Welcome to the Corvette Forums at the Corvette Action Center!

Help! Engine bay cleaning/prep suggestions


Aug 3, 2008
Tucson, AZ
1981 ZZ383, Weiand 177, steeroids, Van Steel rear
Hi all:

This post is a request for suggestions on what works for engine cleaning and prep. A search on this forum yielded lots of good suggestions as to what kind of paint to use for the engine bay, but I would also welcome any more suggestions.

I'm still restoring my 1981. Bought it summer '08, and have already replaced the front suspension (control arms, bushings, etc) and just put in a Steeroids rack & pinion. The Van Steel coilover rear suspension is ordered as well. The car is not numbers matching, and by no means is going to be a show car. It's also not going to be a daily driver. My goal is to have a menacing looking hot rod. I've pulled the engine out (with lots of help), sent the muncie M22 out to be rebuilt (I was shocked ... expected a Warner), and just got the rear end back.

I'm in AZ and the frame is rust free. I painted that gloss black as best as I could (I don't have the means for a full body off restoration). While the engine bay is accessible, I'd like to clean it up as best as possible and paint it, too. I got the dirt and grease off the frame with Easy Off Oven Cleaner (works great if you haven't tried it), and then used simple green for everything else. There was still a lot of dirt/dust/junk on the firewall and sides, so I did very light sanding with 120 grit and compressed air. It looks good (sorry no photos yet), but there is still fine dust.

Does anyone have any other suggestions as to how to prep the fiberglass? I just used Krylon gloss black spray paint on the frame at the suggestion of the shop owner because that's what he does (and he's got several show-quality cars). He says he prefers it to the high temp auto and engine rustoleum because it's glossier and he hasn't had problems with it even in engine bays.

Will put up pics soon.

Thanks in advance. Any advice would be greatly appreciated because there's a sad looking ZZ383 still sitting on the crate waiting to hop in and go for a spin!
Steam cleaning is a good way to clean and de-grease your engine bay. There may be areas that you have to remove parts to clean around. For those area, I use either Simple Green or Dawn dishwashing soap with a toothbrush to clean. Before sanding, you will want to use a wax & grease remover to clean the surface you are going to sand. Even tho you have previously cleaned it, the wax & grease remover is a precaution to prevent sanding grease into the panels you are going to paint. I would suggest using 180 grit to rough up your inner fender wells & firewall. For a semi-gloss black finish, I use PPG's DP-90LF epoxy primer. Apply 2-3 light coats as per the P-sheet instructions. Being an epoxy, it's a very durable coat or you can top-coat it with another paint if desired. One good thing about using the DP-90LF is if you decide to top coat it, you have a 7 day window to do so before having to sand the primer.

Corvette Forums

Not a member of the Corvette Action Center?  Join now!  It's free!

Help support the Corvette Action Center!

Supporting Vendors


MacMulkin Chevrolet - The Second Largest Corvette Dealer in the Country!

Advertise with the Corvette Action Center!

Double Your Chances!

Our Partners

Top Bottom