Question Undercarriage cleaning

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Thread: Undercarriage cleaning

  1. #1
    Junior Member CoastalLongbox's Avatar
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    Default Undercarriage cleaning

    My truck has been covered with winter muck for basically 3 straight months. I've had her in the car wash about every other week for a quick spray down. This has not been a wise investment of $5 worth of quarters cause she's loaded up again by the time I hit the drive way. As I walk past, looking up into the wheel wells and what is seen of the undercarriage, I was wondering what you folks do about tidying up underneath come dry weather?

    Those "undercarriage" options at the carwash drive throughs are a waste of time, money and water from what I can see.

    Does anyone drive up onto some ramps and crawl underneath with a hose or powerwasher? Sounds like fun. NOT.

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    Veteran Member codyh12345's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    All I do... and mind you this is my first winter with the tundra... is take it to the bay and just do my best blindly spraying under the truck. I figure if I at least hit it during the wash and rinse I should do a pretty good job of getting a lot of the crap off. I spend more time in the wheel wells and around the back end of the truck.... doubt this will help but its better than nothing.
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    Veteran Member spoon059's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    There is a local car wash that has an undercarriage wash that puts out a lot of water, I use that. I usually wait til after the roads are cleared and dry before I wash my truck. You still get some salt spray, but not nearly as much.
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    I would not recommend cleaning the undercarriage with any power washer (neither your own, nor one at a car wash). Too great a chance of forcing water into a place it doesn't belong or damaging something.

    Just use a garden hose set to a medium sparay pattern (not a jet stream). It may take several cycles over the course of the day: spray, wait for mud to soften, spray, wait for mud to soften, spray, etc. You may want to get one of those car wash nozzles that inject soap into the water spray.
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    Supercharged Member dogstate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    Here's another way to do it...

    go get a lawn sprinkler and set it up underneath the truck and let 'er run.

    I've done it with a hose and a boatload of mud. It gets pretty muddy pretty fast.

    -rockstate

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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    I have a customer who is a pressure washer dealer. They have an attachment that looks like a lawn sprinkler on wheels with a long handle. It looks like a circle of nozzles pointing up with a trigger on the handle to turn it on. You turn on the pressure washer then run it under the vehicle to wash the underside without crawling under. I believe it is made by Legacy.

    Found a picture.
    Last edited by mendonsy; 03-06-2011 at 03:15 PM. Reason: found picture
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by mendonsy View Post
    I have a customer who is a pressure washer dealer. They have an attachment that looks like a lawn sprinkler on wheels with a long handle. It looks like a circle of nozzles pointing up with a trigger on the handle to turn it on. You turn on the pressure washer then run it under the vehicle to wash the underside without crawling under. I believe it is made by Legacy.

    Found a picture.
    And it only costs $650! If you buy two, they'll throw in a free Ginsu knife.



    Plus, you again have the downside of using high pressure water under your vehicle.
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by SpyGuy View Post
    I would not recommend cleaning the undercarriage with any power washer (neither your own, nor one at a car wash). Too great a chance of forcing water into a place it doesn't belong or damaging something.

    Just use a garden hose set to a medium sparay pattern (not a jet stream). It may take several cycles over the course of the day: spray, wait for mud to soften, spray, wait for mud to soften, spray, etc. You may want to get one of those car wash nozzles that inject soap into the water spray.
    I've yet to hear of anyone who's damaged their powertrain/suspension components yet and I've done it for years.

    Common sense would tell you not to stand there spraying anything 3" away from it unless its the frame or axle. A quick back and forth motion from a few feet away is good enough.

    Just a $2 self undercarriage wash for me, maybe twice a week during bad weather.

    The most damaging time I've found is driving to work in the morning and letting the salt sit there while its 40+ degrees until you get out of work to wash it.
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    This is how we cleaned the Jeep!


    Last edited by rpmorey; 03-06-2011 at 04:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    I have been getting the undercarriage washed ($2 extra) at the local car wash since I've owned the truck. I see no damage yet. They use a LOT of salt around here and I'd rather not have all that salt eating away at the under side of my truck.
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  12. #11
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by mendonsy View Post
    I have a customer who is a pressure washer dealer. They have an attachment that looks like a lawn sprinkler on wheels with a long handle. It looks like a circle of nozzles pointing up with a trigger on the handle to turn it on. You turn on the pressure washer then run it under the vehicle to wash the underside without crawling under. I believe it is made by Legacy.

    Found a picture.

    Now that is a really kewl tool that I could add to my collection of tools in the garage, however for $600-700, it's really expensive..... so it got me to thinking if you could hook this up to a pressure washer w/o blowing the seals since it's about 7% of the cost (~$50) of the Legacy tool......

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  13. #12
    Supporter mendonsy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    There's a BIG difference between garden stuff rated for 150 PSI and the commercial pressure washer parts rated for 3000 psi.
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    Junior Member Echo6 Sierra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    I wait until the end of the winter season then fire up my Rigid 3300psi power washer and crawl under the truck, lay on my back and give her a good, thorough blasting.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    A set of 1' tall ramps that you could drive up on would be handy - just lift one side at a time so you can spray underneath the truck without crawling under it too much.

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    Default Re: Undercarriage cleaning

    Quote Originally Posted by jack mccarthy View Post
    I've yet to hear of anyone who's damaged their powertrain/suspension components yet and I've done it for years.
    To quote Mendonsy: "There's a BIG difference between garden stuff rated for 150 PSI and the commercial pressure washer parts rated for 3000 psi."

    In other words, your truck undercarriage is designed to handle rain and puddle water hitting it at freeway speeds. Spraying it with a garden hose (which is well below 150 psi; typical household water pressure is 75psi or less) is similar to what your vehicle was intended to endure. Hitting it with 1,500 to 3,000 psi is NOT an insignificant difference. At best, you will likely remove some of your undercarriage paint and corrosion protection (not only from the jet of high pressure water, but also by the flying blasted grit and mud which is now acting as a high-speed/high-pressure abrasive slurry). At worst, you will tear rubber boots and blow water, mud, salt, etc, past seals and into places designed to keep such harmful foreign matter out. Think transmission output shaft, u-joint bearings, differential seals and breathers, etc.

    If pressure blasting is so safe, then why not blast the entire exterior of your vehicle? Is the undercarriage paint so much tougher than your body paint? Are your underbody seals so much stronger than your window seals?

    But hey, it's your truck, so feel free to ignore my advice.
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