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Techniques for cleaning engine

Nov 16, 2012
866
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
I’ve seen some pictures here of some very clean engines. I recently replaced the raw water pump on our M25XPB (Catalina 310), and apparently didn’t get the gasket seated properly, so it leaked a fair amount of oil. On top of that one of the hose clamps ended up scraping on the drive belt, and spewing belt dust all over the nicely oiled surfaces of the engine. Of course I checked everything immediately after the install, but don’t ask me why I waited so long to check it again! So I need to do a major cleaning.

If this was my car I’d use a spray can of engine cleaner, and rinse it off with water, but I can’t imagine that would work sitting in our slip. Any tips on products and process for getting a sparkling engine?

Thanks, as always.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,286
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
I’ve seen some pictures here of some very clean engines. I recently replaced the raw water pump on our M25XPB (Catalina 310), and apparently didn’t get the gasket seated properly, so it leaked a fair amount of oil. On top of that one of the hose clamps ended up scraping on the drive belt, and spewing belt dust all over the nicely oiled surfaces of the engine. Of course I checked everything immediately after the install, but don’t ask me why I waited so long to check it again! So I need to do a major cleaning.

If this was my car I’d use a spray can of engine cleaner, and rinse it off with water, but I can’t imagine that would work sitting in our slip. Any tips on products and process for getting a sparkling engine?

Thanks, as always.
Why wouldn't your plan work?

I use Gunk Engine degreaser. I'm careful not to just spray it all over the engine. I use rags, toothbrushes and wooden Qtips to apply it. Once it's soaked for a few, I wash it off with fresh water. Once I clean the water out from the engine bilge I start the engine. I prefer to take the boat out and run it hard for about 30 minutes. But I have also just run it in idle for about an hour at 1200 RPM.

Then, after the engine cools I use wire brushes and sandpaper to prep for paint. I will cover parts I don't want to paint with tape or tin foil and spray the engine. I do this whole process about once every 12-18 months.

Twice in the 10 years we have owned the boat I have gone deeper. I have stripped every part from the engine that is removable, heat exchanger, water pump, hoses, fuel pump, alternator, belt, etc. I will tape off and paint some of those parts individually. I will also tape off and paint the engine, getting those hard to reach spots really well.

Good luck and fair winds,

Jesse
 

JRT

.
Feb 14, 2017
1,594
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
I cleaned and detailed cars and engines for a job in the past, not a ton of experience on boat engines. I usually use Simple Green for my effort as some of the engine stuff is pretty harsh. I spray the trouble spots and let soak and wipe up with rags, old soaks and T-shirts. WD40 spray type stuff also works, keep off belts.
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,138
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
I usually use Simple Green
I have found that Simple Green can etch paint, if left on too long or if not thoroughly rinsed. Stopped using it, anywhere. I wonder if it's any less harsh than "engine stuff"?
 
Nov 16, 2012
866
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
Why wouldn't your plan work?

I use Gunk Engine degreaser. I'm careful not to just spray it all over the engine. I use rags, toothbrushes and wooden Qtips to apply it. Once it's soaked for a few, I wash it off with fresh water. Once I clean the water out from the engine bilge I start the engine. I prefer to take the boat out and run it hard for about 30 minutes. But I have also just run it in idle for about an hour at 1200 RPM.

Then, after the engine cools I use wire brushes and sandpaper to prep for paint. I will cover parts I don't want to paint with tape or tin foil and spray the engine. I do this whole process about once every 12-18 months.

Twice in the 10 years we have owned the boat I have gone deeper. I have stripped every part from the engine that is removable, heat exchanger, water pump, hoses, fuel pump, alternator, belt, etc. I will tape off and paint some of those parts individually. I will also tape off and paint the engine, getting those hard to reach spots really well.

Good luck and fair winds,

Jesse
Jesse, your engine is one that I was referring to. How do you clean the water out of the bilge? Just pump it overboard?
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,286
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Jesse, your engine is one that I was referring to. How do you clean the water out of the bilge? Just pump it overboard?
when I was in the states the marinas had a place for waste disposal. Unfortunately in the Caribbean they don't have that resource. Hell I catch locals dumping oil from the engine right in the water.
 
Nov 16, 2012
866
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
when I was in the states the marinas had a place for waste disposal. Unfortunately in the Caribbean they don't have that resource. Hell I catch locals dumping oil from the engine right in the water.
We’ve got a bilge waste pump out at the fuel dock. I could motor over there, as long as the waste water volume wasn’t too much. Thanks.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,286
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
We’ve got a bilge waste pump out at the fuel dock. I could motor over there, as long as the waste water volume wasn’t too much. Thanks.
I would have less than a 5-gallon pail. But that is why I hand applied the spray instead of just spraying it all over the boat. I also use a garden sprayer to clean it now that I'm not at a dock.
 
Nov 16, 2012
866
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
I would have less than a 5-gallon pail. But that is why I hand applied the spray instead of just spraying it all over the boat. I also use a garden sprayer to clean it now that I'm not at a dock.
Well, I’m running out of excuses for doing this project. Luckily I’m racing today (different boat), but it’s on my list for the upcoming week.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,286
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Well, I’m running out of excuses for doing this project. Luckily I’m racing today (different boat), but it’s on my list for the upcoming week.
Talking about this has been I nice distraction from what I got going on. Went to bed at 11 pm with nothing to worry about. Got up at 5am to TS Karen coming at me. Had to prep the boat in a rush and now just waiting. As long as the storm keeps going west I'm good. If it turns north it could get ugly here.
 
Nov 16, 2012
866
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
Talking about this has been I nice distraction from what I got going on. Went to bed at 11 pm with nothing to worry about. Got up at 5am to TS Karen coming at me. Had to prep the boat in a rush and now just waiting. As long as the storm keeps going west I'm good. If it turns north it could get ugly here.
Good luck! I enjoy reading all about your travels.
 

JRT

.
Feb 14, 2017
1,594
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
I have found that Simple Green can etch paint, if left on too long or if not thoroughly rinsed. Stopped using it, anywhere. I wonder if it's any less harsh than "engine stuff"?
I never had a problem on engine parts but I would never use it on a car paint surface. My C310 has less then 700 hours so I clean with the rags and throw them away. If you were really worried try soaking a clean rag in water and finish up with a final wipe down. Access on the C310 engine is soo easy a few minutes wiping down when checking fluids keeps it pretty clean.
 
Nov 16, 2012
866
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
What paint have people used that they liked? After cleaning it seems like painting makes sense...
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,138
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
Talking about this has been I nice distraction from what I got going on. Went to bed at 11 pm with nothing to worry about. Got up at 5am to TS Karen coming at me. Had to prep the boat in a rush and now just waiting. As long as the storm keeps going west I'm good. If it turns north it could get ugly here.
Huh? You're in MA? TS Karen is not threatening. Are you in Puerto Rico or USVI?
 
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Nov 18, 2010
2,286
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Huh? You're in MA? TS Karen is not threatening. Are you in Puerto Rico or USVI?
We left MA in 2015. We have been kicking around the Caribbean since. Spent most of the first year between the US East coast and the Bahamas. Got to the VI for the start of hurricane season in 2016. We were pretty broke at that point.

Stayed in the VI for the next few years working as a captain (tourist boats, work boats, deliveries), construction manager, doing boat work, what ever I could do to earn a few bucks. Got to explore locally, mostly in the off season when we weren't dodging hurricanes. Earned enough to quit again and do some more full-time cruising. Left the VI in May and have been exploring the Caribbean while catching up with some deferred maintenance on my boat.

Currently in Bequia in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Another month we will head back north to explore some more of the Eastern Caribbean. Next season we may head over to the Western Caribbean to explore some different spots or just keep enjoying the islands here.

Fair winds
 
Feb 10, 2004
3,069
Hunter 40.5 East Greenwich, RI
What paint have people used that they liked? After cleaning it seems like painting makes sense...
After cleaning and wire brushing I have preped and used Por-15 and then painted with matching acrylic engine paint. Rust is gone and hasn't returned.
 
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Likes: JamesG161