car detailing & engine cleaning

Discussion in 'Community' started by zimv20, Sep 6, 2004.

  1. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #1
    i'm thinking of getting my '98 VW detailed, inside and out. the place where i get it washed does a nice job w/ that, so i inquired about detailing.

    everything sounded good except for one thing: the engine cleaning. they want to steam out the grease and grime, plus apply some kind of treatment to the belts and hoses.

    i'm skeptical. this struck me immediately as a bad idea, as in it'll do more harm than good, but i'm open to opinions.

    anyone ever had the engine steaming etc. done and have anything to share?

    better yet, anyone know the inside scoop on this stuff?
     
  2. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #2
    If you're not sure about the engine... why not just get the rest of the car detailed and avoid that?

    I recall reading somewhere, (think it was by the AA or RAC) only a few weeks ago, that a significant amount of car reliabilty problems they encounter are caused by excessive steam cleaning of the engine. I used to just jetwash my engine a couple of times a year, usually just after winter and then at the end of summer and I never experienced any problems.

    If it's only done the once I doubt it'd cause a problem, unless you were very unlucky that is, so what's this 'treatment' that they apply to the belts and hoses?
     
  3. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #3
    A lot of those treatments make the engine look good for a few days, then the dirt is attracted to it like a magnet.

    Ends up looking worse than it did before.

    Usually the steam cleaning to remove the grease -- if it's bad -- is all you need and skip the "dressing" on the plastic and rubber, which is the crap that attracts the dust.

    ---

    Then there are people that spray chemicals on the engine -- ie Simple Green -- find out that it eats aluminum and will corrode electrical connections.
     
  4. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    Location:
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    #4
    Well, I find that a particular silicone lubricant spray does a good job for my purposes. I use Permatex brand silicone lubricant spray. It has a high silicone content and protects all the rubber and does a decent job of shining up metal. It has to be Permatex though; I've tried other brands and they fall short compared to it.
    I then apply some lithium grease to metal connections and on the hose clamps to prevent corrosion. Does a great job.
    But my purposes are preventative maintenance. Not sure if you're doing yours for show.
     
  5. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #5
    You like buying snake oil?

    Engine detailing for your TDI should be much simpler than steam-cleaning.

    Here's what you can do in about 15 minutes to get a clean engine with no adverse effects or bottles of mystery belt treatment:

    Go to a self-spray car wash
    Open hood
    Remove plastic engine cover (this is one big reason why you don't need pro engine detail -- you can't see half the **** anyway)
    Wet engine compartment lightly
    Liberally spray on Simple Green degreaser
    Let it soak for awhile
    Sponge it down if it's really filthy; work the degreaser around, or:
    Simply spray the Simple Green off. It'll take almost all the grime with it.
    Repeat with a sudsy car wash solution

    A TDI is a sensitive, state-of-the-art engine, and I'd never dream of having steam force-fed into mine. You know how much a MAF sensor costs on a TDI?
     
  6. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #6
    Which is why you wash it off ;)
     
  7. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #7
    yeah, you guys are pretty much confirming what i thought.

    no, i don't care about making the engine department clean for show. the only reason i'd consider doing it is for maintenance, but i fear something might get messed up.

    the exterior needs a wax, the inside (i.e. passenger compartment) has gotten kinda dirty over 6 years, so that's what i'll have them take care of.

    thanks for the comments!
     
  8. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #8
    Then leave her be. As long as you get your oil & filter (Delvac 1 for me, please ;) ) every 10k, fuel filter every 20k and timing belt at 55k (don't quote me on that; check your manual as it varies year to year and tranny to tranny, but I know there's an 80k belt available so your next belt change won't be until about 130k) and clear your intake manifold when it builds up too much EGR junk, your engine should be just peachy for hundreds of thousands of miles.

    I've been to numerous VW shows over the years and it's amazing how many tricked-out cars' owners don't bother to clean the engine bay at all before showing it. Leaves, bugs and grime everywhere.
     
  9. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #9
  10. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #10
    that stuff is hard to find in chicago, believe it or not. the only reliable place is the distributor, some 60 miles away. it's a lot easier for me to find shell rotella, which i started using after i got tired of the 120-mile r/t drive every year.

    and i looked into having delvac shipped to me -- shipping is more expensive than the oil, natch.

    i suppose i should get the fuel filter done. i hit 33k today and, afaik, it's not been replaced yet.*

    * on this engine, which actually has about 28k miles on it
     
  11. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #11
    The fuel filter's an easy job. The filter itself runs about $60 (less, I think, from Impex) and takes about 15 minutes to replace after you know how. You'll need to fill the new element up with fuel or Stanadyne or other typical additive (they're just 95%+ diesel) or your starter will take a beating. Some shops have been known to re-prime the system by cycling the starter motor until the engine starts, which fries the starter.

    As far as Delvac, I got a case awhile back at AV Lubricants for about what they're charging now (~$100 shipped).

    Rotella T synthetic is not the good stuff (I've seen the photos of zylinder heads ;) ). I used it for the 5000-10000 interval out of ignorance but will stick to Delvac from here-on-out.
     

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