I honestly don't know how to start this so let's just get straight into it.
So I was contacted initially for advice on how to deal with the swirls with the Porter Cable, Optimum Polishes, and some Lake Country Pads but along the conversation when I mentioned how long it would take we just decided that I would take it on. Problem now was it was gonna be a 2 week wait cause I was already booked up and the anticipation was killing me, I was really excited to spend time with godzilla.
Upon the GT-Rs arrival I had a chance to properly inspect the paint with my Sun Gun. At first in my mind I honestly thought that just a 1 step or 2 step polish at the most would be needed but taking a closer shocked look I realized that this was gonna need a full paint correction.
Anyway, here we go hopefully you guys enjoy the pics and possibly catch some tips.
Lets start with the basics. I don't approach a vehicle with anything on my clothing that could accidently scratch the car for example zippers, a belt buckle, watch, rings, etc.
Got in and backed it out.
And here she is.
My routine is to start with the wheels and engine generally because if you have already washed the car and then have to do either you will get the car dirty all over again.
Sprayed p21s Wheel Gel on the rims and tires. What's great about this wheel cleaner is it is non-acidic, meaning if you got ceramic brakes they won't damage them as say an acid based wheel cleaner would.
Let those soak and sprayed Meguiars All Purpose Cleaner cut 50/50 with water into the wheel well and let those sit and eat into the grime while I moved onto the engine.
Engine was not to bad at all just dusty at the most so nothing hardcore here other then a Meguiars All Purpose Cleaner spray, light rinse off, a blow dry with my Chemical Guy's Blow Dryer, and then dressed it with Meguiars Hyper Dressing cut 25/75 water. Turned on the engine and let the engine warm up for about 10 minutes or so.
Now addressed the wheels with my E-Z Brush which is pretty cool cause it can be bent so that you can get it into different places. I really love the way these 2 pics with the E-Z Brush turned out!
Now this is what the rim should look like after using the brush properly.
Did the rim face with a microfibre mitt solely dedicated for the rims, which I prefer cause on those stubborn spots I can really apply some hard pressure.
Finally after all of that on to the washing. Chemical Guys Citrus Wash + Gloss was the car soap cut to strip anything they may have been on the car's surface, I forget the ratio to be honest.
Two Bucket Method. One soapy water the other just water for rinsing so you don't contaminate the soapy water with dirt.
Started rinsing off the car to wash off as much as I could of any loose debris. Bottom line the less dirt on your car when you start washing means that there will be less dirt that may get potentially dragged on the paint causing swirls.
Sheepskin wash mitt this time starting with the roof.
After each panel or even half a panel you should be rinsing off your mitt in the water only bucket. The reason you do this is because you do not want to be using one bucket and dragging that same dirt filled water all over the paint causing swirls. Common sense and pretty simple no, but surprisingly people don't do it. Also you may have to rinse along as you go cause this will make washing a little longer.
Also forgive me for not being able to explain this next part it is just habit now already that I learnt years ago but hopefully someone can cover for me. All panels facing the sky should be done back and forth like in this pic hopefully you can see the pattern of the suds.
And all side panels should be up and down. The bottom half should be saved for last as usually those sections are the dirtiest.
Did the final rinse down and dried the car using a waffle weave towel. This towel is far superior to a chamois because of a couple things, they absorb water alot faster, they have these pockets which dirt or dust blown on the car can escape into and not be dragged on the paint, and I could go on and on but you get the point if you have or get one I am sure you can find more things to appreciate about them.
Finally finished. Some may think that shines nicely but I am not finished with this car yet.
Pulled it into my garage and got ready to clay with Riccardo Clay yellow.
My last bar.
Now if your planning on claying your own car without any polishing involved and it is not a mild clay like Sonus Green Clay, you are gonna get clay bar marring but general proper clay bar procedure is to avoid the cold. What you can do is have something with high lubricity like Megiuars Last Touch cut 50/50 with warm water to help you out but sometimes it just can't be avoided.
Oh yeah and the reason you clay is because even though you have washed your car there are still tiny debris that get embedded into your clearcoat called surface contaminants that only a clay bar can sheer out. If after you wash your car and run your hand along the paint you will notice that it still feels rough(even new cars that get rail dust from being transported by train) but after a good clay bar only a baby's skin feels more smooth then your paint, honestly.
Started claying and it was not bad at all as expected but as usual some lower parts on the door were a little bad and the whole back end had quite a bit.
Claying the hood.
After the clay barring I want to mask the car with blue painters tape to protect rubber trim from being burnt. I like using two kinds of width.
It's 3M tape and the product number is 2090 which is medium adhesion, nothing to strong.
Here are some pics of the masking.
Put the thick tape over the edge of the clear bra.
And now time to measure the paint with a paint thickness gauge for any possible low spots and also to report to the owner if any panels have been repainted(I never thought anything would be repainted here though but just to look out for low spots).
Measured the paint in microns which is a thousandth of a millimeter or .001 of a mm. Generally in my experience OEM is 100 to 130 microns.
Measurements were looking healthy and very consistent around 140 more or less with maybe only 2 or 3 panels showing 130 or 150.
Even though I am only showing one measurement per panel what I am actually doing per panel is doing at least 10 more or less measurements. It's kind of weird but I kind of imagine the paint as a plain and imagine the different grooves of where it is high and low kind of like a field with hills.
Anyway with all the prep work finally out of the way we can now begin polishing. Imagine and no disrespect to anyone but if you go to a hack shop they just wash your car and get straight into polishing, it's kind of scary especially if you prize your car and have to leave it in their hands what is happening to your baby.
So back to things here is what I was pretty much dealing with under 500 watt halogen lighting.
I went straight into it with Menzerna Super Intensive Polish, a 6.5 orange Lake Country Pad, the Meguiars Solo Backing Plate, and the Makita Rotary.
I used the Zenith Point Technique where 5 beads the size of a skittle were spread out at 600rpm, broken down at 1200rpm, then polished until clear at around 1700rpm. Then back down the scale from 1700rpm to 1500rpm, and then refined at around 1100rpm over a 12 x 18 area.
Here are some before and afters.
A 50/50 shot with the right side polished and the left side not.
A shot of me polishing.
Before(this one was bad)
Before(this one was pretty bad to)
Edited by Wes_R, 08 June 2009 - 06:52 AM.