Cargo Van Clean Van

Solar

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
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How do you keep a clean van?
I’m constantly at the car washes, scrubbing and scrubbing, and it’s getting to the point the bugs on the top part are breaking my spirit.

Could you be kind enough to share some van cleaning habits?


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Moot

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
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My Transit sucks when it comes to washing and waxing. These long and tall vans have way too much painted acreage. When I sold my 2004 Chevy the body was still in excellent shape and certainly didn't show that the van had 820,000 miles on it.

Wax your van a couple times a year with a quality product. Between waxes, when I wash my van at home I use a wash that contains wax. What color is your van. I find that white is easier to maintain a clean look.
 
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Solar

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
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It’s white.

I find myself feeding the car washes $10-15 every time. (Brush mostly on the front)

I’m going to try some bug remover sprays, see if that helps looses things up, and I’ll certainly be hard waxing when I get home, and spray waxing while on the road.

I’m just surprised it got away from me so fast, lol


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brokcanadian

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
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Up until this van, I didn't bother washing. Something about what they paid, and what I thought deserved a good image.

I wash it now; best product I've found is called "Crud Cutter" brings out the beautiful white shine.

Warning: I painted the entire van with Rustoleum, not sure if I'd want to use Crud Cutter on automotive paint
 
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Grizzly

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
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I wash my van maybe every 3-4 weeks. Of course it depends on the road conditions.

I always wash it myself .....

At home, I sponge it by hand and use a pressure washer to rinse it. I like taking time to rinse under the wheel wells .. tires, brake components, tie rods, etc ... as much stuff as you can reach.

On the road, I'll use a self service car wash. Here's the trick that's gonna save you some $ .... you do not need to continuously feed the machine while you're washing. The only way to get it clean is to use the long brush. You'll spend the majority of the washing time brushing. So here's what you do ..... you only need to use 2 settings on the machine - 1.Rinse & 2.Foam brush. Feed the machine the initial cost for one cycle, whatever that amount is ... let's say $2 for 2 min. During that first 2 min, quickly rinse the van with clean water (30 sec), then spend 90 sec applying foam to the van. You're simply applying soap ... don't worry too much about covering every single square inch. Make sure to get more foam along the top portion of the van, it'll slide down and be useful. When the machine turns off .... spend the next 10 min scrubbing the heck out of your van. Try not to let it dry out too much ... doing this when the sun is down helps. When you're finished scrubbing, feed the machine another $2 & rinse thoroughly. Total cost = $4 :)

Another thing I do .... when cleaning my front windshield at truck stop, I often clean the roof portion above the windshield, the side mirrors, the front headlights & whatever else looks terrible .... use the squeegee for all that stuff. It's ok ... it's free & doesn't take too much time, you're basically keeping trouble spots clean. The side mirrors on Sprinters stick out like elephants ears & if bugs dry on them for even 1 day they become very stubborn to clean.

Hope that helps ....


Oh, next time you pass through ND on 94 there's a Tesoro station in Jamestown that I absolutely love. It's right off of 94. In the diesel lanes they have a huge plastic wash basin, maybe 2-3 ft wide, filled with super soapy water and a full size broom sitting in it. You can literally wash the entire front of your van while you get fuel.
 

Solar

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
I wash my van maybe every 3-4 weeks. Of course it depends on the road conditions.

I always wash it myself .....

At home, I sponge it by hand and use a pressure washer to rinse it. I like taking time to rinse under the wheel wells .. tires, brake components, tie rods, etc ... as much stuff as you can reach.

On the road, I'll use a self service car wash. Here's the trick that's gonna save you some $ .... you do not need to continuously feed the machine while you're washing. The only way to get it clean is to use the long brush. You'll spend the majority of the washing time brushing. So here's what you do ..... you only need to use 2 settings on the machine - 1.Rinse & 2.Foam brush. Feed the machine the initial cost for one cycle, whatever that amount is ... let's say $2 for 2 min. During that first 2 min, quickly rinse the van with clean water (30 sec), then spend 90 sec applying foam to the van. You're simply applying soap ... don't worry too much about covering every single square inch. Make sure to get more foam along the top portion of the van, it'll slide down and be useful. When the machine turns off .... spend the next 10 min scrubbing the heck out of your van. Try not to let it dry out too much ... doing this when the sun is down helps. When you're finished scrubbing, feed the machine another $2 & rinse thoroughly. Total cost = $4 :)

Another thing I do .... when cleaning my front windshield at truck stop, I often clean the roof portion above the windshield, the side mirrors, the front headlights & whatever else looks terrible .... use the squeegee for all that stuff. It's ok ... it's free & doesn't take too much time, you're basically keeping trouble spots clean. The side mirrors on Sprinters stick out like elephants ears & if bugs dry on them for even 1 day they become very stubborn to clean.

Hope that helps ....


Oh, next time you pass through ND on 94 there's a Tesoro station in Jamestown that I absolutely love. It's right off of 94. In the diesel lanes they have a huge plastic wash basin, maybe 2-3 ft wide, filled with super soapy water and a full size broom sitting in it. You can literally wash the entire front of your van while you get fuel.

Thanks for the wonderful advice.

I started with the windshield cleaner, and that cleaning off the fresh new mess has been wonderful.

The mistake I “believe” made is when I would wash it, I wasn’t getting the top perfectly clean, so I wouldn’t apply any spray wax. So, the more I did that, the harder and harder it got to clean the top. Finally, even scrubbing away with soap flowing out, I couldn’t get the top clean. Honestly, driving through a hard rain cleaned it better than the scrub brush.

Anyhow. I used to be a painter, and would often get paint on my vehicles. I remembered using Gunk Tar and Bug Remover, which was incredibly effective in removing oil base paint. While I have had trouble locating a can of that, the engine cleaner by Gunk is the exact same material, only it sprays in a straight stream (helpful for the tall front van). Another degreaser I used was Shout in the metal aerosol can. If the Gunk Engine Degreaser will get it clean easier, then I can get it perfectly clean, and use the spray wax, which will make the next cleaning easier. Long story short, no more half @ssing it, either get it perfectly clean, or don’t clean it at all. The half efforts are just stripping away the light wax, making it harder to clean in the future.

Once I get home, I can give it multiple coats of hard wax.

Blah blah blah, thank you all for your help.


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Solar

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
I used the Gunk Engine Cleaner, used half a can on the front and mirrors. Let it sit while I took the Grizzly advice, and brushed around, ending in the front, where the Gunk definitely helped, getting the hard to remove buggies off.

Then I went around with spray soap, then I rinsed it all off with the wax.

Here is the result.
View attachment 18958

It’s a bit of work, but much less than before, and a lot less expensive





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Grizzly

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
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Idk .... I personally wouldn't use gunk engine cleaner on any exterior surfaces. I've used it to clean & decrease engine parts. I think it's too corrosive on exterior components, especially anything containing rubber ... bumpers, side mirrors, etc ...

Side note: I've never used a single drop of wax on my van in 600K mi; other than some rain x on the windshield.
 
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Solar

Expert Expediter
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Idk .... I personally wouldn't use gunk engine cleaner on any exterior surfaces. I've used it to clean & decrease engine parts. I think it's too corrosive on exterior components, especially anything containing rubber ... bumpers, side mirrors, etc ...

Side note: I've never used a single drop of wax on my van in 600K mi; other than some rain x on the windshield.

I’ve used Gunk on many vehicles many times. It’s a degreaser, works wonders on road tar as well as buggies.

And I like the wax shine, even though it wears off in a week.


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Solar

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
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IMG_0318.JPGIMG_0319.JPGIMG_0320.JPG

During home time I wondered what was the best way to wash the van. I eliminated as much as possible. In the end, I had a brush, a small square bug scrubber, and a 5 gallon bucket.

I made room in the passenger floor, and just had my first experience on the road. I didn’t see any “no bucket washing” signs.

This is no magic bullet by any means. I still use the Gunk Degreaser, and I apply a lot of elbow grease.

That said, the van does come sparkling clean.

I read on a different thread about spraying wd40 on the van before you take off. I may give it a try.


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