Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any way?

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Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any way?

Postby Ratty » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:46 pm

I bring my van and I love the smell that comes from the air-conditioner a year later. If I beat on the seats there is a cloud of fine playa dust. So what? Cars are for using and enjoying. BUT....I'm in the process of picking out a new van. Does anyone cover their engine compartment after they park? One side of mine has sandblasted trim. The headlight housings are cloudy on one side from a white out in 09. When I get my new van I'll stick bumper stickers on it, replace the license plate holders and maybe have some pictures, flames, pinstripes added by the local talent at the flea mkt. Is there anything I should do to protect the engine, transmission etc...from driving winds of microscopic dust?
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby ranger magnum » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:31 pm

There is nothing you can really do. About the only thing worthwhile would be to buy another air filter, and change it in gerlach on your way home.

Engines and trannys are sealed units, and playa dust wont make it inside. I do a vinegar and water wash when i get home, but you need to do that within a day or so, as the coastal weather here starts the rusting process immediately.

As much as i like to support the local economy, the car washes offered along 447 are pretty useless. Take your van to the truck wash (blue diamond i think it is) in fernley. Its at one of the truck stops. There is an undercarridge wash there, and when i pull my motorhome through, you cant tell i was on playa.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Ratty » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:12 pm

Thanks. On the van that I'm getting rid of, I have a washable air filter. My mechanic swears by them. I've never looked at it but I picture it like a sponge. It cost $70 and believe me, it saved me money if I think of all the dirty places I take my car. He usually 'blows' my engine compartment with a compressor and washes it.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Ratty » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:15 pm

Wait! So if you're recommending that I replace my air filter on the way home there IS something I could do. I could throw a garbage bag over it when I get there?? Then it would be clean when I get ready to leave?
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby SnowBlind » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:23 pm

Ratty wrote:Wait! So if you're recommending that I replace my air filter on the way home there IS something I could do. I could throw a garbage bag over it when I get there?? Then it would be clean when I get ready to leave?


I would guess that most of the dust that gets in your airfilter gets in there when you are driving and your engine is actively sucking air thru the filter. Seeing how the filter is deep inside your car, I doubt much gets in there while the car is parked. (Thats obviously not true for other parts of your car).

For your interior of the car, I've found the best strategy is to make sure you unload everything on day one and don't open the car until it's time to pack. I see some people use their car as storage and the doors open every 10 minutes.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Ratty » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:41 pm

Yeah. I sleep in my van with one back door and back hatch open. It's great, and cool. I don't mind the dust. If it blows I close up. About that air filter....I'm picturing a 54 ford with the nice circular chrome thing screwed on the top of the engine. Ahhhh. For the simplicity of pre-computer cars.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby some seeing eye » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:55 pm

Space blankets on the windows. Cover the air intake for the heater/ac - usually in front of the windshield wipers. Bed sheets on the seats and other horizontal surfaces. Parking your entry/exit/cracked windows in a sheltered structure, like one end of a closed up carport, then storing dirty clothes in that rather than the vehicle can help. With the windows completely covered, it gets warm but not unbearable to sleep in mid day for light covered vehicles. Exodus is a tough dust situation.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Canoe » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:26 pm

  • Pressure wash underneath to remove all plant matter and seeds before leaving for BRC, or use the underwash at the truck stop in Fernley, to minimize the chance of leaving hitch-hikers in the Black Rock Desert.
  • Something to place between your tires and the playa to protect the playa from leaving black tire scars (not unpainted wood that leaves bits of wood) - better than merely raking them away?
  • Something (that won't blow away) to cover your tires in the sun, to protect from UV and heat.

+100 on
  • space blanket or foil-sided bubble-wrap.
  • cheap sheets on seats, dash, (floor?) - easier cleanup for dust and protect dash (other plastics) from heat

Change the oil, oil filter & air filters when you get home, or far enough from the desert
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby gyre » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:45 am

You might want to keep the filter when you sell that van.

Some vehicles have a downturn in the intake, which can trap dust.
You can modify one without that.
I would plug the intake on playa, if I thought it needed it.

Not all permanent air filters are a good idea.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Ratty » Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:24 pm

I'm still shopping for my new van. Going to BM adds to the list of priorities. In a Sienna, when I take the seats out I'm left with a 'thing' on the floor rather than a flat floor. In the KIA the rear seats fold down into a space so I'm stuck with the extra weight all year. That may be true of all the 2012 models. Plus, every time I say 'KIA' I think, 'killed in action'. I never carry more than one passenger. Some roof racks don't come with the cross bars. They cost $200 to $300. I would love to buy a Ford Transit with windows but I have to pay for seats and interior that I don't care about. (I can special order if I want to wait 5 months for it to come from Turkey). There really aren't many choices in minivans. No more ford or chevys. Hondas are over priced. I'm still searching. I have money so at least THAT isn't the driving force.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Straightveg » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:44 pm

gyre wrote:I would plug the intake on playa, if I thought it needed it.


THIS!
What I'd do in your situation is buy a cheap aftermarket air filter for your van, put that in shortly before you get to the playa, then change back to your nice reusable filter once you leave. That way any dust that blows up your intake won't make it into the engine, and your expensive reusable filter doesn't get playafied.
gyre wrote:Some vehicles have a downturn in the intake, which can trap dust.

I expect that to work on the playa in a dust storm about as well as a rainfly keeps dust out of tents with mesh windows.

YMMV,IANAL, I didn't stay at a holiday inn express last night, etc. That said, I do work on cars as what passes for a living these days.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Clar-i-ty » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:50 pm

A couple of years ago I had to rent a vehicle at the 11th hour. I bought several rolls of blue painters tape to cover all the window seals (black rubber pieces). I got my deposit back.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby gyre » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:28 pm

Straightveg wrote:
gyre wrote:
gyre wrote:Some vehicles have a downturn in the intake, which can trap dust.

I expect that to work on the playa in a dust storm about as well as a rainfly keeps dust out of tents with mesh windows.

YMMV,IANAL, I didn't stay at a holiday inn express last night, etc. That said, I do work on cars as what passes for a living these days.

it's hard to describe this precisely, but a downturn that traps dust before rising up to the intake is a proven device.
The last car I drove on the playa had a well enough shrouded intake that I never found all of it and it picked up no detectable dust.
No doubt there was some in the throat somewhere, but not on the filter.
i couldn't get the blue tape to stick to anything last trip.

A simple downturn by itself wouldn't be enough without shrouding.
Permanent filters aren't necessarily superior as filter materials have improved.
The reason for using them is mostly cost or improved air flow with larger sizes.
I use disposable ones mostly, including indoors.
Lifespan on the good inside stuff is five years to infinity though.

An exposed k&n will not always stop hardware, in spite of the metal mesh.
If you have any doubt, I suggest stainless mesh as a guard.

I'm not up on newer vans, so can't be too much help.
I would buy a full size if I was buying one myself.
I would urge you to get what you really want, even if it means special order or modifying the interior.
It's usually cheaper than dissatisfaction.

Special orders often come in in meticulous condition, compared to standard versions, in my experience.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Ratty » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:54 pm

Thanks for all the great advice. I'm not picky about frills or trim. The ONLY reason I'm even thinking about it is the 'new car' mind-set. You could grow potatoes in my van. It's that dirty inside and out. But...I maintain it mechanically. (Or actually my mechanic does). What ever I buy, the seats will come out on day 2 or 3 and by day 4 it'll be full of questionable garage sale junk or stuff from a free pile. I contribute greatly to the ebb and flow of shit through the universe.

I can't special order my car because I need it by the end of August. And I can't bring my Dodge Caravan because it has the usual Caravan illness.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby insomnivore » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:12 pm

As others have said, filter engineering has improved by leaps and bounds, especially in the OEM. Most modern mini-vans, crossovers, and cars get their air from one of the wheel wells above the splash guard, and in most cases there is even extra ducting in the wheel well to aid in air delivery and keeping crap out. Full size vans generally pull air from the front of the vehicle, typically above the radiator support. If you were to go the route of the full size van, the air inlets are usually easy to spot and get to, and sealing them up would be a piece of cake.

It's been my experience that in all modern vehicles, the OEM filter setup is by and large the best...provided the airbox is kept clipped and sealed like designed. I do quite a bit of work on diesel engines used in mining and agriculture here in Arizona, and every time I see a dusted motor, there's either a broken airbox or an aftermarket filter attached. Around here, it's always been my recommendation to stick with OEM filters unless your application demands higher flow (prettymuch just racing). The only major downfall of the OEM airbox is that they make a great nest for rats around here.

This is, of course, if you go with a new van. If you continue to use the one you have, I second what Straightveg wrote and get a second filter to use in the dust...just don't buy one from Autozone or whatever because those won't filter out anything smaller than a golfball and will do much more harm than good for your engine.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby ranger magnum » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:55 pm

Ive had great experiences with K&N filters in both the race car and in my diesel truck. Regardless, replace the filter when you leave. Oem filters are cheap. Dont bother swapping them as you enter/leave, unless you have a K&N to begin with. Just get a replacement and switch it out.

Once you arrive, unless you turn the car on and off, the dust wont be a problem for the engine.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby some seeing eye » Tue May 01, 2012 8:43 am

It's been said before, but worth repeating. Tieing things like tarps over a vehicle which can flap in the wind, can and will cause abrasion of the paint over a week, are good to avoid. Covering the windows with mylar space blankets or mirror bubble wrap is done with blue masking tape which is low release. Regular masking tape adhesive will bake onto the vehicle and require solvents to remove, and research on which solvents won't also remove the paint or polish. Vehicles are also great anchors for shade structures and the like, but you don't want the ropes rubbing against good paint or tearing off a luggage rack in a wind storm, so anchor low and solid.

The Honda Element was a great BM vehicle we used, rugged interior, but discontinued. I'm fascinated with the Sprinter RV conversions, but they are a premium vehicle. Great the Ford you mentioned has adopted their taller interior.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Canoe » Wed May 02, 2012 8:06 am

Clar-i-ty wrote:A couple of years ago I had to rent a vehicle at the 11th hour. I bought several rolls of blue painters tape to cover all the window seals (black rubber pieces). I got my deposit back.

+100
Seal the seams with blue/green painters tape (but NOT the "delicate surface" tape, which will not hold) - you may have to wipe the surface first. I dry wipe and it holds all week. Wider widths have more grip.
Mylar and such can be on the inside of windows, so they can't blow away.
Don't leave any loose tape ends - a strong or lasting wind can rip the tape off.

Gaffer's tape works too, but it's more expensive - you will not be able to get in/out of a door in a hurry.

NEVER: duct tape, masking tape, foil tape
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby some seeing eye » Wed May 02, 2012 9:14 am

On blocking windows, putting the reflector on the outside, rather than inside, will be more effective because of the greenhouse effect. But if your covering is on the outside, you have to tape completely around every edge with the wide tape, 1 1/2" or 2" as Mr Canoe notes, to keep the wind from getting under it and tearing it.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby gyre » Wed May 02, 2012 9:41 am

ranger magnum wrote:Ive had great experiences with K&N filters in both the race car and in my diesel truck. Regardless, replace the filter when you leave. Oem filters are cheap. Dont bother swapping them as you enter/leave, unless you have a K&N to begin with. Just get a replacement and switch it out.

Once you arrive, unless you turn the car on and off, the dust wont be a problem for the engine.


Prefilters are an option, whatever type filter you have.
Just remember to replace or remove them.

Using prefilters with home air filters (industrial type) can make them last forever.
The prefilters I use are $7 each, standard industrial.

They work on shopvacs too.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Canoe » Wed May 02, 2012 12:24 pm

some seeing eye wrote:On blocking windows, putting the reflector on the outside, rather than inside, will be more effective because of the greenhouse effect. But if your covering is on the outside, you have to tape completely around every edge with the wide tape, 1 1/2" or 2" as Mr Canoe notes, to keep the wind from getting under it and tearing it.

Definitely. But on the outside, a strong wind can rip mylar apart while still taped, although it would stay taped for long after. An "X" taped across it would help - do not expect to get this tape off without risk of damaging the mylar.

From "keeping your RV cool": Covering on the inside: For better performance, make sure all the glass is blocked - essential for glass in the sun. Even better, tape all around the inside. Better again, extend foil-sided bubble-wrap past the frame before taping. And cover the frames on the outside with painter's tape, and improve again with foil-tape on top of the painter's tape.
But, if you're just storing the vehicle and not living in it at BRC, a basic treatment will do the job of protecting the interior.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby some seeing eye » Wed May 02, 2012 1:10 pm

Actually in more than 8 years of mylar taping, I have never had it tear in the wind. I cut it to exact size with scissors and tape completely around the edge. But of course, your mileage may vary, and the playa is a variable place! Plenty of opportunities for experimentation and innovation. I always thought close conforming inflatable inside window reflectors would be a great invention.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby gyre » Wed May 02, 2012 1:20 pm

There is a window film that blocks almost all heat even in a low tint version.
Legal on windshields.

Worth having in hot areas.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby voiceinthedarkness » Wed May 02, 2012 3:26 pm

Perhaps I'm missing something critical, so pardon yet another silly question - why has no one mentioned an auto cover, at least for general automobiles (RV's, not so much). Cheap from JC Whitney or other sources, those I've bought locally can be secured via line or bungee cord under the vehicle. A nuisance if using the vehicle as secure storage.

So, what am I missing?
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed May 02, 2012 4:09 pm

That a cover, in the wind, rubs against the car and can, over the course of the burn, damage the paint job.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Ratty » Wed May 02, 2012 10:29 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions. I think I'll cut up some of that silver bubble wrap or things that go inside of windshields and tape them inside. Does that make any sense? Does mylar only work if I tape it on the outside?

I can't use a car cover because I'm in and out too much. Although I'm going to bring a small tent this year for storage. Maybe that way I won't feel like I'm sleeping in the clothes hamper.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed May 02, 2012 10:32 pm

Mylar is to keep the car cool. It works better on the outside because it reflects the light and heat before it gets in the car. And perhaps the glass cuts down on the efficiency of reflecting it back out if the mylar is on the inside.
At least that's what my understanding of these things gets me.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Drawingablank » Thu May 03, 2012 11:21 am

Last year we used the mylar covered bubble wrap (Reflectix) available in various sized rolls in the insulation section at Lowes and probably at HD as well. Two 25 foot rolls covered all the windows and skylight in the rv. We pre cut and fitted it with frog tape to the inside of all the windows and it helped tremendously - there was no time of day when it was unbearable in the rv although it was not particularly comfortable after 10 AM.

Being an insulation product it works primarily to hinder the conduction of the heat into the vehicle, but being reflective also helps some.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby Ratty » Thu May 03, 2012 1:17 pm

I'm thinking reflective bubble wrap type stuff on the outside with blue tape. I would love to sleep in a little later in the heat. ALSO today I remembered to put a fire extinguisher on my shopping list. I sometimes pop the rear hatch and cook in the back of my van. I used to carry one in the car and I put out 2 car fires on the side of the road. (That's 30 minutes and $30 I'll never get back). You can't very well ask the guy for money when his ride is a pile of smoldering cinders.
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Re: Once you park, do you playa-proof your vehicle in any wa

Postby some seeing eye » Thu May 03, 2012 1:47 pm

Bubble wrap is a fine product, but I prefer the mylar because it is less bulky inbound and outbound. The bubble wrap may be recyclable at a specialized recycling depot as is mylar. But both are going to be downcycled into less useful materials.
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