February 2012 Shift Newsletter Detailing Article

Engine Detailing

by Mike Cardenas

As Car enthusiasts, we’ve all seen this scenario played out time and time again: Everyone is gathered around, admiring a car. Model-year guessing commences, and some folks call out specs such as horsepower and paint codes. At some point someone says, “Pop the hood”. But underneath the hood lies an engine that is anything but spectacular in comparison to the rest of the car. The owner simply did not put the same attention to detail into the engine compartment as he or she did for the rest of the vehicle. In this issue, I’ll address the fears of engine detailing and offer some tips on how to avoid this scenario in your detailing.

Ferrari engine detailed by Mike Cardenas

Often, detailing enthusiasts get a bit apprehensive about doing an engine detail because they fear they might damage the vehicle in some way. It’s true that if done improperly, an engine detail can create problems. But here are a few tips to help you turn that greasy engine into a proud display of horsepower. Let’s address the “fear factor” first. Safe engine detailing starts with prepping important engine components during the process. First, to avoid burns, make sure the engine is cool to the touch. Next, remove loose debris such as leaves in hood hinges or other types of debris that weren’t originally an option on your car. Protect engine components such as distributors, carburetors, wiring and other exposed electrical components with something as simple as a plastic bag or even plastic wrap.

Now its engine-degreasing time. Use an engine degreaser/cleaner that is safe for all surfaces. I personally recommend Griot’s Garage Engine Cleaner because of its lack of “knock me out” vapor fumes. Plus its safe to use on all engine components. Spray the entire engine compartment with engine cleaner and then agitate and scrub all areas of the engine bay using a soft bristle brush. Since most of today’s engines are covered mostly in plastic, you may find this to be a quick and easy task.

This intense engine detail took over 6 hours to complete.

Rinse the engine compartment after it has been scrubbed and then remove your plastic wrap from the protected areas. At this time, start the engine and use an air compressor to dry off the engine bay. If you don’t have air to dry the engine, you can just use the heat of your engine, which will evaporate remaining water and aid in the drying process.

Now that the engine is dry

 

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