Saturday, July 25, 2020

Cleaning Up KARR's Engine Bay

We had a three day weekend July 3 - 5 and we spent all three days working on KARR.  We had a whole list of things we were planning for KARR.

The first thing we planned to do was steam clean the engine bay.  I purchased a McCulloch steamer specifically for this purpose, although I have also used it to clean our grill.  It works great.  Because it is primarily steam and should not have a lot of water loss, we put a tarp under the back of KARR to catch any drips.

As you can see, the engine bay is quite filthy.  The parking lot where I work is all gravel so it does not take long for the engine bay to get like this.  I am hoping that the rear wheel well splash shields will help cut down on this just a little.  

I removed the rear deck lid vents to gain better access to the engine bay.  Once they were removed, it became apparent just how dusty the entire bay was and I began thinking that adding any kind of moisture was just going to make this a muddy mess.

We decided to roll KARR out of the garage and used the air compressor to blow away as much of the dust out of the engine bay as we could.

Post blow-off.

We rolled KARR back into the garage and started cleaning.  We used foaming cleaner on the rear trunk area.

The trunk was filthy so Sara vacuumed it out.  Most of this was debris from blowing out the engine bay.

The insulating material that lines the engine bay is filthy and falling apart.  It has really been bothering me how it looks and how impossible it is to clean.  In theory this insulating material is supposed to help with heat in the engine bay, but since it is not a firewall area I do not feel it is crucial.  Most cars do not have a firewall-type material along the side walls of the engine bay.  Also, in the current state that it is in, the material is holding in dirt and debris and appears to me to be more of a fire hazard than fire preventative.  So, I made the decision to remove it. Besides, KARR is no 'regular' car, he deserves to look his best. 😎

I started pulling, tearing and cutting the material apart and away from the side wall.  This was deceptively easy as it just fell apart, releasing dust, dirt, clouds of smoke, etc. into the garage air.

Removing the material from around the air cleaner and vapor canister revealed some rust on the engine bay side wall.  It was like opening a can of worms.  Removing the insulating material was supposed to make it look better but in reality just revealed hidden problems. This rust, besides looking worse than the insulation, needs to be dealt with before it spreads.  This was the turning point for our holiday weekend projects as it became apparent that I needed to treat the engine bay with POR-15, which would require removing everything along the side walls and trunk wall.

These next pictures are more for my reference as they detail my removal process.

Fuel Vapor Canister & its bracket - we will treat the bracket with POR-15 and clean the canister.

Air Cleaner Assembly - we will treat this with POR-15, except for the lid which will be cleaned and repainted red.

You can see the air intake in this picture, which attaches to the bottom of the Air Cleaner Assembly.

We took an ice cream break and bought a cheap air filter from Auto Zone (conveniently located next to Dairy Queen) because I did not have the air filter cleaner kit for the K&N filter currently installed in KARR.  The air filter badly needs to be cleaned and oiled.  While at Auto Zone I noticed they had these adhesive letters and I immediately thought of the side air intake scoop that currently says "Fiero".  Sadly the letters are too big, but we will come up with another use for them.

I wanted to look at KITT's wheel well plastics to see how I repaired and coated them.  I was trying to decide whether I wanted to follow the same process with KARR's wheel well plastics.  You can see the backside of this fuel filler neck cover which forms the top of the driver side rear wheel well on KITT.  It was cracked and I did a repair using POR-Patch and PowerMesh.

I had coated the front side with 3M Bondo Rubberized Undercoating.  After seeing these again, I have decided to do KARR's the same way, making repairs if necessary.

Back to emptying KARR's engine bay.

The bungee cord you have been seeing in these pictures is being used to hold the rear brake line away from the trunk wall.  I removed the clips securing it to the trunk wall and used the bungee cord to apply just enough pressure to hold it away.  I had decided to just divide the rear trunk wall in half, and leave the passenger side of the engine bay for later as there was not enough time to get everything done by Sunday night.

Our next step was to apply Marine Clean and let it soak.  Then I used the steam cleaner and steamed off the Marine Clean.

Cruise Control Vacuum Tank - this looks to be in decent shape and will be treated with POR-15.

Next I needed to knock off any loose rust and rough up the metal surfaces to be treated.

I ended up cleaning three-fourths of the trunk wall, so I decided to mask it off at that point.  This meant I needed to remove the second blower tube.

With the tube removed I could see I still had some cleaning to do. 

I removed the remaining clips and wire harness ties.

I pulled back the trunk seal to be able to better clean the rear trunk wall.

Sara is cleaning off all the loose rust from the Air Cleaner Assembly bracket.  She wire brushed all the brackets we removed from the engine bay.

Everything is pulled back away from the side wall and trunk wall as much as possible to allow access to treat it with POR-15.

Because this was so dirty, it needed a second treatment of Marine Clean.  I agitated everything with a nylon brush and then used the steam cleaner to rinse all surfaces.

Just for fun I hit the valve cover with just steam, no cleaner, and you can see the results below.

With everything cleaned, the next step was to apply Metal Prep to the surfaces I was going to treat with POR-15.  I misted and kept the surfaces wet with Metal Prep for twenty minutes.

After twenty minutes, I steam rinsed everything and then placed a fan over the engine bay to help speed up dry time.

After everything was dry, I masked off the areas to be treated with POR-15 and also masked off anything I wanted to avoid getting POR-15 on.

Sara cleaned and prepped the Air Cleaner Assembly & bracket, Fuel Vapor Canister bracket, Cruise Control Vacuum Tank and Cruise Control Servo bracket.

Sara took this picture of all the rust and junk she knocked off the brackets.

Applying the first coat of POR-15.

First coat is complete.

Sara and I applied the first coat of POR-15 to the Air Cleaner Assembly & bracket, Fuel Vapor Canister bracket, Cruise Control Vacuum Tank and Cruise Control Servo bracket.

After the first coat was dry with just a slight finger drag, I started applying the second coat to the engine bay.

I was trying to think of an easier way to get access as leaning over the fast back made reaching all the areas difficult.

I thought about getting in the trunk and then did.

Second coat is finished.

I removed the masking tape for anything that was adjacent to a treated area.  Tape is very hard to remove once POR-15 has cured.

Second coat of POR-15 on the the Air Cleaner Assembly & bracket, Fuel Vapor Canister bracket, Cruise Control Vacuum Tank and Cruise Control Servo bracket.

Sara cleaned and scrubbed on the blower tubes in an effort to shine them up.  They cleaned up nicely but I would like to see if I can find someone who can polish them.

On Sunday morning, I started wire wheeling all of the hardware for the brackets.

We treated them in a WD-40 bath after wire wheeling.

We did these in sets and Sara kept track of each set.

POR-15 is dry and the engine bay is ready for reassembly.  These next pictures are reference for the reassembly process.

Cruise Control Servo - I cleaned and remounted this to its bracket.

Everything is reinstalled.

I noticed Rodney Dickman's Automotive Accessories sells a reinforced plate for the top of the strut tower.  I plan to purchase this and once the silver washers are removed I will POR-15 the spots that were not treated.

Look at the difference of the driver's side versus the passenger side.  We will need to tackle the passenger side soon.

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