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Hi, all! I'm new to the forum and I am here to contribute! I am a detailing by trade and would like to drop my 2cents about detailing.

STEP 1 - WASH

It is always important to have a clean starting surface. Everyone knows how to wash their cars, right? For the most part we all do...But I am very meticoulous about detailing, so here is my break down for the initial wash cycle.

There are a few options, IF you live in a drought affected area such as CALIFORNIA (Where I live) we are not allowed to wash our cars at home any more. There are two effective methods. One being a "water-less wash" and the other being "Rinseless wash" . I learned a lot from the autogeek forum so, I would like to credit Mike Phillips for this:

Normal Car Wash
A normal car wash is simply the more traditional method of dragging out the water hose, filling a bucket with water, adding the soap then spraying the car down with water, then washing the car and then going back to the water hose to rinse the suds off and then repeating this over the rest of the car before the section you just washed has a chance to dry possibly causing water spots. This system works well but it also uses a lot of water and in some areas it may not be allowed.

*ADD* When performing a normal wash and a Waterless wash, you should ALWAYS use a two or three 5 gallon bucket method as well as utilizing grit-guards to keep the turbulence down and have all the dirt sink to the bottom to keep your cars finish clean and dirt free*

Waterless Car Wash
A waterless car wash is where you use a high lubricity pre-mixed spray detailer to heavily saturate a panel and then carefully wipe any dirt or road grime off to a dry shine. The key to working safely with a waterless car wash is to use plenty of clean, microfiber polishing towels and after using all 8 sides of a microfiber towel, quit using the microfiber towel and switch to a new, clean microfiber polishing towel so you don't simply transfer dirt removed from one panel to another panel.


Rinseless Car Wash
A rinseless car wash is kind of a cross between a normal car wash and a waterless car wash. Like a normal car wash, you’re still going to use water, but only a couple of gallons. Like a waterless wash, instead of rinsing your wash solution off, you’ll work panel by panel and wipe each panel to a dry shine using microfiber drying towels like the Water Guzzler. With a Rinseless Wash, you’ll use dramatically less water but still be flushing the panel with plenty of high lubricity wash solution to leave behind a scratch-free finish.


Spray Detailer
Spray Detailers are for removing, Light Dust, Fingerprints, Smudges and most can also be used as a clay lubricant. Light dust is a light accumulation of airborne dust and contaminants that have landed primarily on horizontal surfaces and have not in any way bonded to the paint.

STEP 2 - Decontamination

There are two popular ways to decontaminate your clear coat / paint surface. The traditional way is to use a Clay Bar and Clay Lubricate/ Quick Detailer


I really like 3M and ClayMagic Medium grit clay bars. For most cars , and to most owners who wash their cars at least once every 2-3 weeks, a medium grit Clay bar will serve justice. There are lighter and very heavy ones for removing heavy water spots, "fallout" which leaves this weird orange/red/brown looking dotted stuff along your car and even over-spray.

For clay lube I like using Optimum ONR diluted as well as Chemical Guys Clay Lubricant.

The alternative is using a "clay type towel" . SM Arnold Speedy Prep Towel. You would use it the same way....but its a faster alternative and you don't hear the contamination being lifted. Although, price point makes the difference.

~15-30 for a 200G clay bar which will last you a very long time
~40-45 Prep Towel which....I have yet to replace either.


STEP 3 - MASKING
Again, I will be taking Mikes pictures and some words, cause he just does such a fantastic job at laying it down!

Why mask? Masking should always be done prior to a detail because there are areas of the paint you don't want to have your compounding or polishing pad to get stuck inside. The pad can get chewed up and you can even burn paint. The masking areas are usually around edges and corners where there isn't as much Clear coat applied and can be easily ripped away.





STEP 4
- IDENTIFYING

So, with identifying, you really want to think about how much time you have, what your car needs are and whether or not you have the right tools to do the job. By hand or machine(s).

If your paint is in good condition then you can just give it a quick polish. I like all of Chemical Guys Polishes, Meguiars M205, Menzerna, WolfGANG, Blackfire, Gtechniq, Sonax and Duragloss. There are many more brands out there, but to each to their own. That's what I recommend, all great polishes all great line-ups as well.

If you car looks like it needs some love...say.. Oxidized paint but not to the paint where the paint is actually flaking off you would want to compound. There are other reasons to compound as well and I'll get to that.



Other than Oxidizing there is Buffer Trail, Swirls and Fresh paint job wet-sanding (I'll cover that another time or if someone asks me to). I'm probably missing something, but...I"ll think of it later.



This is a buffer trail
. It is usually done by Wool pads. This type of finish is usually done by quick detailer's who do it for cheap. QUICK Shine, but leave this ridiculous finish. Meaning, they did not perform the proper steps of, Aggressive to least aggreive. Compound --> Med-Polish --> Fine Polish --> Finish Pad --> Seal.
To say the least. This type of finish will have to be re-done by a professional or even a DIY'r who knows the proper steps.

Next is the SWIRLS! SWIRLS are infamous. They will always be around and will always come back, very miniscule or large. Depending on many factors, usually wash style and environmental (Driving conditions)


In order to get rid of swirls , there are two ways. One is a quick and temporary way. Using either of the two products. Prima Amigo or Poorboys Blackhole. These products are very oils and have a high FILLING capability, to hide those swirls or keep them down to a bare minimum. You polish and then use poor-boys or do poor-boys alone. Same with Prima Amigo. The proper and tedious way (Which also can be used on buffer trails) is by using a cutting compound and a cutting pad. There are various grades, and this is all very dependent on the cars clear coat paint depth which can be measured by using a paint depth tool and the severity of the damage. Typically, you want to try using a light-medium cutting pad , I really like Lake Country flat pads, as well as their CCS pads.


This explains all the pads and their purposes. As for cutting compound, I've stuck with Meguiars M105, paired with a Orange pad, My Hitachi SP18V (Rotary polisher) or my Griots Garage GG6 (Dual Action Polisher)

Once you have decided what you want or need to do....you can move on... I highly recommened everyone check out the autogeek forum for more information, because there is only so much I can think of!


STEP 5 - WAXES AND SEALANT

Honestly, there are a plethora of waxes and sealants and to each of their own. Some are more durable than others. Waxes are usually of a carnuba content. Some, obviously higher grade than others and some give different finishes, some look extra wet, some look extremely shiny. You'll really have to look into what you want and what you can afford.

Sealants are usually man made, either mixed with a carnuba or montana (higher melting point than carnuba) or are completely synthetic polymers. Sealants, as waxes have different effects to paint and finishes. Some look better on other colors. But, the main purpose is to protect your clear coat and all the time you invested during your detailing.

------>http://www.autogeek.net/qude101.html <------ As I said before, the owner of this website just does a fantastic job, that I can not manipulate.

Here is a car I recently finished.

03 GS300



Heavy swirls




AFTER COMPOUNDING :



The swirls were all over the car. This is how 95% of the car come out, some areas had clear coat flakes so, that is the 5% lol.



Thanks for looking! I really tried to do a quick mashup and if you do have questions or concerns, feel free to post!
 

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Well done. I wish I had the time (or a car worthy of it) to do a detail. Damned hail....
 

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Well done. I wish I had the time (or a car worthy of it) to do a detail. Damned hail....
Hahaha! One day you shall. Its always nice to have experienced friends to assist you the first few times. You'll notice it is very tiring the first few go arounds.
 

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Fantastic info here, as a long time detailing nutjob I can vouch this is all good info.
Welcome to the forum and I have made this thread a sticky.
 
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Very nice. I appreciate you taking the time to show us. Would be interested in a more detailed guide :cheesy: I still need to take some swirls out of my paint. Is it possible to get that same shine but by hand? For the gs300.
 

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Very nice. I appreciate you taking the time to show us. Would be interested in a more detailed guide :cheesy: I still need to take some swirls out of my paint. Is it possible to get that same shine but by hand? For the gs300.
Not a problem! I definitely can do a more informative guide or video . what color is your car? and it is definitely possible, but will take a lot more time. I highly suggest a machine polisher
Or it'll take you many hours to correct. There are hand correction pads and finishing pads. Check autogeek. If you want it to be filled temporarily I would do prima amigo or black hole as stated above. Then top it off with a good wax or sealant to keep the finish clear.
 

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Nice write up! I'm also a user of the Griot's buffer system. His products just plain work, and they're designed for the average guy to use it without screwing up his paint. :)
 

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Buffing

Wow - great writeup - appreciate the effort.

I want to know how, in the photos above, the buffing took the car from an E30 to a GS300 - that is a good trick.
 

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How much you're ready to spend.

I have Meguiars G220 DA polisher and traditional rotary (cheap one but planning to buy AEG = CP)
 

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Insane93: Flex XC3401 would be perfect for you

It makes orbital rotary movement so you get best parts of both DA and rotary polisher with minimum loss of power.
 
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