PDA

View Full Version : Beginner Detailer Needs Help



ksing44
Feb 7th, 2004, 03:50 AM
I’m sure this is the place to get some needed advice. I have a car that I absolutely love, and I want to be able to care for the finish like a pro. I have read others comments about multi step processes for getting an absolutely stunning finish, but I am always confused about all of the numbers they throw around. They say they use #this and #that followed by #this and then followed again by #that. I have never seen all of these different numbered products. I am also concerned about trying anything too drastic, because I am not experienced and I am afraid I could damage my paint.

How can I start?
I have used cleaner wax, regular wax, and a final detail spray. My car looks nice, but I am sure it could be much better if I had a clue about what to do. I think maybe some polish and then the wax might be a good start. I am afraid of any kind of compounding/sanding of the finish, but maybe polish is safe for someone like me that doesn’t know what to do.

Please help me and give me a path to follow that is OK for a beginner.

Thank you

http://forums.mbnz.org/gallery/pics/123050768211200442538AM.jpg

Corbon91
Feb 7th, 2004, 08:10 AM
Try watching the auto appearance care clinic video. You can see it here: http://www.meguiars.com/clinics/clinics_template.cfm

garry42
Feb 7th, 2004, 04:26 PM
The videos on Meguiars website will be an excellent place to learn about detailing. They are "step by step" and cover the entire process. The main thing I have learned in the past year is that paint preparation is the key to achieving the expected results!

The #'s referred to are from the Meg's Professional products, not the Consumer products usually found on retail store shelves. (Confused the heck out of me originally as well!)

Mosca
Feb 7th, 2004, 09:49 PM
ksing44,

There is so much to know, and it's all very simple and yet confusing at the beginning.

It's all about process, not product. But that's like Bach's explanation of how to play the clavichord; "It's elementary. You simply push the proper keys and pedals at the proper times, and the instrument plays itself!"

There are a number of articles available at sites such as Better Car Care (http://www.bettercarcare.com) and Autopia (http://www.autopia.org). I started to write here what I know, but those articles set the standard for ease of understanding and comprehensiveness (David's writings turn up plagiarized all over the internet, which is the ultimate back-handed compliment). Rather than my weak paraphrasing, go to the source.


Tom

ksing44
Feb 11th, 2004, 01:16 AM
Thank you for the links. I think I will start with some polishing by hand. Can you guys recommend a polish for a first time polisher? I suppose it should be from the "Consumer Line" and I want some polish that doesn’t cut too much, so I can be pretty sure that my inexperience will not ruin my paint. Is there some BOZO-proof polish that a novice can use with safety? Should I use ColorX or a "true" polish. I think the ColorX is a chemical cleaner, not a true polish. Please help guide me and get me to the perfect shine without damage to my paint.

http://forums.mbnz.org/gallery/pics/W124_57791.jpg

1 Clean WS6
Feb 11th, 2004, 06:16 AM
ksing44 I think a great three step process to use for a novice would be the Deep Crystal System. This is part of Meguiar's consumer line and is VERY reasonably priced. The three products are:

1) Deep Crystal Paint Cleaner - this is a great first step product that works great with hand application to remove minor scratches and contaminants on the paint

2) Deep Crystal Polish - this is a wonderful "pure polish" (it contains no cleaners or waxes) that will give your paint a deep, wet looking gloss

3) Deep Crystal Carnuba Wax - this is a affordably priced carnuba wax that will add some great protection to your Benz and deepen its color

There are an INFINITE amount of product combinations to use in a multi-step process...in the end it will come down to your personal taste and abilities. However, I truly believe that for the money you can't go wrong with the Deep Crystal 3-step process.

Good luck and let us know how it goes,
Mike:cool:

mopar
Feb 11th, 2004, 08:41 AM
^^^very true i bought the 3 step last year and it works amazing this year im gonna use nxt as the 3rd step though but its very user freindly and with the colour of yuor car i think you will be blown away at the defference it will make good luck take yuor time and you will be very happy with the results

gb387
Feb 11th, 2004, 02:55 PM
ksing44... As the rest have said use the Deep Crystal 3 step system you can't go wrong. I have applied that system by hand and you will get good results by hand but it will take some time.

Sounds like you have not waxed your car for sometime, I would defiantly use all three steps the cleaner works well, leaves the paint surface clean and ready for polish and wax. The system is easy to use inexpensive and you are not going to hurt the paint. Of course you need to apply the wax with an applicator pad and remove it with 100% terry cloth towel or microfiber towel. Set a side the better part of a day to wash and do all three steps.

Another option you might try calling Meguiars 800 # they are very helpful over the phone and can get you what you need.

ksing44
Feb 11th, 2004, 04:01 PM
Actually, I am an avid waxer (I’m not sure waxer is a word) of my car. I wax my car almost every month. Even in cold weather, or especially when it is cold and snowy, I manage to get some wax on the car by working in my garage. I just want to do more than I have done in the past. My car looks good, but I wonder how good it could be if I had some more experience. I watched a TV show in which the guy demonstrated wet sanding, polishing, and waxing. He changed an almost new finish to a "show car finish" that was truly magnificent. I am not ready for that level yet, but I thought I could try a little bit more than wash, cleaner wax, more wax, and quick detailer spray.

Like "2003 Black Lightning", my car is a darker color, so it shows any imperfection. It also shows your effort with beautiful results, however, if you keep it looking clean and shiny. I don’t think anything compares to a beautiful shine on a dark colored car. I sometimes wonder why anybody ever washes a silver car. They can get away with murder, but it must be disappointing to work all day on the perfect wax job and not even be able to tell you did anything. I guess I am a little jealous of those guys or gals with silver cars (Hello Mike, with that 2000 Pontiac Trans Am), but I love my dark blue car when it is clean.

I think the Deep Crystal 3 step system is in my future. Thanks for all of the help.

http://forums.mbnz.org/gallery/pics/W124_57784.jpg

gb387
Feb 11th, 2004, 04:14 PM
one more thing... if you are willing to spend a little more instead of getting the Step 3(carnuba Wax) in the system get the NXT wax in its place. Just a thought, I did Step 1(Paint Cleaner), Step 2(Pain Polish) then the NXT wax(2 coats one 12 hours after the other) very happy with the results.

Only thing I don't like about the Deep Crystal System the wax only lasted me about 3-4 weeks. Having applied NXT only 3 weeks ago I am happy to see that it is lasting longer than the Step 3 in the deep crystal system.

Just a little more to think about I am not trying to make it more difficult but just another option. I know we could go all day with other options but the NXT will provide a longer lasting protection and I feel better end results.

I think it would be fun to learn to wet sand a car, I am lucky enough to work where I can experiment with products and methods of repair and wet sanding is on the list we have some fiberglass vehicles w\clear coat, me and another guy want to try it and follow with the proper compounds and polishes.

Gallery my truck with NXT (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=121)

ksing44
Feb 11th, 2004, 04:20 PM
WOW! Lightning. No swirl marks in that awesome black shine.

1 Clean WS6
Feb 11th, 2004, 08:36 PM
Originally posted by ksing44
I don’t think anything compares to a beautiful shine on a dark colored car. I sometimes wonder why anybody ever washes a silver car. They can get away with murder, but it must be disappointing to work all day on the perfect wax job and not even be able to tell you did anything. I guess I am a little jealous of those guys or gals with silver cars (Hello Mike, with that 2000 Pontiac Trans Am), but I love my dark blue car when it is clean.

ksing44 you are right...light colors...like silver are very forgiving in that they do not show every imperfection like darker colors but I have to disagree with you about not being able to tell if it has been polished or waxed. True, lighter colors will "wash out" their gloss more than darker colors in direct sunlight....but in artificial light or indirect sunlight...they show their gloss very well. I've attached a few photo's of my WS6 inside my garage to show what I mean.

Mike

1 Clean WS6
Feb 11th, 2004, 08:37 PM
#2

gb387
Feb 12th, 2004, 09:36 AM
1 Clean WS6...

Nice looking car very nice shine to it! looks like you have a lightning as well.

1 Clean WS6
Feb 12th, 2004, 09:54 AM
Hey Gb387! Thanks for the compliments!!

Yep...it's an '02...#2522. I drive that truck every day as I use it to tow my mobile detail trailer....I absolutely love it! I want to get some of the chrome look door handles that your L and the 04's have...I think they really add a nice touch to the interior.

gb387
Feb 12th, 2004, 01:53 PM
Yeah the chrome does add a nice touch to the interior... If I wasn't a "truck guy" I think the Trans Am would be high on the list of things to drive, good looking cars and they look like fun to drive. As you know the Lightning is quite fun too I have only had it 6 weeks and I wouldn't give it up.

Mike Phillips
Feb 12th, 2004, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by ksing44
I just want to do more than I have done in the past.

Hi ksing44 and welcome to Meguiar's Online Discussion Forums! :D

I would recommend stepping up to the Porter Cable Dual Action polisher. I have never met anyone who regrets purchasing this polisher.

It is capable of achieving dramatically better results than your hand can ever do, (unless your Scottwax).

Meguiar's version comes with a backing plate and a W-8006 foam polishing pad and a Lifetime Warranty, that's a no questions asked guarantee by the way.

You can apply most Meguiar’s paint cleaners, polishes and waxes including the new Tech Wax with the PC. You can also remove the wax using a Meguiar’s Ultimate Bonnet over a dry buffing pad on the PC.

That’s the direction I would go.

Mike

gb387
Feb 12th, 2004, 03:37 PM
Mike Phillips... said it all go with the Porter Cable Dual Action polisher it will help GREATLY with your waxing/polishing the difference is amazing! I wouldn't give mine up for anything!

mopar
Feb 12th, 2004, 08:34 PM
how easy is the pc to use?

J SOLO
Feb 13th, 2004, 02:14 AM
Get the pc you wont be sorry i have the meg. one and love it.

Mike Phillips
Feb 13th, 2004, 01:27 PM
Originally posted by mopar
how easy is the pc to use?

Super easy!

Mike

gb387
Feb 13th, 2004, 04:26 PM
As mike said the PC is VERY easy to use, if you need a little how to, watch the video on Meguiars website... how to videos (http://www.meguiars.com/clinics/clinics_template.cfm) watch the one called "Power Polishing Clinic" You are not going to swirl the paint or anything. If you watch that online video you will have all the info you need to use the PC.

ksing44
Feb 15th, 2004, 02:33 AM
We had a relatively warm and dry day, so I went for it.

Meguiar's Deep Crystal Car Wash
Chamois and 100% Cotton Towel Dry
1. Meguiar's Deep Crystal Paint Cleaner
2. Meguiar's Deep Crystal Polish
3. Meguiar's Gold Class Clear Coat Liquid Wax
Meguiar's Quick Detailer

All work was done by hand with new polishing pads and 100% cotton towels. Wow, that is a lot of rubbing. I think it took me about 7 hours. I thought my arm was going to fall off and my back got very tired. I may have to try an electric polisher. Will even more rubbing, like with an electric polisher or at least a fresh right arm, make the cleaner or polishing steps more effective? Which part of the process is most improved with an electric polisher?

My car does look better. All that work seems to have reduced the appearance of those "swirl marks" and increased the depth of the color. I couldn’t tell much difference between Cleaner and Polish, however, in terms of the appearance of the paint. I think two steps might be enough, either the cleaner or the polish and then the wax. It does seem that separate cleaner or polishing works better than the combination cleaner wax products I have used in the past.

One step that I didn’t include, was the clay bar, so I can still feel some "contaminants" that did not come off with the cleaner or polish. Next time I may try some clay, then polish, and then wax.

I liked the liquid wax. I have always used paste wax and there was something nicer about the creamy yellow liquid. For one thing, I think it was easier to remove. On the other hand, I didn’t feel like it left as much wax on my car after it was removed. Do you guys think multiple layers of liquid wax helps the appearance of the car and adds protection, or does the next layer of wax just remove the first layer of wax?

I don’t have pictures of after, but with my car I really don’t think you could tell the difference unless I went out of my way to make the before pictures look as ugly as possible by getting just the right angle of the sun.

Thank you for all of the help. Now I feel like I am doing everything I can to keep my car looking good and it really does look pretty good.

Mosca
Feb 15th, 2004, 06:38 AM
1) The second coat increases the density of the layer, not the thickness. When maximum density is achieved, usually after two coats, additional coats are of no use.

2) The PC7424 is an electric polisher. It is a high powered, extremely versatile electric polisher. It can do anything from swirl and hologram removal (holograms from a rotary buffer) to final wax application and removal.


I was cruising my hard drive looking at pictures, and I found some pictures of my car from before I learned The Process. They might even be from the day that I decided that something was wrong, that I was missing something. I'd spent the whole weekend polishing and waxing and detailing my car, and it looked shiny... shiny and dull, faded, washed out. This was the limit of what I could do on my own, without knowledge and the right tools:


http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/11Dcp_3141.jpg



So, I did exactly what you are doing right now. I looked around the internet and asked a bunch of questions, and finally I went out and got the PC7424, and learned the pads and polishes and went to work on my car (this is my favorite picture of it):


http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/11DSCF0083-med.JPG



ksing, if I can do it, anyone can. The tool is safe enough that you can experiment with it. If something doesn't work, it doesn't work in the sense that the swirls are still there, not in the sense that all you're looking at is bare metal, or primer.


Tom

gb387
Feb 15th, 2004, 08:00 AM
Mosca... You can see a difference in the two photos, thats interesting. I know I noticed a difference in the finish after I went from hand waxing to the PC but I have never seen it side by side and as I recall mine results were similar.

ksing44... Its good to here you got some good results from the deep crystal system. You talk about an electric polisher, if you are talking about the ones you get from wal-mart for $20 in my opinion they are not worh the plastic they are made of. I have used one and all they seem to do is shake your arms. If you ar talking about a Porter Cable 7424 or 7336 or 7335 they are worth every penny! Yes they do cost more but they will give you much better results, hands down!

ksing44
Feb 17th, 2004, 02:54 AM
It has been bright and sunny, so my car is still clean except for some spray from puddles of melting snow. In the bright sun, I noticed that the swirl marks were mostly gone, but now I have something that looks like "smudges" under the wax. I think it must be from the polishing step. To me it looks like you can see stop and start marks from my rubbing. It looks like long strokes across the entire panel might give a more uniform appearance. Maybe I just need more rubbing with the polish. My arm was getting quite tired, so maybe I just didn’t rub it enough. Do you guys understand what I am talking about? How do I get rid of those smudges? I think it is under the wax. Maybe more polishing is all I need.

chinkapin02
Feb 17th, 2004, 07:39 AM
PERPETUAL NOOB:
I've alway heard that the number one color Cops look for is red!
Boy they will see you coming ten miles away
:mad:
Good looking car.
Don

Rockpick
Feb 17th, 2004, 01:56 PM
Originally posted by mopar
how easy is the pc to use?

It's incredibly easy to use...

I was scared to death of the machine.... now that I have it, I wouldn't sell it back to you for what I paid. It's an incredible asset to anybody that is SERIOUS about car care.

RP :D

Mike Phillips
Feb 17th, 2004, 02:15 PM
Originally posted by ksing44
It has been bright and sunny, so my car is still clean except for some spray from puddles of melting snow. In the bright sun, I noticed that the swirl marks were mostly gone, but now I have something that looks like "smudges" under the wax. I think it must be from the polishing step. To me it looks like you can see stop and start marks from my rubbing. It looks like long strokes across the entire panel might give a more uniform appearance. Maybe I just need more rubbing with the polish. My arm was getting quite tired, so maybe I just didn’t rub it enough. Do you guys understand what I am talking about? How do I get rid of those smudges? I think it is under the wax. Maybe more polishing is all I need.

I would try a second application of wax, apply a thin coat, and then remove using your highest quality microfiber polishing cloth.

When removing your wax, you want to be gentle and wipe softly. What you are describing sounds like smudges left behind due to the removal, or wipe-off process.

If you get a chance, try the new NXT Tech Wax, apply a nice, even thing coating, allow 15-20 minutes for the wax to dry and then wipe off softly with microfiber.

When it comes to finishes in nice shape, you really have to invest some care into the procuess to guarantee show car results. Once you get your finish to a very high state of polish, any little smudge or smear really tends to show up.

You could also try misting on some Quick Detailer to the smudged areas and then wiping off gently with a microfiber polishing cloth.

Hope this helps... cool:

Mike:

Mosca
Feb 17th, 2004, 06:34 PM
ksing, I'm about 90 minutes north of you, in Mountain Top (southern Poconos). Maybe we'll get together some day & share some tips, etc. There's a lot of us in this corridor; Boss429, BrettK, and lots more.


Tom