Fjmikes guide to using a pressure washer on your van

Discussion in 'Motorhome Detailing' started by FJmike, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. FJmike

    FJmike Funster

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    Some motorhome manucterers recomend using pressure washers on their vans and after seeing the damage that incorrect use of a pressure washer can cause on a customers van, I can understand why. But with careful use a pressure washer can be extremely useful tool so I thought that I would pass on a few tips so that you will not suffer damage like this.
    This damage was done by my customers grown son who obviously thought that cleaning a motor home was the same as cleaning a car. He has probably used a high pressure which has found a stone chip and lifted the paint. You will notice on the photo that there is no lacquer coat , just a single colour coat which is standard on most non metallic vans.
    To avoid damage such as in the photo ALWAYS

    Use a low pressure - some pressure washers don't have a pressure adjustment, if yours doesn't then don't use it on your motor home.

    Use a wide fan of water - again some pressure washers don't have this facility but quite often you can buy an adjustable nozzle. My pressure washer (Kranzle) didn't have one as standard so I purchased one before I used it on any motor homes. Usually it is best to buy a genuine nozzle as they tend to be more durable even if they are more expensive, it's still cheaper than rectifying damage.

    Test that the pressure and fan is right by pointing the gun away from the motor home EVERY time you pick it up.

    When pointing the gun at the motor home keep it moving, do not stop in one place.

    When pointing gun at graphic's, joints or fridge vents move the gun further away thus reducing the impact on these areas

    This damage was on the same motor home and is very easily done if the pressure washer is not used correctly. If you follow these guidelines you should be able to avoid such damage
     
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  2. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    I was of the opinion that they shouldn't be used on cars either.

    I also stated in this section that i would never use a pressure washer on my van even on low setting.
     
  3. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Agree, easy to cause damage to modern water based paints, not worth the risk.
     
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  4. FJmike

    FJmike Funster

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    So using that logic hose pipes are out too :)
     
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  5. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    I use a hose with a hand held multi- head spray gun and only use the shower pattern.
    Using a lance can get tangled and ends up touching the paint.
    I know i used to use one on a company vehicle we used. More problems caused than solved.

    Each to their own, but touching a light aluminium body with a lance could easily damage it never to let you forget about it.
     
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  6. FJmike

    FJmike Funster

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    Why would you have the lance anywhere near the van surface , even without water coming through it. Perhaps that should be one to add to the list. :):)
     
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  7. Judge Mental

    Judge Mental Funster Deceased RIP

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    have used for many years..just use common sense and keep your distance
     
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  8. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    There is absolutely no reason why a PW should not be used on a motorhome or any other vehicle.

    Follow Mikes sound advice and it not only makes washing easier but faster.

    A wee word of caution. Some machines now come standard with a dirt buster or turbo lance. These spin the water forward and in doing so create huge pressure. It has been know for users to confuse the dirt buster or turbo lances with the common spray lance. This can be disastrous and massive damage can be done.

    It's worth checking the flow rate of your machines. The water flow rate is the true pressure setter so if you have a high flow rate machine it needs to be turned down very low indeed and more distance should be kept from whatever it is you are cleaning.

    Tangling of a hose as mentioned above indicates a poor quality hose. Modern braided rubber hoses don't tangle or kink. The pull of the drum with ease and reel back on just as easy. Not expensive to buy .
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
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  9. DuxDeluxe

    DuxDeluxe Funster Life Member

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    I use my Karcher pressure washer on the van but always make sure than the pressure itself is turned right down. Even then, very careful around the seals etc...... As Eddie Judge says; common sense prevails
     
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  10. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    Common sense should prevail but to us that are used to using machinery like PWs its second nature. But not everyone has used one ?

    Stepping back and spraying at an angle plus turning the pressure down are all key.

    But if anyone is unsure then caution is vital.

    I'm used to vehicles but have nothing like the experience Mike has with coach built vehicles or monocoques.
     
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  11. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    http://www.caravantalk.co.uk/community/topic/14655-pressure-washers-on-a-caravan/

    Some comments from similar like minded people.

    For any one contemplating buying a PW to use on their motorhome.........i have a pressure washer.........i have used it many , many times ( not on my MH) and each time i use it i can get the hose tangled......i can accidently get it too close or even touch what im working on........i would say to anyone learning to use a PW don't practice or use on a motorhome until you are very confident that you will not damage you pride and joy.

    Sometimes setting up and cleaning up afterwards takes as long as it would to wash your motorhome by hand or by ,extending, purpose made brush.

    I have watched people spray painting vehicles,and i think i could easily use the equipment to paint a vehicle, but i certainly wouldn't want to learn or practice on my car or motorhome.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
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  12. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    With respect Bobby anyone who is really into detailing.... This is a detailing section after all... Would not dream of using a brush on any vehicle.

    The use of a power washer need not be a chore or complicated or hard work. Quite the opposite in fact.
    I have my one set up just inside the garage doors . I plumbed in both hot and cold water taps so I can supply the machine with water up to about 60 degrees which it is capable of dealing with.
    The hose is a braided rubber one and is very easy to both unwind off the reel and wind back on. Do not confuse plastic or cheap hoses with a quality braided rubber one which simply will not tangle knot or twist.

    It's really a necessity to power wash off a vehicle this time of the year before touching it with a mitt or sponge . Failing to do this will mean all the grime dust muck and the salts and silicates spread over the roads this time of the year get rubbed into the surface of whatever vehicle we are cleaning. Not nice.

    From about November to spring I don't actually touch the surface of our vehicles with a sponge wash mitt or anything else.

    I foam the power wash off using cold or hot water and they look very good. Remember this time of the year within just a few miles the vehicles can look like we never bothered to wash them in the first place.

    On brushes... I do accept is necessary to use a brush on the roof of s van just to be able to reach . Other than that they really should be avoided...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
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  13. FJmike

    FJmike Funster

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    This is where I have to disagree with Charlie ( just a bit). Using a brush isn't a bad thing, if you use it correctly and rinse it thoroughly. My preference brush is Costco and it's very good for motor homes as it has brushes at the sides which enables me to get at places other brushes or sponges won't get. Just thinking about this and perhaps I should add only use a brush if you are confident enough with your knowledge of how to use it correctly, otherwise use a noodle mitt (can't abide sponges)
     
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  14. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    Mike I think we would agree your background is motor homes or at least you deal with and work on them. Mine is motor cars....

    To a car Detailer a brush is an absolute no no.. It just is never going to happen .

    On a big vehicle with different finishes then maybe your brush is the only practical way of doing the job. I respect that.

    I use open cell sponges. My reputation says I have never had an issue. I can look it the surface of an open cell sponge and see if it's clean or has anything on it. Mits can and do hide the debris that inflicts swirling and it's very difficult to see that debris.

    I guess it's what we're used too
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
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  15. Buzzy-Beans

    Buzzy-Beans Read Only Funster

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    I used to store caravans at my last property in France before returning to live in the UK in 2014, and as all of the vans were always washed by me when they were pulled out of barn storage prior to being put out onto their allotted pitches, I always used my STIHL pressure washer and never ever experienced a single problem with the body of the coachbuilt caravans or their graphics.


    The only damage I ever saw was when cleaning the plastic wheel trims of a Bailey Ranger when some of the silver paint was blasted off..................... Soon repaired by me and the owner (who is a good friend) never did notice!


    The number one thing to do at all times is to be careful when using a PW and in my most humble of opinions they will always be considerably less harmful to an immaculate body than a scratchy grit loaded sponge or brush.
     
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