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Detailing Your Engine

I recently purchased a beater 1979 Ford Pickup for making those parts runs at the junkyard and have been doing some "de-uglyification".  I purchased some 1984 Mustang HO valve covers from a swap meet for $30.00, steel core valve cover gaskets for $12.00, a can of semi flat black paint for $2.00 and engine paint  for $2.00 a can. This can be replicated on most engines.

 If there are no automotive swap meets near your home Ebay can be a good source of cheap parts.

Here is a before picture of the ugliest motor known to mankind:

I purchased this truck for just a few hundred dollars It needed a timing chain and a tune-up. Believe it or not the engine was cleaned prior to this picture, it had a ton of grease on it! 

 The timing chain and tune-up were done before I started to detail the engine, if yours needs a tune-up now is the time to do it.

I removed the carburetor, sparkplug wires, coil, and distributor.

Next I stuffed some towels in the intake holes and also in the distributor hole to keep garbage out of the engine.

Then I cleaned the engine with Castrol Super Cleaner. I only recommend using this if you do not care about the paint around the engine. Castrol Super Clean is a very aggressive cleaner and may damage paint that it gets on. If your car has a nice paint job I recommend using regular engine cleaner. 

After you get the engine clean and grease free you can paint the engine. Use a quality brand of engine paint so you will not have to go through this again.

After the paint has dried just add chrome or aluminum valve covers with new gaskets and/or a new air cleaner.


I purchased this 302 HO air cleaner for project Junkyard Dawg.

 After stripping the paint and repainting it I installed the air cleaner. Then I noticed that it rubbed on some hoses and wiring on the firewall. That is what I get for not test fitting it! So off to eBay land it went.

Here are the before and after pictures:

Not bad for under $50.00! Of course yours may vary in price depending on what gets replaced. Project Junkyard Dawg does not always get the best and most expensive parts......actually it will never get the most expensive parts! A nice looking engine can be done for not much money if you look in the right places.


Feel free to drop me a note. * I am looking for some good articles for the third and fourth gen birds. If you have any that you would like to see on this site send them to me and I will post them on my site.     

  • The information in here is just an outline.
  • The author claims no responsibility for the info contained in these pages. 
  • If unsure of any tip or modification seek a professional for the job.
  • In some states this may violate pollution laws
  • Check with your state on the laws.
  • Not affiliated with Pontiac or General Motors