Detailing a Prius engine compartment. How do you do yours?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Dxta, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

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    IMG_20190522_095607.jpg IMG_20190604_110648.jpg IMG_20180312_084257.jpg A lot of people in Nigeria, are just scary of detailing their engine compartments, because of the stories they've heard, that it would damage the hybrid system.

    In some new weeks, I'd be washing the engine compartment of a hybrid Highlander 2010.

    If you were going to wash your engine compartment, what precautions would you take?

    For me, I'd do the following:
    1. Use aluminum foils to cover the AC compressor red connector to prevent water intrusion.
    2. Cover the ABS control module/pump
    3. Cover the MAF sensor with polythene, etc
    4. Cover the fuse boxes too.
    5. Used an old toothbrush, to scrub off dust from wire harnesses, and connectors.
    6. Use solvent to helpewith dissolving any oil spills, if present.
    7. Use brush and detergent or so to wash off the remains of any oil stains
    8. Use compressed air to blow away dust
    9. Then use minimal pressure from a pressure washing machine to wash everything.
    Care must be taken not to direct the nozzles straight on the radiator/condenser fins.
    10. Finally, allowed to dry, and then apply any shiny stuff as treatments on the engine compartments.


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    If you were to detailed your engine compartment, how would you do it?

    PS: I want the Highlander's engine compartment to be as clean as the Camry hybrid shown.
     
    #1 Dxta, Jun 9, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  2. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Steam.

    And don't see Camry.
     
  3. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    I have cleaned the engine compartments of every car I've owned since the 1970's, and the method hasn't changed much. I get the engine a bit warm (not hot), then lightly wet it with a garden hose on mist. Then I spray Simple Green on the entire wet surface, and let that sit for a few minutes. Then I wipe and brush all the surfaces, and if needed go back for seconds (that is rare). Then I rinse and let dry a bit, then start the car and give it a quick drive. I don't bag electrical connectors or fuse boxes (I don't blast water on them either).

    I recently cleaned up the engine bay on a 2007 Camry my daughter was selling. She lives on a dirt road and it wasn't much cleaner than yours. It came out pretty clean with the method I described above:

    2019-03-26 15.43.27.jpg

    For your seriously dirty bay, I would start with an air bath with a compressor nozzle. The more dust you remove now the less mud you make when you wash it. I would skip the shiny treatment at the end - in my experience this stuff isn't necessary and tends to attract dust (it can be sticky).

    Here are a few videos from a professional detailer and Chris Fix showing how they do it.





     
  4. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

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    Thanks so much.
    I'm specific for a hybrid vehicle.
     
  5. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    There are NO specifics just because it is a hybrid.
    I certainly would NOT use steam because the excessive heat can damage stuff.
    And I would not use a pressure washer either because the high pressure can force water into places it shouldn't go.

    I think that this is likely to cause problems no matter HOW you do it.......except maybe blowing out the loose dirt with a leaf blower or compressed air.

    My advice is: DO NOT DO IT. Others are saying that too for very good reasons.
     
  6. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    Those videos offer good guidance.
    Covering the fuse box/ other electronics is my best one sentence advice.

    As for specific hybrid, I'd certainly pay special water intrusion sealing attention to the orange wires.
    Also good advice is to not use a pressure washer but instead to use a low pressure water hose stream and let gravity be your friend.

    I have no advise of Simple Green, Engine Degreaser, Soapy Water or other cleaning products for this project.
    I would not use Aluminum Foil and instead use plastic baggies and/ or plastic Saran Wrap to seal the oil, air intakes and electronic areas.

    OP posted a photo of a really dirty engine.
    I'd typically say top down, but in this case, I'd lift the vehicle and begin on the lower half of the engine compartment
    in an effort to remove the major grime first.
    Then go to top down procedure.

    Good luck.
     
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  7. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    My advice is do it, but be careful with where you spray water. A little bit of water mist from a garden hose will do a surprising amount of cleaning, particularly when combined with a few brushes and rags. If you keep the engine bay clean, it's easier for you to see if there are leaks or other problems. It's also a lot easier to work on an engine that isn't filthy. And it is likely better for the long term health of the car, with less debris in the engine compartment to hold moisture, dirt to work it's way where you don't want it, etc.
     
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  8. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    I like the method the detailer used with a rubber glove wrapped around connectors. Those gloves are pretty flexible and stretchy and seal up pretty well.
     
  9. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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  10. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    This is a good shape for about 90% of the engine compartment.

    upload_2019-6-9_10-19-17.jpeg
     
  11. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Good to know... I use that kind inside the cabin a lot, great for dusting all the little crevices in the plastic trimparts. I hadn't tried them for dirty-dirty work.
     
  12. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    Get a cheap set and keep them separated for the grimy stuff. I found that the soft-ish brushes work well - they can get into the nooks and crannies where the stiff brushed cannot. I also use soft toothbrushes, pipe cleaners, rags, and a spray bottle. The bottle is nice to blast a bit of water and/or soap into an area where I am brushing. I also have a high pressure blow nozzle hooked up to my compressor - that is handy for blowing dirt/water out of tight spots. Get it wet, scrub, wet it again, blast it.
     
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  13. johnjohnchu

    johnjohnchu Member

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    I have been periodically washing my 2006 Prius engine compartment since new. The rationale is that I do not like to get my hands dirty when working on my car. I just use one can of engine degreaser chemical and garden water hose w/nozzle. Make sure engine is not hot. Rinse the engine compartment really well with water after chemical spray. No other special precaution was ever taken. There has been no issue.
     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    Judging the pictures in the initial post, conditions are terrible, mostly dirt roads, etcetera. I'm thinking even if you clean it within an inch of it's life, it won't be long before it's filthy again.

    It's not just the "hybrid" factor, there's many 12 volt connectors as well, and if water gets in and is trapped, you can shorts, corrosion, or both.

    I'd do nothing, or dry clean only.
     
  15. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone for your comments.
    I would back off using a high pressure nozzle, but instead maybe a garden hose, alongside some brushes, and detergent with water to wash off.
     
  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    Use compressed air after, especially around connectors. Maybe pull off a few connector you can reach, blow them out, at least till you get a feel for how dry they are inside. (y)
     
  17. egn83b

    egn83b Junior Member

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    I just get out the pressure sprayer. Easy as cake. Car still runs fine.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  18. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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  19. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    NOT A GOOD IDEA.
    That might force water into places that it would not go otherwise.
     
  20. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    You have been lucky.
    No competent mechanic anywhere in the world recommends cleaning a working engine with a pressure washer.
    Unless maybe you keep the nozzle at least 3 feet away and "mist" it.
     
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