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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-09-2006, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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steam clean an engine?

Hi

Anyone ever hear of or try to steam clean the inside of an engine by holding a vacuum line near the surface of a can of water and sucking the water in ever so slowly (while the engine is nice and hot) to steam clean the engine?

Idea is that the water will turn to steam and clean stuff off...

Thoughts...other than be careful to not suck in too much water and hydrolock the engine?

Thanks,
Patrick
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-09-2006, 05:25 PM
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Re: steam clean an engine?

I've heard it done, but I don't like doing it. IMHO, your better off using something like SEAFOAM in the fuel.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-09-2006, 05:49 PM
 
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Re: steam clean an engine?

I don't think I'd try it. Water does not compress. If it was a mist like in an intercooler it could work, but to suck through vacuum and hope it turns to steam? I personally would think you'd suck too much, to fast and end up with the possibility of a cracked piston from water and heat combined, possibly a bent rod, hydrolock situation, etc. Honestly, I don't know enough about it, but to me, water is not your engines friend. Guys have been doing this with brake fluid, ATF fluid, etc. for years, but that stuff will burn. Keep your Jeeps oil changed, keep it clean, and run it. If you do try it, let us know how it works. I do have a spare 4.0 and live within 2 hrs if you need it! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-09-2006, 07:00 PM
 
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Re: steam clean an engine?

This is an old trick to de-carbon an engine and done correctly can be very effective without doing any harm. Never try it on an engine with a catalytic converter unless you are prepared to replace it. Also don't stick a vacuum hose in water. On an older, pre-cat engine, if you want to try it, the way to do it is take a pint (I've seen some old timers use as much as a quart) of water and with the air cleaner off, rev the engine up to 2 or 3 thousand RPM and VERY SLOWLY pour water directly into the carb. When the engine starts to slow down, back off, as is speeds up pour more. Continue till the water is gone. I've seen it done and done it myself. It will do NO good unless there is serious carbon buildup. I've seen it work wonders in old, dirty engines.

I don't recommend anyone does it. In other words, Don't try this at home! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-09-2006, 09:23 PM
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Re: steam clean an engine?

About the only reason that you would have carbon in the engine is because it's running too rich....fix that problem and you don't have to worry about "Carbon on the valves".

There are a lot of 'backyard mechanic' tricks.....for the most part, most of them belong in the backyard.........
post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-09-2006, 09:38 PM
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Re: steam clean an engine?

The water turns to steam and does a great job of washing the oil off the rings so they can wear really fast!
Plus the side benefit is sometimes the cold water hitting a valve can bend it like a pretzel.
Or you can even dislodge a big chuck of carbon so it can get stuck under a valve so the piston can bend it.

Or - if you aren't lucky enough to have the above happen, at least it'll clean the carbon from around the top of the compression ring that helps seal it.

In any case, you'll get the pleasure of pulling the head to see how well it cleaned.

Best way - Seafoam or Techron in the tank - it slowly and safely dissolves the junk.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-09-2006, 10:27 PM
 
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Re: steam clean an engine?



There are lots of old wives tales about what water will, and won't do in an engine...

Water injection used to be pretty common for lots of guys.
Some ran it to clean out the engine, some ran it to stop detonation with high compression engines with the cheap pump gasoline that was available at the time.

Years back I ran a twin turbo engine that was street driven and water injection kept the engine alive before the days of fuel injection.
The water kept combustion temperatures from being able to melt the cylinders down when the carb leaned out in progression form one stage to another.
--------------

If you want to do water cleaning of your engine, there are some 'Do's and Don't's' you must take heed of.

One is the amount of water you introduce into the engine.
Use a spray nozzle mounted over the carb, and have it aligned so both sides of the carb get water equally.

A windshield washer tank works well, with built in pump, metered delivery, and ready hose hookup points.

For cleaning, you will find a 50/50 mix of alcohol & water will do a better job.

While you are running down the road at highway speed,
mash the throttle and push the button on the tank pump.

You probably won't notice any difference in drivability except for more steam out the tail pipe...

A half gallon or so like this should do what you are asking.

Be sure to highway drive the vehicle for 15 to 20 minutes afterwards, or moisture will collect in the exhaust system and may help to rot it out...
-------------

Contrary to what most people believe, your engine sucks up lots of moisture already.
On a humid, or foggy day, you would be surprised how much just plain water runs out the tailpipe!

The water, or water and alcohol mix won't hurt any of your emissions hardware, no more than the moisture in the air, or alcohol in the gasoline today will.

The fuel today doesn't cause hard carbon deposits like the fuel of yester year when this was very popular.
It helped clean the engine, but carbon in the chamber wasn't the big deal.
Water injection sometimes helped to knock loose the carbon deposits that used to build up on the backs of valve heads, seriously hurting performance.
Oil on the back of the valve heads was a serious problem, now with better fuel, better fuel control (injection) and better machining, seal material and better designed oil control we don't have as much oil residue building up on the backs of valve heads either.

--------------------

In a word, water injection is safe,
*IF*,
You limit the amount of water that gets into the cylinders.
Water injection is most effective if the engine us under a load at operating temperature and at highway speeds.

It's also a good idea to do it just before you are going to do an oil change the first couple of times...
You just won't believe what gets blown out/shows up in the engine oil the first few times.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-10-2006, 12:41 AM
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Re: steam clean an engine?

He He - the old saying about how good water injection is was the fact the WWII P-51 Mustangs used it. They used it if they needed extra power to get out of trouble.
But nobody talks about the manual - that said if the plane came back with empty water bottles it was grounded till the engine was rebuilt or replaced!
Yes, the cooling effect increases the amount of air/fuel packed in. But as stated, it washes the lubrication off the walls, creating metal to metal contact.

"""""Contrary to what most people believe, your engine sucks up lots of moisture already.
On a humid, or foggy day, you would be surprised how much just plain water runs out the tailpipe!"""""

True - but the vast majority of the water didn't come from the air, fog, or rain.
The colder wetter weather condensed the vapor inside the tailpipe rather than letting it get out before condensing.

The normal natural product of cumbustion is water.

HC+O2 + burning = CO2 + H2O
Burn one gallon of gasoline, get 1 1/4 gallon of water!


But - it's up to you whether or not you take the risk of putting ANY kind of liquid in.

Todays gasoline with MTBE creates super hard carbon that's not easily cleaned off! Simply talk to any machinist, he'll tell you how much of a PITA it is!
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-10-2006, 09:46 AM
 
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Re: steam clean an engine?

[ QUOTE ]
HC+O2 + burning = CO2 + H2O
Burn one gallon of gasoline, get 1 1/4 gallon of water!

[/ QUOTE ]

Umm, Rich, isn't it Carbon MONOxide (CO) not Carbon DIoxide (CO2)? Atoms cannot be created nor destroyed - John Dalton. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-10-2006, 10:08 AM
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Re: steam clean an engine?

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
HC+O2 + burning = CO2 + H2O
Burn one gallon of gasoline, get 1 1/4 gallon of water!

[/ QUOTE ]

Umm, Rich, isn't it Carbon MONOxide (CO) not Carbon DIoxide (CO2)? Atoms cannot be created nor destroyed - John Dalton. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

[/ QUOTE ]

If you bought into HC being the chemical formula for gasoline, you can surely buy into atoms being created or destroyed.

Gasoline has a makeup of several molecules. You should be familiar with “octane content”, octane being C<sub>8</sub>H<sub>18</sub>. There is also heptane C<sub>7</sub>H<sub>16</sub>, and may other forms. Then there are the additives and and trace amounts of things like sulfur, then you have to consider that the air is mostly nitrogen that also reacts.

Start here.
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