View Full Version : Cleaning the LT5

90 Corvette ZR-1
07-22-02, 04:29 PM
I am in the process of cleaning my LT5 for Carlisle. I know there was a post a few months ago about how to clean it, and i was e-mailed before and after pics. I think it was JTZR-won who sent them. I tried searching for the thread about it but alas I came up short. Could someone please e-mail or post the best way to clean this beast we have under the hood? I remember JT's being imaculate. TIA

07-22-02, 08:55 PM

One of the best ways to clean the engine is to never spray anything directly on it. The LT5 engine paint is sensitive and will stain if you give it a dirty look. Over time, oil buildup will stain the engine, and especially coolant. When you have the coolant system flushed, always take extra care not to splash any coolant on the painted surfaces of the engine, or they will permanently stain and quickly!

I start out by vacuuming the engine compartment. Go to your local Target or KMart and pickup a vacuum hose kit that comes with all the nifty little attachments. These work great for getting into hard to reach areas as well as around the frame rails and suspension components.

For a dirty engine (dust, road grime, etc.,), I spray some Simple Green on a cloth towel and wipe down the engine and related components. THEN, I take another towel that is damp with water and wipe down the motor again making sure that I get all the spots that I used Simple Green on. Simple Green will permanently stain the engine if you leave it on and the engine gets hot.

For the rubber hoses and related rubber components, I use Meguiars Vinyl and Rubber Cleaner and Conditioner. It gives the rubber components a nice but not over-greasy appearance and helps to clean and nourish the rubber.

Now, some folks will say that you should never do this next step and I will leave it up to you. I am speaking from experience with my own motor here. I have used Meguiars #7 Showcar Glaze and Meguiars #27 Yellow Car Wax (I believe it's #27...) on the painted surfaces of the engine (valve covers, plenum, etc.) I start with a coat of Glaze, wipe that off and then put a coat of the Yellow Wax.

Once the engine is cleaned, for maintenance, I use Meguiars Quick Detailer and that's what I use to wipe down the motor and keep it clean from dust and dirt.

Basically, I'm hoping to release a technical article with pictures of my engine shortly. You can get an idea of how mine looks then, or stop by the Members' Gallery linked above (under Reviews tab), and go into the Member Galleries and look for mine. I have a picture of my engine posted there. Hope this helps.

90 Corvette ZR-1
07-22-02, 09:21 PM
Thanks Rob,
Curently I am using a 25/75 (25% simple green 75% watter) mix and a paper towel to clean the motor. Your saying to use stright SG on a cloth towel and go at it? I always thought that would sain the motor. Thanks for your help so far.

07-22-02, 09:24 PM
To remove a lot of dirt and grub, I would use straight Simple Green but make sure you quickly wipe it off with a damp cloth soaked in water. Don't let the Simple Green stay on the engine. For light dirt you're probably better off using the solution that you're using. It's kind of hard for me to judge because I haven't seen your engine.

90 Corvette ZR-1
07-23-02, 07:00 AM

I'll take some digital pictures of my motor and post them here. I know it isn't the same as seeing the car in person, but maybe this will help you help me.

Thanks again

07-23-02, 07:28 AM
Sounds good. I can also take a look at it at Carlisle as well. :)

90 Corvette ZR-1
07-23-02, 08:41 AM
If you would like to your more then welcome. Maybe you can give me some ideas on how to keep it clean. I am hoping to have it spotless by then though. I really need to find a way to get the dirt outat the small hard to get at areas.

07-23-02, 09:15 AM
I've had success with using the 50/50 simple green mix. q-tips, and lots of elbow grease. once clean, I take some polishing compound and attack the stains. if they are deep enough, not much you can do, but for light stains, the polishing compound gets enough of the dirty/stained paint off. use a very light compound, and work slowly, you can rub right through the paint if you aren't careful. I don't recommend any power tools although it seems tempting.

I also use the Mothers "cotton swabs" paint polish. Never Dull and Extreeme also work well. the paint is actually pretty durable, when you polish, you will notice the paint gets a bit darker, but the factory finish is actually a dark silver, and not a shiney chrome like you see on some engines that have been repainted.

DO NOT use lots of water or ever power wash anything. water can collect around the starter, and also collect in the spark plug well tubes. you will think the engine broke until it dries out and you can ruin a coil pack by shorting them.

I did this once and the engine barely ran and knocked like crazy until everything dried out. I nearly had a heart attack!!!

many of the "high mile" cars engines are pretty rough. but with some serious elbow grease can look much improved. the top end and the cam covers can be removed, but it's a tough job and not worth it IMHO unless you want a show car finish.

a waxer I am not, I drive my ZR1s!!! c u in Carlisle.

07-23-02, 04:39 PM
Hello all!

Believe it or not, the *best* thing I've found to detail and otherwise clean LT5(the painted surfaces) is Crest With Whitening toothpaste and the softest toothbrush you can find. It's an old trick my Dad told me to try; what they used in the old days for a polishing compound(makes a lot of sense, it is essentially polish for your tooth enamel)

Put a little Crest on the toothbrush and go at it in a slow circular motion(just like you are supposed to brush your teeth). Be sure to follow the brush with a damp cloth and then drying. The toothpaste tends to dry and turn white, which isn't very cosmetically appealing.

Also, for more stubborn stains I would try some baking soda and water. Baking soda is a little more abrasive than that toothpaste but still very very mild. I think that might help get off or at least minimize some of those stains from oil and coolant...

An added benefit to these cleaners is they don't turn the paint darker like Extreeme or Mothers tend to. The LT5 was originally a very bright color, much lighter than most people remember. LT5s with miles turn darker with age anyway, but you look at a *very* low mileage example, you'll see how much lighter it truly was.

90 Corvette ZR-1
07-24-02, 10:17 AM
Thanks everyone, I am going to try some of the ideas tonight when I get off work.

90 Corvette ZR-1
07-25-02, 07:35 PM
I tried the simple green towel watter towel just now. Worked great. Thanks for the idea.