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Old 08-13-2013, 10:24 PM   #1
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Washing Motor Home

All, please help me with advice on how to wash my RV. We have an Itasca Meridian 36M (it is new) We just started full timing and we have never cleaned it. Can I go to Truck Wash places on highways? Or is that just for trucks.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:32 PM   #2
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We have a Meridian 36G (2006) and have never taken it to a truck wash. I always worry about the paint getting scarred up. I just get out the washbrush on it's extension pole and do it by hand. Once in a great while, I will skip the brush and just use a mitt, getting in all the hard to clean places. Lots of work but worth it when it's done.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:54 AM   #3
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I have a friend that uses a local truck wash and he recommends it. He says they know how to wash a MH. I, have always washed my own. While on the road it is difficult, I have completely covered my coach with RejeX. It is a product that dirt and bugs have trouble attaching to. I have been on the road for over a month and wash the bugs and road debris from the front at the end of each day if I can. I carry a bucket and a long handle soft brush. The water comes from the MH's tank and I rinse with the water from the tank as well(using the brush dipped in the bucket of clean water). I then wrap a terry cloth towel around the brush and dry it. The coach still meets the 50 ft test. It looks clean. It is not BLACK or a dark color! Color matters!
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Old 08-14-2013, 01:12 AM   #4
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Newmar publishes specific instructions on washing their units.
Quote:
Caring for your Full-Paint Masterpiece™ Finish
Cleaning

Make sure the unit is cool to the touch before washing. Wash your motor coach in a shaded area with warm (not hot) water and a mild automotive wash product (most other liquid soaps, like dish soap, contain harsh detergents that will dissolve wax).

The front of the motor coach is the area that receives the most abuse from the road—clean it accordingly. Pre-soak it with warm, soapy water. After a few minutes, use a bug sponge (available at most auto parts stores) to gently dislodge any bugs from the paint. Use a bug and tar remover only when necessary. Inspect the coach for any other embedded objects and remove them in similar fashion.

Wash the rest of the motor coach from the top down, starting with the roof, if possible. Chamois cloth, terry towels or a silicone squeegee work well for removing excess water after washing.
Storage

Undoubtedly, one of the best things you can do to protect the finish of your coach is to shelter it from the elements. Storage strategies may include weatherproof coach covers, right up to climate-controlled buildings and everything in between. A general rule is to provide your coach with the best protection you can afford, and use it.
Polishing/Waxing

Always test any new cleaner, wax or polish on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire coach. Rubbing compounds, polishes and waxes are distinctly different products. Always be sure to read the instructions and understand them before using any product.

Rubbing compounds contain an abrasive substance that “sands” scratched or oxidized paint and are not recommended except in severe cases. Rubbing compounds are usually followed by a polishing product.

Polishing products may contain an abrasive substance, but of much finer grit. This type of product is intended to revive tired paint surfaces subjected to several seasons of weathering. Polishing products may also contain chemical cleaners to remove impurities in the paint and fillers that help conceal small scratches and swirl marks.

Wax products are the final step in the cleaning ritual. Which kind you use is a matter of personal preference, but most important is that you apply a coat of wax at least once every six months. A good wax will fill in microscopic scratches, provide a barrier of protection and produce a brilliant shine for your coach.

Apply waxes and polishes using straight-line, horizontal strokes, not a circular motion. This will minimize swirl marks. Don’t let wax over-dry on the coach. Buff with micro-fiber towels, which do a good job of removing excess wax without scratching. Remove wax from a small section; then turn the towel to the clean side and buff to shine. Repeat until the entire coach is finished.
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:49 AM   #5
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I wash mine by hand (with a brush), the commercial truck washes all use high pressure water to rinse with, and to help remove bugs on the front. It,s JMHO but no high pressure water on my M/H tends to get water where it doesn't belong. However it can be a challange finding an RV park that allows you to wash your coach. so at times you may not have a choice, in that case I would try to get the wash people to go easy with the high pressure spray, it's not the water pressure that gets it clean it's the elbow grease and soap.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:21 AM   #6
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Use Blue Beacon truck washes if they are in the area. Never had any issues with them. Just pull in with toad attached & they wash both. Generally the last thing we do before getting home. Generally less than $50
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:39 AM   #7
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Does Blue Beacon wash the underside?
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rbhein View Post
Does Blue Beacon wash the underside?
They have long extensions on their washers wands. They run those under the coach. So yes. They also have a sprinkler system that floods the top when they are done. I open my DEF & LP compartments and have them sprayed those out too. Those compartments on mine collect road dust & sand.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
Newmar publishes specific instructions on washing their units.
Hi. I don't have an RV yet (we're looking now for when I retire early next year), but I've been detailing my cars for the last 10 years. ("Detailing" is far more intensive than just washing and waxing.) I still have LOTS to learn about RVs, but perhaps I can add value about paint cleaning and maintenance. (I'm an detailing enthusiast, not a pro detailer.)

IMO, the Newmar instructions for maintaining painted RVs are very good. However there are a few subtle points that should clarified and expanded.

Washing with mild detergent - They mention washing with a mild detergent. Excellent advice. Automated vehicle washes of any type are bad for the paint. The touchless types use strong chemicals that will strip off waxes and sealants. The brush types scar the paint. Neither are good for the paint.

Drying the coach - They mention using a chamois, towel, etc for drying the coach. I disagree strongly with this point. This will introduce scars even if you can't easily see them. Over time this will dull the paint.

The better option is to seal the paint with a good sealant after cleaning and polishing, and then use a leaf blower to blow off the water after each wash. If the paint is sealed properly, the water will run off the sides after washing so very little will remain. The leaf blower will take care of 99% of the rest. Then a single waffle-weave microfiber towel can be used to dab (not swipe) off the rest. It's WAY faster, easier, and better than drying with a towel.

Towels - I like to use microfiber (MF) towels instead of cloth. They work better and don't hold grit as much. By "towels", I mean lots of them. If I'm heavily detailing our cars, I can easily use 10-20 MF towels. I keep a bunch of cheap ones for the sills and dirty spots, soft fluffy ones for cleaning with waterless washes, flat weave ones for removing polish, and waffle-weaves for remove water drops and cleaning windows. Below is a pic showing my detailing supplies. Almost all of those white drawers contain microfiber towels - two deep.

Waxing, polishing, and other detailing terminology - Generally, the Newmar article does an excellent job of using detailing terms correctly. Outside of detailing forums, people throw around detailing terms indiscriminately and create mass confusion. Here are the generally excepted correct terms:

- Polish, compound, polishing and compounding: Polishing and compounding are the process of removing defects from paint through the use of a polish or compound (abrasives). While some polishes have waxes and sealants added, a polish is NOT a wax or sealant. Polishing and compounding are step prior to adding the "Last Step Product" (LSP). The LSP is a wax or sealant.

- Waxes, sealants, and other confusion - Traditionally, people "waxed" their car with a wax. A wax was always a natural product. Today, people use "wax" to mean a lot of things - both natural and synthetic. Most detailing enthusiasts use "wax" to refer to carnauba wax - a natural product. And synthetic waxes are referred to as "sealants".

Personally, I stopped using natural waxes when I first learned about sealants. Natural waxes degrade quickly, giving you 30-60 days protection. Some sealants can last 1-2 years. Waxes are a pain to apply. Sealant application ranges from fairly easy to extremely simple. If I had a show car that never left my garage, I'd probably use a nice carnauba. Since I have neither the garage space nor money for a show car, I use a sealant.

Sealants have come a long way in the last 10 years. I used to use a product called Zaino. They are still good products and last a LONG time, but they are more difficult to apply than some of the newer sealants. I'm trying a new one that is very odd - you wet down the car with water, spray the sealant on the car, and then wash it off with clean water. That's it. I tried it on my wife's Beetle about three weeks ago. It took 20 minutes to apply. It looks good and beads water well, but it's not clear how long it will last. Time will tell.

One issue is where to buy products. Generally there are two ways - local auto parts stores and online specialty retailers.

I never buy products from auto parts stores unless they have what I want. Most of the clerks know little about detailing and most of the products are generic brands like "Purple something or other". Generally cheap products with nice labels that are over priced. Having bought from them from years and gotten stung many times... Yes, I'm massively biased against them.

I almost always buy products from specialty detailing online retailers. It used to be that there were multiple good ones. Then a company started buying them and consolidating. The company is Palm Beach Motoring Group (palm beach motoring group dot net). If you buy from AutoGeek, Autopia, or Premium Boat Care (they sell RV stuff to), you are buying from Palm Beach - just one company. If you use Pinnacle, Detailers Pride, Wolfgang, Cobra, and Blackfire, those are just house brands from the same company. So...

Are they a decent company? Yes, IMO. I buy from them, mostly because I can buy what I want from a single vendor. They heavily promote their house brands, but they sell lots of other brands. I've tried some of their house brands. Some are decent and compare well with other brands. OTOH, many are not top rank products and/or are over-priced. There are other brands available that are more cost-effective, IMO.

One of the better RV detailing videos I've seen is:
How to Wash and Detail your RV with Mike Phillips - YouTube

Mike Phillips is very knowledgeable and holds classes on detailing. That said, he works for Palm Beach and promotes their products. IMO the video is quite good, but personally, I would NOT recommend the polishes and sealants that he is using in his demonstration. (Part of that is my personal bias - I don't like house brands of anything.)

Also, Mike mentions that a polisher like that Porter Cable takes the work out of polishing. Compared to hand polishing? Absolutely. But for a large car or RV. Bull... Uhmmm... Well, let just say he's "prevaricating" a bit! If you run a polisher on a vertical surface for a couple hours, you will definitely feel it in the arms, shoulders, back, and legs. It's a serious workout. In any case, for a large vehicle, there are better polishers out there than the Porter Cable - faster results with less effort.

I hope this is useful information.

Regards,

Dan.

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Old 08-14-2013, 12:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_public View Post
Hi. I don't have an RV yet (we're looking now for when I retire early next year), but I've been detailing my cars for the last 10 years. ("Detailing" is far more intensive than just washing and waxing.) I still have LOTS to learn about RVs, but perhaps I can add value about paint cleaning and maintenance. (I'm an detailing enthusiast, not a pro detailer.)

IMO, the Newmar instructions for maintaining painted RVs are very good. However there are a few subtle points that should clarified and expanded.

Washing with mild detergent - They mention washing with a mild detergent. Excellent advice. Automated vehicle washes of any type are bad for the paint. The touchless types use strong chemicals that will strip off waxes and sealants. The brush types scar the paint. Neither are good for the paint.

Drying the coach - They mention using a chamois, towel, etc for drying the coach. I disagree strongly with this point. This will introduce scars even if you can't easily see them. Over time this will dull the paint.

The better option is to seal the paint with a good sealant after cleaning and polishing, and then use a leaf blower to blow off the water after each wash. If the paint is sealed properly, the water will run off the sides after washing so very little will remain. The leaf blower will take care of 99% of the rest. Then a single waffle-weave microfiber towel can be used to dab (not swipe) off the rest. It's WAY faster, easier, and better than drying with a towel.

Towels - I like to use microfiber (MF) towels instead of cloth. They work better and don't hold grit as much. By "towels", I mean lots of them. If I'm heavily detailing our cars, I can easily use 10-20 MF towels. I keep a bunch of cheap ones for the sills and dirty spots, soft fluffy ones for cleaning with waterless washes, flat weave ones for removing polish, and waffle-weaves for remove water drops and cleaning windows. Below is a pic showing my detailing supplies. Almost all of those white drawers contain microfiber towels - two deep.

Waxing, polishing, and other detailing terminology - Generally, the Newmar article does an excellent job of using detailing terms correctly. Outside of detailing forums, people throw around detailing terms indiscriminately and create mass confusion. Here are the generally excepted correct terms:

- Polish, compound, polishing and compounding: Polishing and compounding are the process of removing defects from paint through the use of a polish or compound (abrasives). While some polishes have waxes and sealants added, a polish is NOT a wax or sealant. Polishing and compounding are step prior to adding the "Last Step Product" (LSP). The LSP is a wax or sealant.

- Waxes, sealants, and other confusion - Traditionally, people "waxed" their car with a wax. A wax was always a natural product. Today, people use "wax" to mean a lot of things - both natural and synthetic. Most detailing enthusiasts use "wax" to refer to carnauba wax - a natural product. And synthetic waxes are referred to as "sealants".

Personally, I stopped using natural waxes when I first learned about sealants. Natural waxes degrade quickly, giving you 30-60 days protection. Some sealants can last 1-2 years. Waxes are a pain to apply. Sealant application ranges from fairly easy to extremely simple. If I had a show car that never left my garage, I'd probably use a nice carnauba. Since I have neither the garage space nor money for a show car, I use a sealant.

Sealants have come a long way in the last 10 years. I used to use a product called Zaino. They are still good products and last a LONG time, but they are more difficult to apply than some of the newer sealants. I'm trying a new one that is very odd - you wet down the car with water, spray the sealant on the car, and then wash it off with clean water. That's it. I tried it on my wife's Beetle about three weeks ago. It took 20 minutes to apply. It looks good and beads water well, but it's not clear how long it will last. Time will tell.

One issue is where to buy products. Generally there are two ways - local auto parts stores and online specialty retailers.

I never buy products from auto parts stores unless they have what I want. Most of the clerks know little about detailing and most of the products are generic brands like "Purple something or other". Generally cheap products with nice labels that are over priced. Having bought from them from years and gotten stung many times... Yes, I'm massively biased against them.

I almost always buy products from specialty detailing online retailers. It used to be that there were multiple good ones. Then a company started buying them and consolidating. The company is Palm Beach Motoring Group (palm beach motoring group dot net). If you buy from AutoGeek, Autopia, or Premium Boat Care (they sell RV stuff to), you are buying from Palm Beach - just one company. If you use Pinnacle, Detailers Pride, Wolfgang, Cobra, and Blackfire, those are just house brands from the same company. So...

Are they a decent company? Yes, IMO. I buy from them, mostly because I can buy what I want from a single vendor. They heavily promote their house brands, but they sell lots of other brands. I've tried some of their house brands. Some are decent and compare well with other brands. OTOH, many are not top rank products and/or are over-priced. There are other brands available that are more cost-effective, IMO.

One of the better RV detailing videos I've seen is:
How to Wash and Detail your RV with Mike Phillips - YouTube

Mike Phillips is very knowledgeable and holds classes on detailing. That said, he works for Palm Beach and promotes their products. IMO the video is quite good, but personally, I would NOT recommend the polishes and sealants that he is using in his demonstration. (Part of that is my personal bias - I don't like house brands of anything.)

Also, Mike mentions that a polisher like that Porter Cable takes the work out of polishing. Compared to hand polishing? Absolutely. But for a large car or RV. Bull... Uhmmm... Well, let just say he's "prevaricating" a bit! If you run a polisher on a vertical surface for a couple hours, you will definitely feel it in the arms, shoulders, back, and legs. It's a serious workout. In any case, for a large vehicle, there are better polishers out there than the Porter Cable - faster results with less effort.

I hope this is useful information.

Regards,

Dan.
So if you were going to detail a 40' RV full body paint. Just the outside. Sides only no top. What would you charge. ??
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:13 PM   #11
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So if you were going to detail a 40' RV full body paint. Just the outside. Sides only no top. What would you charge. ??
ChallengerRN,

I haven't a clue. I've never detailed anyone else's vehicle, much less for money. You might want Google someone in your area. Lots of the pros gave websites with prices.

Regards,

Dan.
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:23 PM   #12
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I personally wash my motorhome after each trip and wax it twice a year including the roof. I wouldn't trust anyone else. I guess that's why it looks as good now as the day I bought it. I have seen some of the mobile services wash motorhomes and don't think they are that careful, especially on the roof. I actually watched a guy strip the decals completely off a motorhome with a pressure washer. I don't trust the truck washes either. It's not that hard to wash your home yourself, just a little tiring and time consuming. I usually take a couple of days to wash it and sometimes three days to wax it. I keep it covered between trips.
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:29 PM   #13
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midnight moho wash at the campground when the campground cops are sleeping
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:17 PM   #14
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midnight moho wash at the campground when the campground cops are sleeping
Way way past my bedtime !! Blue beacon easier!
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