cleaning an engine

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  #1  
Old 11-17-02, 06:51 AM
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cleaning an engine

1979 Chevy Blazer, 350, 4bbl, 4wd

I would like to clean my engine and underside of the truck so I can begin pinpointing where the oil and/or tranny leaks are originating.

Since it has a carberator, how can I clean the engine without it getting so wet that I can't restart it (will have to go to a car wash since I don't want to send this grease down the driveway, into the curb area and down to the city drain). If I begin by covering things, then I won't be able to get them clean. It has been mentioned to use wd-40 or some other type product on the distibutor, but it seems that any degreaser would remove it anyway.

Another related question: I have some industrial degreaser that is used for cleaning up the grease in restaurants. Is this appropriate to use on an engine or will it destroy the vacuum lines, gaskets, etc. or will it just be uneffective on this type grease? I know that this degreaser will take the skin off your hands if you don't wear gloves and you keep your hands in it for any length of time.

I do have a second vehicle to drive now (hubby bought me a nice car last week!), but would like to fix as much as possible on the truck before I attempt to sell it.

Thanks,

Kay
 
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  #2  
Old 11-17-02, 07:00 AM
Joe_F
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Castrol Super Clean, Gunk Engine Bright, or Simple Green are all fine.

You can work them in with a brush and take out the caked on grease. Newsflash: I don't wash any of my engines . I carefully detail them when it's "show" time (I don't show any of my classics) or when it's "photo time" (Both of my Firebirds will be feaured in a book next year ).

You always run the risk of getting something wet or finishing off something on its last legs by cleaning the engine.

Gunk the affected area, wipe it down with some old towels and use the hose sparingly.

Most likely source is bad valve cover gaskets on a Chevy V8. Notorious leakers. Pan gasket is probably the source on the 400 trans in that beast or the rear main seal.

Selling a Chevy to keep a Ford? Eeek, bad business . The Taurus is notorious for bad transmissions and the 3.8L is a notorious gasket blower.

Sniff, sniff
 
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Old 11-17-02, 07:09 AM
bigpoppax2
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If you do decide to clean use a good degreaser and let is sit for as long as it says. Then use low pressure to rinse it off. For a cheap idea on how to keep water away for your carb:

You can take a butter tub (like country crock or whatever) and poke a hole in the bottom of it and flip it upside down and cover your carb. Then thread your wingnut down on top of it.

Abra cadabra, you have a reusable carb cover.
 
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Old 11-17-02, 08:00 AM
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Oh heavens. Now what to do. I thought that I was being a 'grown up' by getting into a family car. My husband and I both would prefer to keep the truck (its paid for) but feel that trying to keep up both vehicles would be too much expense for us.

The truck engine does need an overhaul. I was told this would be necessary about this time after I had the valves replaced.

I have the filter and gasket, plus a case of tranny fluid for a transmission change on the truck. I didn't want to mess with it since it was shifting fine. I've heard that changing the filters and fluid in a tranny that hasn't had it done in a very long time could cause problems. I know that I've had the truck for 3 years now and have never done it. Of course, if I replace the tranny gasket it would require and fluid change

I had the valve gaskets changed about a year ago, but it appears that it is leaking from them again. I had it done since I was in the process of moving and didn't know exactly how long it would take to figure out how to replace the right side (have to move the compressor, etc to remove the valve cover). I just received my new "used" shop manual for the truck. Boy that is nice! It even explains how to straighten the frame. I don't know why I didn't invest in it before. Very detailed, and parts broken down into pieces. Has all measurements needs for play, etc. I ordered it from books4cars.com. I had ordered another book for the truck, but the gentleman called before shipping OR charging my credit card to verify the year, make and model of the truck and he told me that he wouldn't ship the second book unless I really wanted it since everything in the second book was covered in the first book. Talk about customer service! The book wasn't that expensive either. Only a $40 investment.

I will try cleaning the engine at home using those disposable shop rags (the red ones leave red 'lint' everywhere) and see if I can avoid washing. I do wash the engine compartment out after going mudding, but try to avoid washing directly from the top. Just try to get the mud, sticks and other debris from interferring with the moving parts. I usually spend more time on the undercarriage and wheels so I don't bind up those moving parts or end up with debris damaging the brake system. Some of the places we go smell pretty bad so I try to keep the hoses clean, whether they be brake lines or whatever. Do wonder if that stink would rot them I haven't taken the truck out in over a year, however. Am tired of fixing what breaks.

The taurus has a warranty on it, but only a year. Hopefully if its going to act a fool, it will do it during that time period!

Thanks for the help!

Kay
 
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Old 11-17-02, 08:28 AM
Joe_F
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A service manual is always a good investment. I'm after some for my home appliances too . It cuts to the chase right away.

Who publishes the service manual you bought?

As for fixing what breaks, that's what doing it yourself is all about . A relative has that same car as yours (but his is a 3.0 sedan) and we've done some work here and there on it. I've convinced him to pitch it as it's on borrowed time (he could have taken better care of it ), only because he's getting a newer one at a better deal.

The guy is a glutton for punishment .
 
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Old 11-17-02, 08:57 AM
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The manual is well used, but in really good shape. It is published by the General Motors Corporation. The title is Light Duty Truck Service Manual, 1979 Chevrolet. Has part # ST330-79.

Its a softcover manual, which is okay but was hoping for a hard cover. The part specific diagrams are wonderful! Even a shade tree like me can understand the step by step instructions, and with the diagrams and pictures you couldn't possibly go wrong unless you tried.

Kay
 
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Old 11-17-02, 09:23 AM
Joe_F
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Kay:

That's not too bad. They go for about 25 at swapmeets from literature guys. The best deal I got was 66 bucks for all the manuals for my 80 Turbo T/A a while back. I knocked the guy down on price. I have yet to see a set that cheap, in fact, you'll pay double for it now.

There's only one or two literature guys I will buy from, one I have met personally at a swapmeet and because I gave him such a great tip on where to get some stuff he wanted, he charges me his cost plus "pocket money" for anything he finds for my Trans Ams. (Since he knows I know my prices) Unfortunately, he deals second hand in shop manuals for most vehicles, and didn't have my 84 Olds manual or my 89 Cavalier one just yet. Fair guy, Pontiac nut too, and he said, "Joe, man, stop by my booth at E-town, I want to shake your hand".

I recently went to a swapmeet and was interested in some Craftsman tools. Guy had them for like 2 bucks a wrench, and everything was pretty well marked. I browsed around, made up some sets and put together what I wanted.

The guy said, "Ok, 60 bucks for all of that". I said, "Whoa, way too high, let me put it back...." He said, "Listen man, I have been doing this for a long time and I know my prices are great, etc, etc, etc."

I said, "Not longer than me chief". With that, I whipped out the 2002/2003 Sears catalog from my back pocket with all the pages marked with sticky notes. The look on the guys face was priceless.

He then tried to say, "You'll pay more than that in the store, man". I said, "Actually, since I've been published in the Sears Craftsman newsletter with my picture and I'm a member of the Craftsman Club, you could say that I know their product. I can tell you your prices are a bit high and off the mark, care to go through them one by one?". I then showed him that I would get at least 10% off on Sears stuff in the store with the Craftsman club card.

Bottom line: I got a 1/2" breaker bar (25 in Sears), a 1/4" to 1" wrench set, and 5 screwdrivers for that same 60 bucks .

Moral of the story: Know your prices
 
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Old 11-17-02, 09:40 AM
Joe_F
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Wow! They want 117 bucks for the service manual set for my 84 Olds.

You can buy it NEW from Helm for 78 bucks!

Naturally, I e-mailed them to find out why .
 
  #9  
Old 11-17-02, 11:02 AM
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Next time I need a shop manual, I will check with you first! Helm said they didn't have the Blazer manual in stock. I, being the impatient person that I am, went nosing around on the web to find one quicker. This was jumping the gun! Thought I was not getting a second vehicle, and now that I have one...yikes: patience IS a virtue!

Kay
 
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Old 11-17-02, 06:10 PM
Joe_F
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Ya can't miss this guy. Always with a short cigar in his mouth, ball cap, jeans, and New Jersey/New York accent. Goes to many car shows in the country. Drives a Ford Econoline van to the shows. I got to deal with him through a coworker.

What I like about him is that he is fair and a pleasure to deal with. I've even bought from his competitor (before I knew of him) and he called him "my colleague", not a competitor.

Now there's a gentleman.
 
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