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Old 11-02-2010, 09:48 PM   #1
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Diesel engine cleaning...?

Does anyone know what dealerships do in regarding cleaning diesel engines. Back in the day ..I worked a couple of winters in an International truck dealership in Midland , Texas. I did mostly gas engine work and was a welder in the rig up shop when things were slow.

Back then the porters would steam off an engine before they ran them into the shop...if they need it. Of course...there was water every where...but didn't harm anything after blowing it off with compressed air.

With all the ECM's etc today...does anyone know if they still clean them in a similar fashon, or maybe with power washers, etc.

OR...do they not clean them at all? If so how..

Thanks..Stan..
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:02 PM   #2
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My only experience was when I cleaned my radiator, both sides, with a garden hose. Went to start the engine and no start. I had to have a Mobile RV Tech come to my place and do a reset on the computer. So I guess I learned a lesson, no more cleaning on the engine side. Glad I had Good Sam Roadside Assistance
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:39 PM   #3
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BusWest cleaned mine with a regular pressure sprayer. Cummins cleaned it twice with steam. I have selectively cleaned it with Simple Green and a low-pressure rinse. No problems thusfar.

That being said, I've killed my Grand Cherokee and my F-350 with pressure washing. Both $100 mistakes. No big deal either time, just awfully inconvenient.
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:58 PM   #4
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GM parts use to sell a product called 'Engine Shampoo'. It could be diluted with diesel or used straight. Very effective product and it does not have caustic properties that simple green and other household cleaners. I use 'Engine Shampoo' and let it set for few minutes and hose it off. The damp heat from steam cleaning can cause issues with wiring connections and controls. I know that engine repair facilities steam clean all the time and I have done a lot of it myself. I just think the risk is not worth it on my own MH.
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Old 11-03-2010, 02:01 AM   #5
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Hello Stan:
I have used Oil Eater I purchased from Costco and it works great. Oil Eater® is a unique non-flammable cleaner that is water-based, fresh scented and biodegradable. It contains no acids, abrasive or petroleum solvents and is USDA approved for non-food areas. So safe you can use it on dirty clothes, or to clean stains from carpets, upholstery and filthy floor mats. Get rid of grease and oil from asphalt and concrete and everything in between; as well as engines, lawn mowers, tools, ovens and outdoor grills. Perfect for pressure washing and parts cleaning. It makes big jobs simple, with just one application! “
Here is the Costco Link for Oil Eater Costco - Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser 4 - 1 Gallon Jugs
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:30 AM   #6
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I have used an aersol can of Gunk which can be purchased at Wal-Mart or auto parts stores. Warm the engine slightly, then use it as needed, let it soak, and then wash with water. I would avoid getting water in the alternator. The rest of the engine gets wet when driving in rain.
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:38 AM   #7
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I have washed my engine down several times by simply spraying a detergent (even dishwash detergent will do) and then hosing it off with a garden nozzle. If you do it once a year there is no need to use heavy duty degreasers or a pressure washer. These engines are out in the open when you drive in the rain so a little garden hose spray will not hurt them.
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:16 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input everyone..

I called the Cummins dealer this morning. They said they power wash diesels all the time. Everything electrial is sealed, no issues...avoiding the alternator is a good idea...but not critical. They don't even throw the chassis disconnect breaker....may not have one on big trucks though.

I just need to clean the fuel pump area and spruce the rest up a little. I think I will go ahead and clean it, using a little common sense and not deliberatly try to wash the ECM, alternator etc. Then blow it off with little compressed air...and let it dry several hours before I crank it. Should be OK I think.

Regarding chemicals...I have used Castrol degreasers for years in the Hot Rod Shop...they are tough to beat.

Best regards..Stan..
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:05 PM   #9
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Just one more idea. I have cleaned anything greasy with a syphon sprayer and paint thinner. After the parts are clean, the paint thinner drys and will not cause rust such as water. This works for engines, motorcycles, transmissions and anything oily that you want clean and don't want to have the problems that water will cause. The only drawback for some is that you need a compressor although in a pinch I have yoused a garden sprayer with good results. PAINT THINNER NOT LAQUER THINNER
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck 1935 View Post
Just one more idea. I have cleaned anything greasy with a syphon sprayer and paint thinner. After the parts are clean, the paint thinner drys and will not cause rust such as water. This works for engines, motorcycles, transmissions and anything oily that you want clean and don't want to have the problems that water will cause. The only drawback for some is that you need a compressor although in a pinch I have yoused a garden sprayer with good results. PAINT THINNER NOT LAQUER THINNER
I have to admit the first time I saw Chuck make this suggestion I thought it sounded strange but I now use paint thinner in a spray bottle to clean the mechanisms of our bikes. Works great.

As for engine cleanning, the bigger problem for full timers is WHERE to clean it. I imagine it leaves a real mess when you move the coach.

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Old 11-03-2010, 06:24 PM   #11
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Just let the EPA get wind of this and you all will be fined for cleaning these engines without a certified hazmat team. Heck, This Old House now uses special teams to take down the sheetrock. Surprised the anti dumping of gray water members don't chime in on this.
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:53 PM   #12
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I used paint thinner (mineral spirits) and a rag to wipe down the top end and remove the crud.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck 1935 View Post
Just one more idea. I have cleaned anything greasy with a syphon sprayer and paint thinner. After the parts are clean, the paint thinner drys and will not cause rust such as water. This works for engines, motorcycles, transmissions and anything oily that you want clean and don't want to have the problems that water will cause. The only drawback for some is that you need a compressor although in a pinch I have yoused a garden sprayer with good results. PAINT THINNER NOT LAQUER THINNER

Thats a good idea Chuck..

In fact that was a common practice in the oil field back in the day....except we used naptha, it cuts grease about the same as thinner.
Worked good....but as someone mentioned , need to be somewhere the mess isn't an issue, and you don't need grass to grow...Castrol and others breaks down grease and doesn't kill vegetation if you're out in the country somewhere.

A shop grease trap is ideal if you have a tall enough building to get the coach in over it.. If not then a big car/truck wash is the best place to spray it off. They nearly all have grease traps to contain just such a mess.

Of course EPA has a hand in grease trap requirements for wash facilities.....

Stan...
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