As a motorcycle owner, you know that a perfectly clean bike is a huge pride. However, this pride quickly fades away after thinking about the massive amounts of water required.
While is true that most car-wash business use recycled water, no one will clean your bike with the same love and dedication as you (at least not without paying an astronomic sum of money).
Step 1: The Answer Is at the Laundry!
A perfect household source of reusable water is the washing machine. As an experiment, remove the waste water hose from the wall drain and plug it into a 20 litre water jug. When I did it, it filled my jug TWO times!!
Sure, after the first cycles the water is all murky and soapy. But at the end of the last rinse cycle the water is almost transparent, and perfect for pressure washing anything else, like your motorcycle.
Step 2: Getting the Materials
First thing you will need is a pressure washer. I got mine for $99.000 COP ($31.38 USD), the equivalent of going six times to the car wash.
For the light-duty use we are going to give it, is perfectly enough.
Step 3: Additional Materials
Other than the pressure washer you will need:
- A 20 litre poly carbonate water jug
- A plastic faucet
- One meter of garden hose
- The female adaptor to screw the garden hose into the faucet (English is not my first language, so if you could tell me the name of this part it would be great)
- The male adaptor for the pressure washer, is usually included with the unit.
- Dremel rotary tool to drill the water jug
- RTV Adhesive (or if you are in cheapo mode, hot glue)
Step 4: Attaching the Faucet
Trace the outline of the faucet on a face of the water jug. Pick the lowest possible height from the jar base, to use all the water inside.
The first time I did this build I cut the water jar neck to insert my arm and screw the faucet from the inside with a nut. This is a pain in the ass. While the resulting array was very sturdy, cutting the bottle causes dangerous sharp edges and it's very difficult to handle when filled with water. Forget about that!
Step 5: Tracing
Trace the outline of the faucet with a sharpie
Step 6: Drilling
Drill the hole you traced. In my case I used a Dremel rotary tool. It's better to aim for a smaller diameter than the one you traced, and then make it bigger if the faucet requires it.
Don't forget to clean the water jug after drilling the hole: Your pressure washer motor will not like the plastic debris.
Step 7: Screw and Seal
The round shape of the water jug against the flat faucet doesn't help to prevent leaks. It's imperative to seal the gap with some type of glue or RTV adhesive.
Since not everyone has RTV adhesive laying around, I decided to try using the ugly hot glue gun. For my surprise it worked nicely!
As long as you don't hit the faucet or giggle it to side to side, it haven't leaked on three months (and counting). See last photo.
Step 8: Hose and Adaptors
Plug the female and male adaptors into the ends of the garden hose (requires some brute force). The transparent adaptor on the photo comes included on the box of the pressure washer, and serves as a very basic water filter.
Step 9: Wait Until Your Next Laundry Day
The best moment to pick the water is when the washing machine just ended the last rinse cycle. At this point the water is pretty clean. Quickly disconnect the drain hose and connect it to the water jug.
Be advised that the water jug will fill up really fast and spillage will certainly occur. It's better to put the jug on top of the sink and filling it there.
The full water jug weights 20 kilos. I recommend you to get a water jug with a handle, or a small kart to carry the bottle from the laundry to the garage.
Step 10: Pressure Washer Connection
Turn off the pressure washer before proceeding.
1. Open the faucet and let the water reach the end of the hose to eliminate air bubbles.
2. Quickly connect the faucet to the pressure washer inlet.
3. Squeeze the pressure washer pistol trigger multiple times, this helps to further remove trapped air.
4. Turn on the power switch. The motor will run for some seconds and stop as soon as the water reaches the sensor. If the motor keeps running turn off the power to avoid overheating the motor and repeat the hose connection.
Step 11: Hell Yeah!
The 20 litre jug is enough for washing a medium sized motorcycle. Mine is a small one, so why don't wash the bicycle too?
You will know that the water level is going low when the sound of the pressure washer motor changes. Don't allow the bottle to go empty, to avoid overheating the unit.
Step 12: Final Remarks
- The only thing I would improve is adding a pantyhose to the neck of the bottle, to filter out some fibres that will come with the washing machine water. The OEM filter included with the pressure washer stopped this debris, but is complicated to clean and may reduce the water flow.
- I don't recommend any cleaning product since this is very personal taste. Having said that, for me common dishwasher worked like a charm.
I hope you enjoyed this guide, see you next time!