again being careful to be gentle around any seals or electricals. In years past, I used Gunk products and they did a good job too.

 

I'd not heard of Extreme Simple Green. I wash a lot of aluminum items (13 motorcycles), and so usually use S-100 on those. Expensive, but you use very little. Also doesn't spot nearly as badly as Simple Green, not that you'd care on a truck engine.

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Used to wash engines ALL the time but water was always set at 210F on the burner and we stayed away from electrical and reallly didn't need to get that close as pre-spray with a cleaner was the rule.

 

As other people have said PPE is important, the water that came back at you was a might uncomfortable and shy away from seals, sensitive parts of equipment.

 

Washed plenty of cold engines with hot water, never washed a hot engine with cold.

 

Years of no failures and a lack of unhappy customers is my own experience.

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I keep my engine fairly clean, don't pressure wash it. If you are washing anything under the hood, I would not be worried about the electrical. Volvo seems to have pretty good seals. Just be careful not to shoot even hose-pressure water directly at a seal, like the pulleys, steering box etc wherever a moving part exits a stationary one.

 

Times Two.... :)

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The biggest "thermal shock" problem is mostly injection components. Extremely tight tolerances (.0005" or less!) inside injectors or injection pumps mean a sudden drop of temperature in the outer case theoretically could "lock" the internal moving part which is still hot. It may be rare and unlikely...but who wants to find out the hard way?!

 

Yes--if you let your engine idle and cool down the block and main engine components will be 190-200 or so. BUT...the Turbo and injection components may still be much hotter. So use common sense and avoid any possible problem areas unless you know they are cool.

 

I actually find using compressed air to remove heavy crud sometimes works better that water. Dry dirt kinda "flakes off". Then degreaser and water to finish the job.

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ON EDIT:
I NEVER wash the engine in anything I sell..

I want the potential buyer to see what it really looks like from actual use.

A few minor bits of dust, or even tiny oil spots never bothered any sale I made, and most appreciated the fact that it was not "Sanitized" first.

Cheers,
Bob

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