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Old 18-02-2018, 09:29   #1
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Engine Room Cleaning

My Yanmar 2GM is being pulled tomorrow for a rebuild job. I wish to clean up a very dirty bilge. Looking for some good advice. She is in the water on a mooring ball, not on the hard, so anything used has to be taken to land for disposal, and steam cleaning is most likely not an option.

Then the mechanic who is doing the work advised against using paint, and said epoxy is a better alternative. Thoughts?
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Old 18-02-2018, 10:05   #2
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

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My Yanmar 2GM is being pulled tomorrow for a rebuild job. I wish to clean up a very dirty bilge. Looking for some good advice. She is in the water on a mooring ball, not on the hard, so anything used has to be taken to land for disposal, and steam cleaning is most likely not an option.



Then the mechanic who is doing the work advised against using paint, and said epoxy is a better alternative. Thoughts?
You'll have to plug any drain vents from the engine-pan to the bilge-sump first and remember to switch off the bilge pumps, to avoid any accidental discharges.

Once you've swept up any loose debris, you could go at the mess with a citrus cleaner (degreaser) partly diluted, a scrubbing brush, and shop cloths to clean up. Once you're happy that you've removed everything you can wipe over with acetone to prep for painting.



Do you have any cracks etc that need addressing? If so, a two part epoxy could be a good idea.. However, I used Interlux Bilgekote (enamel) on my engine pan, and I've been happy with it - as long as you start off with a smooth surface, you'll end up with a smooth enamel that is very easy to clean in the future.
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Old 18-02-2018, 10:29   #3
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

So is this area a horrible black oily mess? If so a 20L plastic container for dirty water, a bin, some nappies, bottle of bilgex I think its called, followed by cheap washing powder. Wear marigolds and some rough green pan scraping stuff or even wire wool.

No point in putting paint or anything else in their until it is completely degreased and oil free. There is a specialist bilge paint by International in grey which might be worth thinking about.

Take photos before and after, to make you feel good once its done.

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Old 18-02-2018, 11:54   #4
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

Thanks...good advice. I will for sure do the before/after photos.

I forgot to mention why the engine rebuilder said not to paint. He says he has never seen a bilge paint that would dry in less than about 12 days, and my motor might be ready to reinstall in about 7. So what was your BilgeKote experience as far as drying time?
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Old 18-02-2018, 12:00   #5
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

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Thanks...good advice. I will for sure do the before/after photos.



I forgot to mention why the engine rebuilder said not to paint. He says he has never seen a bilge paint that would dry in less than about 12 days, and my motor might be ready to reinstall in about 7. So what was your BilgeKote experience as far as drying time?
+1 on the notion of a complete degrease before paint.



At 70F the bilgekote is touch dry in about 6hours. Depending on how think you've lathered it on, it takes a other couple of days to harden through.

I painted put the bottom of my anchor well last week and it rained 4hours later - wasn't a problem as the surface was already skinned-over and repellant - once the water dried up again, the enamel finished drying and hardening!
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Old 18-02-2018, 12:03   #6
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

I used Primocon, it was only afterwards someone told me about it.

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Old 18-02-2018, 12:45   #7
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

Read the label or check with the manufacturer as to their total dry and cure time, given the temperature and high moisture. Then figure, if you needed two or three more days, wouldn't the rebuilders REALLY be willing to hold off that long if you asked them? Doesn't seem unreasonable.

There are also "bilge zorbs" basically a mesh bag filled with hair clippings (natural or synthetic) that you can throw in a wet bilge, which will abosrob the oil from it and leave just water to pump out. It can take a day or two, not instantaneous, but that will help get rid of oil in the bilgewater.

And do beware the "citrus" cleaners. I use a great "orange" cleaner for many things, but if left on PLASTICS or PAINTS or any kind? It will eat through them if it is left on while you get distracted by other things. Great alternative to toxic flammable solvents, just not totally harmless.
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Old 18-02-2018, 14:04   #8
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

We just installed a new engine a couple months ago and, thus, went through the same process of cleaning/painting the engine sump and shaft alley.

Would like to add another 'thumbs-up' for International Bilgekote (AU$60/ltr; here in Oz it comes in white or gray)! The instructions are only given for spraying it onto the surface, but we found that a bristle brush works fine and it dries rapidly to a smooth durable finish that resembles a two-part epoxy paint (even though it is single part). It took two coats in our case to completely cover the stains that were not removed by degreasing.

We are extremely happy with the Bilgekote performance, and plan to use the remainder of the litre to do the main bilges at the next haul-out.

Cheers, Katherine
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Old 18-02-2018, 15:28   #9
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

I plan on painting my bilge with Interlux PrimeKote. Its a 2 part epoxy that dries fast and will come out hard as nails. Its white so it brightens up the area too. Its not cheap but I'll only have to do it once.
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Old 19-02-2018, 06:44   #10
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

I would say paint it. I am currently doing this very thing. I have been using BilgeKote and I am very happy with it. It took several coats, and you MUST wear an appropriate respirator..the small will linger for days, but it will skin over in 4 hours, and dry within a day, but final curing will take much longer.

I tried around a dozen different cleaners in testing how well it would clean my bilge, and I found TSP, and Mean Green Super Strength degreaser to be the best I tried.
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Old 19-02-2018, 22:32   #11
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

I use a wipe down with Varsol or mineral spirits, followed by hot water with detergent and Tsp. A can of oven cleaner works great on any tough areas.
Donít forget to block your shaft seal BEFORE moving the engine. And if you remove the exhaust riser, make sure water canít get in the exhaust outlet.
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Old 19-02-2018, 22:50   #12
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

In a prior boat I had a oily mess. No make that tar and such.

I plumbed the bilge pump to discharge into a roll of oil absorbent pads. The water was forced to pass through the pads by having the pump outlet host go into the center of one side of the roll and a plug in the other side. Tie wraps compressed the pads on the hose and plug.

I just let the pump run and as it recirculated the oily mess it cleaned it. After a number of hours and a few rolls of pads the bilge water was clean enough to discharge. I would pour some in a bucket and let it decant for a while then pour off the clean water.

More water was sometimes needed so a hose came in handy.

This was a really messy, wet chore that took a few days.

OH, at the very beginning I had the discharge of the pump go through a wire mess strainer bought in the kitchen department to catch the big stuff.

N.B. Wear clothes that you plan on disposing of.
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Old 20-02-2018, 16:35   #13
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Re: Engine Room Cleaning

Just finished mucking the bilges this last weekend. 38 years of dirt and oil built up into 3/8" of nasty sludge under the old Perkins 4-236 work horses. I made a long handle scraper from a long paint stir stick with a 6" piece of tin bent to a 90deg. angle screwed onto the end. I got about 10 lbs. of sludge out from under the 2 engines. Then used some old towels cut up into 1ft. squares with some mineral spirits to swab the bilges till I was able to see clean fiberglass. Dried with some more toweling and brushed on 2 coats of white bilge coat. Damn, It looked so good I went ahead and painted the engines with fresh Chebby blue spray rattle can. Looks so nice I kept opening the engine hatches and admiring. Be sure to use some good chem resistant gloves or some throw away proctologist gloves.
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