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Discussion Starter #1
Got any Transit-relevant car washing tips? I figured I'd start a thread for posting car wash know-how, since I do have a tip to start out with.

From the time I brought my Transit home, there was an ugly patch of black under the sliding door glass, at the forward, lower edge. I had assumed it was excess and unfortunate bonding ooze. I began to notice that black residue would run out of that area when I washed the van. Maybe the black patch was built-up grime -- air pollutants, pollen, etc. I had seen road grime under other window edges, which I had been able to get at with my car wash brush. Before I bought the van, it had been sitting on the dealer lot for a number of months, and could have built up this kind of grime, and never been removed, since it was not accessible due to minimal clearance, especially at the bottom edge.

I went to the crafts store and bought pipe cleaners -- white, 12-inch x 1/4. I was able to fish a pipe cleaner down into that corner, from the forward window edge. The grime quickly dislodged, and washed away with rinse water. Looks much better!

Others may not have this problem, OR, may have it on different bonded windows. Maybe the pipe cleaners will work for you.

I guess I'll mention my car wash brush. Some may regard this as a bad idea -- I don't know. It's a "van, truck and RV" brush that a neighbor gave me, since he had ordered a spare. It's got nylon or poly bristles that are fuzzed at the ends, and it seems appropriately soft. I'm using a 12-foot, 3-section aluminum brush handle from Home Depot. The full extension works well when washing the top, from my 6-foot ladder. I've never used a brush for car washing before, but, the truth is that, if I didn't have this brush, I would not be washing the van at all.
 

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I bought a Low Roof van....mine fits through the local $5 automatic car wash! 148" WB, I'm glad they don't charge by the foot. I unscrew the antenna first....so old fashioned....a visible antenna.:D
 

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Automatic car wash capability and 60/40 side doors are the reasons I bought my van.

I despise washing trucks this big by hand, and sliding doors never appealed to me as they are problem prone from past experiences.
 

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I have been doing some local digging to see if there are any car washes that are 9' that could accommodate a MR Transit. I've found 1 so far (so they say), but am interested in how to effectively clean under the Transit without the undercarriage wash at a car wash.

How else have those who have MR Transits been able to wash them or keep the exterior well maintained if it doesn't fit in a garage?

Thanks!
 

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I bought a Low Roof van....mine fits through the local $5 automatic car wash! 148" WB, I'm glad they don't charge by the foot. I unscrew the antenna first....so old fashioned....a visible antenna.:D
Yessss! This! Same experience. My low roof fits in the local am/pm $8 no-touch car wash. Score!! I hate washing vehicles this large too.
 

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When I first got my '05 long&tall Sprinter, I was driving around town one hot summer day when I came upon one of those "free" carwashes being held by my old high school's cheerleading squad. Wanting to help a worthy cause, I pulled in and told them to give the van a good scrubbing. Several gals got started right away, but one of them soon came over to me and said, "we can't reach high enough to wash the top." My reply? "Well, you're cheerleaders......JUMP!"


For the next 15 minutes I sat on the curb grinning like an o'possum chewing on briars as a whole swarm of bikini-clad cuties with soapy sponges in each hand bounced up and down like they were on pogo-sticks, scrubbing my van from top to bottom for all they were worth.


Best $20 I ever spent.........
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm very keen on keeping up a van's appearance. My Sprinter I washed every two or three years whether it needed it or not. So far I've washed the Transit once in 12k miles.
That was my policy on my last vehicle. I know that if bug guts and bird poop stay on a vehicle for a long time, it can allow rust to get started. How quickly and how badly should relate to paint quality. I am a bit concerned over the quality of the white paint, so, have resigned myself to more frequent car washes.
 

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any tips for those of us who endure salty winters? the frame on our 12 y.o. subaru has developed rust holes. i'd prefer that not happen to the transit, which will replace it. are frequent washes, esp. undercarriage, any help at all? and if so, do truck washes even do that? (it's a high roof van.)
 

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I had mine rust proofed. I will repeat every autumn. I think it's essential in cold climates. I found a good coin operated car wash, that my van will fit into. It has a nice soft foaming brush, and really high water pressure. I can usually get the whole van really clean for about 15 bucks. I always blast the wheel wells really well with high pressure soap.

On the creepy van guy note, I think my green gem Transit has transcended the stereotype. I get plenty of women complimenting it. Especially when it's clean. But I haven't asked any of them if they'd help me move a couch into it or anything. Haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I had not washed my van for about 4 months or so... since fall. Really, the idea of messing about with spraying water during winter months held no appeal. When I got up top, I could see the dinge of black specks adhered, either road grime, or organic matter, possibly growing. It would not all come off when using my brush on long handle. A wash rag kinda-sorta helped, but, still, some black micro-specks remained, especially in the roof grooves. And, I'll note that moving a ladder around to cover every square inch of van roof within arm's reach was, as expected, no fun.

I knew that I would need 10 million contact points, to go over the van roof again, at arm's reach. I ordered another van-truck-rv brush, and put a 16-inch handle on it just to give my thumb a hold point, as I would hold the brush head in hand. I oriented the brush parallel to the roof grooves, and worked the brush with longitudinal strokes. And, it worked. No more micro-specks.

Gotta make sure I wash frequently enough to avoid going through that again!
 

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Yeah, cleaning the roof is a job. My old E250 was gray, so the filth was much less noticeable then my white Transit. Like you said, if it gets too bad you need to scrub every square inch with tons of elbow grease. If you stay on top of it (no pun intended) you can just use a long handle brush.

My son in law owns a local automatic car wash that my low roof barely fits through. The free car washes have been sweet, but I recently put ladder racks on the van out of necessity. :(
 

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I washed my new this week Transit yesterday, Had to use a ladder to wash the roof, I definitely will install a roof rack for some leverage down the road. I used a quality auto wash soap, a microfiber sponge rag, and dried it with microfiber towels. I waxed it as well, the whole process took about 3 1/2 hours. I plan on keeping this rig very clean, like all my vehicles. I have been a car washing fanatic since I was a kid, for some reason I love washing cars, never worked at a car wash though.
 

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Maybe I'll get mine wrapped in plain white and peel it off every few years. >:D I'm seriously considering some kind of film for the roof.
 

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Wax is the best way to keep dirt from sticking to the paint. Doing a van with paste wax is a chore for sure. Doing sections over a few days helps reduce shoulder soreness. Once waxed, a vehicle is much easier to keep clean.

A trick to saving time & money at the DIY car wash is to rinse off the soap with the wax . Then final rinse with the clear water or spot free. I often rinse with wax, forgo the final rinse, and then drive home and buff with a towel. I also use the wax setting on the wheel wells and undercarriage. I avoid the pre-soak or tire cleaner settings since they often contain bleach that will remove the wax.

TurtleWax makes a great inexpensive detailing spray that I use frequently. Smells great and even works on chrome, trim and windows.
 

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I did professional detailing for too long. (miss it)
One of the products that can be used with great effect is a liquid wax/cleaner known as "Protect All." (The old formula: White, Blue and Yellow)
It can be easily applied, the residue removed quickly and with little elbow grease. Or you can chose not to remove it. Using it on roofs and on areas where the vehicle is prone to bug spatter is particularly recommended.
It can be purchased by the gallon (highly recommended) or the 16oz squirt bottles in the RV section of Walmart.
There are also other "quick detailer" products (Mother's and Meguiar's) that can do the job and give you a higher gloss, but none provide the kind of long term protection that "Protect All" does.

2) For those pesky black micro spots, "Black Streak" removers can be used effectively.
Thoroughly wet the body of the vehicle, make sure the vehicle is cool, apply to the roof sparingly, rub lightly and rinse with high volume of water (not a pressure washer) Garden hose will do just fine. Then apply a wax/ cleaner to replace oil to the top coat. After which you should never have to do this again for the life of the vehicle. Of course if you have a high dollar custom paint job, the only proper way to remove those spots is a clay bar! Good luck!
 

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