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Author Topic: Pressure washer question  (Read 4471 times)
John Z
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« on: March 08, 2007, 06:26:00 AM »

I was looking at the film on the back of my '04 after a 4,000 mile road trip. Along the way i was tempted a couple times to wash it, but never did. Now i am thinking a small pressure washer would be a nice thing to own. Heck, i may even find room in one of the bays to take it along. Questions:
  Gas or electric?
  Are the commonly available 2000-2400 pound units adequate?
  Any favorite brand? Or brand you have had trouble with?
  What type of detergents will melt away the DD rust proofing?
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Stan
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2007, 06:33:22 AM »

For a painted surface, the 1500 PSI pumps works well.  Liquid Tide laundry detergent is used by a lot of car washes. To remove the heavy built up crud under the engine, you need a lot of pressure and a lot of volume with heavy duty detergents but to clean the paint you don't want to risk damage to the paint. The little eletric units work fine for that.
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RJ
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2007, 06:44:42 AM »

JohnZ -

I use the little electric 1500psi unit made by Karcher (sp?) for cleaning swimming pool filters.  Pick them up at Sam's Club or Costco for $100 - $150 or so.  Since I use it often, I usually wear one out each season, but they stand behind their warranty and always send me another one, which I promptly wear out again. . . (I service 100 pools/week, and each filter gets cleaned twice per year, so the unit gets used far more than you would just cleaning your '04.)

These units come with two different wand tips - one flat spray and one conical spray.  The conical one seems to put out more pressure, and is a little better at cutting thru heavy crud.  I'd be cautious about using that wand on paint you want to keep.  The flat spray is adjustable, so you can vary the output.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink 
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RJ Long
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2007, 07:27:48 AM »

WOW!!! Russ must be superman, 14 pools a day!!!???
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John Z
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2007, 07:29:27 AM »

Thanks Stan and Russ for the input. I had been leaning toward the higher pressure gas units, so it is nice to learn that i can get by with the smaller and less expensive electiric ones. I will be stopping off to look at them on my way home after work tonight!!!
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2007, 07:33:49 AM »

John Z: One other comment: Gas engines, like horses, don't like to be put away wet.  If they aren't used for a while, the throttle and governor linkage wants to seize up.  Washing a bus tends to get everything wet.
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jjrbus
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2007, 07:41:21 AM »

The gas high pressure units are great for many things. However unless used carefully they can peel paint,force water past seals, cut wires ect.  I know someone who put holes in his radiator while stripping pant off his bus! Like others have said the electrics are excellent for most applications.
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2007, 07:59:11 AM »

I just had to put my $.02 in here, especially since the entire rear of our bus is painted. We have a PD3751 "Silversides. I bought a Karcher 1300-1500 pounds pressure washer from Lowes. It's yellow and comes apart for easy storage. Our 671 creates it's "FAIR" share of oil and grease especially in the transmission area. I originally purchased a 2500 pound unit and it was WAY TOO powerful and easily took the grease off and the underlying paint. The 1300-1500 pound unit is the perfect strength, it takes all of the grease and oil plus it is even safe enough to use on the exterior. Use the fan spray nozzle that comes with it.

The cleaner that I use for the motor is:   I spray the entire area to be cleaned with Simple Green. I let it sit while I connect the pressure washer and then I clean it off. It comes clean, and leaves no residue.

I have used this small pressure washer to clean our walkways too, but it is slightly underpowered for that task.

Good luck.

Dave Siegel
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2007, 08:10:38 AM »

buy as big as you need and invest in pressure regulator for more delicate cleaning
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John Z
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2007, 08:13:55 AM »

Thanks everybody for the help,, you not only have pointed me towards the rig that will do what i want it to do, but you also saved me some money,,, and i really do appreicate that
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2007, 08:21:10 AM »

John, do not be in too big a hurry to buy one of the little 1400 lb cheapo units. It might be OK for washing off the back of the coach, but not really good for anything else, in my opinion. And a water hose, after spraying with simple green does just as good a job.
I bought one of the small units for pressure washing my deck and found it totally insufficient for any task like that and I gave it away and bought a 3000 lb gasoline unit. They have a built in adjustable pressure regulator that you can turn down if they provide too much pressure, but once you buy a baby unit there is no way to turn it up. I have never had any problem with the controls sticking and I do add a conditioner to the fuel for winter storage. I have never regretted going to the larger unit.
Richard


Thanks everybody for the help,, you not only have pointed me towards the rig that will do what i want it to do, but you also saved me some money,,, and i really do appreicate that
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2007, 08:24:35 AM »

I personally wouldn't have an electric pressure washer.  I've used several 'nice' ones and they basically... sucked.  I've used a friends, which is gas (11HP Honda, 4000 psi and lots of gpm).  It was so much better.  It's like sanding floors, you don't apply much pressure to one spot and you don't stay in one spot.  I can do the roof of my MC-8, which is parked under an oak tree (nasty, nasty tree to park anything under) and it'll get it looking sharp in no time.  

I decided to buy one for myself and found decent ones for around $450-500 or so.  I went to my favorite pawn shop and found one with a 7hp B&S engine, 2800 psi (or more, I can't remember) and 2.8 gpm.  It was $375.  I said that was to close to new prices, so he dropped it to $300.  I looked at it again, then moved on to a few other items of interest.  He ended up looking up what they had in it, and offered to sell it for $225.  I bought it back in December and it was a late '05 model.  I really couldn't tell that it had been used.  I told him that if it would start, I'd take it.  It started on the second pull, and I bought it.  It's got seveal quick-release nozzles for soap applicaton, and various spray widths.  I've had no problem with it knocking off paint, even the old paint, except when I used the narrowest nozzle to intentionally remove paint.  It's cleanded that old 8v-71 so well I can see the two places it leaks (on the oil sender / gauge manifold).  I use it front to back, so I don't spray into the overlapping seams on the alum. roof and sides.  I can clean the entire roof in a very short time.  The other good point about gas models is that they spray farther.  To wash the curved sections of roof, I just stand on the ground and spray up and back.  This beats creeping to the edge with a week electric model; I always feel like I'm going to fall off.  The gas models will handle longer hoses better, too, especially the 3/8" hoses.  Mine came with a 25' hose, which is way too short for cleaning the bus.  I've got a 50' on order that'll make things much better.  The secret to not removing paint, unless you want to, is simply to back up and use a wider (fan) nozzle.  You'll cover more area with a wider nozzle, too.  It just takes a bit of practice, but I've had no problems with it damaging anything.

The electric ones also wouldn't reach above the windows on my house, when it comes time to clean the siding.  I can wash the sidewalk in about 1/10th the time it takes with one of those 'big' karcher electric units.  I sure wouldn't pay the $1,100 my friend paid for her Honda, but mine seems to work just fine, starts easily, isn't too noisy, and it seems to be built fairly well.  I might use an electric one to clean the shower tiles, but that's about it.  As to putting it away wet, I blow it off with the air gun connected to my compressor and let it sit out in the sun for a bit, kinda like I do my mower when I clean it.  One problem with the gas models is that they seem to get stolen a lot, especially from the back of pickup trucks.  Friends have had this happen a few times.  I guess pressure washing is quick, fairly easy money.

David
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TomC
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2007, 08:25:06 AM »

While Simple Green, Fantastic, 409 are good degreasers, they all have one thing in common, they don't smell good.  In my 30 years of being in the trucking industry and always trying to find a better degreaser, THEE best I've run into is called Oil Eater from Costco.  I can mix 5 gal water with about 2 cups of Oil Eater to brush wash my bus, and it easily takes off the road grime and grease. If there is a stubborn spot, just spray it with concentrate.  I used to have to spend about an hour on the front of the bus scraping off the bugs with an old credit card-now just spray concentrate on the front, wait and the bugs come off easily with the brush (surprisingly, my brush was bought at Camping World-telescoping handle that you can hook a hose to. Get the best one they offer).  This last weekend, after washing the front of my bus took the rest of the water and scrubbed my carpets inside, first spotting with concentrate.  Oil Eater has a nice smell too.  I carry a concentrate sprayer in my car for any kind of cleaning.  Check it out!  Good Luck, TomC
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Stan
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2007, 01:44:07 PM »

Several years ago I went to the Hardware Department in a Sears store and asked if they had high pressure washers. She studied the computer, held a conference with several other clerks, then escorted me to the bolt section. Waving her hand over the display she said that was all the washers they had and she didn't know which ones were high pressure.
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John Z
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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2007, 03:58:13 PM »

Stan, i knew Sears was going in the tank, but you have got to be kidding us!!!  lol
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