View Full Version : PC in Awkward Places

Jan 28th, 2005, 02:29 AM

I'm from the UK and currently in the process of ordering my PC 7424. I have attached a few images so you can see the car I have, it's a Fiat Punto Sporting and is'nt what something you can in the states.

Anyway, I've been reading how to use the PC and how much pressure to apply etc, but when it comes to hard to reach and awkward places I need some guidance.


As you can see the front and rear bumpers have narrow strips of paintwork as do the pillars and door tops. My plan of action is to touch up all the stone chips & scratches then wet sand them. Then to remove these marks #83 DACP, followed by #80 Speed Glaze, then step 2 Polish & finally topped of with NXT. What do you think?

Here is what the roof looked like after using Scratch X. :)

Tim Lingor
Jan 28th, 2005, 06:16 AM

Neat looking car!!! :xyxthumbs

As for the wet sanding of the touch-up, I would hesitate. On most OEM paint, to remove wet sanding marks will require the use of a rotary buffer and specialized products and pads. So while buffing by hand with products like ScratchX or #83 may reduce the look of the sanding marks, you will not remove them. As soon as the sun hits the paint, you may see "tracers" etc from the sanding process. Just in MHO. :)

Here is more info on wet sanding:


Cheers! :)


Jan 28th, 2005, 06:30 AM
Thanks for the quick reply. The best thing about the punto is it's only got a 1242cc engine producing 80bhp in standard form. But with a little tuning it's running around 100bhp, plus it's shed quite a lot of weight recently. :)

What do you reccomend I do about the narrow areas of bodywork? Hand apply product or tape it up and use the PC?

Tim Lingor
Jan 28th, 2005, 06:46 AM

For the narrow areas, I would use ScratchX by hand. I would also tape the area anyway. Using a PC on some of those narrow edges may cause the pad to fly off the buffer.

Wow! 100 hp in a small car like that! It must accelerate really well! How is the fuel mileage?? I bet it is a little different than my Ford F250 with a V10! :D


Jan 28th, 2005, 07:04 AM
Well 0 - 60 in around 8.8 seconds and it does an average of 42mpg, but on a good motorway journey it'll do 50mpg. In standard form it weighs 920kg and now it's 870kg. It all adds up so a nippy little car.

Emissions & petrol prices mean in the UK cars like your V10 are a dying breed. A litre of petrol is £ 0.79 and a gallon is £2.99, roughly in dollars thats $1.58 per litre and $11.32 per gallon.

Thats why I like to tune small engined cars. :)

Mike Phillips
Jan 28th, 2005, 07:15 AM
Hi Bob,

Tim's dead on in his advise, allow me to add a little more on the wet-sanding question. Modern clear coats are typically much harder than traditional paints. About the only time it's safe to sand on them is when they're fresh and still soft. For a new car tis would be while it's on the assembly line. When new cars on the assembly line have defects and need sanding and buffing, they are pulled from the line to what are referred to as "Polishing Decks" where special sanding papers, compounds and polishes are used with small buffing pads designed just for spot repair. Meguiar's offers such a system to car manufactures.

After a car has been sold, if it is involved in an accident and needs re-painting, or if the owner has a custom paint job sprayed on the car, if any wet-sanding, cutting and buffing are needed, this is typically performed a day or two after the paint has been sprayed while it is still soft. The more time that goes by, the harder the paint becomes. Here's the deal, after paint fully sets-up and be hardens, you can still sand it, but it become very difficult to buff out the sanding marks.

Here's a thread that talks about the limits of what the dual action polisher can do,

PC+83 not "cutting" it! (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3056)

And here's are the basic order of steps to follow when polishing paint

Before detailing your car, first do an extremely good job of washing it. Remove all the dirt from all the nooks and crannies. This prevents any small abrasive dirt particle from entering into the machine polishing process and potentially instilling a swirl. Get the Car Sparkling Clean to start with and everything will be downhill after that.

After that clay the car, at least the horizontal surfaces. Again, do a good job of claying to insure you remove all above surface contaminants. The level of gloss you can achieve from your car's finish is mostly determined by how smooth you can make your paint. Claying will make your car's finish as smooth as glass.

Cleaning is different than washing. Cleaning is removing both above surface defects like oxidation and below surface defects like swirls, scratches, etchings, and dirt that has embedded itself under the surface. Choose the appropriate paint cleaner for the condition of your car's finish and your application process. If you're unsure of which paint cleaner or cleaner/polish is right for your car, describe your car and if possible post a picture and we'll be glad to make some recommendations.

Polishing after removing the defects is typically using a pure polish that is non-abrasive to restore brilliant high gloss and deep, dark reflections. This is an optional step and one best used on medium to dark colored car.

This is where you apply your choice of wax or paint protectant. Adding a layer or two of wax creates a sacrificial-barrier on your car's paint to protect it and also add shine and gloss. Generally, two thin coats will insure even coverage with a uniform appearance.

Maintaining is the use of products like a quick detailer or a spray wax to maintain that "Just detailed look" in-between regular washings, and the regular application of a normal coat of wax.

Meguiar's always teaches,

"Always use the least aggressive product to get the job done"

The idea is to see if you can restore an acceptable finish using the least aggressive product. Starting with a mild paint cleaner or cleaner/polish and testing to see what can accomplished with it is the safe way to learn which product you will need to safely remove the defects. If the first products you try don't do the job, you can always substitute a more aggressive product.

The most aggressive you can go with Meguiar's products and a dual action polisher is using our #83 Dual Action Cleaner Polish and our W-8006 foam pad on the 5.0 setting. Getting any more aggressive than this can cause hazing of the finish and if the defects are serious enough to require a more aggressive product then you should use a rotary buffer or take it to a professional who is experienced with the rotary buffer.

When it comes to removing swirls and other defects using the dual action polisher, here are two products that work really well,

#80 Speed Glaze (http://www.meguiars.com/store_meguiars/product_detail.cfm?parentURL=index_pro.cfm&sku=M-80)
#83 Dual Action Cleaner Polish (http://www.meguiars.com/store_meguiars/product_detail.cfm?sku=M-83)

http://www.meguiars.com/store_meguiars/images/product_m83.gif http://www.meguiars.com/store_meguiars/images/product_m80.gif

In keeping with Meguiar's philosophy of using the least aggressive product to get the job done, if you are unfamiliar with these products and/or your car's paint, then always perform "Test Spot" to a small are first before attempting to do the entire car.

"If you cannot make one small area look good with your prescribed products and process, then you will not be able to make the entire car look good"

Makes sense huh?

To do a test spot, start out with the #80 Speed Glaze with a W-8006 foam polishing pad and buff for 3-4 minutes.

When cleaning paint with the dual action polisher, you want to map out in your minds eye a section or area about 16" square or rectangle, or whatever fit's your car's body panels shape. The idea is you don't want to try to do to much of an area at one time or you will not get good results. The dual action polisher is gentle in it's cleaning and polishing action and for this reason, trying to work on too large an area at one time will not remove enough paint to remove any defects.

Note: To remove a below surface defect, you must remove some paint until the highest points of the surface are level with the lowest depths of the defect you're trying to remove. This means removing paint. This also means how deep of a defect you can remove is determined by how thick you paint is. Often times you can improve a defect, but not completely remove the defect as to do so would remove to much paint and in the case of a clear coat, expose the color coat and in the case of a non-clear coat finish, you will expose the primer under the color coat. How much paint you can remove is hard to know because you can never know exactly how much working film-build you have to work with. Experience in this area helps a lot and sometimes luck is a factor to. Remember this, light swirls are generally pretty safe to remove, but deep scratches like key scratches etc. you will probably be better off merely improving the way they look so they don't stand out like a sore thumb, the to attempt to completely remove them.

When using the dual action polisher to remove defects, map out a section to work in your minds eye. Check the speed setting on the variable speed adjuster. For removing defects you usually need to be around the 4.5 to 5.0 setting. Meguiar's never recommends running the polisher faster than the 5.0 setting as these higher speed settings produce an oscillating action that is too violent in it's speed and motion and this combined with time creates heat and the synergy of all these factors will loosen the Velcro material attached to the foam. Keep your speed settings at 5.0 or below.

After applying some product to your foam pad, (already attached to the polisher), place the face of the foam pad onto the finish and then turn the polisher on. DO NOT turn the polisher on before it has come into contact with the foam pad or your will sling product all over the place and then you'll get to clean the splatter up instead or work on your car's finish. Once you have turned the polisher on, move the polisher around to spread out your product over the area you are going to work. This is important. What you're trying to do here is to spread-out your product so that you have a film of fresh product spread out over the surface you're going to work. THEN begin to work the product against the finish using a slow arm speed, moving the polisher back and forth over the section and overlapping your passes by 50%. You should run the polisher in a couple of different directions, always with overlapping motions, to insure even cleaning over the entire surface.

Note: The reason you want to spread your freshly applied product out over the section you're going to work is because if you turn the polisher on and immediately begin to work in one place, as you're working the product against the finish the diminishing abrasives are breaking down. As you continue to move around the area you're working, by the time you get to the last portion of the area you're working, you will be using a much less aggressive product than when you started out because all the while the diminishing abrasives have been breaking down. If when you first start out you take a few moments to spread the freshly applied product around over the entire section you're going to work, and then go back to your start point, you will have fresh product ready to be worked into the finish as you move from one area to the other.

Does that makes sense?

After you have buffed the area for 3-4 minutes, (how long you buff can be relative to the temperature and humidity in your area, also the type of paint your working on and the amount of product you applied. The important thing is that you buffed long enough to work the product against the finish and have broken the diminishing abrasives down, but you have not buffed to long and buffed to a dry buff. This is something that is hard to explain with a keyboard and a computer monitor and is really something that first-hand experience will teach you), stop buffing, wipe off the residue and inspect the results in two kinds of light, (if possible). If your results look good and are acceptable to you, then repeat this process, (#80 Speed Glaze with the W-8006 foam pad on the 4.5 to 5.0 setting), and after removing all of the residue you can then go on to the waxing step.

If your results don't look good, and this combination of products is not removing as many of the swirls and scratches as you would like, then try repeating the above to the same test section using the #83 Dual Action Cleaner Polish. Use a new clean W-8006 foam polishing pad for this step, or a W-8006 foam polishing pad that you have previously used with the #83.

Here's a suggestion
Use a permanent marker to mark the back of your buffing pads with the product number you're using with them so you don't mix different products onto different pads.

After buffing the test section on the 5.0 setting remove the excess product and re-polish the same area with the #80 Speed Glaze and the W-8006 pad marked and used with this product. Repeat the same procedure as originally outlined for doing the test spot with the #80 above. After you are finished buffing this area, remove the residue and inspect your results again in two kinds of light if possible.

The goal of coarse is that now your car's finish will look great! and be ready for you choice of wax. If your car's finish does look great and meets your expectations then repeat this 2-step cleaning approach to the entire car. If not then chances are very good to remove the defects and meet you requirements the finish will need to be professionally cleaned and polished using a rotary buffer by an experienced professional.

Hope this helps...


Jan 28th, 2005, 07:39 AM
Thanks for that mike. I have been using Meguiars products for 4 months since converting from Auto Glym. It's really amazing how the process of washing a car can evolve when you have better knowledge.

I think I might save my money and get the bumper & bonnet resprayed in the summer if I can't buff the scratches out. Some are deep, some are'nt, so I'll see what I can achieve. After using the products by hand last time, it'll be interesting to see what I can do with a PC. It took me 10 hrs spread over two days to acheive a 'desirable' finish with clay, scratch X, Step 2 Polish & NXT Wax.

Mike Phillips
Jan 28th, 2005, 07:44 AM
Yes, working by hand and doing thorough work over the entire car can take time, but if done correctly the reward is great and if the car is taken care of, these cleaning steps hopefully will not have to be repeated. The cleaning steps, or defect removal steps are the most important and in most all cases are the steps that take the longest.

You car is interesting looking and your results look awesome!


Jan 28th, 2005, 07:54 AM
Thanks again Mike.

Yeah the finish is really nice, but I have a little voice saying it could be better. I have removed a lot a scratches and swirls but I am left with a few I want to get rid of. I think that if I can apply the new products well enough I should have a finish similar to what others are acheiving with a PC. I think I have studied enough theory on the PC for the time being, I just hope it's as easy as you say it is to learn how to use it. :)