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  1. #1

    Default My 3-Bucket Truck Wash - Uncut.

    Last week I setup a camera to film my entire wash process from start to finish, mainly at the request of a customer who had seen how my black Avalanche had looked thru most of its life. He has been struggling to keep his black truck swirl free and wanted to know how I did it. What better way than to just show the process, start to finish? Obviously I've sped this up so you don't have to watch me wash a truck for an hour+, but it is uncut... every part... how I wash my rides every time to minimize swirling.

    Please... any questions feel free to ask. Also, this is an ever evolving process as anyones wash routine should be. When you see an area for improvement GO FOR IT!

    So why 3 buckets?

    I started to notice that in some of my washes the 2nd bucket was still getting a fair amount of grit in the bottom. Wanting to eliminate the chances it made it back to the paint I added a 3rd bucket with another grit guard. My goal is to have ZERO contamination by the time I make it to that last bucket.

    Bucket 1:
    Pure water. this is used to scrub loose the majority of the debris. The wash media is scrubbed against the insert, combed thru with my fingers and given a quick visual inspection.

    Bucket 2:
    Pure water. This bucket gets much the same process as the first, once again scrubbing against the grit guard, pulling out of the water and inspecting for debris.

    Bucket 3:
    Water with soap. When your wash mitt reaches this bucket it should be clean and free of debris minimizing your chances of swirling. Make sure the mixture is heavy and a thick later of soap is created at setup.

    You'll also notice the addition of a foam gun to the process. I'd like to stress this is NOT a requirement, but more a thing of convenience. Using solid technique you can perform a proper swirl free wash without a foam gun... it just makes it faster/easier. Also, before anyone says anything - the gun I'm using is actually from the pre-china gilmour days... I've had it for awhile.

    The process itself is pretty basic.

    • Start with the wheels as always.
    • Rinse really well before introducing soap.
    • Foam the vehicle completely.
    • Merino Wash Mitt for the upper 2/3rds working 1 panel with each side of the mitt.
    • Rinse. Inspect. Rinse. Inspect. Prime and repeat.
    • Switch over to 2nd wash mitt or pad for lower 1/3rd following same process.
    • Optional - Foam the vehicle again anywhere the soap may have started to dry.
    • Power rinse with a strong stream from the hose.
    • Sheet rinse to reduce standing water.
    • Blaster Sidekick to knock loose bulk of remaining water.
    • Great White Drying Towel + Detail Spray to dry
    • Hit again with Blaster Sidekick to get water out of cracks.
    • Touchup with Great White + Detail Spray
    • Waterless Wash + Waterless Wash Towel for door jambs, engine bay, and wheels.

    Total time start to finish for this wash was 1h 17m
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  2. #2

    Enkeiavalanche's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Piermont,NY, back in Northern NJ now, But may be in IL soon....


    And what about the inner part of the rims? I use a thin plastic Toilet brush that I got from the supermarket NO Wire brushes... Also some brushes have a metel retainer DO NOT use on Nice rims...

    Next time can you get these Girls to make your video? You WILL sell more....

    Good job...
    08 Z71 Avalanche Mods to date: K&N CAI,Hellwig Swaybars and End Links, Corsa Sport Exhaust, Superchips Programer,IPCW LOF & 3rd brake light and tails, AMI Gas door,Show Hooks and Door locks, Enkei Wheels, with Pirelli tires, StreetScene Bowties, Grant Steering wheel,Muth signal mirrors,SSBC Big Brake kit,Huskyliner Mug gards,Floor mats and Hood shield, McGard Lug nuts and locks, Bedrug, Cervini's Ram Air hood,35watt HID Fog lights, Sylvania bulbs all around ZXE's Highs and Lows, WhiteNight Back up lights,Sirius and HD Radio, SnugTop sitting on deck now Got a Softopper on now,Tempress Boat Hatches.... New Bilstein shocks are on... New Mods coming soon..... X

  3. #3


    This was more of a maintenance wash than full cleaning, but when I need to clean the inner barrel of my wheels I use the Turbo Stick

  4. #4


    That was a good video but I must say, you are obviously not in an area were the bugs are bad. I spend that much time just getting the bugs off my front end, Mirrors and windshield. Then about the same amount of time doing the rest of the truck, about 3 hours total by the time it's dry. I do this every week so of course I have to do an old fashioned hand wax about every other month so the damn bugs don't stick so bad. I would like to see you do a video on a truck down here in the dirty south were we have major bugs and see what your solution would be or if it would just take you a long time as it does me. Really enjoyed the video and the music choice was pretty cool too.

    2002 Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab SportSide: See Mods in My Garage

  5. #5


    My bug treatment process doesn't really add all that much time, but there is some added steps:

    a 1:1 mixture of All Purpose Cleaner via a foaming sprayer after the initial rinse. Allow it to dwell while I do the rest of the wash, then use a separate wash mitt to wipe them away. The APC softens them so they come fairly easily with just a few passes of the wash pad. Anything beyond that is easily addressed with clay or spot treatments of isopropyl alcohol.

  6. #6


    This really makes me want to get back to my truck so I can wash it and refine my process. I think I'll need to stockpile some Adam's products so it's ready when I get there.

    To Be Completed (Eventually):
    6" BDS Suspension lift | KingShocks Front and Rear Coil Overs | 4.56 Gears | 35" A/Ts (TBD) | Cervinis 07-12 Silverado Ram Air Hood | Fab Fours Front Winch Bumper (CS07-H2051-1) | Fab Fours Full Size Rear Bumper (CS07-W1850-1) | RX-2 Series Main Grille (Black) | Line-x Bed and wheel wells | Skid Plates | Rizor Automated Tonneau Cover | Custom Bed Insert | RBP RX-3 Series Nerf Bars | Kenwood Excelon DNX9990HD | JL Audio Stealthbox (2x500RMS) | JL Audio HD 1200/1 Class D Mono Amp | JL Audio C5-653 Components (Front) | JL Audio C5-650 Components (Rear) | JL Audio Slash v2 300/4v2 Class A/B Amp

  7. #7


    I agree with Jeremy makes me want to wash my truck. You technique looks pretty good. Makes me want to come wash my truck with you. I will be refining my process and I too think I nedd some Adam's products. Thanks for the display it was very cool.

    2011 GMC SIERRA CREW CAB 2WD W/5.3

    Convenience Package
    : Adjustable Pedals, Remote Start, Electric Rear Window Defogger, Rear Parking Assist

    Power Tech. Package| Volant CAI| GMC Upgraded Grill| Line-X Premium Bedliner| AVS Smoke Headlight Covers| Demolded| AMI Black Grill Emblem| AMI Black Rear Emblem| EGR In-Channel Window Visors| IPCW Third Brake Light| IPCW LED Fiber Optic Tail Lights| IJDM Dome & License Plate LED's| Flowmaster Exhaust W/ 3" Black Chrome Tips| OEM 20" Rims W/ Goodyear Eagle LS2

    You can't get away from the STORM!

  8. #8


    Dylan: Great video. I wish I could work that fast. I will be looking for some brushes for the wheels and wheel wells. That will save me some time and pain, and will also keep my sponges clean. I like the 3 bucket approach. Currently I have a 5 gal Homer bucket with a paint liner. Time to upgrade that as well. Can't justify the cost of a foam gun though.
    2009 GMC Sierra 5.3L running on E85
    Black and chrome
    Volant CAI
    Borla dual exhaust
    Chrome Billet grill
    Tonneau cover
    4300k High/Low Beam HIDs
    Westin Ultimate Bull Bar with PIAA 540s
    Blacked-out tail and third brake light

  9. #9
    Master Mechanic
    AMac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    New England


    Nice post on your process and now you have me thinking about cleaning up my own process. This weekend I'll likely take a trip to the hardware store to get some more buckets. I do need to get a wash mitt too however I'm not sure if me standing on wet tires to reach the hood and having to stand on my seats to reach the roof are a good idea. Is using a brush completely taboo or is there one you could recommend for me? This weekend I did start labeling bags to put specific towels in for specific uses. Why do you start with the wheels first?

  10. #10


    Very nice video. I wish (and know I should) I was that detailed in my washes. Patience in that category is not one of my strong suits.
    2004 Silverado 2500 Crew Cab 4x4, AMSOIL EA air filter, Granatelli MAF sensor, Throttle body spacer, Magnaflow exhaust (true dual to 2 in 1 out muffler), 6" ProComp lift (add a leaf and 5" superlift rear block), Bilstein shocks, 35's (Cooper Disoverer ST) and 4.10 gears, Rhino Liner, EGRUSA fender Flares and widow visors, extended stainless steel brake lines, firestone airbags w/onboard air compressor, Pioneer Avic X940BT navigation, Accel backup camera.
    1960 Land Rover Series II 88
    2001 Pontiac Sunfire
    2013 Toyota Avalon Limited (Wife's Car)
    NRA Life Member

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