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e_pie
e_pie Reader
4/16/12 10:14 a.m.

Here is my basic process for detailing a car, my buffer is a DeWalt 849.

Here are the pads I use and will reference in this post.

http://www.autogeek.net/lc-ccs-7inch-pads.html

The first steps are to wash and clay the car, I like optimum no rinse because I don't have to drag out the hose, and I can wash in any weather without freezing on cold days or having to race water spots on hot sunny days. ONR can also be used as a claybar lubricant.

http://www.autogeek.net/no-rinse-wash.html

Pick whatever clay bar you want to use the brand doesn't really matter, they are all basically the same as they are licensed from the same patent.

To start out I generally use Optimum Compound with an orange Lake Country pad depending on how bad the paint was, if it wasn't that bad I would just start out on the next buffing step, if it was worse I would use a Lake Country Yellow pad with Optimum Compound.

http://www.autogeek.net/optimum-compound.html

You could use a more agressive pad/compound combo if you really want to, but the object is to do as little buffing as possible to get the paint looking good.

Also the first step of buffing will take the longest because you'll be taking your time getting out all of the major imperfections.

After that I use Optimum Polish II with an LC green or white pad.

http://www.autogeek.net/opt400.html

Then followed with 3M 06068 Ultrafine Machine polish with either a gray or blue pad.

http://www.autogeek.net/3m-ultra-fine-polish.html

Then top with Opti-Seal

http://www.autogeek.net/optimum-opti-seal.html

And then the wax of your choice, I like Poorboys Natty Red or Blue and AutoGlym HD wax

http://www.autogeek.net/poorboys-nattys-red-wax.html

http://www.autogeek.net/nattys-blue.html

http://www.amazon.com/Autoglym-HDWAXUS-High-Definition-Wax/dp/B001FEISS6

Also a little tip,

To test and see if what you are doing will be enough to correct the paint, put a line of tape down a section where you can get a good side by side comparison. Run through of the buffing steps real quick, then pull off the tape and compare against the untouched area, if there are still some deep swirls you may need to use a more agressive pad.

For REALLY heavy correction use the Compound II with the yellow pad, but that can take off material pretty fast if you're not careful (especially with a rotary buffer) so only use that on the really bad spots.

In all the dozens of cars I've detailed I've only run in to a handful of cars that had scratches bad enough to need a yellow pad.

e_pie
e_pie Reader
4/16/12 10:16 a.m.

As far as a cheap bare bones kit I would recommend for a beginner.

http://www.autogeek.net/optimum-porter-cable-kit.html

DA buffers are a lot more forgiving for someone just starting out, they will take a little more time to correct swirls but will make up for that by not burning through the paint too fast.

That kit should give you a good start to doing medium to light paint correction. If you're following along with the steps in the above post, just replace the 3M machine polish with the Poli-Seal

e_pie
e_pie Reader
4/16/12 10:16 a.m.

And here are some before and after pics of cars I've done.

http://itsfabulo.us/details

ProDarwin
ProDarwin SuperDork
4/16/12 10:26 a.m.

Awesome. Bookmarked. I should take care of the paint on my cars once in a while.

bgkast
bgkast New Reader
4/16/12 10:27 a.m.

Are there any other steps I should add when trying to revive oxidized, chalky paint? I am going to be going over my wife's 560SL soon. From what I have seen the old single stage Mercedes paint responds well to rejuvenation, but I've never done a full buff and polish before.

nderwater
nderwater UltraDork
4/16/12 10:41 a.m.

e_pie - great photos and write-up, it looks like you're pretty good at this. That NSX is awesome. What do you charge to do a car?

e_pie
e_pie Reader
4/16/12 10:46 a.m.
bgkast wrote: Are there any other steps I should add when trying to revive oxidized, chalky paint? I am going to be going over my wife's 560SL soon. From what I have seen the old single stage Mercedes paint responds well to rejuvenation, but I've never done a full buff and polish before.

The Optimum Compound II and LC Yellow pad can do some serious work. I would be surprised if that didn't take care of it, especially with a single stage paint.

e_pie
e_pie Reader
4/16/12 10:48 a.m.
nderwater wrote: e_pie - great photos and write-up, it looks like you're pretty good at this. That NSX is awesome. What do you charge to do a car?

Thanks.

It depends on the car, how bad the paint is, and how much painted area there is on the car, a general ballpark is usually around $225-275 though. A full detail usually takes me about 6 hours.

e_pie
e_pie Reader
4/16/12 10:52 a.m.
ProDarwin wrote: Awesome. Bookmarked. I should take care of the paint on my cars once in a while.

It's a nice skill to have in your toolbox when the need arises. You know you have issues when your daily beater outshines most cars you'd see at a car show, lol.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH UberDork
4/16/12 10:55 a.m.

Ah, I remember back when my cars had paint worth taking care of...good times.

I'm gonna repaint the sammy with bedliner and get starshield or extra clear coat on the 'rolla if I can ever spend that much money on a non-performance mod.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin SuperDork
4/16/12 11:03 a.m.
e_pie wrote: It's a nice skill to have in your toolbox when the need arises. You know you have issues when your daily beater outshines most cars you'd see at a car show, lol.

My beater has a 1/4" coat of pollen... on top of probably 1/8" of road grime, tree sap, bird E36 M3, dirt, etc. I can't see myself ever detailing it, but I would like to take better care of of my S2K though.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce Reader
4/16/12 11:08 a.m.

Any recommendations for door jambs, hinges, general door stuff that's really hard to reach and gets grimy? I find that to be the hardest part of keeping a car clean.
Also plastics, the older my cars get, the harder I fight with the plastics.

e_pie
e_pie Reader
4/16/12 11:24 a.m.
mazdeuce wrote: Any recommendations for door jambs, hinges, general door stuff that's really hard to reach and gets grimy? I find that to be the hardest part of keeping a car clean. Also plastics, the older my cars get, the harder I fight with the plastics.

I use Optimum no rinse in doors, if it's really grimey and needs polishing you can go in there by hand.

Black plastic is always awful, take your pick of black trim restorers, I like mother's back to black, it's been about the most consistient that I've found. None of them really work all that great though, since it's the plastic that has oxidized. If it's untextured plastic you can buff it and get to the unoxidized plastic underneath. If it's textured plastic you're pretty much hosed and have to deal with applying back to black whenever you clean the car.

If you ever get wax or anything in the textured plastic Mr. Clean magic erasers will take it out.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce Reader
4/16/12 11:44 a.m.

Thanks, I'll try some of the optimum no rinse. Looks like interesting stuff.
I keep hoping someone will have a magic textured black plastic product, but it never happens.
Thanks for the other info too, the roof of my wife's FJ Cruiser has oxidized and I need to do something about it.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler HalfDork
4/16/12 11:51 a.m.
e_pie wrote:
mazdeuce wrote: Any recommendations for door jambs, hinges, general door stuff that's really hard to reach and gets grimy? I find that to be the hardest part of keeping a car clean. Also plastics, the older my cars get, the harder I fight with the plastics.

I use Optimum no rinse in doors, if it's really grimey and needs polishing you can go in there by hand.

Black plastic is always awful, take your pick of black trim restorers, I like mother's back to black, it's been about the most consistient that I've found. None of them really work all that great though, since it's the plastic that has oxidized. If it's untextured plastic you can buff it and get to the unoxidized plastic underneath. If it's textured plastic you're pretty much hosed and have to deal with applying back to black whenever you clean the car.

If you ever get wax or anything in the textured plastic Mr. Clean magic erasers will take it out.

For black plastic, I've had good luck with Forever Black: http://www.foreverblack.com/products.html

Though I am beginning to think it's just black shoe polish.....

e_pie
e_pie Reader
4/16/12 11:56 a.m.

I've found that tire shine works pretty well on black trim too, but it doesn't last long at all.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH UberDork
4/16/12 12:11 p.m.

I used a black sharpie to go over wax on black textured plastic, it looked reddish at first but within a few days it was good as new.

Osterkraut
Osterkraut UltraDork
4/16/12 12:26 p.m.

Watching this.

I've been using Optimum No Rinse for about a year now...it's magical.

e_pie
e_pie Reader
4/16/12 12:38 p.m.
Osterkraut wrote: Watching this. I've been using Optimum No Rinse for about a year now...it's magical.

Isn't it? I was skeptical the first time I heard of it, but it's awesome.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke Reader
4/16/12 12:47 p.m.

Bookmarked. I gotta take better car of the paint on a couple of my cars.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic UltimaDork
4/16/12 12:55 p.m.

Bookmarked. I have a Mercedes in need of some serious paint love...

e_pie
e_pie Reader
4/16/12 3:05 p.m.

Oh another tip for a beginner, if you want to practice on something that isn't your car and doesn't really matter, go pick up fenders/bumpers/whatever from the junkyard.

The green del sol roof in my before/after pictures is from the junkyard, my friend picked it up on a pullapart trip to flip it and gave me $5 to see what I could do with it. I jumped at the chance and couldn't believe how nice it came out.

The clay bar literally sounded like sand paper when I was cleaning it off, it was NASTY. But after going over it with a Yellow pad with Optiumum Compound II, Orange pad with Optiumum Polish II, then Grey pad with 3M Ultrafine it looked practically new.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 Dork
4/16/12 3:36 p.m.

Can you buff out rust?

Actually, it's a moderately serious question- I've got three small rust spots on my '95 E36 M3- two below the rear license plate, and one in the left rear fender. I don't think they're coming from inside, but I know not much on the subject. Otherwise, the paint is really nice, so I'm not ready to shell out for major paint repair. Should I wire wheel it, rust treat it, get a preval paint can and clear?

I hope this isn't too far off topic. These are the only real flaws in an otherwise pretty cherry car.

e_pie
e_pie Reader
4/16/12 3:47 p.m.

If it's rust on the paint from something getting on the paint it will buff out, if it's rust coming from the actual car rusting buffing won't really help.

oldsaw
oldsaw PowerDork
4/16/12 4:25 p.m.
e_pie wrote: ....... my buffer is a DeWalt 849.

Does your DeWalt see double-duty as a sander?

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