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1995 Volvo 850 T-5
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey,
I have a question. What do you guys use, if anything to clean the engine compartment. I am talking about the plastics, rubber, and metal that you see when you open the hood. What is the best way to detail it all?

-Thanks
 

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2003 2.5x
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645 Posts
A shop rag and WD40. It takes some time and some effort but produces nice results. I dont like to hose my engine bay off like some folks do.

Then again come to think of it, the engine bay was never really that dirty in our car. I suppose if there is caked on grime, grease, etc. you would probably need to grab a can of engine degreaser and head for the carwash-covering vital engine electrical components of course
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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39,496 Posts
Simple green cleaner, some elbow grease & rinse well. Once dry, you can touch up the rubber & plastic parts with something like 303 or Mother's Back-to-Black. :smile:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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The engine gets wet when you drive in the rain. You don't want to go overboard, like spraying into the alternator or other electrical fitting. Just go easy & don't spray the water at full force. The engine can be warm, but not hot. Do just a small area at a time & make sure you let the engine dry off, as in don't leave it soaking wet. :wink:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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1995 Volvo 850 T-5
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Alright thanks. I have heard you have to cover certain components up with plastic or foil, does the Forester engine compartment require this?

-Thanks
 

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2010 Forester
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121 Posts
Simple Green is said to be bad for aluminum. They do make a variant intended to work on aluminum. I would stick with something intended for auto use like P21S.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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Most components in the engine compartment are weatherized, but it's not wise to go crazy with the water. Figure that rain normally blows in thru the radiator, but never like a full force hose. Be carful around the alternator & other electrical connectors & you should be good. :wink:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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1,039 Posts
Thanks for the replies. So, it is not bad for the engine to rinse it off with a hose?

-Thanks
If you have excessive grease or oil, you have a problem that needs fixing. For more severe deposits I use Gunk (non-foamy) engine cleaner which I think has a lot of kerosene or something in it. You can carefully spray it where needed.

For keeping headgasket areas or minor grease/oil cleaning you can use brake cleaner. If the parts cleaned need a little oil to work (some linkages) you should re-lube lightly when done.

I basically carefully hose out once or twice a year with the engine cold. The nozzle I have adjusts for both spray pattern and flow, so I can change this for the area I am cleaning. I'm not a detail freak, I just try to keep the dust from accumulating. As long as you don't go full blast on alternator or electrical connections you should be OK. Most electrical connections have a gasket inside them anyway. I usually let it drip for maybe 15 min or so and then take it on a drive long enough to get everything warmed up well so it will dry completely. Never had a problem doing this.
 

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....here is a a post I made a year ago in a similar thread in this forum:

....I typically use a 1:4 dilution of Meguiars APC+ and/or car wash soap in most cases. I also use a variety of brushes. I spray the engine down, apply the APC+/soap, agitate & then rinse. I have filters that help avoid spotting but I still dry the engine. I use a blower and compressed air followed by an MF towel to sop up any remaining spots. I follow up with 303 on the plastic bits and wipe to a satin finish. I don’t have pics of our Forester but here is my 6 1/2 year old WRX:


Here is a link to the thread:
http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f138/cleaning-under-hood-50716/

I don't cover anything when I clean/rinse but I also use a little common sense (i.e. not shooting streams of water into potentially sensitive areas, etc.). However, when in doubt, err on the side of caution. It is much better to be safe than sorry.

As for Simple Green, I personally don't like it. The smell tends to linger and it does have the potential to accelerate corrosion on some aluminum surfaces as mentioned earlier. IMO, if I were to use one of their products for this purpose I would prefer to use something like SG Aircraft & Precision Cleaner or SG Pro HD. ....just my opinion though.
 

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2004 Forester
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71 Posts
I use ArmorAll Cleaner and that works well. Its the stuff you use to put on your dash and interior plastics to make them shiny. Also works very well on the car floor mats if they are looking a little dull in colour. It brings back the blackness in them.
 

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2008 Forester AE
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I have heard you have to cover certain components up with plastic or foil, does the Forester engine compartment require this?
nope, leave the tinfoil on your head, it's much safer that way :biggrin:

I spray lightly when warm or cool, followed by a careful wipedown of clear surfaces (don't snag hoses/lines/wires etc..) with a microfiber and wash water, rinse and continue on with the rest of the car.

If you do it every time you wash it there is no build up and it cleans up much nicer, Meg#40 for some of the plastics in there and Bob's your uncle.
 

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I usually spray with Meguiars APC, agitate with brushes, and rinse off with water from a hose (just running water, no need for high pressure). I also cover the alternator with a plastic bag or foil.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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Unless there is a lot of grease....I just use RainX and paper towels. I wouldn't rinse. No need for it. U I also use a bit of simple green when necessary.
 

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2004 Forester XT 5MT
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292 Posts
To make engine bay shine and get those hard to reach spots use Armorall Tire shine foam spray.
 

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2020 Forester 2.5 Touring CVT
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Simple Green is said to be bad for aluminum. They do make a variant intended to work on aluminum. I would stick with something intended for auto use like P21S.
The version that is aluminum-safe is called Aircraft Simple Green, and can be found on the internet.
 

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01 Forester "S" (FS)
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Simple green cleaner, some elbow grease & rinse well. Once dry, you can touch up the rubber & plastic parts with something like 303 or Mother's Back-to-Black. :smile:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
What he said. I used:

1) Warm Engine (NOT HOT) but warm, like 15 minutes running warm.
2) Simple Green, and after Engine Degreaser found in any Autoparts store.
3) Power Washer/Hi PRessure
4) Very careful using Power Washer on soft plastic parts & wire harnesses of all kind.
5) Keep the engine running, spray the Simple Green, wash - Then spray the Degreaser and wash again, rinse repeat.

Then to be crazy I Armoralled the entire engine bay.... it is SHINY!!!!
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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Simple Green is said to be bad for aluminum. They do make a variant intended to work on aluminum. I would stick with something intended for auto use like P21S.
A quick Google shows a lot of differing viewpoints on this issue.

Here's a link to an answer said to come from Simple Green. It's at an Airstream forum (run by autoforums). Airstream people surely must know their aluminum!

Basically, Simple Green's answer plugs their special product but asserts that there are no problems with modest use of the regular stuff.
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,070 Posts
I can attest that regular simple green will etch aluminum if used in a high concentration and left to soak for a extended time.

It has been a staple cleaning product of every motorcycle shop(think massive amounts of bare polished aluminum) I have ever been in, mostly bought in bulk 1 gallon concentrated jugs. Mixed in a low concentration and not allowed to soak on the area I have never seen any issues. Typically it will be mixed around a 5% - 20% ratio to water in a spray bottle, the bike would get a quick rinse of water and the misted with the simple green, let it sit for around a minute then rinsed off to remove the heavy debris and oils from the repair work, then get a quick typical hand washing.

I use it on my own bikes and in the engine bay of every car we own. Do I think it is detrimental, harmful? No, just don't be stupid with it. It is no worse then winter in a state that uses road salt.
 
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