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Discussion Starter #1
Zephyr is in the yard for some work, and I started working on the engine room since the engine is removed for a rebuild. I'm going to show you a nasty picture, so if you're easily nauseated, I apologize now.

I'd like to know if there's a better way to do this or not. I'm using very concentrated Simple Green as the degreaser and cleaner, and the little yellow-and-green sponges, and on a whim, a rough brush (you can see all of the stuff in the "after" picture). And not to worry, I'm using chemical protectant gloves.

Today, getting started:


After about an hour:


That's it! That's all I got clean. I obviously concentrated on those spots, but they're still not perfect. And after looking online at sailing blogs where they post some before and after pictures that present a bilge I could eat in with nary a "this took about 40 hours of work", I just wanted to know that I'm not wasting my time here.

So, is there a more efficient method? Or is this about right for a bilge with about 10 years of grime?
 

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One of None
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Pressure Washer makes quick work of it. Did mine with engine in place It's due for another cleaning this season. I like to spray it with solvent type cleaners. but simple green is pretty amazing too! Why don't you paint it too?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Once I'm done cleaning it, I'm planning to put down an epoxy barrier coat. I hear that's the best to help protect it.

I'm also installing a soundproofing heat shield on the bulkhead and overhead as well. The Simple Green works very well on the wood, luckily.
 

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1981 Endeavour 32
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I've had luck with an orange-based degreaser.....and some hot water. Not quite to boiling, but really hot. That has made cleanup of my engine compartment and bilge a lot easier.
 

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I used orange cleaner when i had my engine out. After i got it fairly clean, still stained, i cleaned it again with soft scrub with bleach. Like new again!
 

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1981 Endeavour 32
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Ahhhhh yes, Soft Scrub - that stuff is wicked good on fiberglass!
 

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What the farmers call a "Steam jenny" (steam generator) is really the way to clean. Sometimes you can get them at tool rental or construction equipment stores. You can also buy not-so-industrial models that work a bit slower, on the web or in stores. This is like a pressure washer but it generates live steam, not cold water. And live steam is a great way to strip off all sorts of crud. Just bear in mind that if there's any bare metal left after, it is really going to be BARE and surface rust will quickly form.

No chemicals needed. The bilge water may still be an oily mess from all the old oil, but you don't have to buy any chemicals or worry about what they might attack, either.
 

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Once you get it clean, an epoxy barrier coat is a good idea.

Or you might try Interlux Bilgekote, available in white or grey. The paint worked well for me.
 

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Bilgekote is what I have been using... just get the surfaces clean and then paint on two coats. Great results so far.
 

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Just and FYI, don't use Soft Scrub on fiberglass. It will take off the gelcoat as it is an abrasive. Use Clorex cleanup instead. It will eat up the organics and not harm gelcoat.
 

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I also would suggest a steam cleaner. Possibly a carpet cleaner with different attachments, or tool rental as mentioned. I honestly do not think anything else will get it completely clean; in corners, limber holes, etc. Least amount of possible damage to other things (wiring) from water; least amount of trauma to you from chemicals.
 

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I did a similar engine bilge cleanup and painted with Bilgecote a couple years back. Already starting to peel. Probably a combination of less than perfect degreasing and inadequate scuffing of the surface (uneven due to roving texture, etc.).

If I had a do-over, I'd make sure the surface is immaculately clean, scuff thoroughly with a wire cup brush in a drill, then use epoxy barrier coat.
 
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