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Old 08-02-2015, 07:38 AM   #1
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Cleaning Dust Off radiator coils

OK folks, here is a new challenge.. First the problem.
We live out in the country and we trave a two mile very very dusty gravel road to get to the interstate. Even tho I keep our Winnebago journey spotless, by the time we get down the road, the whole back of the coach is covered in white powdery dust, including the radiator, battery bank etc. I always stop at the highway and use a car duster to clean the back but it doesn't help clean the radiator fins, batteries etc.
My question. Have any of you taken a small power washer with you and is there a way to hook one to the water tank (maybe via outside shower,) to spray off the radiator coils?? I've even considered a pump type garden sprayer but I'm not sure I would get the pressure needed...There are no truck washes close to me...
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:53 AM   #2
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I have the same problem, live on a dirt road. Thought about tapping into the water pump... easy access on my rig in the utility bay.

But wasn't sure about using a pressure washer on the radiator?

Dealer told me, use a garden hose, not a pressure washer.

L.
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Old 08-02-2015, 08:06 AM   #3
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L. same here. I wash our rig by hand. I may try the pump garden sprayer to see if there is enough pressure to get the dust out. Is it OK to spray off the battery bank too? Batteries are covered with white powder dust..
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Old 08-02-2015, 08:37 AM   #4
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Stay away from a pressure washer unless you want to bend the fins.
the pressure is usually too high and you really have to be careful.

I use a "engine degreaser/sprayer" This hooks to my air compressor, and has a siphon tube for cleaner. I use this to spray the cleaner into the radiator stack, and then after it sits, I use the garden hose to rinse.

Cursingator (on another site) suggest that you idle your engine, and spray water around the backside of the radiator. The fan blows in the same direction, and helps the water flow.

If your radiator is clean(not greasy), I would think that plain air would blow out the dust after each trip.

Regards,

Dan
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Old 08-02-2015, 08:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by sunset4k View Post
L. same here. I wash our rig by hand. I may try the pump garden sprayer to see if there is enough pressure to get the dust out. Is it OK to spray off the battery bank too? Batteries are covered with white powder dust..
I would not do it....the dust could actually help by soaking up any extra acid. You should have grease or protectant on all the terminals, so you want to keep that in tact.
I usually just wipe the batteries down periodically with a paper towl that gets thrown away. battery acid is nasty.

Dan
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Old 08-02-2015, 08:57 AM   #6
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I second Dan's idea of a blower. You can get a battery operated lightweight blower that should take care of most of the dust.
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:03 PM   #7
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Thanks... I will get a battery operated blower.. Will be much easier than water.. Thanks for advise on batteries...
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Old 08-02-2015, 05:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunset4k View Post
OK folks, here is a new challenge.. First the problem.
We live out in the country and we trave a two mile very very dusty gravel road to get to the interstate. Even tho I keep our Winnebago journey spotless, by the time we get down the road, the whole back of the coach is covered in white powdery dust, including the radiator, battery bank etc. I always stop at the highway and use a car duster to clean the back but it doesn't help clean the radiator fins, batteries etc.
My question. Have any of you taken a small power washer with you and is there a way to hook one to the water tank (maybe via outside shower,) to spray off the radiator coils?? I've even considered a pump type garden sprayer but I'm not sure I would get the pressure needed...There are no truck washes close to me...
sunset4k,
First off, just a thought on your dirt road. There is a company based in I think, Scottsdale AZ that's called "Soil-Tech" or, Soil Tek, not sure, it's been a while since I conversed with them. They make a treatment for dirt roads that puts a CRUST top that's supposed be real durable. It's a "dust" abatement system I think they call it.

Now, as for your radiator fin cleaning, well, unless your fins are seriously weak, I've used a pressure washer on ours more than once and there's absolutely ZERO damage to any of the fins. Ours was really dirty and, it had a leak in the lower section of left tank. So, I pulled both the radiator and the CAC. I then purchased some citrus based cleaner made by ZEP and, put that radiator on my sawhorses for the work to be done.

I applied that ZEP product and let it sit for a short while. Then, I fired up my gas powered, 2650 psi water pressure machine. Now, before anyone get's their panties in a knot, you HAVE TO USE COMMON sense here. You start by keeping at a distance with the tip from the fins. Then observe if any possible damage to any of the fins is being done.

I slowly moved closer and closer while sweeping back and forth. Still no apparent damage to any fins. I got to around 3"-4" away and not one fin was even close to becoming bent over. I had to that ZEP and pressure washing process three times before it started to come through the other side of the fins.

Well, as it turned out, all that was for nothing anyway. The leak could not be fixed so, I had to order a new radiator anyway. But, I've since cleaned the new one a few times with the same pressure washer and, NOT ONE FIN CAME CLOSE TO BEING DAMAGED!!

As of yet, I have NEVER READ of anyone ACTUALLY DAMAGING any radiator fins on any coach, on this site. Most simply caution away from the process because they "think" it will cause damage but, have never actually done it.

Now, this is not the same for all of us that have side A/C units. Those fins are seriously weak fins and, can be bent over even with moderate pressure from a garden hose. So, be ware of that on the cleaning of them. But, as for the radiator, I'd give it a try and, like I stated, start from a distance and get a tad closer and closer all the while observing your fins closely. Maybe they're not all made the same, who knows?

But on ours, they're some pretty tough fins.

Now, as for your question on a portable pressure washer. I carry a Karcher, 1000 psi small electric unit in the coach. I designed a small adapter so that my water pump from the coach will connect to it. It's way more than adequate for a water supply. I can either use the Inverter for the electric power or, simply fire up the generator.

That system is incredibly neat for doing a complete wash job of the coach, in the corner of a Walmart or Kmart parking lot or, any other place that's large enough to handle your rig while you give it a quick bath. It's not designed for removing tons of dirt or mud but, if your coach is simply "dirty", then it works absolutely flawless.

And, it's rated at about 1.5 gallons a minute. I can rinse quite a few square feet of the sides or ends in 1 minute. So, the amount of water actually used washing the whole coach, is around, maybe 5-7 gallons. The hose off that little pressure washer is around 20' long so, I do have to move it around just a bit to do the whole coach, no biggie. I don't do it all that often but, in the cases where it's dirty and, the typical RV park won't let you wash it, it works just great for that.
Scott
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunset4k View Post
OK folks, here is a new challenge.. First the problem.
We live out in the country and we trave a two mile very very dusty gravel road to get to the interstate. Even tho I keep our Winnebago journey spotless, by the time we get down the road, the whole back of the coach is covered in white powdery dust, including the radiator, battery bank etc. I always stop at the highway and use a car duster to clean the back but it doesn't help clean the radiator fins, batteries etc.
My question. Have any of you taken a small power washer with you and is there a way to hook one to the water tank (maybe via outside shower,) to spray off the radiator coils?? I've even considered a pump type garden sprayer but I'm not sure I would get the pressure needed...There are no truck washes close to me...
sunset4k
If you have a water faucet in your wet bay... road dust is easily rinsed off anywhere on the coach. (and off your toad), with 2 water hoses connected together.
Mel
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:21 PM   #10
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DANG and Eureka !!! Thanks for the garden hose idea !

The 'country' storage place we use has 1 to 2 inch limestone 'rocks' for the roadway and between the weight of the rv pulverizing the rock and the generator and deezle pusher fan,
it's a white out from the dust !!!

I'm going pack a couple of hoses in there and a spray nozzle to hook up to the faucet !!!!
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:00 PM   #11
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Well put.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
I applied that ZEP product and let it sit for a short while. Then, I fired up my gas powered, 2650 psi water pressure machine. Now, before anyone get's their panties in a knot, you HAVE TO USE COMMON sense here. You start by keeping at a distance with the tip from the fins. Then observe if any possible damage to any of the fins is being done.
I use a pressure washer as well. Its also in the 2600 range. Have peeled paint and decals off of stuff but never had a issue with my radiator on any of my vehicles, even quads.


Works great for removing bugs off of the windshield and at a distance off the front as well.
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Old 08-03-2015, 12:11 PM   #12
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If it is recently aquired dust I'd try compressed air.. From the sounds of your description of your RV you have a supply of that.

Last time I did my Air Conditioners I used compressed air (Do not get too close or you may bend fins and combing them out is a type b Witch of a job (think about it). It actually worked better on non-oily dirt.
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Old 08-03-2015, 08:56 PM   #13
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I had an acute issue with a significant amount of dirt/dust...the Freightliner dealer used compressed air and steam cleaned the radiator.
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