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2015 Forester Premium CVT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My car's engine bay is filthy, all road dust, water spots, salt as well. I see the part of the engine started rusting as well :confused: I wonder if there is any way of washing and detailing an engine bay in the apartment complex parking lot without running water and electricity. I have a garden sprayer. I could use that but I am worried about water settling in the nooks and crannies and something going royally wrong when I start the engine.

Has anybody done this? Any piece of advice?
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Limited CVT
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I don’t use a hose in the engine bay. Just a spray bottle and mild detergent. I also change out any rusted fasteners I find. I’m concerned about all the electronics and wires. I’m more interested in cleaning the throttle body and egr.

But I will detail the bay with a brush, cloth and spray bottle only.
 

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2019 Sport CVT
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798 Posts
All of my 3 will get their next detailing again in the spring. A wash with a soft brush and the regular car wash soap & water. Gentle rinse with the hose. Then the remaining dirty areas get a spray of Meguiar's All Purpose Cleaner and a rinse. Then Meguiar's Super Degreaser as needed and a rinse. The welds around the strut towers always seem to need a scrub with a toothbrush. Along with the raised letters on the coolant and washer tanks. Dry with a leaf blower. Then after everything has dried all day, the black plastic and hoses get a wipe down with Stoner Trim Shine and the firewall gets a light spraying of Trim Shine as well and blowing with the leaf blower to spread it out thin.

Before I start anything of this, the engine cover and air intake comes off and I'll bag off the opening to the air cleaner. Before putting the air intake back on I'll check the inside of the air cleaner to make sure no water got in. The electrical junction blocks and fuse boxes get more or a careful wash around them and not ever blasted with cleaner or water from the hose. The underside of the hood is the very first thing to get washed, with soap and water and gets a spray wax coating at the end of the whole process.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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14,785 Posts
I just use paper towels and rainx
 

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I usually wash on a sunny day and outside.

I do the following:
  1. Remove the battery or the negative terminal. You may want to use something like a memory retainer power supply to preserve your ECU/TCU/BCU settings before doing this.
  2. Use a blower or compressed air to remove as much loose dirt as possible. Without electricity, I remember using a hand pump with a smaller tip attachment.
  3. Use a medium bristle brush to agitate as much dirt in the tight spots as possible.
  4. Use the blower again to remove what you have just agitated.
  5. Cover the exposed electrical equipment as much as possible. I use aluminium foiI to cover the following:
    • Alternator
    • Battery if it's just the negative terminal which was removed.
    • Starter
    • You can cover the ignition coils but some people skip this because they are usually sealed.
  6. Spray onto engine components one at a time using a soapy water solution on a sprayer and use the same medium bristle brush to remove the remaining dirt.
  7. Spray the engine with clean water using really soft water. You can use a garden sprayer for this. Make sure that that sprayer is specifically for clean water only.
  8. Dry using paper towel/microfibre or whatever.
  9. Air dry. On a sunny day in summer, this will be very quick. During winter this can be rather tricky.
  10. Use your favourite engine dressing to coat the plastics. This is optional but I do this to preserve the plastics even more.
  11. Remove the aluminium foils.
  12. Return the battery or the negative terminal.
  13. Remove your memory retainer if equipped.
  14. Start your Subaru.
  15. Live a happy life because Subaru = Love.
 

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2015 2.5i Premium
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41 Posts
Some quick questions:
(1) Using leaf blower to remove any leaves, nuts, branches is ok? I was afraid the blower might loosen some stuff or connection. I can wash car and detail inside, but touching anything under the hood is not my forte, b/c I don't know which is which.
(2) If I don't remove anything, using old toothbrush or soft bristle ones to remove dirt is good enough? Spray and clean with cloths or paper towel as I go?
(3) I'm really short so hunching over to reach all crooks and crannies might not be possible, plus bad eye-sights.
I have not washed anything under the hood since I bought the car. Very bad maintenance on this end.
 

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2014 Touring with Eyesigh CVT
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616 Posts
Some quick questions:
(1) Using leaf blower to remove any leaves, nuts, branches is ok? I was afraid the blower might loosen some stuff or connection. I can wash car and detail inside, but touching anything under the hood is not my forte, b/c I don't know which is which.
(2) If I don't remove anything, using old toothbrush or soft bristle ones to remove dirt is good enough? Spray and clean with cloths or paper towel as I go?
(3) I'm really short so hunching over to reach all crooks and crannies might not be possible, plus bad eye-sights.
I have not washed anything under the hood since I bought the car. Very bad maintenance on this end.
Your first to question is a yes.
3. Just purchase from Wally world a kitchen cup cleaner. It works well also I use mine on the wheels.
Note: Use a spray bottle (glass cleaner) and make sure it is very warm water.
 

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2015 2.5i Premium
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Thanks for the answers.
I make my own all purpose cleaning solution, with vinegar and water (1:3 ratio) and dish soap. That should work, right? No harm to all the metal-alloy parts there.
 

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Sahuarita, AZ 2018 Forester Limited
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I make my own all purpose cleaning solution, with vinegar and water (1:3 ratio) and dish soap. That should work, right? No harm to all the metal-alloy parts there.
I'm not sure I would use vinegar after just reading this:
 

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81 Posts
Some quick questions:
(1) Using leaf blower to remove any leaves, nuts, branches is ok? I was afraid the blower might loosen some stuff or connection. I can wash car and detail inside, but touching anything under the hood is not my forte, b/c I don't know which is which.
(2) If I don't remove anything, using old toothbrush or soft bristle ones to remove dirt is good enough? Spray and clean with cloths or paper towel as I go?
(3) I'm really short so hunching over to reach all crooks and crannies might not be possible, plus bad eye-sights.
I have not washed anything under the hood since I bought the car. Very bad maintenance on this end.
(1) Using a leaf blower is competely safe. At a safe distance, you can see dust and debris flying. With my leaf blower, I used a safe distance of 50cm.
(2) Yes, you can use a toothbrush with soft bristles. You can agitate the dirt when it's dry and you will see how much you will be able to remove without using liquid.
(3) It's OK. It won't hurt you when the engine bay is dirty unless it's caked in acidic mud.

I'm not sure I would use vinegar after just reading this:
Yes, you can skip the vinegar. It can be a bit too acidic for engine components. Soapy water will do just fine.

If you live in salty areas, though, you can use a vinegar/water solution to neutralise the underchassis. After 10 mins, wash off using a pressure washer like you do with a car wash = high pressure + car foam + low pressure to rinse. I use this method whenever I am offroading particularly near the beach. My underchassis looks much newer than mall crawling overland vehicles.
 

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While some of those 9 items they (CR) mention, some you can tell by common sense not to use it.
For my countertops, I don't have fancy marble/granite, just regular mica cheap one that builder put on, so vinegar/baking soda solve the purpose, so are the tiles in bathroom/shower.
Clothes iron is a no-no as you can tell by the thin film on that flat surface. Though what I hate the most is the calcium build-up in those little holes.
And as with anything, spot test to be sure :)

Thanks @ABFoz for your answers. I live in Houston, so flood water is more encountered than salty one.
 
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