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Discussion Starter #1
So what is the best degreaser. I have about 20 years of accumulated grim to remove from a leaking Nord 2.0 engine - yes from all those beautiful cooling fins on the sump and from the dimples in the rough aluminium engine block. No not the simple wipe over type crud but the 5mm thick crap that you get from road dust sticking to oil film for many years.

I have started by scrapping off the worst of the accumulated crud but now about to start removing the rest.

I started with Gunk Ultra and a nail brush that was almost a complete waste of an hour of my life that I will never get back.

I have heard that Maguires is good but I think something that can be watered down is going to be laughed at by this crud.

My thoughts are either carb cleaner or brake cleaner but that makes me worry about getting splashes on the paint that causes staining - especially as the inner wings have been replaced and resprayed and are really clean and shiny. Why didn't the previous owner clean the engine first!!!!
 

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I think i would be tempted to hire a steam cleaner if it's that bad. Just make sure any bits you need to are protected. I've used this technique several times and never had a problem - slightly newer engines than a Nord though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Yes I agree with both above. Neither are ideal as the car isn't driveable so cleaning is either in my garage or on my tarmac drive. No I am not deliberately making this hard just the situation I am in.

I have 1,000 litres of central heating oil (basically the same as diesel) in my heating tank but don't want the stink as the garage is connected to the house nor do I want it on my tarmac drive dissolving that.

Steam cleaner is good (I used to manage a workshop with a pit and fixed installation steam cleaner; amazing piece of kit with enough pressure at the lance to cut through coolant hoses) but once the heat is gone the grease sticks to whatever it is on. Great if you have industrial painted floor and drains going into a separator but not so good when all the grease finally settles in minute specks on my tarmac drive.
 

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Whatever you use will make a terrible mess. Probably best to buy a roll of thick polythene of a gauge used for damp proof membranes Wickes 1000 Gauge Blue Damp Proof Membrane 4 x 3m | Wickes.co.uk that you can use under the car. And a lot of rags.

Cleaning old oil from rough cast alloy is very difficult, as the surface oxide turns into a sort-of pseudo-anodised stained finish that solvents alone can't strip. Really it needs blasting with baking soda to abrade the surface away, but I've had some DIY success using a stainless steel wire brush (in a drill where possible), and paraffin or gunk, then strong detergent and hot water and a scrubbing brush. Don't use oven cleaner, that oxidises the aluminium and plates out carbon onto it - gets rid of the oil, but stains the metal black. Brake cleaner is just too volatile, it evaporates and re-deposits the oil before you can disperse it. Petrol or acetone work quite well, but are very dangerous.

Personally I like the look of this 1000W laser. https://youtu.be/xfczxBWJuNg
 

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May be an OTT idea, but how much work is it to take the engine out?
Far quicker than a more modern car, and simpler to put back together afterwards!

You could then get the dirty engine away from all that fresh paintwork and give it a proper clean.
 

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Yes I agree with both above. Neither are ideal as the car isn't driveable so cleaning is either in my garage or on my tarmac drive. No I am not deliberately making this hard just the situation I am in.

I have 1,000 litres of central heating oil (basically the same as diesel) in my heating tank but don't want the stink as the garage is connected to the house nor do I want it on my tarmac drive dissolving that.

Steam cleaner is good (I used to manage a workshop with a pit and fixed installation steam cleaner; amazing piece of kit with enough pressure at the lance to cut through coolant hoses) but once the heat is gone the grease sticks to whatever it is on. Great if you have industrial painted floor and drains going into a separator but not so good when all the grease finally settles in minute specks on my tarmac drive.
You could use a collapsible pallet bund and put that under the car to catch all the mess. Then siphon/decant into a can for disposal. The pallet bunds are pretty good and you can get them in a range of sizes. (Or a cheap paddling pool would do as well as long as it's not affected by any solvents you're using)
 
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