And I have to get it clean, not only for appearance but for engine efficiency. My MH when off duty, sits in a storage lot, a very large one with a gravel surface with lots of traffic. Dust has found it's way into the engine room to the point that it looks brown rather than black. I'm looking for advice on the best way to get it clean. I imagine I can blast off the loose stuff with my compressor but I don't think that's going to be enough. I am reluctant to use a hose to wash it down, as with my luck I'm sure all kinds of electrical gremlins would surface. Can anyone point me to a magic product or method I can use.
2001 Four Winds Chateau 31N E450 V10
2006 Saturn Vue V6 AWD, drivetrain by Honda, body by Tupperware
Aventa II, Brake Buddy
I've used a hose, soap bucket & a bristle brush to clean the engines of all my vehicles since high school. Never had a problem. I do keep away from the fuse/relay boxes under the hood, but every other scrubbable surface is fair game to me.
2012 Ford F-250 XLT 6.2 FX4
2012 Keystone Cougar HC321RES
ZEP brand degreaser, make sure you get the purple stuff - it works better than the orange kind. You won't believe how easy this stuff cuts grease and oil. Just spray it on a cold engine and let it soak, then spray with water. I would NOT use any high pressure water as it can get into connectors and bearings.
You can get it at Home Depot.
FWIW, I got an old milk crate from my inlaws that had held filthy engine parts for many years. It was covered in so much grease and dirt you couldn't hardly tell what color it was. I soaked it down with the ZEP and let it sit 30 minutes. After rinsing it off it looked like new. Amazing stuff.
Scott, Grace and Wesly
2003 Dodge 3500 4x4, 6 speed Cummins (lightly bombed),
2004 Forest River 25RKS many, many mods.
Do not use a pressure washer or car wash high pressure for cleaning engine or electricals on a vehicle! End of story!
High pressure water, or any high pressure stream, can/will drive the material past seals into components such as throttle position sensors, into wiring connections, and in some cases past seals into components such as alternator bearings. We saw vehicle after vehicle with problems after the low cost home user high pressure washers came onto the market. Professional shops sometimes use high pressure washers for cleaning prior to disassembly but always with experienced consideration as to the application.
An added problem with the use of pressure washers is that the detergents/cleaning chemicals are generally intended to break down oils and greases which is best done by caustics. Caustics corrode light metals very readily so, again, electrical components suffer.
While it may appear to be more difficult, the posters whom advised the use of the bucket, "warm soapy water" and brush, followed by a rinse with water, are on target.
FWIW, there is a point of diminishing returns in so far as cleaning the engine bay of vehicles. External dirt on engine components, excepting heat transfer surfaces, is generally of little concern excepting from an appearance or service convenience stand-point. Remove the "bull dozer" level of material and then consider that most of the effort is for "looks".
Components such as raditators, transmission coolers, power steering coolers, should be protected by repainting if taken to bare metal.
If it's just dust I wouldn't worry about it. As you go down the road the wind rumbling through the engine bay and the fan will blow most of it off. Or use your air comprssor to get rid of the loose stuff.
If you have oil leaks and there is gunk on the engine then you do need to clean it off. The local coin operated car wash usually has an engine degreaser on the wand settings. Just try not to spray too much around the electronic components. When rinsing off hold the nozzle a couple of feet away from the engine so the hard spray isn't being forced passed seals or gaskets.
I use a degreaser spray and then use my pressure washer. However, I put the low pressure nozzle on that is a wide pattern and higher flow, rather than higher pressure. Stay clear of anything that looks electric or might not like water like filler caps, etc. At 70mph in a rain storm, some pretty high preszsure water blows through the engine compartment. You should be fine, just be cautious not to over due the pressure washing part.
I agree with the idea of using a degreaser sold in auto part stores and auto centers in places like Walmart.
About the water spraying part of the process, I assume you want to do the "Entire" engine including behind the dog house cover. If so, lay a large single plastic sheet covering seats and carpet, with the end funneling down through the hole to the street. Any water and grime on the plastic can be directed into the hole when finished.
I would do it at home with a garden hose hooked up to a hot water supply like a laundry tub or even the hot water tank itself. Just use a general spray nozzel that you can easily control the fanning & force. The hot water will help cut the grease and carry away the crud.
Power washing inside the cab seems a disasterous idea.