Magazine Cover - Classic Cars For Sale - 1000s of Classic Car Reviews, How To Service & Maintenance Guides

Engine Cleaning

Engine Cleaning Published: 18th Dec 2014 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Engine Cleaning
Engine Cleaning
Engine Cleaning
Engine Cleaning
Engine Cleaning
Engine Cleaning
Magazine Subscription
The latest issue of Classic Cars For Sale is on sale now - Pick up your copy from all good newsagents including WHSmith or click here to subscribe now

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 20%

Subscribe NOW

Available at all good newsagents including WHSmith

Tired of using messy materials to clean your classic’s engine or running gear? Then add a touch of ice advises Robert Couldwell

Last month we showed how to remove your classic’s engine the easy way, either to repair it or even make cleaning it and the compartment so much easier and more thorough.

But, for many, engine cleaning is done with it still in situ, using a de-greaser rinsed by a hose, or jet wash. You can have the unit steam cleaned of course but what about going the other end of the temperature scale – freeze it clean!

It’s a clever idea; re-claim Co2 waste, freeze it and use it for industrial cleaning. A leading specialist in the sale and maintenance of dry-ice blasting machinery is CryoGenesis, based in Littlehampton on the south coast. Managing director, Clive Curtis and his son Russ are classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts and have developed a side line cleaning car engine compartments and components; we tried its expertise out on a Jaguar XK140.


Dry-ice cleaning was originally developed around 30 years ago by Lockheed for aerospace applications and CryoGenesis is UK agent for Cold Jet from the USA, the most established maker of dry-ice cleaning machinery.

The process involves inserting a block of frozen Co2 into a machine the size of a large microwave which shaves the solid into powder which is projected at high pressure on to the surface being cleaned. As the gas hits the surface being cleaned, it vapourises and the 100 temperature differential, plus the force of the dry ice, cleans the surface without damage. Russ Curtis tells of a particular demonstration where the machine took the ink off a photocopy without damaging the paper. For heavier-duty industrial uses, Co2 pellets are used at between 8 and 14 bar of pressure.

Dry-ice cleaning is said to be perfect for the preparation of delicate bodyshells and components during restoration and, as well as cleaning is capable of gently stripping underseal and insulation from metalwork, without damage.

This type of cleaning is used extensively in Germany because of environmental sanctions but it has so far failed to gain ground in our classic car industry although that may change as EU regulations creep over here. CryoGenesis is probably the only place in Britain where you can take advantage of the service which costs around £80 depending on the state of the engine and the time required to complete it.

My car’s engine compartment wasn’t really that dirty although there were some spots of grey undercoat from some poorly executed paint spraying and also a lot of grey dust everywhere from sanding during the same job. The ice blasting removed all this from the engine, bulkhead, inner wing panels and the under bonnet, leaving a matt finish, which could be dressed if required.


It was so much easier than steam or pressure washing as nothing had to be protected as the ice vapourises on contact. Also, the ice blasting was much more gentle than high pressure washing which could well take some of the paint off old car parts as well as the dirt. In my case the good old Gunk or paraffin method, apart from requiring electrics to be well protected, would just not have got to all of the engine compartment without a lot of graft.

Was ice blasting worth the money? Absolutely in my mind; £80 is a pretty reasonable price to pay to have the engine bay made to look as good as new. Despite being a waste product, Co2 is not cheap – the cleaning of my engine which took the best part of an hour would have used about £40 worth, plus labour charges. If you intended to sell your classic (shame on you-ed), the enhanced underbonnet appearance would add to its value and attract favourable comments.

Now here’s a thought! A dry-ice cleaning machine would be a great investment for any classic car restoration company or specialist as an additional service. A machine similar to the one used to clean my Jag’s engine would cost around £15,000 new but used ones are available and there are also lower quality machines, which are cheaper. The cost would quickly be covered in the time saved preparing components and bodyshells for painting and re-building. A substantial compressor is required but many restorers will already have one. Co2 pellets are available on the internet with next day delivery. So why not try to ice on your car – it’s hot stuff!

Share This Article

Share with Facebook Share with Facebook

Share with Twitter Tweet this article

Share bookmark with Delicious Share bookmark with Delicious

Share with Digg Digg this article

Share with Email Share by email

User Comments

This review has 0 comments - Be the first!

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Subscribe Today
Latest Issue Cover - Click here to subscribe

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%

Britians top classic cars bookazine
Britians top classic cars bookazine