Have a real dirty and oily engine that I want to clean. Just purchased a 1982 Westfalia Diesel and have never cleaned an engine before in a vanagon where it is in the back of the vehicle and since the engine is inside the actual camper, do not want to get anything all wet inside. So, how do I clean the whole engine, topside and bottomside, without getting the inside of my vanagon dirty or wet. Any advise would be great. Do I just use some engine degreaser like normal engine cleans? Do I need to cover any parts with plastic baggies to keep water from getting inside them.
A diesel doesn't have as much electronics as a gas engine but you still need to protect the electronic components in the engine bay.
Since the access is through the rear luggage compartment, splatter and spray are concerns. Use of a high pressure washer from underneath to cut a lot of it is OK with the engine compartment lid still on. At that point you will probably have the best results with the lower pressure 'steamers'. I've seen them on TV infomercials, at some discount stores and some rentals can be adjusted for this application. You can purchase steam cleaners (Northern Tool & the like) but the cost is high for the occassional job.
The foam type engine degreasers seem to work best as they can be 'floated' off rather than high pressure. Before you start, run the car through one of the better car washes with the under-chassis wash feature -- let them take the worst of it. More common up north than in the south but make a few phone calls to the bigger places in the yellow pages.