Mar 8, 2013 update to the Austin Mini Cooper S project car

Pressure-washing the tub

We tipped the shell up on its side with plenty of cardboard underneath to catch the bits that came off. We cleaned the whole underside of the car.
We were able to get the underside of our Mini quite clean with a common home pressure washer. Remember to wear eye protection when you use one of these tools.
We cleaned the subframes while we were cleaning the body.

With our body shell stripped bare, our next step was to clean off all the oil, grease, dirt and as much as the factory undercoating as we could. Most media blasters will tell you this is a must before you bring them a shell to blast.

A steam cleaner works best for this level of cleaning, but is an expensive tool to own. Dousing the underside of the chassis repeatedly with a spray bottle full of diesel fuel or kerosene is effective at removing undercoating, but it is environmentally tough to deal with the aftermath, and that stuff can’t be good for your skin.

Ultimately, a common pressure washer and some Simple Green or similar cleaner does a pretty good job on all but the toughest chassis grime and undercoating.

Obviously you have to be aware of your runoff and act responsibly. You can do this job at a public car wash, but you won’t be popular. You can also put lots of cardboard underneath your work area and dispose of it properly when you are done.

It took us a few hours and our backs were sore for a day or two—we also cleaned the subframes at the same time—but we got 99% of everything off the bottom of our car and were pleased with the results.

It was an itsy bitsy, teeny-weeny rally-winning project Mini. Subscribe to Classic Motorsports and get them in your mailbox.
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