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TR2/3/3A Stupid Engine cleaning question


Freshman Member
Hey everybody!

SO the motor is out of the car, head removed. Getting ready to knock the sleeves out but I gotta clean this mess first. Since the motor is coming apart, is it ok to attack it with a power washer? Or should I put the head back on first, then attack it with the power washer?




Country flag
I have taken them down to just a bare block and cleaned them before. I think it is best that way. I have also hooked up a hot water tank to the oil gallery and flush that out. Some people like to have them professional cleaned with some type of small pellets, but I would rather do it myself. As long as grit does not get in from another source, I think you will be fine.


Luke Skywalker
Country flag
I would power wash it but put it somewhere that all that grease is not going to end up on your shoes! By the way, my first TR3 required a sledge hammer to get the pistons to move out of the cylinders. Rusted in place. Apparently sitting in the garage without the head on made it a toilet to their cat!


I use diesel fuel as a cleaner, it cuts grease well and is oily so no rust from it and also doesn't evaporate too fast. Why diesel? It's cheap and works.

If you're planning to disassemble and rebuild the engine, I would do diesel cleaning, then pressure wash before and after taking it apart, then clean the individual parts.

Mickey Richaud

Staff member
Country flag
Some people like to have them professional cleaned with some type of small pellets,

HOO-BOY! If you have that done, make SURE they completely flush the block after the process. The TR3 I had rebuilt a while back had the shot peening done, but the machine shop did not tell the rebuilder they had done that, and several of the oil passages were clogged. Ended up having to go through the whole engine again after it was all assembled and the first startup loosened some of the particulate and scored all the bearings!


Country flag
If you clean the block your self you may see a TR3 painted in red paint on the passenger side of the block. That would indicate that the block has probable not been painted since it left the factory.
Some like to preserve that marking.
I had my block hot tanked to ger everything clean but that will take out the aluminium plugs in the oil gallery.



Freshman Member
Thanks everybody! The cat toilet.... that’s priceless! So David, I had a go at it and the block has TR 4 painted on it... guess I have a tr4 motor🤷🏼*♂️

So yeah I’m gonna go sick with the power washer and clean out the oil passages and the water jacket. Sitting at a cafe Having lunch and just now Realize I’m covered in greasy bits.


Country flag
Yes those sleeves are such a good fit they usually break coming out, but you will get ones. I mention this because the block surface at the head and the where the sleeves sit inside the block are my biggest worry of places I might scare the surface.

When working on these blocks, if you pull the head studs read up on it because some of them are very long and go deep into the motor and they go back finger loose. Plus where the starter fits that place always spokes me that it is going to break, but they do not seem to.



Obi Wan
Country flag
I've always cleaned it with solvent (I use naphtha) to get the majority of the crud off, enough so I could work on it, disassembled it, then did a more thorough cleaning with more solvent. At that point, I wire-brushed off the paint, and finally used the pressure washer just to take out any paint dust that had accumulated. Blow out the passageways with compressed air, wash out the smaller ones with carb cleaner, and finally blow dry the whole thing. Leave it in the sun and warm breeze to dry anything I missed. It's always seemed to work for me.

I don't think I'd use the power washer as a primary cleaning tool. I think you'll just end up with a mess, and with water in places where you don't want it.

Of course, you could always get it hot tanked. I've never done that, as the logistics of moving a heavy block were too complicated.


Freshman Member
I tend to use waste jet fuel (kerosene) or diesel with Gunk S-C mixed in https://www.amazon.com/Gunk-SC3-Super-Concentrate-Degreaser/dp/B000ABIDJE. The Gunk will allow the fuel soaked grease to wash off a lot cleaner and more completely. For heavy deposits, spray several times over a few days to penetrate before hitting the car wash. If preserving the original paint or dissolving aluminum isn't a consideration, the "purple" cleaners are fine, but they will discolor paint and attack aluminum. Easy-off oven cleaner is a stronger version of the "purple" cleaners which are sodium hydroxide based, but will cut through baked on and hardened grime. The "orange" cleaners are great for milder cleaning and aren't as aggressive to the finish. The "green" cleaners are the least aggressive and are great for keeping a basically clean engine compartment clean.

For cleaning individual parts, a 5-gallon bucket with 3 gallons of water and 2 lbs of Lye (sodium hydroxide) is great. An overnight soak will typically degrease and depaint parts completely. DO NOT put aluminum parts in this solution, they will be gone. Smaller parts and hardware usually get an overnight in a can of lacquer thinner before the wire wheel brush.
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