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5 minute engine bay detail....

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by sorka, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    • Do this with engine cold.
    • Spray areas of obvious grime build up with simple green or some other non caustic degreaser. I wouldn't use an engine degreaser, but it might be ok if you do.
    • Allow to sit for at 5 to 10 minutes.
    • Use pressure washer. Do not pull the trigger continuously. Use short bursts on obvious areas of build. Ovoid spark plug coils at an angle. Short bursts directly on top should be fine. I've been doing this for years without any issues.
    • Use blower to blow excess water.
    • Spray spray plastic and ruber parts including the cowls and dust covers with Vinylex. I have 4 gallons of the stuff because it costs 1/10th the price to buy it in bulk, so I'm pretty liberal.
    • Use shop rags to get excess off(missed that on the filter box top when I took the photo and didn't realized it til afterwards).
    Do this at your own risk.



    [​IMG]
     
  2. xpcman

    xpcman Senior Member

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    I did this once on a Volvo and will NEVER do it again. Water and electronics just do not mix.
     
  3. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    I would emphasize the phrase "Do this at your own risk". Fine for older cars that didn't have the electronics of todays cars.

    If a dirty engine bay bothers you, use some clean shop rags with a cleaning solution on them and wipe the soiled surfaces.
     
  4. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    Not for everyone for sure. However, older cars are *far* more susceptible to pressure washing engine bays. The Prius's electronic are well sealed as are the connectors. Everything has r-rings with good seals. The spark plug holes have great seals around the ignition coils. Older cars have a lot more unsealed mechanical parts and connectors aren't sealed. Spark plug holes are frequently open on the top and water will get in and sit there for a very long time.

    The worst cars to do this too are early 80's because they have tons of mechanical switches for smog devices that are mostly taken care of today by sensors and an ECU.

    That said, you can't just blindly pressure wash everything in a prius engine bay and you could easily mess something up if you get too close with too much pressure.


    Yea, I would never do this to a Volvo either. 160K miles on the Prius and about a dozen times doing this and no issues so far, but I've been doing this for 30 years and there are many cars I would never do this on. I guess I've just been lucky so far.

    BTW, I worked for detail shop years ago that did this for dealers. This is the standard treatment for cleaning engine bays.
     
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  5. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    In high school a long, long time ago, I worked part time as a mechanic's helper in a diesel shop where I learned to clean engine bays with a steam pressure washer (good times..... not). I've been doing it ever since but using the pressure washer at car washes and dressing the engine with a protectorant. Just use some common sense and avoid direct spraying of electronics and air intakes. Yeah I know, the former is a little more difficult in a hybrid. ;)

    This was my 13 year old RAV4, that we owned since new, the final time I cleaned it before selling it.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. magnumrtawd

    magnumrtawd Member

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    I ALSO LIKE A CLEAN ENGINE BAY . But does it run any better??? Probably not!!
     
  7. Rich12

    Rich12 Member

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    Caveat: make sure to cover the Prius' alternator with a plastic bag before you attempt this!
     
  8. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    When you find the alternator, please take a photo of it and post. :rolleyes:

    I think it is reasonable to periodically clean the engine compartment as long as you keep in mind that the spark plug wells can trap moisture because the spark igniter O-rings are not very good. Therefore it would be smart not to blast the engine valve cover with an endless stream of high pressure water.
     
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  9. P&T PRIUS

    P&T PRIUS Junior Member

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    I do this on every car I own, usually about every 3 months. if you do it often you can you much less water, also having the right degreaser will cut down on water usage. I believe it also cuts down on wear because you are removing dirt grease and sand that can and will essentially sand paper the engine components.
     
  10. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    The Prius engine bay just seems to stay very clean naturally.

    I live down from one of those coin operated high pressure Car Wash operations.

    I can tell you, I would NEVER recommend spraying the engine bay. I don't know how many times I have seen people pull in, pop their hood, go crazy with the engine spraying, and then spend 2 hours trying to get their car started. And this is with older cars....conceivably with far less electronic components attached. I REALLY wouldn't do it with a Prius.

    I think the Tow Truck company knows exactly where this car wash is...they have to come and rescue vehicles so often.

    I like to keep my engine bay looking clean. But with The Prius, I think you can be a whole lot less aggressive. I check it about once a month and then just carefully wipe off areas using just a rag and water. And that keeps it looking fine.

    Of course my Prius is relatively new, but I have yet to have the engine bay look so dirty I thought I needed anything more aggressive to be done.

    A sponge, some water applied specifically and directly...and a rag is really all I think you need.
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Prius Engine Bay.JPG
    3rd gen prius engine bay, at 43000~ kilometers. But wait: no pressure washer, no solvent running down the curb to storm drains and into streams. Just very occasional blow-out with a wet-dry vac and a leaf blower, coupled with various brushes to get in the corners.
     
  12. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Since the G3 Prius has the engine ECU located in the engine compartment and the wiring harness is pretty exposed, that is even more reason to limit the amount of water sprayed in the upper right (driver's side) corner of the engine compartment.
     
  13. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    Not sure about the abrasive detriment on the exterior of engine components, but letting a layer of grime build up on engine component surfaces that normally run hot will act as insulating barrier and increase temperatures. In some case significantly.

    I also do this about every 3 or 4 months. As a result, it only takes about 10 seconds of pressure washer use spread out over about a minute in quick 1/2 second bursts.

    Amazingly, the entire process uses about 3 cups of water. As I posted originally, it's not necessary to use caustic high strength engine degreasers. A mild non toxic biodegradable detergent is all that is needed. I use just an ounce of simple green.

    And for those of you who are driving to car washes. Don't. If you attempt this at all, you shouldn't be starting your car right afterwards.

    And don't do it on older cars. You're asking for nothing but trouble if you do.