Cleaning 5th Gen 4Runner Engine With Powersports Cleaner

Cleaning 5th Gen 4runner Engine

Cleaning the Engine on the 5th Generation 4Runner with Simple Green and a Pressure Washer will give you exactly what you are looking for

On our recent trip to Blue lakes, we experience some sudden rain and hail. What we didn’t account for was massive mud puddles at the end of the trail. On our trip through Forestdale Rd and Forestdale Divide, it was business as usual; rocks, humps, dips, and switchbacks. Coming down the hill towards Red Lake, we encountered some 40’+ long mud puddles.

There was no way we could have gone around them, so we drove into them head-on. Looking back it probably wasn’t the smartest idea. But, when you’re in the 4Runner, it’s pretty hard not to smash through mud puddles when you see one.

As you can see “Puddle Smashing” is never a great idea and let this be a lesson. Don’t ever go from revving up your engine to going through puddles of freezing cold water. If you do this, you’re gonna have a bad time. If you are going to mash through some puddles, make sure you take it slow through some puddles first and also, don’t go through 3′ deep puddles at 30+ MPH.

Find it online: 

Muddy Puddle Smashing in the 5th Gen 4Runner

Shots by Jeffrey Bowdoin

Puddle Smashing Through Forestdale Road

Puddle Smashing on Forestdale Road

With all this being said, we were blasting through some puddles some 10+ years later and only got the engine swamped with muddy water. I will take this over a blown engine any day of the week. Also, I was super cautious as you can assume to literally test the waters first. I drove through each puddle first to make sure there were no dips or random rocks that would throw me or the 4Runner off.

Cleaning the Engine

Cleaning 5th Gen 4runner Engine - Hood

Tools Needed for Cleaning your 5th Gen

If you want to keep your 4Runner clean, you need the right tools for the job. Below are the items we use after a trips, vacations and 4×4 adventures. You will save money overtime if you care for your 4Runner yourself. Car wahshes are overpriced and most of the time, people never clean your car like you would.

There are a few ways to go about cleaning your Engine after taking your 4Runner off-road or through some muddy puddles. Even if you are not going straight through massive muddy puddles, your Engine Bay gets dirty fast when you go off-road. Having the necessary tools to keep your 4Runner clean is KEY!

Step #1 – Soak Entire Engine with Simple Green or OHV Cleaner

Cleaning 5th Gen 4runner Engine - Powersports Cleaner Grease & Grime Removal

Whatever Simple Green does is amazing. Start by soaking your entire engine with Simple Green or OHV cleaner (Powersports Cleaner – Grease & Grime Remover). The Powersports Cleaner – Grease & Grime Remover seems to work light years beyond what simple green can do, but simple green still kicks ass.

Also, the makers of simple green make Powersports Cleaner – Grease & Grime Remover. So, you know it’s basically the same stuff with some magical ingredient that really does go a step beyond what simple green does.

Step #2 – Let Sit for 5-10 Minutes

Once you have evenly soaked your engine bay (every piece, cable, and even the battery) with simple green or OHV cleaner, let sit. Since we have the 4Runner TRD Intake installed, it is a little easier to access all around the engine bay. Regardless, you want to take off your engine cover and set it aside. You will want to clean this separately.

Let the solution work its magic for about 10-15 minutes. You don’t want to let the solution sit too long because some of the over-spray may get on the paint or plastic section of your 4Runner’s grill. This will leave water spots/marks/streaks if you let it sit for too long (like 30 min).

Step #3 – Pressure Wash Entire Engine Bay From Above

Cleaning 5th Gen 4runner Engine - Pressure Washer

After your Simple Green or OHV cleaner has done most of the work for you, take your pressure washer and wash. Start by washing the front of the grill area back, so less Simple Green/OHV cleaner oversprays onto your plastic bumper. Once you have cleaned most of the surface area, start going deeper with your pressure washer and hit the engine block hard. Depending on how clean your engine comes out the first time, you may need to repeat steps #2 and #3.

Step #4 – Pressure Wash Underneath your Engine

Hop underneath your 4Runner from both sides and shoot the pressure washer wand up as high as you can. You may want to switch back and forth a few times to get as much dirt, grime, and debris out as possible. After you are finished shooting the engine from underneath, you want to pressure wash the top of the engine bay one more time. This will wash away and debris that has been shot up from underneath.

Step #5 – Wipe Down the Outside of your 4Runner (Microfiber Towels)

Cleaning 5th Gen 4runner Engine - Microfiber Towels

After you have washed away all Simple Green/OHV cleaner residue, shut your hood. Wipe down any excess residue that has been shot all over your 4Runner.

Failure to do so will result in water spots, marks, and streaks from the Simple Green. If you forget to do this, you are going to have a bad time. You want plenty of Microfiber Towels, so make sure you have a stack on standby. We picked up a pack of 24 for $10, they are super cheap.

The first step is to clean your grill and then the rest of your 4Runner from overspray. You want plenty of Microfiber Towels, so make sure you have a stack on standby. We picked up a pack of 24 for $10, they are super cheap.

Step #6 – Open Hood and Clean Plastic Parts With Plastic Cleaner

Cleaning 5th Gen 4runner Engine - Motul

Having a plastic cleaner on hand is incredibly important when you are cleaning your engine. Simple Green and OHV cleaner are great for engine parts but not so much for plastic. Any of your plastic parts on your front bumper or inside your engine bay should be treated with some type of plastic cleaner. If you do not use plastic cleaner, you will have streaks and water spots on your plastic.

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4 years ago

Hey, Brenan. Thanks for write up. Do you cover anything (battery, alternator, etc.) before applying any cleaners or spraying the engine bay with water?

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