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Old 11-20-2009, 07:32 PM   #1
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Pressure washer pro/cons?

At the risk of being "deluged" by posts, what are your thoughts on using a pressure washer to clean/wash road grime of our American Coach? I've tried the smallest Karcher unit (1400psi or so), and although it knocked off some of the big stuff, it left a lot of surface dirt.

Yes I'm lazy, and yes I realize that I should be out with the brush on a pole to really do the job right, but let's go back to the first part, I'm lazy....

We live down a short dirt road that always seems to have just enough grunge on it to muck up the coach either coming or going. I'd like to find something to help me keep the rig clean without a full brush washdown.

I suppose that I'm trying to find out IF:

Using a pressure washer at any pressure is BAD, BAD, BAD for full painted surfaces.

If not, what size pressure washer would you recommend (and why?)

Thanks in advance for your input and opinons!
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:39 PM   #2
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Hi Mark,
I do not use a pressure washer but, I do not live on a dirt road. If your coach has a clear coat finish, a pressure washer should work okay. I do not know the PSI. There are members of the clubs we belong to that have professionals come to the rally site an PW their coach. Over 4 years I have seen no deterioration in their finish.
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackerman View Post
At the risk of being "deluged" by posts, what are your thoughts on using a pressure washer to clean/wash road grime of our American Coach? I've tried the smallest Karcher unit (1400psi or so), and although it knocked off some of the big stuff, it left a lot of surface dirt.

Yes I'm lazy, and yes I realize that I should be out with the brush on a pole to really do the job right, but let's go back to the first part, I'm lazy....

We live down a short dirt road that always seems to have just enough grunge on it to muck up the coach either coming or going. I'd like to find something to help me keep the rig clean without a full brush washdown.

I suppose that I'm trying to find out IF:

Using a pressure washer at any pressure is BAD, BAD, BAD for full painted surfaces.

If not, what size pressure washer would you recommend (and why?)

Thanks in advance for your input and opinons!
Mackerman,
When I took delivery of my new Diplomat in 07 they drove it out from Indiana through the huge storm. When they recieved it I was there and could not even see the colors on it because it was covered in mud. They started washing the tires,rims and chassis with a pressure washer and the manager warned the person washing it to not use it on the painted surface, so they switched to a regular hose for the painted surface and used a brush.

It turned out that they scratched the clear coat so I had to have it cut and buffed, (at there expense). When I wash it I rinse as much off with a hose and use a soft mit on a pole like most people do and it works great.

For rinsing it I have a diionized water system so all I have to do is wash it and then just rinse it and I'm done. I guess I'm lazy to.
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:04 PM   #4
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Hi Mark,

I own a 2002 Monaco Windsor PBT and have owned a Karcher for about 3 years now. It has a 6 hp gas Honda engine and puts out 2600 PSI. I use the white spray head to clean the roof at a close range to make sure it gets down to all of the dirt. When doing the sides I use the same head but I don't need to be as close as I am on the roof. I also use a brush with the proper fiberglass soap to swab down the sides and wash it off with the pressure head. Same with the wheels. The pressure washer has come in handy to do other stuff that I have laying around. I wouldn't leave home without it, well since the coach is R HOME, I never leave home without it. No worry regarding the full body paint. Decals would be a different story, depending on the spray head you choose to use.
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:43 PM   #5
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When used with caution a pressure washer is a good thing to clean the grit and mud from an RV. This reduces the chance of scratching the paint by rubbing the grit around while hand washing to remove road oils and fine dirt. I carry a small (1,200psi) Home Depot electric-powered power washer in the RV. It still has enough power to damage things if I get careless.
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Old 11-21-2009, 06:12 AM   #6
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I suppose a pressure washer is OK if you use it carefully and keep the spray head well back from the surface. The more pressure your unit puts out, the farther back you need to hold the spray. If you get careless, high pressure water can lift paint and it can lift decorative stripe decals if your RV doesn't have paint.

Don't wash the wheels if the brakes are hot, especially if you have disc brakes. Any hose can spray water through the vent holes in the wheels or wheel covers and onto the brakes, but high pressure can force more water through faster. Cold water can warp hot brake rotors.

I would also direct the spray away from the slide seals and the window seals unless you want to wash the inside at the same time as the outside.
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:10 AM   #7
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Probably a million painted cars are washed with high pressure systems every hour! Ever heard of damage? I've not and have spent thousands of dollars with them.
Might check with one of them as to pressure used.
Also, the example of the NEW motorhome had more to do with new paint than high pressure systems.
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H. Miller View Post
Probably a million painted cars are washed with high pressure systems every hour! Ever heard of damage? I've not and have spent thousands of dollars with them.
Might check with one of them as to pressure used.
Also, the example of the NEW motorhome had more to do with new paint than high pressure systems.
A car wash has adjusted nozzels that are constant and a set distance, a pressure washer does not and you have to watch what you are doing by adjusting the PSI and maintaing the proper distance. But, after reading this post I have seen that the guys seem to be happy with them, I especially like the idea of using it on the roof.
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:18 AM   #9
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As others have noted, pressure washers are great for just about all areas of the rig, but being careful around weather seals, caulking, decals and Diamond Shield, the clear film on the front of some MH's.

They're also great for tires, wheels and wheel wells.
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:23 AM   #10
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Foam gun

DFE-DF-Z011 TORNADO SNO-GUN INSTANT FOAM :: Dent Fix Equipment Tornador Pulse Cleaning Systems :: Dent Fix Equipment :: Lee's Tools

The above link is the best price to purchase a foam gun. Using only 2 oz. of your favorite car wash soap in the quart sprayer you can bury your motorhome in foam before washing. I have used it for a long time and it is the best way to wash any vehicle. By soaking it in foam, the dirt comes loose easy without scratching.

I have not tried this way with a pressure washer. But it makes it much faster using a long handled brush.
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:24 AM   #11
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Ever notice how a pressure washer won't knock down a spider web? I would never use a pressure washer on the finish of my motorhome or autos. Volume of water and light pressure from a quality wash tool (brush or mitt), not pressure will float the dirt away more efficiently and with less distress on the finish. Just ask anyone who cares for a show car.
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:25 AM   #12
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Let's see. Pull off at a beautiful rest area overlook, whip out the baby Karcher (got mine at a BigLots refurbed for $50) plug into the inverter and wash an entire 45footer with 15 gallons from my water tank in about an hour. Done this dozens of times. Yep, my rig is 100% cut-n-buff clear coat and so are the Lexi's and Benz's that are washed at the dealers every day using pressure washers. We are not talking about the 4000psi models with a blaster nozzle. Opt for the tiny electric ones using the regular fan nozzle (more portable too).

First, I use the pressure washer to rinse off an area quickly (at about 1 foot nozzle distance) to get rid of the sctrachy dirt and grime, then use a microfiber pad on a telescoping pole dipped in soap to quickly clean the area and finally rinse again with the washer (again about 1 foot distance) . The pressure washer really conserves water and speeds up the process. So, unless you do a Blue Beacon (another perfectly safe option-remind them if you have Diamond Shield/decals) and scour with the pressure washer (and use a lot more water), you'll need to do the micrfibre pad step.

If you have decals or Diamond Shield (or equiv) it will be best to maintain the 1 foot nozzle distance, especially at the edges of those coverings. As long as you don't dig in with the nozzle, there is no worry in the world and just a lot of time/water savings and convenience.
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:15 PM   #13
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The largest variable with using a pressure washer is common sense. I was once washing the engine compartment of my old Chevy Luv, saw a chunk of grease/mud and turned the nozzle to stream(big mistake) accidentally hit the radiator-blew a hole through the fins.
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:46 AM   #14
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Don't give the dealer a chance to void a warranty by telling him you used a pressure washer on a unit. I have seen it happen when dealers shop wants to save money for warranties. It's like telling the maker you blasted his EPDM roof with one, warranty void in a heartbeat..
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