View Full Version : Steam cleaning engine bay

06-18-2008, 04:40 AM
I am eager to clean up my engine bay and have it looking good for once. Once it is done I plan to keep it clean. I have been advised to do two things:

1. Have it steam cleaned as opposed to trying to clean it myself.
2. Avoid having it coated with any sealant or gloss afterwards as these things tend to fail to dry and end up causing problems.

So i have a few questions. Is a steam clean really a good idea? If i take it to a professional garage is it safe? I have heard that it can cause shorts in the electrical system. Having just spent an arm and a leg rebuilding the engine the last thing I can afford is more expense.
I have read a lot on autopia.org and was all geared up to do it myself but my mechanic told me not to. He is the one who suggested steam clean. I value his opinion but I am also a little concerned....Any advice and/or experiences?

06-18-2008, 05:43 AM
get ur hands dirty and clean it ur self.. lol unless u have money like that.. i never heard of steam cleaning ur engine bay my self -.-...

06-18-2008, 06:38 AM
If you had an old Chevy 350 steam cleaning is fine, I wouldn't do it on any computer controlled vehicle. Too much potential for damage, IMO.

06-18-2008, 06:44 AM
Ok well sounds like I will go ahead and try and clean it myself. Much more fun. I have heard too much spooky stuff about steam cleans to risk it. More than happy to get my hands dirty. I am only just learning about cars so i am very hesitant whenever I start something like this. I understand I am meant to cover several parts with plastic to be sure but am a little embarrassed to admit that I don't necessarily know what all those parts look like when I pop the hood.

06-18-2008, 07:19 AM
Eh, I just spray everything down with purple power, let it sit, then spray off. You might need to do some scrubbing if its bad, but if you just rebuilt your motor it should be pretty clean. I just let it sit to dry. No problems using this method. I learned from the master vip09, you'll have that engine bay clean in 14.7 minutes!!

EDIT: The 3s dist. is well sealed so if yours isn't you might want to cover it. Just don't go spraying water all in electronics that aren't sealed.

06-18-2008, 03:19 PM
I've steamed my celica, my old civic and my lancer with no problems. I didnt get very close to anything (ie: trying to get every spec off my valve cover) but just spraying the whole bay for afew minutes and it never hurt anything. Make sure your engines cooled off before hand, even though your using hot water it can still crack stuff.

06-19-2008, 09:30 AM
As a note most electronics are A-ok when you clean WITHOUT VOLTAGE. I've put motherboards through dishwashers because they are so bloody nasty, and let them air dry for a week and they powered up fine and no longer had nicotine/dust/old dead rat smell. So if you want to steam clean, it shouldn't cause a problem as long as you let everything dry before you re-attach a battery. However a lot of internal parts are also coated with a rust inhibiting spray from the factory, with older cars this is likely a moot point, but with newer cars comes to be pretty important.

As a note I take no responsibility for people who try to put their motherboards through the dishwasher with a CMOS battery, or put their ECU through a dishwasher attached to the car battery, or decide to take a shower in the dishwasher. Your mileage may vary, from a range of 0 to sideways 8.

06-19-2008, 09:53 AM
been pressure washing mine using simple green or purple power with no problems

06-19-2008, 06:13 PM
u guys are talking bout those 25 cent places??

06-20-2008, 12:10 AM
Crikey I hope not!
Anyway an update on that is that I went and got it steam cleaned. It looked really good afterwards, even though I avoided putting that shiny stuff on it (it never driess properly and just attracts dirt and dust) but my electrics were a bit haywire afterwards! I let it sit for a few hours and it seemed a bit better. Will check it later today. I'll be pissed if i've got another short in my system (not having luck with those lately).

06-20-2008, 12:35 AM
I guess I should have mentioned you don't want to run the electronics 'till dry.. Most everything should be ok if it's settled now.