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Old 03-30-2020
NoGas's Avatar
NoGas NoGas is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: DFW & PHX
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Default Wash & Wax and Clean - Tips, Products and Techniques

Everyone, please add your wash/wax tips below! However, if you don’t DIY wash your coach or even do your own car, this thread may not be for you. If so & before you click-on, please read the rest of this paragraph: Given a choice and as mentioned in A.S.’s video below - DO NOT use Blue Beacon or other similar truck wash places - they use harsh chemicals designed for trucks not RV’s, their stiff brushes can leave permanent micro-scratches and their machines may remove clear coat/decals. If you don't DIY, expect to pay by the foot for a hand wash. Some charge extra for the roof and a wax job can be at least double $$. Many RV parks and RV storage places have business cards from local come-to-you businesses. For those who do...

DIY Wash & Waxing -

After weeks in the Q dust bowl, it takes several days of washing & waxing to get our Bird cleaned up. Usually, that means a hand wash & application of NuFinish (not wax). Last year I added a Foam Canon, special Chemical Guys (CG) soap and a 50’ hose extension to my inexpensive 1600 PSI Ryobi Pressure Washer. These all work great! However before starting this year, I saw a couple YT videos made by professional RV detailer Andrew Steele. In two vids he revealed what he charges for high-end detail jobs, then he shows the equipment & products he uses in his business:

High-End RV Detailing Prices by A.S.: https://youtu.be/Ewa2IMx5Wx8
RV Detailing Tips & Products by A.S.: https://youtu.be/aNQkIQ_5lr8

If one can DIY the labor, it’s clear that: 1) ALL of the equipment and products one needs to equal a pro job cost less than one professional wax & detail, and 2) There might be something better than my 35 YO NuFinish “wax”. So I added CG Wet Mirror Finish, TEC Ceramic Finishing Spray, a specialized WheelWax, and 303 Tire Balm & Protectant to my cleaning & polishing arsenal. Here is how I did mine this year and a little about my equipment/techniques:

Sequence -

1) Wash the coach - check out A.S.’s detailing video above to see how I remove bugs, wash one section at a time starting with the roof & solar panels, then work all the way around the coach. Soft water at the Birdhouse helps, but I don’t have a deionized water machine (yet). So I wipe everything down with fresh/clean Costco microfiber towels. A yard blower or shop air helps get water out of the window tracks and trim pieces.

2) Are extra steps required? Gently run your fingertips across the now dry painted surface of your coach. You should not feel anything but smooth paint. If there are what feels like raised dust or dirt particles imbedded on the surface of your freshly washed coach, more work is required. YT has lots of videos about this restoration process, some good some not so much. You supply the elbow grease. It takes time and patience (or big $$) to get that showroom glass smooth final result. Speaking of glass, if you want super clean windows consider Spray-Away window cleaner in the 3-pack of blue cans at CostCo. There’s also the 0000 steel wool method - search YT for details about this technique. As I work around the coach, this is where I typically find dings & chips from the past year. So I “mark” them with small piece of painters tape. Then I’ll come back with some touch up paint to camouflage them. One of these days I’ll learn paint blending! Finally, Engine Detailing has become an art form with several WOG members being famous for it! It’d be great if they could post here and tell us how they work their magic! Also, see ‘Additional Steps‘ below.

3) Protect, Preserve & Polish -
a) Apply CG Wet Mirror Finish with an applicator sponge, let it dry to a haze, then wipe it off with a dry folded microfiber towel. Use a second clean microfiber towel to lightly polish the same area. Do the roof and solar panels (if any) first, then work all the way around the coach covering 10’ sections at a time. Let the mirror finish “soak in” for 24 hours if you can. This year I did everything including the windows.

b) Apply TEC Ceramic Finishing Spray using a simple spray-on-wipe-off method, and use a second clean/dry microfiber towel to lightly polish the same area. Again I did everything including the windows this year.
4) Wheels & Tires - In the past, I have used Wizards Metal Polishing Cotton to keep the wheels shiny. It also works well on the rearview mirrors. Just be sure to wear gloves and have plenty of microfiber towels available, changing them frequently as you work. This time, I cheated a bit by using Lunas polishing in Eloy AZ. They are located two exits north of the Picacho Peak State Park AZ and replaced M&M polishing, which is now closed. They do a nice job for an amazingly small amount of $$. Find details at 2:25 in this YT video: https://youtu.be/i-apndo7-tY. Be advised, Luna’s and other places like them use highly caustic chemicals so all wax & poly wheel coatings will be removed along with the dirt & corrosion. When they are done, what’s left will pure aluminum buffed to a mirror finish. Then immediately apply a good coat of wheel wax to avoid water spotting and repel brake dust. I selected WheelWax, but Mother’s and Chemical Guys products work well also. The harsh chemicals they use will discolor the tire sidewalls. To fix this I used 303 Tire Balm & Protectant. This product restores a smooth uniform black sidewall appearance with no shine (only RV Dealers like shiny tires!).

5) Now stand back and enjoy the results of your hard labor! But don't gaze too long because it’s time for the inside. Look for details about that in the next installment of this thread

Additional Steps - for that show room new ultra smooth finish

CSI Ceram-X Car Polish - Last year I used CSI to polish the clear coat and remove pine tree sap from the coach. When applied to a sponge pad attached to a random orbital buffer (from Harbor Freight), it took the pine tar off and returned the clear coat to an as-new smoothness. Great stuff!

Clay Bar - have not used them yet, but read great things about the results others have obtained

Dings and Chips - On an M380 paint codes can be found on a chart that is just above and to the side of the rear view mirror. Used this to have pint sized cans of each of the colors mixed at speciality auto paint store. Also purchased several ultra fine brushes. Then addressed many of the chips and dings found during the wash phase. They should be done before any wax or polish is applied. All work should be allowed to dry 24 hours before proceeding.

Invest in proper equipment & supplies! - I’ve already mentioned my baby Ryobi power sprayer. It’s also important to have a large package of microfiber towels. Costco’s yellow ones are perfect and inexpensive. The wash mitt and extension pole that Andrew describes eases the scrubbing process. You’ll also need several spray bottles. Some Costco’s sell 3 or 4 empty bottles on their cleaning supply isle. Although I have soft water, I do not as of yet have a deionized water setup. I’m certain that makes a huge difference. However, the combination of a small yard blower and/or shop air can clear water out of the window tracks & side rails. Then microfiber towels are used to follow-up.

Links -
In these difficult times please buy locally if you can!
Amazon links listed for descriptive purposes only
Other suppliers often have better prices & they need your business

Ryobi 1600 psi Pressure Washer: https://www.homedepot.com/p/301004462

Twinkle Star 3000PSI 1/4-Inch 50 FT hose: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MY9HIRF..._Iu1FEbQFSP34W

Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam Car Wash Soap and Cleanser (1 Gal), 128 fl. Oz (Gallon): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009OTW646..._al1FEbESGSDVN

TriNova Foam Cannon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072JNQQY9..._go1FEbZV9BM33

CSI Ceram-X Car Polish (Clearcoat Solutions Inc) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M0F0PKT..._SExGEb6Q3Q45K

Chemical Guys GAP11216 Wet Mirror Finish, 16 fl. oz: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRJOTIA..._iF1FEb1CC0JAQ

Technicians Choice TEC582 Ceramic Detail Spray (1 Gallon): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N8GBHTS..._YH1FEbM4XPMEM
You will also need spray bottle for that. I used it full strength with a light spray.

Wizards Metal Polish Cotton (Metal Polish Cloth):

WheelWax: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000IMB5CC..._j.DFEbNMSPRDV
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Van & Toni in TX & AZ
2004 M380 DS & 2013 Fiat 500 Pop

Last edited by NoGas; 03-30-2020 at 12:38 PM. Reason: Added links
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Old 03-30-2020
markkitch markkitch is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Athens
Posts: 327

Great info!

mark kitchens
Athens, Tx
1995 WB42
C: 214 477 3757
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Old 03-30-2020
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bwinter1946 bwinter1946 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Madera
Posts: 4,177

I use DI (deionized water) system for all my vehicle washing. Once you have one you will never be without one. Just saying...….
Brad Winter
Madera, California
1997, 37' BMC
1999, Jeep Cherokee, Toad
1970, VW Baja Bug, Alternate Toad
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