Caravan exterior cleaning products & technique

Feb 23, 2018
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I have just cleaned my Sprite for the first time, but being much more familliar with automotive detalling products and techniques and not really understanding the caravan specific products (Bobby Dazzler? :lol: ) I used what I already had. I have used AutoGlym Bodywork Shampoo with a noodle mitt, which removed all dirt and black streaks followed by a spray-on wipe-off sealant called GTechniq C2, which I hope will help reduce black streaks in future.

Where I struggled was cleaning the roof. Dropping the nose as far as I could and using a telescopic brush and hose/bucket (not bothered about wash marring on the roof panel) worked ok, but I want to clean the Heki roof vents and front Sunroof without inflicting any damage. I would also like to apply GTechniq G5 window treatment (this has been applied to all other windows) so rain water will bead off. As I will need to get a hand to the Heki, Is it ok to rest a (padded) ladder against the edge of the roof/awning rail to then lean across the roof?

Also are there any good ways of reaching the Swift Sunroof? With a stepladder over the a-frame, the roof curves away from arms reach; I would be hesitant to lean a ladder on the front panel.

Thanks,
Paul.
 
May 24, 2014
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For getting the green stuff and black streaks, I find Fenwicks works very well. To clean the roof I use my step ladders, not leant on the van but in their A shape, sideways on, and from there its a balancing act with the long soft brush. Do take care though as one, there is little to grb hold of to steady yourself and two, the roof gets quite slippy for a flat handhold. I usually have to move the steps four times to get the whole roof, but I can do the whole roof from one side.

I dont know about t'others but I sill use Silky for the bright whites.
 
Mar 27, 2011
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When I cleaned my roof I also used tall step ladder sideways on, it was fine although a little wobbly so had my wife stand at side and steady them which helped, I was disappointed though with the roof lights as some of them, mine included have a double skin, I ended up removing the part that actually opens completely and was then able to do a proper job and they came up pretty much like new, I’d never removed one previously but to someone with basic tools and skills it shouldn’t be difficult to work out how to remove it, I expect someone on here will know the type of rooflight you have and can advise on it’s removal, another advantage as well is while it’s out you can give th difficult bits to reach on the roof a clean by sticking your head and shoulder through the opening while standing on shorter step ladder.

BP
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Hi Paul ,
Having same van as you I think and when I do mine I have to drop jockey wheel right down so it's nose down.
I I use a long pair of steps and I managed to get the whole top aside from tall extension steps , it's supposed to be attached to the hose but i just dip it in the soapy water and do it that way , better than having a hose banging off the side of the van as for the front if you put your step over over there A frame you should get this front sunroof and the hickey that way .
I only use the Autoglym products only , wax polish and glass cleaner . And it always comes up showroom condition, mind you ,its is a big thing to clean !!
Enjoy & be careful cause when you're on them steps it's high and Slippy .

Craig .
 
Feb 23, 2018
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Beehpee said:
When I cleaned my roof I also used tall step ladder sideways on, it was fine although a little wobbly so had my wife stand at side and steady them which helped, I was disappointed though with the roof lights as some of them, mine included have a double skin, I ended up removing the part that actually opens completely and was then able to do a proper job and they came up pretty much like new, I’d never removed one previously but to someone with basic tools and skills it shouldn’t be difficult to work out how to remove it, I expect someone on here will know the type of rooflight you have and can advise on it’s removal, another advantage as well is while it’s out you can give th difficult bits to reach on the roof a clean by sticking your head and shoulder through the opening while standing on shorter step ladder...

Hi BP,
I have one of those 4 section folding ladders which has wide legs with rubber feet so is quite stable in it's stepladder shape. Could do with being a smidge taller though.
Had not considered taking the Heki apart... I would then be able to clean out the bits of vegetation caught in the perspex of the middle one.

Paul
 
Feb 23, 2018
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Craigyoung said:
Hi Paul ,
Having same van as you I think and when I do mine I have to drop jockey wheel right down so it's nose down.
I I use a long pair of steps and I managed to get the whole top aside from tall extension steps , it's supposed to be attached to the hose but i just dip it in the soapy water and do it that way , better than having a hose banging off the side of the van as for the front if you put your step over over there A frame you should get this front sunroof and the hickey that way .
I only use the Autoglym products only , wax polish and glass cleaner . And it always comes up showroom condition, mind you ,its is a big thing to clean !!
Enjoy & be careful cause when you're on them steps it's high and Slippy .

Craig .

Hi Craig,
After 4 hours of graft and getting slightly sun burned it dawned on me I could have gotten the nose lower had I adjusted the jockey wheel, but never mind. My telescopic brush just leaks water from the connector, so dipped in the bucket too!

I also have a large collection of AutoGlym products as I really enjoy cleaning/detailing my own car as a hobby (time and weather usually against me :( ) but I have really taken to GTechniq products which after checking with the company, are suitable for caravans. (Not shilling for them BTW!) I have used G1 glass treatment on my last 2 cars; so over 55mph in heavy rain I can turn off my wipers completely and water will bead off! (Only downside is the application process, which is best explained by their YouTube video, and squeaky wipers at low speeds/light drizzle). I have applied the acrylic safe G5 to the caravan, it does the same job as G1, but much easier to apply, just less durable.

The car will seem much smaller when cleaning after doing the van!

Paul
 
Oct 12, 2013
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CustardAvenger said:
The car will seem much smaller when cleaning after doing the van !

Ha ! It always does !
Another way to do it what I used to do on the other one that we had was small pair of steps on the inside of the van and then poke your head out through the Heckey if you can, get your arms out and clean around it and gets all the crap out that way too!
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Beehpee said:
When I cleaned my roof I also used tall step ladder sideways on, it was fine although a little wobbly so had my wife stand at side and steady them which helped, I was disappointed though with the roof lights as some of them, mine included have a double skin, I ended up removing the part that actually opens completely and was then able to do a proper job and they came up pretty much like new, I’d never removed one previously but to someone with basic tools and skills it shouldn’t be difficult to work out how to remove it, I expect someone on here will know the type of rooflight you have and can advise on it’s removal, another advantage as well is while it’s out you can give th difficult bits to reach on the roof a clean by sticking your head and shoulder through the opening while standing on shorter step ladder.

BP
I have one of those MPK roof lights which are badly designed in that they cannot be cleaned without getting high up on the caravan and dismantling the "open to air" double surface structure. What tribute to good design! A new mini Heki will be going on this spring as it can be easily cleaned by just using step ladders and a soft brush and cloth.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Craigyoung said:
Hi Paul ,
Having same van as you I think and when I do mine I have to drop jockey wheel right down so it's nose down.
I I use a long pair of steps and I managed to get the whole top aside from tall extension steps , it's supposed to be attached to the hose but i just dip it in the soapy water and do it that way , better than having a hose banging off the side of the van as for the front if you put your step over over there A frame you should get this front sunroof and the hickey that way .
I only use the Autoglym products only , wax polish and glass cleaner . And it always comes up showroom condition, mind you ,its is a big thing to clean !!
Enjoy & be careful cause when you're on them steps it's high and Slippy .

Craig .

Like you I have now given up attaching the water hose to the telescopic long handled soft brush. As well as banging around the van I find that the plastic connectors keep breaking as you are basically holding the brush horizontal, and the weight of the shoe is pulling downwards. I did concoct a tubular support which guided the hose from the vertical to the horizontal connector but to be honest all it did was add further mobility restrictions.
 

HNB

Jan 13, 2016
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I go on my hands and knees on the roof of mine. Iv found it easiest way and its very sturdy and strong ( i googled it before i did and said should be ok)

Tbf it was not that bad, only doit once a year
 
Oct 12, 2013
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CustardAvenger said:
I'm 6'3 and the wrong side of 20 stone... I shan't be going onto the roof!

Ha ha ! I would go for the inside step ladder technique with your height !!
 
Sep 10, 2014
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I use a similar technique to "Thingy" except that I have a sheet of alloy about 15 inches square; with 2 inch thick sponge glued to one side, a couple of holes bored through it and then it is hung from the top of the ladder on the caravan side, so if it does wobble and lean into the van, the sponge protects it.
Works well for me,,and I'm lucky enough, as it's small van to be able to get the ladder inside,open the sun roof and get up the ladder to wash and polish the parts I can't reach from the outside.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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The area that I find most difficult is the caravans front panel. It is grp and unlike the rear ABS panel it weathers into a matt appearance, and even at 6ft 4in it’s difficult to access. I have not really come up with a means of really being able to polish it as the front of the caravan curves right up to the roof line. A combination of step ladder used in A-mode, or as a ladder with foam pads against the caravan side makes getting effective access to the central highest section very difficult. As such that area doesn’t get a decent polish. The van is somewhat grubby after its recent trips out so I will be looking at a better way to do the front grp panel.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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otherclive said:
The area that I find most difficult is the caravans front panel. It is grp and unlike the rear ABS panel it weathers into a matt appearance, and even at 6ft 4in it’s difficult to access. I have not really come up with a means of really being able to polish it as the front of the caravan curves right up to the roof line. A combination of step ladder used in A-mode, or as a ladder with foam pads against the caravan side makes getting effective access to the central highest section very difficult. As such that area doesn’t get a decent polish. The van is somewhat grubby after its recent trips out so I will be looking at a better way to do the front grp panel.

Perhaps that's part of the reason Swift applies a black decal to that area on their entire range now, as it is difficult to reach without access platforms.
 

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