So I decided to stop putting it off, and get my engine and bay cleaned up. Spent the weekend working on it in the 100+ degree weather, which was not only miserable for me, it made certain bits of this job pretty difficult.
I still have a bit more detail to attend to, but this is a massive improvement over what it was before - an engine that had never once been cleaned in 17 years. The intake manifold had oil goo and carbon build up baked on, and the head and valve cover had even more of the same. Calcium deposits, rust and other bits of junk all around the bay walls and trim. Just muck everywhere.. what you'd expect to see on an engine pushing 18 years old, plus extra oil from a leaky valve cover gasket.
I used WD-40 to clean up the firewall, side walls, shock housings, front frame area, etc. There is more work to be done here, but it worked remarkably well. Gunk heavy duty gel was used to initially degrease, and remove the layers of oil and carbon soot that had baked on for years. For all around spray on cleaning, I opted for a solution of simple green and water. The heat made this problematic, as it just would not stay wet long enough to dig in and work. I persisted, and I won. After hours of spraying and scrubbing nooks and crannies with a baby bottle brush (Really folks.. go buy a dozen of these. You're welcome) it was time for a rinse down.. Didn't take long to dry! Final dress was Gunk "shine". It smells awful, but it works pretty well. I was hoping to find CD2, but apparently you can't use that in California anymore.. again..
Anyway, I have more work to do to get this where I want it, but I'm very pleased with the results.
This is a "before" shot, although I had already removed the oil from the engine at this point:
And the result of the weekend's labor of love:
You can see the job is not complete. Still rust on the exhaust shroud, still a bit more cleaning to do all around, and I am going to replace all hoses, wire wraps, etc. I'll probably just replace the antifreeze bottle rather than try to clean it.
Any advice on how to make this even more spiffy is welcome, and how best to remove the rust from that shroud..