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I hose engine down every other wash then dry with a blaster sidekick dryer, been doing it for years w/ all vehicles owned, engines always look like new and only takes a few extra minutes every other wash.
 
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I like to use a leaf blower to blast the water out of nooks and crannies afterwards. I like Dawn dish soap in my hand pump sprayer (use it on the dirt bike too) and low pressure water if I am going to do a car engine.

Also, it is surprising how much dirt can be removed by doing a "dry clean" using the leaf blower and a soft paint brush to agitate the dirt. The "Chis Fix" engine detailing video turned me on to this.

My Canyon has 50K miles on it, the engine compartment has never seen water. I just do the dry clean on it every few months. Started that process when it was new, have tried to stay ahead of it and not allow dirt to build up. It is a daily driver and has been down some dirt roads, but I don't do anything too nasty with it. The truck has only seen mud once. I do power wash it underneath now and then, being careful to avoid blasting the diesel emissions sensor crap :rolleyes:

I am about due for another "dry clean" here. It is not immaculate, but not filthy either. Those cleaning sessions are a good opportunity to look for issues too. I like to run my diesel without the plastic cover, as I dig the steam punk Capt. Nemo look, and it also makes cleaning and inspecting the areas that would be otherwise covered possible.

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