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Cars

Cleaning and making a mess

Cleaning, cleaning, and of course making a mess. I managed to swap out the air filter, PCV, PCV grommet, and give the engine bay a good cleaning. Sadly, as typical with my shade tree skills, not everything went perfectly smooth. Around 40% of the PCV grommet managed to fall into the valve cover. Ugh... Try as I may, the grommet refused to get fished out and then vanished. It didn't help that it crumbled into small fragments whenever I used my pick and pliers. I figure it went into the valve cover oil baffle. It'll be another thing to do if I change the passenger side valve cover gasket. That's if I attack that oil leak. A quick shake test revealed that the old PCV was in good shape, but its peace of mind having a new one in there. The slow and steady steps of establishing a service history are oddly comforting.

Cleaning the engine bay has been high on my list of things to do. I managed to use most of a Gunk citrus engine degreaser can. I covered up the battery, alternator, and fuse box with plastic bags before cutting loose with the degreaser, brushes, and garden hose. The amount of crud that dissolved and drained off was marvelous to observe. Even with a good scrubbing, there is still a good amount of grime where I couldn't reach with various brushes. It's the curse of being short and working on a vehicle with high fenders.

After firing up the engine, not all was well. The idle was oddly rough. It looked like the engine was burning oil too. No codes though, which was heartening. I took it out for a short but spirited 10 minute drive, and all the oddities vanished. Visions of the PCV grommet bits thrashing the cams and valves flooded my brain, but yeah that's just not possible. I think. I was also thinking of water in the spark plug cavities, water ingress on the throttle position sensor, broken MAF, all sorts of things. Again, unlikely, I think.

The only bit that went as planned was swapping out the air filter. I did find some weird debris in the intake box. Nothing a quick vacuum couldn't fix, but it was weird seeing leaves and other stuff in there. No signs of a rodent thankfully.

It was a bit too late and dark to take any meaningful pictures of the end results. I still need to give the hoses and other plastic bits in the engine bay a good wipe down with some protectant, but probably after I clean up the MAF, throttle body, and IAC valve. An oil change is in my near future as well. I was initially going to change out to Mobil 1, but after getting a good look at the oil in the engine I'm not so sure. It's not sludge, but it's a bit dark-ish. I may do an oil change with some cheap oil and then go to Mobil 1 after a few hundred miles.

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