How many of you wash/pressure wash your engine bays frequently? Is it safe?

Kabanstva

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Is it safe to degrease and hose down/pressure wash the engine bay of a 1994 80 series? I’ve washed all my Toyota and Lexus cars many times with a pressure washer (safe distance) and never had any issues (LX470, LS430, GS430, ES300, various years Avalon and Sienna). Never really covered anything in particular, just sprayed it all down with a cleaner and washed everything.

The reason I ask is my brother has a 2JZ SC300 and back when I was on Club Lexus (forums), you would always see threads popping up of someone’s 2JZ running like sh** after being washed and the culprit was usually water in the spark plug galleys. They recommend to not hose down those engine the traditional way. Seeing how the 80 series engine layout is similar to a 2JZ, I thought I’d ask before I do something stupid.
 

ppc

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The reason I ask is my brother has a 2JZ SC300 and back when I was on Club Lexus (forums), you would always see threads popping up of someone’s 2JZ running like sh** after being washed and the culprit was usually water in the spark plug galleys. They recommend to not hose down those engine the traditional way. Seeing how the 80 series engine layout is similar to a 2JZ, I thought I’d ask before I do something stupid.

If you search this forum you will find similar posts where there have been problems after pressure washing. The spark plug galleys, distributor vents, O2 connectors are all problem areas. Given the age of these vehicles there is a potential for almost all connectors where seals have deteriorated and wires make have cracks etc. I had the issues a few times but have had success getting the engine hot and running while I spray and don't point directly on the problem areas.
 
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cartercd

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I use a degreaser, let it soak, and then spray it off lightly. Blasting away at full pressure is more likely to force water into the electrical connectors and cause problems.
 

alia176

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I'd love to low press wash my engine bay with HOT water but that's a tall order. Under the engine is full of caked on stuff that I'd love to remove with scalding hot water but not at 2500psi.
 
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I've tried so many degreasers and none really seem to do much. But what I found actually works REALLY well is a Mega Blast can of WD40. Spray everything down and leave it for an hour or so. The WD40 dilutes even the sludgy build up. Then I hit it with a conservative pressure washer avoiding things like the distributor. This works for me, but other will probably point out 100 reasons why this will cause your head gasket to blow.
 
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I'd love to low press wash my engine bay with HOT water but that's a tall order. Under the engine is full of caked on stuff that I'd love to remove with scalding hot water but not at 2500psi.
Also, IMHO, when you're blasting off decades of grungy engine and axle sludge, I'd convert a $20 bill into quarters and head to the local public stall. If you think cleaning your engine is a challenge, try explaining to your wife why the driveway looks like a Victorian coal mine disaster.

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I like to spray down my engine bay with simple green, not crazy aggressively into small electrical areas though, and then drive to the self wash place and carefully use the pressure washer to put a moderate amount of spray on the engine, avoiding the distributor, MAF sensor, plug wires, etc. I use kind of an indirect spray technique. And I leave it running while doing so. It cleans things up a lot, though it's not a beauty afterward, and so far no problems.
 

smritte

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I pressure wash my engine monthly. Engine, not distributor, not connectors. Engine, trans, steering, axles... I have a new motor and I hate working on dirty anything. This is how I keep that "New Engine" shine.
 

MoJ

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If your engine is filthy buy 4 cans of degreaser and a long handled scrub brush. Cover the dizzy with a plastic bag. Same for the electrical connectors on top. Soak it with the first two cans and then go over it with the brush for 20-30 minutes. Rinse with garden hose. Make note of remaining areas and repeat. Once the gunk is removed you shouldn’t need anything more than Simple Green and a garden hose to maintain it a few times a year. At that point your should only be removing dirt and dust as you should have fixed any oil leaks. There shouldn’t be any need to use a pressure washer “frequently”.

Industrial maintenance programs preach equipment cleanliness as it makes it much easier to spot problems/leaks.
 

musthave

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I won't use a pressure washer. Don't really even like the garden hose idea. Too many issues in the past. The degreasers are nice and get things clean, but they're almost never good for plastics and even rubber. Simple green used to be my go-to for cleaning in the engine bay, but no more.

So, what I use is nice warm water from the house. 2 pails. 1 has warmer water with a good bit of dawn dish washing liquid. The 2nd is just warm water. I select the area that I'm going to work on, carefully use a microfiber cloth dipped in the warmer water with the dawn. Wring it out good, and then individually clean an area. If it drips, I'm using too much. The first wipe should get grease and dirt loose. Then I use a 2nd wipe with the plain water and it gets anything remaining off. I know it sounds like 100X overkill, but since I switched to this method I have had zero issues and everything is actually much cleaner than the results I used to get. If I do a full wipedown it takes me about 2 hours.

I'm not knocking others who have success with chemicals and pressure washers, YMMV.
 
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I have done the same thing on every filthy toyota I have owned shortly after getting it.

1. Get the truck warm (not hot, warm)
2. Pull the alternator and belts
3. Soak everything under the hood in degreaser (I use purple power for all non aluminum and gunk degreaser for aluminum) and let it sit for an hour
4. Pressure wash everything
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until everything is clean
6. Blow everything off with compressed air
7. Pull the distributor cap and let it dry out
8. put it back together and run it with hood closed until everything dries out

never had any issues doing things this way. I have never had a reason to power wash brittle connectors, that’s typically not where the grease is. You will get water in the distributor even if you spray it with a hose, so pull the cap after and dry it out. If the truck won’t start afterwards, 99% of the time it’s water in the distributor.

also, wear eye protection.
 

Broski

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I pressure wash my engine monthly. Engine, not distributor, not connectors. Engine, trans, steering, axles... I have a new motor and I hate working on dirty anything. This is how I keep that "New Engine" shine.
I won't use a pressure washer. Don't really even like the garden hose idea. Too many issues in the past. The degreasers are nice and get things clean, but they're almost never good for plastics and even rubber. Simple green used to be my go-to for cleaning in the engine bay, but no more.

So, what I use is nice warm water from the house. 2 pails. 1 has warmer water with a good bit of dawn dish washing liquid. The 2nd is just warm water. I select the area that I'm going to work on, carefully use a microfiber cloth dipped in the warmer water with the dawn. Wring it out good, and then individually clean an area. If it drips, I'm using too much. The first wipe should get grease and dirt loose. Then I use a 2nd wipe with the plain water and it gets anything remaining off. I know it sounds like 100X overkill, but since I switched to this method I have had zero issues and everything is actually much cleaner than the results I used to get. If I do a full wipedown it takes me about 2 hours.

I'm not knocking others who have success with chemicals and pressure washers, YMMV.
What was the issue with the simple green?
 

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