Friday, September 11, 2009

Clean as a whistle

Finally!  A break in the weather and bugs!  DakotR was washed and waxed less than 6 months ago and now it looks like it has been abandoned in the jungle for 5 years.

Consequently, I have withdrawn my previous judgments about what have appeared to be “over the hill” RVs apparently squatting permanently in some campgrounds. They were probably new less than a year before I saw them.

I don’t really know about how it is in the rest of the U.S. but in the southeast, everything visibly ages about a month per calendar week. It does not take long for everything from RVs to Homes to turn into under attended/over ignored-looking barnyard baggage.

Anyway, I began by pressure washing the outside (as much as I could safely reach from the ground or low ladders). At least that took the main scum off but the fiberglass end caps roll off to the roof over a long arc and that makes everything above about 9.5 feet, just rinseable from the ground or from a 4’ scaffold.

Even a good brush can do very little damage to this mess regardless of the cleaner that is being used so there are no “quick and clean” methods to get this looking nice, again. It’s going to take a lot of elbow grease, for sure.

I turned, next, to the roof.  I am generally against pressure washing an EPDM roof because of the normal cast-off methodology it uses to protect itself from the elements….. but gracious, enough accumulated gunk is enough gunk, period!  DSC01178 I could not stand it anymore! Never mind the mess it makes down the sides and end caps every time it rains. 

It can be seen from ground level when you get back from either end of DakotR and no matter how clean and shiny I make the sides, it still looks like a Carrabbas’ restaurant with the hanging gardens on the roof.

So I did do a “gentle” pressure wash of the whole roof surface giving special attention to seams and seals where time has cracked the Dicor sealant. I will next go up there and check those out to see if any need “refurbishing” by trimming off the old Dicor and recasting sealant on them.

Just as I feared, a lot of loose cast off from the EPDM rubber washed off into the gutters and continuously kept clogging them with the wet whitish powder. That required stopping my washing and flushing the gutters before I could continue.  Eventually, I did get it all done, yesterday.

Now, I need to hand wax/polish the end caps and finish up cleaning the higher-up sides of the RV and put a coat of wax on those as well.

Fortunately, while on the roof I was able to pressure wash about the top 3 feet of the Big slideout awning but reaching out farther than that would likely have turned it into a trampoline for me so I resisted the urge and stopped there.DSC01187 I may tackle the rest of the awning from the ground by closing the slideout and dropping the awning straight down to the ground so I can hit the rest of it squarely from a good stepladder. you can see the “scum line” just this side of the maroon strip.

Also left to do is go over all of the end cap seals and the screw strip covers really well with extra strength Magic Erasers and some Wal-Mart RV wash.DSC01220

Starting from scratch in the first picture, DSC01177DSC01174

I pressure wash (2nd picture). And then finish with the Magic Eraser with the full strength RV wash on it.DSC01173 This has been the most effective combination  for cleaning off these end cap gaskets that I have tried….. and I have tried a lot of stuff and techniques.



We are due in Disney in November and I don’t want to show up there in a 10 year old 5th wheel that looks like it’s that old and was kept behind the barn.

As Mel Brooks said, “work, work, work, work, work”… but this is not like the fun he was talking about in Blazing saddles so I have to meter myself to keep from giving up before its done.

It’s too bad that no one has come up with a pill to do for work what Viagra has done for play… or at least a pill that won’t kill you, too.


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