Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Using an Electric Pressure Washer to Wash Your C3 Corvette

Bigger is not always better, and when it comes to pressure washers the task at hand should determine the power of the machine you purchase.

If you are a homeowner who, in addition to washing your vehicles needs a machine to pressure wash your home, walkways, sidewalks, and driveway, then, by all means, spend as much as you can afford to buy the best and most powerful machine. One with a gasoline engine will probably do.

But if, on the other hand, you just need a reliable, affordable, and not-too-noisy machine, then you may want to look at the Portland 1750 PSI Electric Power Washer available from Harbor Freight Tools.

This unit retails for $99.99 but it goes on sale on a regular basis for $79.99 (plus sales tax where applicable). I recently had the opportunity to pick one up with a special 25% off coupon and paid only $75.99 plus sales tax.

At 1750 pounds per square inch (PSI) and 1.3 gallons per minute (GPM), this machine will work fine for me, and my plan is to combine it with a Ryobi pressure washer spray wand along with a Dusichin foam cannon for better results.

I've watched a few YouTube videos where car detailing enthusiasts have had great results with this combo (links at the end), so I bought one.

The "car detailing" part is very important in my opinion when it comes to the power of any pressure washer. I do NOT need (or want) the power washer to remove paint. I only need it to generate a nice thick layer of soap foam and then have a decent flow of water to rinse the vehicle. I'll do the actual washing by hand.

Case in point, as illustrated in the photo below, I accidentally chipped some paint off of one of the wheels while using the machine for the first time.

No big deal since I've painted the wheel centers before, but it goes to show how easy it is to damage something by using too much pressure. So again, 1750 PSI is plenty of power for me.



ASSEMBLING THE PRESSURE WASHER

Like most products today, the Portland electric pressure washer will need to be put together before you can use it.

Mine arrived in a sealed box with one of the power cord hooks broken. A trip back to the Orange City, Florida HFT store the next day got me a replacement unit right away and without hassle. Thanks, HFT!

But the frailty of the plastic is something to keep in mind as you don't want to knock the washer over by accident for fear of breaking something.

Based on my experience, if you decide to buy one of these machines from your local Harbor Freight Tools store, it may be a good idea to open the box on location to make sure there are no broken pieces.


The Owner’s Manual & Safety Instructions booklet that comes with the machine provides all the necessary info to both assemble as well as how to safely use the pressure washer. As a matter of fact, if you'd like to read it beforehand, HFT makes manuals available as PDFs, which is very convenient. Click here to read the Portland pressure washer Owner’s Manual & Safety Instructions.

If you follow the procedure outlined in the manual, your pressure washer should be completely and correctly assembled in about 20 minutes.

Also, make sure you run some water through the machine without pressure. This primes it and prevents damage. Again, refer to the manual for details.



SOAK, FOAM, WASH, RINSE

With your Portland pressure washer ready, start by giving the car a good soaking and remove any loose dirt and grime from the body and wheels. No need to go crazy with this step, just get the car completely wet.

Next, apply a generous coat of car wash foam of your favorite brand. Here I am applying Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam Car Wash Soap with the soap dispenser that came with the pressure washer. And even though it didn't create a lot of foam, it applied a good coat which allowed me to clean the car thoroughly with the Microfiber Wash Mitt by Meguiar's.

Both products, by the way, yielded excellent results so I highly recommend them.


I let the car sit for a few minutes, then went over the whole vehicle with the car wash mitt in order to loosen any remaining grime and to distribute the cleaner soap fully.

HFT pressure washers come with a soap dispensing gun, but here's a tidbit of info worth mentioning.

Since I had to exchange the unit I purchased because of the broken power cord hook, I brought just the machine back to Harbor Freight. I did not know it at the time, but the one I'd purchased originally was item #63255, and the replacement one they gave me is item #63254.

They are basically identical, however, the soap bottle that comes in the box marked as #63255 is much larger than the other one.

If you decide to purchase a Portland pressure washer, you may want to check if your local HFT store carries item #63255 if you want the larger soap bottle.

Anyway, back to the washing process...

With the foaming and washing complete, I rinsed the car thoroughly to remove all traces of detergent. I then dried it with the Water Magnet Microfiber Drying Towel by Meguiar's and allowed it to air-dry for approximately 30 minutes. The drying towel is amazing. It removes most of the water on the first pass and leaves no residue behind.


And these are some of the products I used to wash my '76 Stingray with the Portland Pressure Washer from Harbor Freight Tools for the first time. The yellow bucket had clean water for rinsing the mitt and the soap dispenser when I finished applying soap.



BRINGING YOUR PORTLAND PRESSURE WASHER TO THE NEXT LEVEL

GUN vs. CANNON

The Ryobi pressure washer spray wand and the Dusichin foam cannon are optional. The Portland pressure washer comes with its own wand and a small soap dispenser as mentioned previously.

The advantage of using the Ryobi wand is that it comes with a quick-connect 1/4" fitting, which lets you use an actual foam cannon. I say "actual" because, even though the soap gun that comes with the pressure washer allows you to apply soap to your car, it is not a foam cannon. Actually, it's more like a BB gun for comparison's sake.

But to be fair, HFT does not advertise it as such. They just call it a "spray gun."


The Portland wand (top) uses the same bayonet-type connection as the Ryobi (bottom). Other pressure washers may use a screw-style connector so you'll have to find other alternatives if you want to use quick connect/disconnect fittings.

The Dusichin DUS-007 Snow Foam Cannon (photo below) is very well built with a solid brass control valve and a thick semi-transparent 33-ounce plastic bottle.


The manufacturer recommends using the foam cannon with a 1000 PSI/2 GPM pressure washer, so the Portland machine falls short as far as gallons per minute are concerned. However, in my opinion, it works just fine with the 1.3 GPM water flow output of the Portland pressure washer.

The next photo shows a side-by-side size comparison of the Dusichin and Portland guns.


BETTER GARDEN HOSE CONNECTORS

One thing that was painfully obvious is the fact that attaching and removing the garden hose gets old very quickly in my opinion, and the idea is to have a system that is easy to set up.

So after a little research, I came up with the Gorilla Easy Connect Garden Hose 3/4-inch Solid Brass Fittings sold through Amazon.

I bought the 2-pair kit (two male and two female fittings) since I think I'll need just two of them. They are standard thread and at 3/4-inch they should work with all garden hose spigots and hoses.

Installation is easy and the fittings are of excellent quality. Operation is smooth and leak-free. A little bit of WD-40 or a drop of oil on the O-rings every time you use the pressure washer should keep them pliable for years.

The photos below show a female fitting installed on the water inlet of the pressure washer and a male fitting on one end of the hose. The other pair is installed on the other end of the hose and water spigot on the side of the house.



BETTER PRESSURE HOSE CONNECTORS

The pressure hose connection at the pump can also be improved by installing Twinkle Star Pressure Washer fittings.

I went to ACE Hardware to see if they had the right size quick-connects, but unfortunately, they only had fittings for gas-powered machines. Most electric power washers use a larger M22/15mm adaptor (the ones at ACE were all 14mm).

And again, Amazon came to the rescue and I had the quick-connects shown below the very next day.




For around ten bucks (delivered), it was an easy decision. And, by having this fitting, I can also use a 50' pressure hose in the future if so desired. The Portland comes with a 25' pressure hose. Having a longer hose would make reaching around the car much easier so I may be replacing that hose in the future.

SPRAY TIPS

When it comes to spray tips, the Dusichin cannon comes with five of them, and although they are not intended to connect to the cannon itself, they sure come in handy for rinsing the car as well as other jobs around the house.

By having the Ryobi pressure washer spray wand connected to the Portland pressure washer, you can use the quick-connect to swap from cannon to spray tips in a few seconds.

The tips are color-coded and graded by spray fan degrees. The 0° red tip shoots a direct blast of water which can—or most-likely will—damage painted surfaces and even fiberglass, so I'll probably never use that one. Then you have a 15° orange tip which shall also remain away from my Corvette. Moving on, we have a 25° green tip that can be used to remove heavy dirt deposits but, again, a bit too aggressive for my taste.

Frankly, the best tip to pre-soak and then rinse the car, in my opinion, is the 40° white tip which produces a wide and gentle water sheet that's perfect for these jobs, provided you are spraying the car from the right distance.

The last one is the 65° black tip, which can be used for spraying car washing soap with a different type of soap gun. It is unlikely that I'll ever use that one.


If you need more information about pressure washers, spray tips, or if you're still debating over which one is the right machine for you, visit PressureWashr.


LET'S WASH THE VETTE... AGAIN

Yes, I washed my Corvette just two days ago, but I had to give it another bath to see how the new attachments worked. You can watch the short video below to see my brand spanking new Portland-Ryobi-Dusichin in action.

I did skip a couple of steps as to not to bore you to death. After all, there's only so much entertainment value in a car-washing video.


Again, I want to emphasize that the Portland will do a fine job as equipped out of the box. But I must admit that there's a huge difference between spraying the car with soapy water versus a thick foam that resembles shaving cream.

Yes, it took me a few tries to get the foam cannon set up correctly, and I think that next time I will use a little more soap to see if that generates a thicker foam. But I must admit that I never imagined that washing my Corvette this way would be so much fun.

I hope this article and accompanying photos are of assistance if you decide to give the Harbor Freight Tools' Portland electric pressure washer a shot. I am very pleased with mine, especially after the simple changes and modifications outlined here.

Thanks for following my 1976 Corvette Stingray Blog!


Product Links...  (#sponsored)

Ryobi RY14122 Pressure Washer Spray Wand
Dusichin DUS-007 Snow Foam Cannon
Gorilla Easy Connect Garden Hose 3/4-inch Solid Brass Fittings | 2 Sets
Twinkle Star Pressure Washer Quick-Connect Kit, M22/15mm
Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam Car Wash Soap and Cleanser (1 Gal)
Meguiar's X3002 Microfiber Wash Mitt
Meguiar's X2000 Water Magnet Microfiber Drying Towel
Amazon Basics Drying Chamois (2-Pack)


Videos

Cheapest Solution to Attach Any Foam Cannon To HFT Pressure Washers
Foam Cannon Setup for $100! Quick Setup Car Wash

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