Engine Bay Clean up - Ford Muscle Forums : Ford Muscle Cars Tech Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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Engine Bay Clean up

Trying to clean up the appearance of the eng. bay this year. Would like to hear what everyone is using or doing to keep those 50+yrs wires looking neat and organized?

Also anyone mount the battery i trunk? I just don't like the small area its mounted in and really haven't found a good way to secure.


1963 Galaxie Hardtop
390 w/ Tremek600
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 03:06 PM
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Re: Engine Bay Clean up

That makes two of us!

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Death cometh soon or late.

Putts drives a 1965 Galaxie. Rebuilt 390, 4100 on a Performer, MX, AC, PS, PB w Scarebird front discs on Cragar 17" S/S.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 03:12 AM
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Re: Engine Bay Clean up

Originally Posted by sixty3 View Post
Trying to clean up the appearance of the eng. bay this year. Would like to hear what everyone is using or doing to keep those 50+yrs wires looking neat and organized?

Also anyone mount the battery i trunk? I just don't like the small area its mounted in and really haven't found a good way to secure.

Kevin - sounds like you want to tidy up and organize things rather than "clean".

But just in case, if you want to clean, there are a few options. One is to take the car to a steam cleaner. Your engine bay will be the cleanest it can be. Second options is to do it yourself. Start by wiping down any greasy/oily areas first using a towel dampened with degreaser or denatured alcohol (doesn't leave residue). Then cover your distributor, carb, alternator and anything else you're uncomfortable with getting wet. Next, spray Simple Green, Purple Power or S100 on all the dirty areas. Use a wire pipe brush or paint brush as needed to reach or break down heavy areas. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then spray it off with water. Then start your engine to evaporate any leftover moisture.

As far as tidying up and organizing the engine bay, it sounds like your mostly concerned with the wires. First, start by cleaning everything as mentioned above. Or you can use acetone and a damp cloth to wipe down the harnesses. If you want a super fresh look, you can re-wrap the harnesses. But don't use electrical tape, it can get soft in heat the the glue will get gooey. Instead, use non-adhesive wire harness wrap which is a non-stick tape, like this:

AMK Products Non-adhesive Wire Harness Wrap
DeadNutsOn Non-adhesive Wire Harness Wrap

Here is a simple video on how to wrap and tie a harness using this kind of wire harness wrap "tape".


If you don't want to tie the wrap like they show in the video, which can come loose over time, the next best option is can wrap the ends of the harness with black cloth tape. That's how the factories did it. You can find some at NPD here:


If you don't care about staying period correct and authentic, another option that people like is the split braided tubing from TechFlex. It's semi-rigid yet flexible, and split so you can push onto your harness similar to wire loom. But it has a much nicer look. Here is a link:


If you choose to re-wrap your harness, you may find areas where the wire insulation is cracked. You can use liquid electrical tape to repair. Any other connections that you re-do should be with solder. If you want the wires that come out of the end of the harness to look extra nice & clean, you can wipe down with paint thinner. The metal connectors can be scrubbed with heavy steel wool and the plastic connectors are done similarly with a plastic cleaner/conditioner (Armoral or whatever is best) and a toothbrush.

Yet another option is to simply buy new wire harnesses. Not sure about your Ford year or model, but during my restoration I was able to find new factory reproductions for everything front to back. I replaced all of them except the dashboard harness. Mine was in really good condition (clean, unhacked, etc). That and a new one ran almost $500.

As for tidying up your harnesses, you have a few choices beyond wrapping. First, you can check to see if your solenoid harness can be re-routed. In my 1966 Galaxie, I was able to do just that. As it came over the firewall towards the RH hood hinge mount, instead of running it across the fenderwell where it was exposed, I routed it behind the hood hinge mount so it could be hidden from view. Then it came out of the inside fender about 8" in front of the solenoid.

The harness that runs from the firewall to the headlamps/front end has the same path behind the hood hinge in my car. For me, routing the RH side behind the hood hinge and inside of fender well allowed both sides to look equally clean.

Up front, Ford already took care of everything. The headlight harness runs across the top of the core support on the inside, where it can't be seen. Meanwhile, the voltage regulator harness runs down underneath the radiator where it comes up near the battery, then goes to the alternator. This harness is held in place with the Ford C0AZ-376914 straps which loop around the harness, then pops into a pre-drilled hole on the car using a tab. You can find them here.

1965-70 Wire Harness Retaining Straps (Set of 15)

The Ford MPC "Exploded View" catalog shows everywhere the harnesses run, and where they tie down using these "looping" straps.

If you want to make other parts of the engine bay look nice, one thing you can do that takes care of a huge eyesore is repaint the hood hinges. This involves removing the hood which you can do with a friend. First, you want to "mark" the area where the hinges mate to the hood with white chalk so you can re-attach in the hood in the same place. Otherwise, it's a hassle to re-align everything. From there, uninstalling the hood hinges should be easy.

First thing to do is clean/degrease them. Soaking in lacquer thinner for a couple of days works great. Then go over with a wire brush to be sure all residue, junk, etc is removed. Then soak in OxiSolv which is a phosphoric acid that will remove rust and also prevent further rusting. Then let dry. Afterwards, rinse with water and let dry. This should give you a Zinc Phosphate finish that looks factory original. Ford's process at the factory was to pickle the hinges in phosphoric acid before using oil the stop the chemical reaction (why hinges attract dust, grime, etc over time).

If yours come out nice, you can just bolt right in. Or you can spray with matte clear first before re-installing. Otherwise, if the surface has blemishes or doesn't look presentable, you can paint the hinges using Eastwoods Zinc Phosphate paint. It looks very nice and the hinges will once again look factory original. Just don't paint the springs, then should be natural metal gray instead.

Zinc Phosphate Aerosol 12 oz

Re-painting your fenderwells can be somewhat challenging but highly rewarding given how much real estate they take under the hood. You just have to remove as much as you can from them, then do a lot of masking. You also want high quality semi-gloss 2K paint with good nozzles. Make sure you hold the can at a right-angle when applying the paint, and move across in straight strokes while holding the spray nozzle. Idea is to have good, straight, sweeping bursts that lay nice and even.

Depending on how much further you want to go, you can remove the air cleaner for a repaint (or new one if it's the HiPo version), ditto on the valve covers. Just be sure to clean, sand, prep and prime first, and use high-heat paints (Ford Corp Blue). Original-type radiator hoses may be available with the Ford script on them, ditto for heater hose. If you replace, use the tower Witek-type Ford clamps.

The list can go on, depends on your goals and how much time/effort you want to put into it. Example, master cylinders often rust and become a huge eyesore. You can usually buy a new one for reasonably cheap, then clear with hi-temp matte clear or POR-Glisten before re-installing. While you have the master cylinder off, you can remove the booster (if you have one) and sand/scuff, prep, prime and repaint with high-temp gloss black. The wiper motor can also be removed, cleaned, prepped and detailed before re-installing.

The list goes on ... just depends on how far you want to take it.

Post up your questions for the group if you have any. Good luck - Roger
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-22-2017, 08:32 PM
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Re: Engine Bay Clean up

Awesome information, thanks.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-22-2017, 10:07 PM
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Re: Engine Bay Clean up

I have a 63 1/2 500 XL, black on black. I am cleaning the firewall in the engine compartment to try and get all the undercoating spray off. I'd like 5 minutes with the guy that had that gun in 63. Most of it is all old and thin but still an eyesore. Been using Mineral spirits and #0 steel wool to get it off and not hurt the paint. when done i'll rub it down with some glaze to polish it back up.
Also, are all early Galaxies full of factory holes in the firewall like mine? Just rebuilt my heater and installed a seal kit in it and a new firewall cover from Ecklers. Came with the 12 plastic push-in pins but plan on getting the original metal ones and replace the plastic ones one at a time so I can find the holes easier. What a job that was for a 72 yr old man. Had several Modelos after finishing that!

63 1/2 500XL 428cube 4-speed
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