Marine inboard engines are generally trouble free. Even if this is the case the engine still needs to be cleaned regularly to keep the engine running at peak performance. Regular tune up will keep your marine inboard engine in tip top shape much like how you want you car engine to be at its peak performance level at all times. Being out in the water, salt water, grease and other debris can collect in and around the exposed engine parts. Regular cleaning will ensure that your marine inboard engine runs smoothly and coolly and extend the life of the various engine parts. Here are some tips on how to clean a marine inboard engine.
It is best to work on the engine out of the water to eliminate the chances of polluting the water with the grease and other chemicals that you will use to clean the engine. Move your boat to a dry location where you will have good access to the engine bay.
Take care of the environment by catching the spills from the water, degreasers and other chemicals. An empty drum or barrel will be large enough to catch the spill. Gather all the materials that you will need to clean the engine. This can include an engine degreaser such as Gunk, rubber bands and some plastic bags, a screwdriver and plenty of rags. Give yourself enough room to move as you clean the engine by removing the engine cover.
Cover all the electrical and electronic parts with plastic. Keep them in place with rubber bands. This is to ensure that no liquid can get in contact with them and short circuit the engine.
Be sure that you are working on a cool engine. Spray the degreaser generously over the engine parts that are exposed and give the degreaser enough time to soften and loosen the caked debris. Help it along by using the flat screwdriver or a small scraper to dislodge some of the dirt buildup and other deposits that have coated the engine.
Hose the engine down with water when the degreaser had done its job. You may have to use a stiff brush to remove stubborn dirt. Use a wire brush on metal parts to effectively removed caked dirt. Check the areas around hoses, gaskets and other fittings that may also be dirty. A toothbrush will be able to clean around smaller areas. Remove large pieces of debris that fall on the engine bay floor with a vacuum. If you do not have a vacuum line the floor with plastic sheet to collect the dirt that will fall off while cleaning.
Repeat the process until the engine is thoroughly clean. Wipe the engine dry with the cotton rags. Do not forget to blot out the water that had sprayed on the plastic bags covering the electrical and electronic parts before you remove them.
Visually inspect the other fixtures of the engine. Check the hoses and linkages for signs of wear and tear that can cause electrical sparks and fuel and oil leaks. If you have used excessive water to rinse the engine, drain the water by running the bilge pump or pull out the bilge plugs.