2003 Ford Explorer

What is the proper procedure for washing my engine.


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  1. Ford model vehicles you shouldn’t wash your engine until you have covered the electrical and the firing systems…so just put like a garbage bag over the electric connectors and the spark plugs and wash away…foaming engine cleaner works really well…
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    A clean engine is a happy engine!! The only thing you might want to do is cover area where spark plug wires come out of coil(s), – Since new engines have much higher secondary voltage (high voltage output), – there may be a tendency to arc over – depending on how much dirt has actually attached itself to the coil, – some will remain, unless you scrub it off with a brush or something to make it “squeaky clean”! A plastic bag (like a breadbag) or sometihng that is waterproof works pretty good. Also if you drive it to the car wash, the engine will have a little heat at least (depending on how long the engine ran to get there).
    The heat radiating upwards will dry out that area fairly quickly, – if you wait a while after the engine has been washed.

    Of course you don’t want to shoot water up the air intake to induction system either. You can stuff a couple plastic bags in there to keep the water out too, (don’t forget to remove them after you are done), – water doesn’t make engine start too well!

    Normaly I don’t even put plastic bags on anything! I just take a couple rolls of paper towels along, and wipe water up on airlceaner, distributer (& or coils) -on old ignition wires, I just clean them down as far as convenient ( you could remove at sparkplug and wipe them down so they look “like new” wires again), – but be careful that you remove the “plug-on’s” carefully (hold on to the big insulator part, don’t just jerk them off holding onto the wire itself). These are “carbon track” wires, and the carbon track brakes easily, and it will them ruin wire, and the engine will miss on that cylinder – till you replace the wire!

    Once you get the engine started, let it run a few minutes before you try to drive it away, the heat and air movement will take the rest of water away from the ignition components (even if engine misses when you start it), – this will also assure that you don’t suck a “slug” of water from somewhere into the intake system and kill the engine. When engine is “killed” this way, you have to crank for a while for the water to be moved out of the intake, & combustion areas, so gasoline becomes “king” there to make engine run again!

    If it is just dust, – you could wash it down with plain water (with garden hose- with spray head, – right there in you yard), – a little soapy water, – from a spray bottle works fine on the more “grungy” areas! Then you can let it “air dry” as long as you need to!

    old time mechanic

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