engine steam clean - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2014, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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engine steam clean

my car has a small oil leak which has been located and getting fixed this week however the mechanic is sugesting i get the engine steam cleaned before its fixed. Would this affect the electronics of the car? The car is a 1983 380 sel with 155000 miles, any advice welcome
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2014, 12:59 AM
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It has been done but 'personally' I wouldnt recommend it, I have seen so many problems afterwards.
These are very electrically reliant and it really plays havoc getting it wet, even if protected.
The slow way is much safer, bucket, spray cleaner, various paint brushes and dish brushes..

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2014, 02:01 AM
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As above, I would never normally do it but I did get desperate and do it to my SEC recently. If you have to do it you can cover everything up and hope for the best..

There are lots of little things to cover up though.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2014, 02:41 AM
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I will never do it again, far better to get a can of engine degreaser and spray it on, use a paint brush to agitate it, and rinse off with a jug of water, this way you have control of where the water goes.

My 230 SL had been done before I bought it, and darn near every bolt and fitting under the car rusted badly and they all broke when trying to remove anything
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2014, 04:32 AM
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Engine cleaning is pointless. When done improperly, especially with steam, it can damage the parts. When done properly, nothing is achieved that benefits the vehicle. I put it in the same category as hair gel and lawn jockeys.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2014, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by wilson1010 View Post
Engine cleaning is pointless. When done improperly, especially with steam, it can damage the parts. When done properly, nothing is achieved that benefits the vehicle. I put it in the same category as hair gel and lawn jockeys.
I am sorry I don't agree with that last sentence at all.
Regular cleaning of your car engine bay helps you to become familiar with those parts under the bonnet, what they should look like and how they function. It will be easier to notice anything untoward that may cause a problem later, IE loose hoses or plugs and any rust or corrosion, it may even help you discover leaks before they become too serious or expensive.

You (members) are always discussing 'resale values' if I was looking for a car and lifted up the bonnet to find it covered in dust dirt and oil to me that would be another pointer towards lack of care.

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Last edited by Greeney; 04-22-2014 at 05:22 AM.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2014, 06:01 AM
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Mm yes I very much like a clean engine bay. Yes it shows a car has been looked after but also makes maintenance easier. Also oil on rubber hoses etc is best cleaned off really I always think due to perishing, depending on composition.

The best way is piecemeal as Malcolm suggests, I did my SE over time with a toothbrush and it looks nice. The SEC was a pig under the bonnet so I gave up and blasted it but I was careful.

Caveboyz thats a good sign your mechanic would like it clean, I think, it suggests he is thorough.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Greeney View Post
I am sorry I don't agree with that last sentence at all.
Regular cleaning of your car engine bay helps you to become familiar with those parts under the bonnet, what they should look like and how they function. It will be easier to notice anything untoward that may cause a problem later, IE loose hoses or plugs and any rust or corrosion, it may even help you discover leaks before they become too serious or expensive.

You (members) are always discussing 'resale values' if I was looking for a car and lifted up the bonnet to find it covered in dust dirt and oil to me that would be another pointer towards lack of care.
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Mm yes I very much like a clean engine bay. Yes it shows a car has been looked after but also makes maintenance easier. Also oil on rubber hoses etc is best cleaned off really I always think due to perishing, depending on composition.
It is very important to keep your engine bay and undercarriage clean. Itís like anything else, keeping things clean keeps them in better shape. Things that stay dirty tend to deteriorate more rapidly, especially in an area that uses several oil based fluids which, when leaked, attract dirt. Yes, keeping the engine bay clean allows you to see leaks earlier than later which allows for better maintenance. Iíve also talked to several mechanics who say they take better care of a car that is kept clean as it makes their job more pleasant. Maybe they shouldnít but sometimes they do. I put my car up on ramps and take the pressure washer to it from above and below at least twice a year.

Now, yes, there is the electrical issue. Our cars are old, which means that they tend to not be as tightly sealed as they used to be, so yeah you need to be careful. Provided things are in good shape, this is what I recommend. Starting with a cold engine, spray diluted dawn dish detergent or some other relatively mild degreaser (if there is such a thing) on and around the engine paying special attention to especially oily or dirty areas. Agitate with a small brush or cloth. Rinse using the jet setting from your hose. After rinsing, blow as dry as you can using a leaf blower, paying close attention to cracks and crevices. Spot dry with a cloth. Youíll especially like this after fixing a leak because it will help you confirm that you fixed it. I love it!

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by J Dubb View Post
It is very important to keep your engine bay and undercarriage clean. Itís like anything else, keeping things clean keeps them in better shape. Things that stay dirty tend to deteriorate more rapidly, especially in an area that uses several oil based fluids which, when leaked, attract dirt. Yes, keeping the engine bay clean allows you to see leaks earlier than later which allows for better maintenance. Iíve also talked to several mechanics who say they take better care of a car that is kept clean as it makes their job more pleasant. Maybe they shouldnít but sometimes they do. I put my car up on ramps and take the pressure washer to it from above and below at least twice a year.

Now, yes, there is the electrical issue. Our cars are old, which means that they tend to not be as tightly sealed as they used to be, so yeah you need to be careful. Provided things are in good shape, this is what I recommend. Starting with a cold engine, spray diluted dawn dish detergent or some other relatively mild degreaser (if there is such a thing) on and around the engine paying special attention to especially oily or dirty areas. Agitate with a small brush or cloth. Rinse using the jet setting from your hose. After rinsing, blow as dry as you can using a leaf blower, paying close attention to cracks and crevices. Spot dry with a cloth. Youíll especially like this after fixing a leak because it will help you confirm that you fixed it. I love it!
I use a similar method. Simple Green applied with a spray bottle on a cold engine and brushed around with a toothbrush. Then rinse with a spray bottle of water. Time consuming but easily controlled.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 07:46 AM
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There is a big difference between "pressure washing" and steam cleaning. Actual steam cleaning is much more effective and far less damaging than a jet stream of water.
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