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Cleaning 50 years of grunge

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  • Cleaning 50 years of grunge

    I need to clean my engine and am looking at 50 years of grunge. Does anybody have any suggestions on cleaning for someone that does have a garage but does not have a full shop. My biggest concerns are how to do it without creating a hazardous waste dump on my concrete driveway. What's the best materials to use and what's the best way to contain them without buying a $1000 parts washer. Initially I need to clean the big stuff off in the engine compartment on on the frame but then I'll soon be down to the parts level and any suggestions would be appreciated.

    BTW, the price of my truck dropped by 5 cents due to the nickel that a mechanic friend found when he fixed my oil leak. The nickel was used as a cover for one of the bolt holes of my valve spring cover that was empty due to the bolt being sheared off. It was placed between the cover and the engine block and silicone was used in place of a gasket. Amazing. I now know that my oil leak is about 7 years old (the nickel was from 1999).


    50 2R10

  • #2
    I'd take it by the quarter car wash to get the initial grunge off.

    Miscreant at large.

    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
    1960 Larkvertible V8
    1958 Provincial wagon
    1953 Commander coupe
    1957 President 2-dr
    1955 President State
    1951 Champion Biz cpe
    1963 Daytona project FS
    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


    • #3
      Maybe spray it down with engine degreaser then the high pressure car wash.



      • #4
        If it's as grundgy as mine were I'd lay a plastic sheet under it and scrape with a body scraper, putty knife, screwdriver etc. Then I would spray it down with PB Blaster to soften what's left. Once it stops dripping roll up the plastic and put it in the trash.
        Then take it to the carwash, spray with degreaser or, better yet, SuperCharged ThunderBlast, which I get at my local Dollar Bargain. Then hit it with the high pressure wash.

        Brad Johnson
        Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
        33 Rockne 10
        51 Commander Starlight
        53 Commander Starlight

        previously: 63 Cruiser, 62 Regal VI, 60 VI convertible, 50 LandCruiser
        "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

        Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
        Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
        sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"


        • #5
          I got a buddy that has a truck shop.Hes got a high pressure steam cleaner that works great.He soaks the engines down with a mixture of diesel n concentrated dish wash detergent before washing.

          David Baggett Mantachie,Ms.


          • #6
            I had excellent results using spray oven cleaner and a pressure washer [if you don't care about removing the paint].

            Darryl C. Lewallen Clarkesville, Ga.
            Darryl C. Lewallen Clarkesville, Ga.


            • #7
              Believe it or not, the scraper trick is the LEAST messy way. I have
              used it before, and its wonderful - though more time involved. Than
              when you get it cleaner take the car to a car wash (preferably one
              that ALLOWS engine washing) and use the tire cleaner/engine wash mode.
              This normally sprays "Simple Green". This stuff is great. If the car
              wash doesnt have the option, but allows engine cleaning, bring your
              own bottle of Simple Green. It cleans, doesnt remove paint, eats away
              grease, and leaves all your hoses looking shiney. Guys on the Impala
              SS forum just love the stuff, and I have had a similar experience.

              In regards to the plastic, you SHOULD collect the material, and bring
              it to a hazzardous waste disposal site.

              '63 Avanti R1, '03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, TKO 5-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves.
              Check out my disc brake adapters to install 1994-2004 Mustang disc brakes on your Studebaker!!
              I have also written many TECH how to articles, do a search for my Forum name to find them


              • #8
                I had decades of baked on grease on the engine of my '51 Land Cruiser. It was so hard that even a putty knife didn't phase it. Since I was overhauling the engine, it was disassembled and made cleaning with lye water practical. If memory serves me right, I used about a can of Draino in a 5 gallon bucket of water. The warmer the water, the faster it works. However, even with cool fall-spring tempreatures, a couple of days soaking would melt the grease and what didn't fall off in the bucket could be washed off with a hose. BE CAREFULL!!! Lye is caustic and will blind you or burn your skin if you aren't careful. Use rubber gloves and goggles!