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Clean, How Clean Is Clean?

How clean is clean? Reading build threads and watching Youtube videos, I’m feeling intimidated by the immaculate, freshly painted, powder-coated, ceramic-coated, under-coated, anodized finishes being displayed.

I’m really impressed with the NASA level of hygiene that some guys achieve, but is that the level I should be working toward on my ‘daily driver’ 1979 SC Targa? I’d appreciate hearing your opinions and approaches. How far do you go, when renewing the various components in your 911?

For quick background, I’m in the middle of an engine out ‘refresh’ of my 1979 Targa. My primary goal is to replace the rubber suspension components; along with the fuel and brake lines. In the process of doing that, I’ve steamed and cleaned the engine, transmission, engine compartment, undersides and wheel-wells. As parts come off the car I bead-blast, prime, and paint them; where that’s appropriate.

But I haven’t tried to achieve the ‘NASA’ effect, with every swivel nut and fastener freshly re-plated. Every soiled plastic line replaced. Or a consistent undercoat spray of the wheel-wells. But if I ‘should’ do that, now’s the time.

What would you do?

Tx, Robert







Old 02-11-2019, 05:27 AM
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Why are my ears ringing?

There is absolutely no reason to make any car like new, unless that somehow becomes a pursuit unto itself. You are already taking the cleanliness to "next level" for a driver refresh.

Keep up the good work and don't get sucked into the black hole of better than new!

(Edit and PS) - Of the 3 911s I currently own, one is a salvage title beater and is pretty ratty in comparison to the other two. It's the one I use, and race, and enjoy, the most.

Taking it any further than you are now will likely hamper the enjoyment of your car.
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Last edited by Jonny042; 02-11-2019 at 05:45 AM..
Old 02-11-2019, 05:40 AM
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I would not worry about it, clean is good enough to be sure the engine is running as cool as possible. I would replace that oil switch in the triangle of death (assumed you replaced those gaskets), they have been known to leak through the internals of the switch itself and it's a bear to get at with the engine in!
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:42 AM
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The only reason I do it is to eliminate places for corrosion to hide.

If you know it's not corroded, run it as it is.
Old 02-11-2019, 05:45 AM
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Good Morning Jonny!

Yes, your ears are ringing! :-) Your thread got me thinking. But it was a Youtube videos that prompted the question. In the video, the gentleman was installing a rear suspension in his CARPETED workshop! The car was jacked up on a carpeted work space -- very homey!

On the workbench, every nut, bolt, and replacement part, was lined up on a WHITE towel! There wasn't a speck of dust anywhere. And every tool, toolbox, jack-stand -- pristine. Just amazing!

Gary, thanks, the new pressure switch and other 'triangle of death' components are in a box waiting for installation!

Offroader, yes, corrosion is the real enemy.

Robert

Last edited by piscator; 02-11-2019 at 05:57 AM..
Old 02-11-2019, 05:54 AM
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Sometimes you have to get dirty to get things done this is my shop when I completed my suspension refresh. No white towels, no carpet. Note the layer of dust on the car.

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Old 02-11-2019, 06:28 AM
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To each their own.........
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:14 AM
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The problem with making the car perfect is that you won't want to drive it anymore! This is a problem I ran into when I did a concours prep of my car a couple of years back. I disassembled a great deal of the trim and body parts to do a thorough cleaning. I spent approximately 230 hours cleaning and prepping everywhere a concours judge would look. I even removed all the carpet pieces for shampooing. In the end, I took 2nd place with 290 points out of 300. The winner beat me by 2 points, but I was proud of my efforts.

Since then, I've barely driven the car. All of last year I drove about 300 miles. I literally spent more time waxing and detailing than I did driving. It's so nice that I just don't want to let the car get dirty again. Part of the problem is that my car is a 63k-mile special edition, an '88 Commemorative, and I want to preserve it as much as possible. But my intention when I bought it was to drive it, and I'm just not doing that very much now. I'm entertaining thoughts of selling it and replacing it with a "less nice" car that I can drive all the time without being concerned about getting it dirty or piling on the miles. So be careful about too much cleaning!
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:25 AM
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Clean enough that rust won't develop from all the crud baked in...

Clean enough that I can see when there's a new oil leak...
Old 02-11-2019, 07:27 AM
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Clean to me means I don't get grime or oil on my fingers when handling.

Some oil residues are baked on. Some surfaces are slightly corroded and discolored. No need to make it absolutely pristine unless you want to or need to. Yes, there are critical surfaces that must be surgically clean - especially inside an engine or gearbox. But not on the outside.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:59 AM
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There are layers of clean.

I like where you are at currently; Serviceable and drive-able level of clean. I like to equate our cars to airplanes a lot. Air plane maintenance is on a different order than many other machines. It's that level of cleanliness and 'newness' that I like. Concourse clean is semi insanity. If you enjoy polishing (which I do) then pick your spots. The photos you displayed look totally fine and probably on the upper level of drive-able clean imho.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:13 AM
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Your work is cleaner than mine, that's for sure...
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:20 AM
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Looks good to me.
I cleaned mine up after a rebuild and now it doesn't take much to keep it (almost) that way.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:06 PM
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Please keep it clean, and what ever you do don’t drive it. When you pass on to the great garage in the sky, your wife/kids will want the cash/space in the garage, and I will be waiting there with a wad of cash to make their dreams/habits come true. Rest assured I will drive it every day, haul cement in the passenger seat and wear tires out like they are going out of style.
Thanks in the future.
Eric
P.S. Both my cars came from recently departed owners and their families couldn’t get rid of them fast enough.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:20 PM
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Cleaning parts becomes a significant proportion of project time. I like to clean things. That said, I also don't get carried away. Further, the more disassembled a thing is, the easier it is to clean. Perfect example is engine. If you ever rebuild the engine, THAT is the time to get everything clean and perhaps even coat some exterior pieces that will be visible (fan, housing valve covers, etc.).

As someone said above, don't get carried away. It's a car. Keep it clean enough to proudly drive. Concourse perfect is overboard.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:30 PM
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Waste of time. It will not be clean for long.

911 engines throw around so much oil and oil mist it will be back to where it was in a year.

Yours looks clean enough.

It's insane when I see people do these builds and they don't even buy better valve cover gaskets and make sure the covers are flat. In a couple weeks there is oil everywhere.
Old 02-11-2019, 01:31 PM
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Robert--
Good question, and one I wrestle with a lot on my current build. I'm trying to take the car in stages and make sure that I clean each stage well, but nowhere near the surgical level. Last year, while chasing down a rough idle, I took the engine down to the manifolds, plated the fasteners, and powder-coated the manifolds and fan. But mostly I cleaned and cleaned.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:35 PM
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I’m plodding along with one of my projects right now .
It just got back from paint and is booked for interior in May , so I have plenty of time for either cleaning and rebuilding , or rebuilding and modifying.
I’m going with the “cleaning” option as it’s easier to do a little bit every night, and it will be a much nicer place to work when it comes to the modifications later.
When I’m doing the later wrk it will also be easier to finish of the cleaning as the wheels ad suspension etc will be off ....

About 10 bucks spent at harbor freight, and simple green and a sprayer I got from work and it’s acceptable as it is .
And I would be more than happy with this on a daily.
I’d probably get get dirtier hands topping up the oil on my daily that I will bolting this older car back together

Btw big lots and 99c store etc have cheap “disposable” car valeting equipment too , if there isn’t a harbor fright nearby .
Allthough that 3-pack of harbor freight brushes is hard to beat for 1.99 ...
I’m in California, so my biggest expense upto now is probobly the water !!

There’s now more dirt and dust on the floor than there is inside the fender area ..




Last edited by ian c2; 02-11-2019 at 09:12 PM..
Old 02-11-2019, 09:04 PM
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LOL I haven't cleaned the inside of the 911 for about ten years. The outside gets a clean to get the sea salt off, and the underside gets a clean by driving it in the rain.

I like a little patina here and there.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:07 AM
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:21 AM
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