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Engine Building Fundamentals: Engine Component Cleaning

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Engine Component Cleaning

04.29

00:00 - Easily one of the most important steps of engine assembly is ensuring absolute cleanliness of all of the components you're dealing with.
00:09 With the tight tolerances between components in the engine, any dirt or debris remaining in the engine can quickly result in wear or damage, but fortunately this can be avoided relatively easily, by following a strict and thorough cleaning regime, prior to any assembly.
00:27 Engine cleaning really starts before the components leave the engine machinist, and it would be typical for the machinist to perform what's known as a hot wash, in particular on an engine block, prior to packaging it, and delivering it back to you.
00:42 The hot wash could be likened to a large dishwasher for engine components, and its task is to flush out any of the debris remaining after the boring, honing, and other machining processes are complete.
00:55 The hot wash process is useful to a point, however one of the key elements of ensuring a successful engine build, is to never take anything for granted, and never assume that someone else has done an acceptable job.
01:09 Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the person assembling the engine, to ensure that everything is to their liking.
01:17 The hot wash process should do an adequate job of removing the bulk of the dirt, grime, and debris from the engine block, but beyond this, you're still going to need to complete your own thorough cleaning process, in particular paying attention to the oil galleries, and ensuring the freshly honed bore walls are truly clean, and free from debris and grit from the honing process.
01:41 It's important, after the cleaning process, to ensure that the machine surfaces, such as the bore walls, main bearing journals, and the deck surface on a cast iron block are protected with a light coat of oil to prevent surface rust occurring.
01:57 A tip here is to keep an oiling can handy in your engine building room, that's filled with a good quality mineral based oil.
02:05 Using a full synthetic oil is not advisable during the engine building, and running in process, as it can actually be detrimental to the rings bedding in.
02:15 When it comes to cleaning a crankshaft, we need to ensure that the outside of the crankshaft is clean, and in particular the crank journal surfaces, however, it's just as important to ensure that the oil galleries inside the crankshaft are also thoroughly cleaned.
02:32 This is best achieved with a range of small bottle brushes, brake clean, and compressed air.
02:39 Where possible, the blanking plugs should be removed from the crankshaft galleries to ensure no trapped dirt or debris remains.
02:47 The cylinder head, or cylinder heads, can be dealt with in the same way as the engine block.
02:53 This starts with a full stripping of the head back to bare components, as well as removal of any gallery blanking plugs, to allow all of the galleries to be thoroughly cleaned and flushed.
03:04 The remaining components, such as pistons, connecting rods, and camshafts, should be inspected and cleaned using brake clean, compressed air, and clean rags.
03:16 Any time we're cleaning and preparing components, this is also a perfect time to inspect the component, and make sure there's no damage to it.
03:25 In particular, I'm always on the lookout for dents or scratches that may affect the reliability or performance of that particular product.
03:33 On cast components such as cylinder heads and blocks, it's also a good idea to look for any small pieces of casting, that may become dislodged in operation.
03:43 I like to deburr these parts and remove them by hand, to prevent any potential problems later on.
03:51 After your engine components are cleaned, it's important to store them so that they won't become contaminated, until they're worked on next.
03:59 A clean working environment, such as a sealed, dust free assembly area, is a great start, however dust in the atmosphere can still contaminate engine components, so I recommend storing larger components like blocks and cylinder heads, in large plastic rubbish bags.