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  1. #51
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    Stuart, Florida
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    Re: How to clean an engine compartment

    Quote Originally Posted by PGBCruiser View Post

    One question: am I nuts or should I be concerned about wrapping tin foil around engine parts with all the electrical connections in there?

    I cut out plastic painter's floor covering and taped off with 3M tape instead.
    What I practice and what I teach is to START with plastic. You don't have to use Saran Wrap in fact, often times I use whatever plastic is closest to my hand. Could be plastic drop cloth that I keep here at Autogeek's Show Car Garage for other tasks like taping off convertible tops.

    How to cover and protect a convertible top before machine buffing

    Or the plastic bags they use at grocery stores or mini-marts. And when I use Saran Wrap I pull out a big enough sheet to have at least two layers over the component I'm water-proofing.

    THEN use the tin foil to form a cover around the plastic to hold it in place and THEN cover this whole mess with tape for even stouter protection.

    The tin foil trick is an option you can use if you want or not. It's up to you.

    I've used tin foil for a number of things in my life. While a TUBE SOCK works great to quickly cover wiper arms, one time I didn't have extra tube socks laying around so I used tin foil because it was,

    And I had some next to my hand.

    Check out these wipers before a wetsanded, cut and buffed this old BMW

    RIDS and Feathersanding - A Highly Specialized Technique by Mike Phillips

    Look behind the buffer up by the windshiels, that's tin foil.

    When the BMW came back from the 2002 Bimmerfest it looks like I used newspaper when I did the other half. Point was I used what I had to cover and protect because I new after a hard day of sanding and buffing I didn't want to try to remove SPLATTER DOTS off of two old BMW wiper arms and blads.

    Here's a number's matching 1965 Corvette Stingray where I've used tin foil to cover and protect the rear tail lights and cover and protect the licence plate.

    1965 numbers matching Corvette, original owner.

    Wheels, Tires, Sidepipes, Windshield and Interior
    Again, here's a 1963 Corvette Stingray I buffed out for the 2004 Plastic Fantastic Corvette Show in San Diego in which instead of putting the top up and then taping off the top I used a soft flannel bed sheet to cover both the windshield, seats and interior.

    Afterwards on display in full sun, this car also took first place in it's class at the Plastic Fantastic Show the following weekend.

    Sometimes you just have to think outside the box....

    Quote Originally Posted by BillE View Post
    I avoid using foil at all costs.

    It's just like waving a red towel in front of a bull...don't temp fate. One never knows if there may be just that on little spot that is open to arcing and sparking.

    Yes to the plastic and taping, even some plastic food wrap works well also.

    You know I've seen people make the above comment for years and I've never had a single problem. I use a little common sense and that always goes a long ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGBCruiser View Post

    I'm just the opposite... probably the world's oldest rookie!
    I have the utmost respect for Mike's technique, tips and experience; it's just that tin foil seemed a bit risky for a newbie with less experience under the hood.
    It's all good. Find something you like and use it often or find a technique that works for you and go with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGBCruiser View Post

    Other than using plastic sheets only, I followed Mike's "How To" to the letter and I'm really happy with the results.

    No one will see it; but it felt great to step back and have a look for myself...

    And that's what it's all about.

    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
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  2. #52
    Senior Member Jomax's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
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    Re: How to clean an engine compartment

    I'll be the funny guy I guess. I,had the foil spark once on my old truck... didn't think and covered the alternator, hit the hot wire.. nice little spark show LOL.

    I agree on everything you said Mike.

    But anyone who uses aluminum foil around the Alternator, just look for that hot wire.
    David 2000 Ford F-350 DRW CCLB BLACK/GOLD
    Wish list:
    Everything Mike has in his garage for detailing

  3. #53
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Re: How to clean an engine compartment

    Thanks again for the detailed response Mike (pun sort of intended).
    The more I learn here and try, the more comfortable I get with each task. I did my wife's engine bay and mine in the past two weekends, lots of paint projects planned for the cooler weather - and the other night I pulled off the back interior panel to replace my rear window wiper grommet.
    Trust me, I would not have thought about trying any of this before I started following the Forum.
    You and the AG community have been a huge help.
    Thanks, Peter

  4. #54
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2015
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    Re: How to clean an engine compartment

    I am trying to make an effort of being more active on the forums. So here goes:

    I do a lot of engine bay detailing for my customers. I like the write up Mike did here. I use slightly different methods currently but will incorporate some of the methods taught here.

    My thoughts:

    I do not cover everything, I use WD-40 on all the electrical connectors which keeps water from getting down into them. I also use a plastic bag to cover the alternator. I do use a pressure washer but with a very low pressure tip. I really like the idea of foaming up the engine bay as this will help in seeing what has not been touched yet. So far with my method I have not had any issues other then bumping a already weak windshield washer nozzle (from the backside). I feel if you are carful and understand what is going on under the hood you can safely detail and engine bay with water. I finish by using a non silicone dressing. Below are a few of the many engine bay cleanings that I've done. Because I am mobile the lighting often changes between pictures (I apologize for this).

  5. #55
    Junior Member gobygred's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
    Omaha, Nebraska
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    Re: How to clean an engine compartment

    I've found Sonus Motor Kote to be a great dressing after a serious under the hood detail job. It does out let off an odor when the engine gets hot for a few operating cycles.

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