thatsnowinnebago UltraDork
1/20/20 1:25 p.m.

I've got a pretty good oil leak from my F-150 and I need to figure out where it's coming from and fix it. Problem is, the whole bottom of the engine is covered in oil/gunk/etc. So I need to clean all that off and see where the fresh stuff is coming from. I've read here that spraying a warm motor with simple green or the like, letting it soak, and then hosing it off is the preferred method. What do y'all do with the runoff? That's the part I can't figure out. Are you left with a messy driveway? Does your house become a Superfund site?

1/20/20 1:34 p.m.

Not really, but I would absolutely try to contain your runoff to a part of your property where you aren't upset the grass doesn't grow well. Solvents like Simple Green WILL break down parts of the oils into other components, but how much I can't say.

The trick is to get the simple green- or any cleaner at all really- to foam on the location so the bubbles 'pull' it from the surface, scrubbing or agitating only to lift stuff that's not moving. To do this I found an old fertilizer/plant waterer in my parents garage that was supposed to be used to foam plant food into hose water for them.



Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
1/20/20 1:35 p.m.

I pre-wet the concrete and then hose off the gunk.

Its so diluted by the time it hits the grass i dont worry about it. 

And i prefer purple power and a pressure washer.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
1/20/20 1:49 p.m.

Go to coin op self spray car wash that allows engine degreasing..  (They'll actually have an eginine degreaser setting on the dial).  Insert quarters.. blast away..

amg_rx7 SuperDork
1/20/20 2:07 p.m.

You'll probably still need to agitate and scrub off the heavy areas. Power washing only gets you so far. I typically use nylon scrub brushes sold in the kitchen cleaning aisle of the supermarket 

CyberEric HalfDork
1/20/20 2:19 p.m.

I’ve seen places that steam clean engines too. Might be worth finding one to avoid getting the run-off into your land.

_ Dork
1/20/20 2:21 p.m.

And you folks arent scared of the power wash blasting plastics and wires to pieces? Disconnect battery right?

Mr_Asa Reader
1/20/20 2:22 p.m.

If the engine is one capable of running, and will be warm, I haven't found an engine that a couple applications of the Gunk brand degreaser won't clean.  Add in a pressure washer if you have one and you'll be good.


Sidenote: Purple Power damages aluminum if left on too long.  Not worth it to me.


Toyman01 MegaDork
1/20/20 2:35 p.m.
Fueled by Caffeine said:

Go to coin op self spray car wash that allows engine degreasing..  (They'll actually have an eginine degreaser setting on the dial).  Insert quarters.. blast away..

I vote this. If they don't have engine degreaser, tire cleaner works as well. They also have oil separators to catch the nastiness before it ends up in the rivers. 

slefain PowerDork
1/20/20 2:51 p.m.

I usually grab a couple cans of brake parts cleaner, a bunch of cardboard to soak up the mess, and some safety goggles. Hose away, toss nastified cardboard in the trash can, check for oil leak.

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