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Hello all! We are getting closer every day to bringing N1157L home to Tennessee. Mechanic is sorting through the last of the squawks, and prop is getting overhauled and boots replaced. When it gets home, I’m going to give it a good wash & wax. Is it ok to wash the engine components? On my automobiles, I will use a degreaser and a pressure washer with a low pressure tip. Will this work on an aircraft engine as well? Excited about becoming a new owner!

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13 minutes ago, CharlesHuddleston said:

Hello all! We are getting closer every day to bringing N1157L home to Tennessee. Mechanic is sorting through the last of the squawks, and prop is getting overhauled and boots replaced. When it gets home, I’m going to give it a good wash & wax. Is it ok to wash the engine components? On my automobiles, I will use a degreaser and a pressure washer with a low pressure tip. Will this work on an aircraft engine as well? Excited about becoming a new owner!

I wouldn't hit your engine with a pressure washer even with a low pressure tip - too easy for water to get in your ignition harness/mags. Cans of spray carburetor cleaner make a good degreaser without removing paint from your engine. Set some cardboard underneath to catch the oil and grease.

(Goes without saying, but if you have help when waxing remind them not to wax your static port.)

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Like Lance  @LANCECASPER says above - no water. The standard is mineral spirits applied with a wand using an air compressor - after covering or avoiding things like the vacuum pump and mags. Get with your A&P or IA to do it the first time. After its cleaned  up its important to re-lubricate all the controls. TCM has a Service Bulletin on this that you would want to review; although pretty straight forward. 

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varasol AKA Mineral spirits.  Yes the one gallon can from Homer dan or Wally world.   Air hose pick up sprayer.    Spray it down several times.  Let dry in the sun. 

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Unlike a car the first flight after any minor leak will mist a new coat of oil all over. Only reason  to clean the engine is for a quick run for isolating leaks. 

-Robert

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I'll use some denatured alcohol after the mineral spirits makes for a nice clean engine.  Wipe all accessible area like with  a cloth.

I use these sprayers (made in USA) they work real well put about 80psi of air in them with a quart of liquid.  I even have one with brake fluid for bleeding brake lines when necessary.

 

20180520_152128.jpg

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10 hours ago, CharlesHuddleston said:

Hello all! We are getting closer every day to bringing N1157L home to Tennessee. Mechanic is sorting through the last of the squawks, and prop is getting overhauled and boots replaced. When it gets home, I’m going to give it a good wash & wax. Is it ok to wash the engine components? On my automobiles, I will use a degreaser and a pressure washer with a low pressure tip. Will this work on an aircraft engine as well? Excited about becoming a new owner!

First, congratulations on ownership.

Second, others may spray down their engines and claim they've never had issues (again, personal choice), but I highly suggest you avoid it altogether.  You have no assurance that liquids are staying out of places where they shouldn't be.  I've known a few shops (some MSCs) and seen plenty of engine log entries indicating the shop "washed engine with Varsol" or some other cleaning agent and wondered if it doesn't cause more problems than it solves.

If you want to use varsol or mineral spirits, spend time with the cowling off (during oil changes mainly) with a bottle of the stuff and a roll of paper towels or shop towels.  Spray a bit of the stuff on the towel and wipe the areas affected.  Yeah, it takes much longer than pressure washing, and may not clean every area you want (neither does pressure-washing, really), but it beats the heck out of getting fluids into areas where fluids shouldn't be and then running into an engine issue somewhere down the road and wondering what the heck happened.  It also helps me do a bit of visual inspection and locate any possible anomalies before my next flights.  Sort of a learning experience for me, really.  Just my $0.02.

Steve

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I used mineral spirits and avoided everything in back of the engine so that the vacuum pump and mag get no treatment.  Also cover and avoid the alternator and starter.

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What is the benefit of washing your engine beyond aesthetics?  Does it make it easier to spot leaks and/or case cracks?  Does it prevent harmful dirt accumulation on other components as well?  My shop does it routinely (presumably with mineral spirits) at every annual, and it does look nice after, but I've never  understood the practical rationale.  

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yes it will help in identifying where leaks are coming form and possibly reveal a crack that was hidden by dirt.   When washing my engine I primarily lower half around the crank case.

 

 

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What is the benefit of washing your engine beyond aesthetics?  Does it make it easier to spot leaks and/or case cracks?  Does it prevent harmful dirt accumulation on other components as well?  My shop does it routinely (presumably with mineral spirits) at every annual, and it does look nice after, but I've never  understood the practical rationale.  
It allowed me to identify a new oil leak was in the bottom part of the case, and was not being burned off, sent out a breather hose...

Tim

Sent from my LG-TP260 using Tapatalk

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Keeping the engine and compartment clean reduces the risk of an engine fire. 

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Its also required for each annual since otherwise its not possible to properly inspect i.e. notice cracks and oil leaks.

14 CFR Part 43 Appendix D (a) Each person performing an annual or 100 hour inspection, .... He shall thoroughly clean the aircraft and aircraft engine.

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FWIW, I was trained by the IA who took care of my first E to use 1 to 2 cans of GUNK foaming cleaner. I spray the entire engine compartment, leave in on for about 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly with low pressure water. (I protect the mags, etc. from spatter and do not spray the area between the rear baffle and the firewall.)

I suppose there might be better methods, mine are from the '80s. 

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No water, any exposed aluminum (all over, from scratches) gets corrosion. Same for bolts and screws, the cad plating is knocked off the inside of the screw crosses and the threads, as well as the hex heads and nuts from tool marks.

Edited by jetdriven

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17 minutes ago, jetdriven said:

No water, any exposed aluminum (all over, from scratches) gets corrosion. Same for bolts and screws, the cad plating is knocked off the inside of the screw crosses and the threads, as well as the hex heads and nuts from tool marks.

Understand. But I assume you fly in rain and clouds taking wet cooling air about everywhere I rinse and keeping it wet a lot longer than it takes my engine to dry in the sun... :rolleyes:

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Yeah, but any water present in his engine compartment from flying in rain and clouds will "cook off" faster in flight at those operating temps than if it were allowed to dry in the sun.  On a recent trip to TX for annual, I was in solid IMC for nearly an hour...most of it in moderate rain.  Within 15 mins of landing, we pulled the cowling to start the inspection and do hot compressions.  Not a drop of water anywhere.

To other posters, I don't think anyone (including me) is questioning keeping their engine clean using (insert favorite cleaner here)...just questioning the recommended (or not recommended) methods for doing so.  I can't imagine that blasting liquid into an aircraft engine is safer for the engine's long-term health and more effective long-term vs. taking one's time and cleaning it by hand.

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Water won't cause any problems as long as you fly the airplane immediately after washing the engine. The wind and heat will dry it all up. I have had ignition misfires after washing with water, but a runup till it gets hot always takes care of it. Avoid spraying the mags, sparkplug leads and be especially careful of the air filter. Water from a hose will go straight through it. Not a big problem with most models, but the 201 air goes downhill and you can fill it up with water.

Soap and water will clean off a lot of grime that solvents won't. I would suggest washing it with a soft brush like a paint brush dipped in the soapy water and rinsing it with a hose with no nozzle, just let the water run over it.

Just remember that some of us occasionally fly through heavy rain and the planes don't fall out of the sky!

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I get the engine warm and use the Foamy Gunk as a grease remover.  Let it sit till the foam is gone.... Wash with a regular hose with normal pressure....

Has worked well for years!

Rick

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