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Library Card

Trent, Andy ; Karsky, Dick ; Harding, Chuck ; Gilmour, Scott . 2004. MTDC Portable Vehicle Washer. 0434 2819. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Missoula Technology and Development Center. 14 p.

Describes a vehicle washer that is mounted on a flatbed trailer and can be towed by a 3/4-ton pickup truck when the water tanks are empty. The washer can be used at fire camps where weed seeds need to be removed from vehicles before and after they leave the area. Operators use two high-pressure wands to wash the vehicle's sides, wheels, and wheel wells. One high-pressure underbody washer cleans the vehicle's underbody when the vehicle drives onto the wash mat and another cleans the underbody again as the vehicle drives off. Vehicles are washed on an industrial rubber mat that has 3-inch-high, foam-filled barriers on all sides to hold the wash water. The water is filtered before being reused. The prototype washer was tested at fire camps in Montana during the 2002 and 2003 fire seasons. Operators took 2 to 3 minutes to wash a standard pickup truck, sport utility vehicle, or car and another minute or so longer to wash hotshot crew vehicles, fire engines, and school buses. When vehicles are especially muddy, the wash water cannot be reused without clogging filters and wearing out bypass valves. In such cases, dirty water can be hauled away by trucks for disposal. Drawings for the vehicle washer (MTDC-1020) and an operator's manual (0434-2826-MTDC) are available from the Missoula Technology and Development Center.

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