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Discussion Starter #1
My S4 will need its next French Controle technique (MOT equivalent) in February. It has passed with no issues in previous years but the test has now become more stringent. I believe it can fail on oil leaks which were previously just noted as advisories.

I have sorted some of the leakage (oil cap replacement seal, crankshaft seal, tightening up other bits and pieces) so its not terrible, but it looks bad due to residual mess. I can get the car up on the lift and will do some spraying/scrubbing with Gunk or similar to clean it up. I was wondering about using a jet wash, has anybody got experience of doing this?

Obviously I would:
  • disconnect the battery
  • cover the starter motor, alternator, light connectors, distributor and any other bits that are best left dry.
Is there anything else that I would need to be careful of - I would try to avoid getting spray in the bellhousing (not sure how waterproof the cover plate would be) ?
 

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Have you never driven the car in the rain, heavy rain, have you never driven through puddles of any sort? I think you would be OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
😁 LOL, yes,I know what you're saying and I'm normally pretty bullish about just going for it. However, water at 130 bars ( almost 2000 psi) is a bit different to a splash from a puddle so some discretion is called for, methinks!
 

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There are carwashstreets that spray the underside, maybe that is a idea?
You know those that is using cloths and not brushes that damage your paint.
 

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Nick, go for the power under car wash, if it's still allowed in France. Here they'd lock you up!

almost every petrol station in Germany in the 70's/80's had an undercar steam clean service....you drove onto the ramp and they raised the car and pressure washed it (but hot steamy water with a cleanser) the aluminium sump, tranny and diff positivily shined!
I did it just before every MOT...;)
those days are long gone, the water cleansing unit the garages had to afford became too expensive (yes, the water was correctly cleaned/recycled, it wasn't just left to get into the ground water.)
Can't even wash your own car here anymore yourself, its illegal.

Nowadays I just raise the car (you only really need to get to tranny and sump) and spray everything with brake cleaner and wipe it off with lots of cloths....gets rid of oil for the TÜV (an obvious oil leak is a failure over here, unless it is just "sweating", then its an advisory)

the carwashes with underbody spray nozzles are totally useless,...they are OK to get rid of slush and salt (if you drive in the winter) ...haven't a chance in hell against oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Dom. Wow, you're not even allowed to wash your own cars in Germany, I wasn't aware of that. Is that because of the soapy, waxy stuff getting into the groundwater?

France hasn't got that strict yet.

I have been reading a few other forum threads on this as well and the consensus seems to be that jet washing won't shift the oil unless it has been soaked in some kind of solvent first. In which case just rinsing afterwards with normal water pressure would be as good.

I've got some pretty effective carb cleaner (is it the same as brake cleaner?) so I'll have a go with that.
 

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Bit late to the discussion, Nick and I hope yours got through the CT ok. I definitely do have small oil leaks on mine (engine and gearbox) with consequent oil staining, but neither of these were picked up on the CT. Maybe they made allowance for the fact that it is an ‘older’ car.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Bit late to the discussion, Nick and I hope yours got through the CT ok. I definitely do have small oil leaks on mine (engine and gearbox) with consequent oil staining, but neither of these were picked up on the CT. Maybe they made allowance for the fact that it is an ‘older’ car.
hi Jimmy, that’s good to hear. I’ll be getting it done when we go over in February. Fingers crossed!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm pleased to report that la petite voiture passed its CT today.

I had spent a couple of hours on Sunday cleaning the underneath with carb cleaner and cloths and got a lot of muck off. It was really good to see that it is remarkably rust-free still. I had also re-seated the valve cover gasket and put a new seal on the filler cap so had eliminated leaks there.

Then, when I took it for the pre-MOT, the garage owner said he remembered it being oily last time (picked up by the inspectors) so was going to give it a good clean! Anyway, its now sparkling under there.

I had suggested that the garagiste might need to swap over the front number plate and put the full size one on temporarily, as I have a slightly less than legal half size one. Apparently, though, the tester was happy with the little one as it fits nicely between the radiator inlet and the side light and a big one wouldn't ! And, he commented, its an old car so, gallic shrug...

Anyway, all good for a couple more years until the next test, and a nice drive back with the top down.
 
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