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Old 12-27-2019, 11:23 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 212
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Integrated CE S
Engine: DT466
Preventing rust when driving through the rust belt

I'm usually in Virginia, but I took the bus up the Minnesota for a few weeks for Christmas. Not doing much driving up here, but when I get back, what can I do to prevent the road salt from rusting my frame?

I was considering crawling under there with a hose and a sprayer (not pressure washer, just spray nozzle), and rinsing it all down. Do I need to scrub everything as well, or will simply rinsing it off with water work?

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Old 12-27-2019, 11:30 AM   #2
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 3,032
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
If it hasn't started rusting, a good rinse should take care of it, soap and water if you want to be extra fancy. if there's some orange, spray it with some ospho.
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Old 12-27-2019, 11:48 AM   #3
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 260
Year: 1980
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Detroit 671T
RI (our home state) has the dubious distinction of being the "saltiest state" in the country. We use more road salt per lane mile annually(44.5 tons IIRC) than any other state in the country.

It shows on all the rotten, rusty, undercarriages around here, as well as our crumbling infrastructure.

My solution to the salt problem is multi-tiered, but has worked very well for me as I have a 2005 Jeep Wrangler that I bought new and still has a spotless frame.

First, washdown as soon and as often as possible. Water and car soap are fine, but make sure you are getting up in all the nooks and crannies, and especially inside the framerails. You will have to get right up under there and you will be soaked.

Next, are the semi-annual oil baths. I tend to do them in the spring after all the salt is gone and and again in the fall around halloween. After a good wash, I will use either WD-40, hydraulic fluid, motor oil, or a combination of these or other oils. Put them in a spray bottle, park over a tarp, and coat the chassis, suspension, body tub, hell everything but the exhaust with a light coating of oil and let it stay.

Learned this trick from an old farmer, and this has kept my vehicles rust free for the most part.

I did give the Supahcoach a light oil bath when she got here this spring, but I won't be driving her until all the salt is gone and before then she will get another WD-40 washdown. I buy it in the gallon jugs and use either a 1/2 gallon hand spray bottle, or a little hand pump sprayer.

Also, if you have a garage or heated parking space, NEVER park inside before washing off the salt, for some reason it seems to accelerate the rusting process.
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Old 12-27-2019, 12:22 PM   #4
Bus Nut
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Cuyahoga Falls Ohio
Posts: 592
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Startrans
Chassis: Ford e-350 single wheel
Engine: 5.4 litre
Rated Cap: 12
I live in the "rust belt" of Ohio. We used to swear by "oil spray" every fall but had to deal with oil ruined anything rubber (brake lines, body mounts, suspension bushings. ) Now we use "Fluid Film" and really like it. In your case of driving through salt , just chassis bath after you get home is fine.
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Old 12-27-2019, 01:58 PM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 212
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Integrated CE S
Engine: DT466
So it sounds like a "heavy washing" will be sufficient for now. I'll wear my bathing suit and hope it's a warm day.

We are looking at moving to the rust belt soon for work and family reasons, so I appreciate the suggestions about how to keep it rust free in the heavily salted areas!
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Old 12-30-2019, 10:31 PM   #6
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: SW New Hampshire
Posts: 1,334
In NH, an underbody spray wash and oil coat is something that any number of shops offer as a service. I'd never heard of it until I moved up here.
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