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View Full Version : How much water do you think it takes to wash a car?


BenP
01-02-2006, 06:27 PM
I'm asking because I've got to decide what size tank to fit in my van. I've got a VW Transporter T32 that can handle 1280kgs so weight isn't that much of an issue, but I don't really want to carry stupid amounts as I need to get a lot of other kit in the van as well.

I'm mainly targeting clients who take full details so most of the time I'll only need enough water for one car, but they'll no doubt be a few days when I wash say, three/four cars, maybe up to a maximum of six. I'll be using a pressure (which uses less water than an open hose) but I really have absolutely no idea how much I use on an average wash (and I'm usually quite heavy on the water so to speak).

Anybody got any ideas? I was thinking maybe 400 litres or so, but really, I haven't got a clue!

Anybody else had this "problem" before?

TIA,
Ben

Brazo
01-02-2006, 06:33 PM
HI Ben

Do you use QEW at all? Be it pre detail or regular wash? This could save you some water.

L200 Steve
01-02-2006, 06:56 PM
I reckon -

4 buckets @ 8 litres each
10 minutes of rinse / shampoo / rinse @ 7 litres per minute.

So about 100 litres per car max.

1 litre of water = 1 Kg in weight = 10cm x 10 cm x 10 cm in volume. Don't you just love the metric system.

We've had insufficient water pressure to run a Steam Cleaner in the past, so cobbled up a 200 litre barrel and mounted it on the buildings roof and fed it off that. The Steam Cleaner was using closer to 20 litres of water per minute, but we never ran out of water whilst washing off a car.

Steve

AdyUK
01-02-2006, 06:58 PM
Funnily enough i was thinking about this exact question today. If i wanted to go mobile how much water would i need.

Just to get an overall idea of quantities. A standard bucket holds 10L. So 20L would be enough to hand wash at minimum.
If your using a Pressure Washer to wash (with foam etc) then undoubtedly more.

Rinsing is the biggest problem. A caravaners aquaroll holds up to 40L, that would be enough i think for a quick rinse on a small car.

Taking those into account, with misc water use, an educated guess would say 100L would be sufficient for a couple of small cars. The only way your going to work it out is to try and somehow measure the water you use.

I think weight wise 100L would probably weigh about 100kg + 5-10kg for the tank itself.

GlynRS2
01-02-2006, 07:00 PM
Ben,
Make sure you get a baffled tank. You don't want the water sloshing around when driving along. The shifting load effect can make the handling sort of interesting.
This company sell them:

http://www.smithsofthedean.co.uk (http://www.smithsofthedean.co.uk/builder's_page.htm)

They also sell 5 gallon buckets that the grit guard fits inside - I think they are 1.99 + VAT including a lid

AdyUK
01-02-2006, 07:05 PM
The black water tank at the bottom of this page looks ideal. Although it may be too big for your van??

http://www.smithsofthedean.co.uk/water_tanks1.htm

BenP
01-02-2006, 08:00 PM
Thanks for the replies guys.

Steve - won't be using a steam cleaner other than a little portable jobbie that holds 10 litres or so of water in its own tank so don't have to worry about the draw that's going to create. Will be using a commercial cold water pressure washer though (unless there is a vast benefit to having a hot water one) so will need enough to feed that.

Glyn - will definitely be getting a baffled tank without doubt. Thanks for the link as well - have been looking for bigger buckets for a while now!

AdyUK - the black one will fit, it's just a question of how everything else will fit around it. Am getting the van professionally racked out do will go to them with various tank options and get them to design the rest of the van around it, then pick the one that makes most efficient use of space.

Ben

GlynRS2
01-02-2006, 08:34 PM
I was thinking maybe of one of the baffled tanks at the bottom of this page:
LINK (http://www.smithsofthedean.co.uk/Emergency%20Tanks.htm)
Shows a picture of a couple in the back of a van, and look quite space efiicient.
What would be good would be to find a supplier of bulk distilled/de-ionised water at a reasonable cost. Could save a lot of hassle if washing outside in the sunlight at any stage. I suppose a domestic water softener could be an alternative - does anyone have experience of these?

AdyUK
01-02-2006, 08:57 PM
In terms of design ideally you want one of the baffled ones on that page suggested by Glyn that you can lie down, then you could use that as a base for everything else, and it would be more stable with the weight in the centre.

Theres a couple of flat ones on this page, the 400L one is just what i had in mind

http://www.reachandclean.co.uk/water_IBC_baffled_tank.htm

BenP
01-02-2006, 09:36 PM
Yep they all seem to be the same tank, offered by different resellers. I think 400 litres should suffice. If the worst comes to the worst I'll just have to use a clients tap which so far hasn't been a problem when I've been working out the back of my car.

As terms of upright or vertical goes, I'm torn between the two. Yes a flat one will keep the CoG lower, but on the other hand, a vertical one right up against the bulkhead will keep the mass as close to centre of the vehicle as possible.

Ben

AdyUK
01-02-2006, 09:50 PM
An upright one would provide more pressure but i dont think water pressure is an issue if your using a Pressure Washer is it?

If you have it behind the bulkhead then you can run pipes along the sides for the taps and connectors. That would leave plenty of space for everything else aswell. I'm liking the sound of this contraption.

speed-demon
02-02-2006, 02:21 AM
A little off topic but Ady are you going to borrow electricity or get one of those power generators?

BenP
02-02-2006, 09:36 AM
An upright one would provide more pressure but i dont think water pressure is an issue if your using a Pressure Washer is it?

If you have it behind the bulkhead then you can run pipes along the sides for the taps and connectors. That would leave plenty of space for everything else aswell. I'm liking the sound of this contraption.
You're right - pressure isn't an issue with a pressure washer as most of them can suck all they need from a static source.

Could run pipes, but as the Transporter has a side door I'd more than likely just position the tap right next to that, then I can open the side door and off we go. Also, it means less potential leaks as they'll be less connectors.

Ben

GlynRS2
02-02-2006, 09:53 AM
It will be good to see some pictures of your rig, once you are fully kitted out.

BenP
02-02-2006, 10:33 AM
I'll put the pictures up when it's all done. It won't be for a while though, probably toward the end of March. Am just planning at the moment.

Ben

JJ_
02-02-2006, 11:44 AM
What about a flat mounted box so you can build a false floor and put the tank underneath and then put stuff on top, saving a bit of space and also saves it getting any punctures etc.

Yep pics are a must!!

AdyUK
02-02-2006, 05:22 PM
A little off topic but Ady are you going to borrow electricity or get one of those power generators?

I wont be doing anything mate. Its not my project.

Just going back to the water thing. 400L would be just right. I had a hot tub that held approx 1500L and using the hose pipe it took about 3 hours to fill. So in theory it gives you just under an hours worth of constant water flow. More than enough for several cars.