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A really stupid air cooled engine cleaning question
Posted by: Tom C ()
Date: March 01, 2005 11:55AM

I've owned VW Beetles before but I never worried about this because I never cleaned the engines.

My question is; can you do any damage, like warping a head, cracking something, etc., if you spray clean your running hot engine?

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Re: A really stupid air cooled engine cleaning question
Posted by: ccvair ()
Date: March 01, 2005 12:12PM

Actually ive done it while its running, just stay away from the distributor I havent had any ill effects but im sure somebody will disagree lol!

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Re: A really stupid air cooled engine cleaning question
Posted by: Kerry Baxter ()
Date: March 01, 2005 12:23PM

I would say in my non-professional opinion that you could do damage. If you have a hot head and spray water on it then it will wick away the heat rather quickly causing an uneven cooling of the head. In all reality it probably won't do much but then again I have no experience doing it.

I once spilled about a quart of oil down the block of my Crolla and then took a sprayer to it when it was running from a cold start, and had no ill effects. That’s about my only trial with hosing down a motor

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Re: A really stupid air cooled engine cleaning question
Posted by: Rick Loving ()
Date: March 01, 2005 01:17PM

I wouldn't do it with the engine at full operating temp. No actual data on this but anything that hot getting hit with cold water...who knows.

But several times a year after I get done washing my car, I start up the engine and then powerwash the engine bay. I blast all around the carb bases, gallons of water straight down the fan, down into the warm air slots, and anywhere else I can aim the hose or see dust leaves or oil residue.

Flushes out all the crap and keeps the engine bay nice. I only stalled the car once when an errant blast hit the distributoir cap full on and got water in it. Had to take the cap off and dry it out for the car to start.

Rick Loving

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Re: A really stupid air cooled engine cleaning question
Posted by: David Clamp ()
Date: March 01, 2005 01:28PM

Well, it seems like it could be a bad thing, but I've driven up to the pressure washer before and cleaned an engine or two. Keep in mind cool water hits the engine when you drive in the rain and the heads don't warp.

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Re: A really stupid air cooled engine cleaning question
Posted by: Matt N. ()
Date: March 01, 2005 01:31PM

I always wash the car first...then without starting the engine [ it's cooled some] I wash away...

I neverfound the fan moving to help..it centrifugal!

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Dan Clamp, if you didn't get my email
Posted by: Tom C ()
Date: March 01, 2005 02:10PM

I'm shipping the Magnahellic gauge tomarrow morning.

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Re: Dan Clamp, if you didn't get my email
Posted by: Tom C ()
Date: March 01, 2005 02:30PM

Sorry, I meant David Clamp.

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Thanks
Posted by: David Clamp ()
Date: March 01, 2005 03:05PM

Thanks....got your email too.

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Re: A really stupid air cooled engine cleaning question
Posted by: steve goodman ()
Date: March 01, 2005 08:19PM

Hello all: I wash almost every engine I work on, especially if I have been chasing oil leaks. It is the only way that the customer can see that I have done anything to their car and it gets all of the dripping oil off the engine. I drive about a mile on surface streets to a quarter car wash (actually $2.00 these days) and get the engine running on fast idle and then spray the bottom with pressure and without much pressure I hit the top of the engine. I point the nozzle onto the gearbox by going in front of the rear tires too. Occasionally I will get the engine wet and have to dry out the cap or wires but most of the time I get in and drive it back to the shop with no ill effects. I carry a screwdriver and a couple of rags along in case.

Usually the engine will die if it is snowing/windy/rainy or a combination of all the above. If the sun is shining then the engine stays running.

OOOPS, one ill effect is that on a slim chance, I have gotten the oil pressure switch contact wet and cause it to fail closed and thus the red light stays on but very very seldom.

Regards, Steve

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Re: A really stupid air cooled engine cleaning question
Posted by: Edward Gault ()
Date: March 02, 2005 10:05AM

Actually there should be no damage done to an air cooled engine that is at operating temperature as the Corvair engine is exposed to the elements under normal conditions anyway. Look at your head temp if you on a Spyder or Corsa when you run through a rain shower and see how quickly it cools down due to the water hitting the exposed head from the underside.

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Re: A really stupid air cooled engine cleaning question
Posted by: MEL ()
Date: March 02, 2005 12:13PM

If an engine (air cooled or water cooled) is at operating temp and the cylinders are cooled rapidly "YOU WILL" risk scuffing piston skirts and/or cylinders!!! a voice of bitter experience. MEL


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