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I thought you all might appreciate this info. I'm reposting this with permission from a family friend. He's a Corvette nut with a 00 c5, and 06 c6 Z06, and a 10 c6 ZR1. Here's the ZR1. He has an incredible custom paint job!:


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Some of the specific products I use are:

Boar's Hair Brush. This is expensive but it works fantastic. The one I have is 4 years old and still looks and performs like new. You would only use this on the paint, windows, etc.
http://www.griotsgarage.com/product/car+care/car+washing/car+cleaning+tools/boars+hair+brush.do?search=basic&keyword=boars+hair+brush&sortby=newArrivals&page=1

Actually I have the combo but if you have a good bucket with a grit guard you don't need this one. You DO need a bucket with a grip guard.
http://www.griotsgarage.com/product/car+care/car+washing/car+cleaning+tools/boars+hair+brush+ultimate+wash+bucket.do?search=basic&keyword=boars+hair+brush&sortby=newArrivals&page=1

For drying paint, windows, etc. I use
http://www.griotsgarage.com/product/car+care/car+drying/micro+fiber+drying+towel.do

For drying door jams I use an old 100% cotton bath towel. I do NOT use a California Water Blade anywhere on the car.

Here is the air dryer I use. It is excellent and I have resorted to just getting the big drops of water with the Griot's drying towel and getting the balance with the Master Blaster. It is especially nice when you wash your car on a cold morning. In those situations I use the Master Blaster for 95% of the drying. It is also great for drying the wheels.
http://www.qpcpv.com/topflightreproductions/id21.html

Here is what I use for washing the wheel wells
http://www.griotsgarage.com/product/car+care/car+washing/car+cleaning+tools/wheel+well+brush.do

Here is the microfiber towels I prefer. I have quite a few of these because I don't want to wash the microfiber towels every time I use them. I have accumulated about 20 over a period of time which seems like a good quantity. Near the bottom of the page is a link to buy 6 for a nice savings. Also, when you check out use the coupon code FORUM10 for an additional 10% off the entire order.
http://www.autogeek.net/cobra-microfiber-towel.html

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Here is my current routine:

1. First rule is understanding that every time you touch a black car, you risk getting swirl marks in it. So, minimizing the number of times you wash it is actually part of the plan. Always, always use clean microfiber towels or terrycloth towels. If you used a towel to dust off the car, consider it dirty.

2. If the car is not very dirty - just some light surface dust. In this case, I don't wash the car, but instead use copious amounts of detailing spray. The product I use the most is Meguiar's Ultimate Quik Detailer. Wipe off as GENTLY as possible using a clean microfiber towel. The towel is folded into a nice flat square to give maximum surface area - never ball it up. Then lightly polish with a microfiber cloth. Basically, if the car is anything more than light surface dust/dirt and you are in doubt, then wash the car.

3. Washing. Realize that this is where many of the swirl marks originate. So, need to be gentle. Start by buying a large soft Boar's hair brush like the one from Griots Garage. This brush will absolutely not scratch your car. Griot's products are somewhat expensive, but good quality. (http://www.griotsgar...og....01&SKU=66 073).
To use the boar's hair brush, you just dip it bristles-down in the wash bucket, shake it a little bit to release any trapped dirt, and then wash. It does hold quite a bit of water/soap. When you are done, you dump the soapy water, rinse the bucket, then fill the wash bucket with water and let the brush sit (bristles down) for 10 minutes. Then dump the water and if you have time, rinse again. Then shake out the brush and you're all done.

The Boar's hair brush is much softer than a microfiber mitt. It is almost to the point that it doesn't clean the car. The other advantage is that it is virtually impossible make a mistake and put too much pressure on the brush as the fibers bend away from the finish. A microfiber mitt by contrast has your hand right behind it applying pressure.

Microfiber traps dirt in its knap and keeps it close to the surface. The Boar's hair brush by contrast doesn't cling to the dirt and every time you rinse it in your wash bucket, any dirt in the bristles immediately falls off.

Since the Boar's hair brush is so soft, it will not remove any of the stuck on dirt or bugs on the front of the car. So for this, I use a microfiber wash mitt with copious amounts of water.

The general technique for washing is to wash the wheels first. Then was from the top down, keeping the car wet all the time, and working quickly so the water never begins to dry. If this happens, you risk getting water spots on your black car - which is a mini-disaster.
When done washing, take the sprayer off your hose and make a final rinse by flooding the surface of the car in such a way as to make as much of the water flow off the car as possible. This is a good trick and minimizes the amount of drying you have to do. Parking your car on an incline helps with this technique.

I dry the car with a large micro fiber drying towel (also from Griots garage). Drag it across the car using the maximum surface area. Do not apply any pressure while drying. Use a small cotton towel to clean up any extra water and do the door jambs and area around the trunk lid/hatch. A leaf blower works well for removing water in the cracks and crevasses.

4. Waxing. After washing, if time permits, I'll quickly wax the top surfaces of the car and also go down about 1/2 of the way down the sides. Use whatever products you like but use something that doesn't require much pressure to remove. This is another place where you can inadvertently put swirl marks into your car.

Use a high quality microfiber tower such as the "Cobra Super-Plush Deluxe Microfiber Towel" from Autogeek.net (http://www.autogeek....iber-towel.html). A 6-pack can be purchased at the bottom of the screen for some savings. I would recommend getting about a dozen to start.

If you like Carnauba based waxes, then go with Meguiar's M26. It is super easy to apply and remove. Also, it won't stain the black trim or rubber parts of your car. Always apply with a foam applicator. Let it dry then remove with a high quality micro-fiber cloth. You've got to be careful when you buy micro-fiber as lower quality cloths will definitely put fine swirl marks in your car. Remove as gently as possible using a straight back and forth motion (from front to back of the car).

If you like a synthetic based wax and polish, then go with Meguiar's Ultimate Polish and Meguiar's Ultimate Wax. Both are excellent products for black cars. Use the Meguiar's Ultimate Polish to obtain a mirror like finish and nourish the clear coat. Use the wax to protect the surface.

One other point is that there is a lot of debate regarding which wax is best in terms of shine, etc. and I think that misses the point. The majority of the shine comes from having the surface in perfect condition before applying the wax. Think of the wax as more of a protectant and final step in the process and avoid the anxiety over which wax to use. However, on a black car, the ease of application and ease of removal become extremely important factors in keeping the finish in perfect condition. Meguiar's products have these qualities.

If you do it right, the total time for wash, dry, and quick wax should be no more than 1 to 2 hours. To me, this doesn't seem like too much effort for the pleasure of owning a stunning black car.

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Meguiar's steps to a "Show Car Shine"
The following was compiled from the DVD "How to use the PC for Show Car Results"http://www.showcarde...60Corvette.html and information obtained from a couple of car care forums including meguiarsonline.com

Overview
1. Wash
2. Clay
3. Meguiar's #105 or #205 Ultra Finishing Polish depending on how bad swirls are.
4. Meguiar's Ultimate Polish for a mirror finish and to nourish the clear coat.
5. Meguiar's #26 - Hi-Tech Yellow Wax if you prefer a carnauba based wax or Meguiar's Ultimate Wax for synthetic based.
6. UQD - Ultimate Quick Detailer for touch ups, dust, etc.

General Information

PC - Porter-Cable #7424 or FLEX XC3401
Use without the handle. Apply 10 to 15 pounds of pressure on the head for surface defect removal and 5 to 7 pounds pressure on the head for polishing. To remove wax use microfiber bonnets with a #7006 pad. Use a little more pressure than when applying wax.

Clay
Kneed the clay into a flat round shape like a small pancake. Place fingertips slightly beyond the edge of the clay so that the clay pad is on the meat of your fingers and somewhat on your palm. As each section is completed wipe dry with a soft terry towel.

Detailing
First wash and clay the car. Then follow the steps outlined below.

Meguiar's #105 or #205
This is the cleaning step and the most important. If there are a lot of swirls you may want to use #105 first followed by #205. If there are NOT a lot of swirls you should start with #205 to see if that will handle it. The instructions works for both. If there are virtually no swirls, start with the Meguiar's Ultimate Polish.

The best pads I have found are Meguiar's W8207 Polishing Pad and Meguiar's W9207 Finishing Pad.

Apply with a polishing yellow pad and the PC set at #5 speed with medium pressure (15 to 20 pounds) on the head of the Porter-Cable. Use a SLOW arm speed and go in two directions overlapping 50% with each stroke. Put product around the outside edge of the pad. "Kiss" the surface by touching the pad down in four areas then spread the product out over an area about 16 inches by 16 inches. Place the pad on the surface before turning on the PC. After spreading out the product over the whole work area, work it in (approximately 4 to 6 passes) with the slow arm speed, stopping before the product it dries. Wipe off with a clean section of the microfiber towel! When starting a new section overlap into the previous section to insure complete coverage.

Keep the polishing pad clean. After two sections, clean the pad. To clean your pad, get some terry cloth towels (hand towels are a good size and the larger the nap the better) then take the towel and hold it into the face of the pad and then turn the polisher on and force any excess product in the pad and on the pad surface onto the terry cloth towel. Only takes a few seconds and then turn the polisher off.
Here is a picture of Mike Phillips demonstrating the pad cleaning technique:

https://mail.compute...Name=1_0001.jpg

After making your initial passes and doing most of the cutting/cleaning ... make a few finish passes and do this with less pressure on the pad. This can be done with the same polishing or finishing pad.

At this point use a bright xenon light or move the car into direct sunlight and look for and hazing or swirls. If small amount of swirls or hazing exists, use the appropriate compound to finish it off. If an unacceptable amount of swirls remain, reapply. If none exists move on to the next step.

Meguiar's Ultimate Polish
Basically the same as the above instructions except with less arm pressure. Do not let any of the three products dry on the surface. Do not continue working them into the surface until the product is near dry. They are all designed to be removed when still damp. If there is micro- marring on the surface from the #105 or #205 then use a yellow polishing pad. If the surface looks to be in good condition use a finishing pad.

Wax
Follow the instructions on the product of your choice.

Final Wiping Techniques
Final wiping is not initial removal of product, but after the most of a product has been removed and now you're just giving the finish a final wipe.

Do not use fast, spastic wiping motions. Instead take your wiping cloth, whether microfiber or cotton, be sure it is large enough to fold it 4 ways to give you plenty of cushion to distribute your hand/finger pressure more evenly over the surface of the side of the cloth in contact with the paint, and then wipe the finish slooooowly, not quickly like you're trying to put a fire out.

Wipe the finish slowly. Give the substance on the surface enough time to transfer to the fibers of the wiping cloth. Think about it... if you move your wiping cloth quickly over the surface, you're only allowing nano-seconds for any minute wax/polymer residue to transfer from the paint to the cloth, if you slow down the rate of travel of the cloth over the finish, you improve the chance for whatever it is you're trying to remove to successfully transfer to the fibers of your wiping cloth.

If you follow all of the above, always using clean, dedicated applicator pads to apply your products, then removing them using clean wiping cloths, your finish should look clear, gloss, rich in color.
.
Cleaning up
It is not necessary to clean the pads after each use. If they are only modertly dirty, use a terrycloth towel to get excess out and store in a dedicated zip lock bag that is marked.

When cleaning is necessary, soak the cutting, polishing and finishing pads in a solution of warm water and Meguiar's APC from the "Detailer" line. Scrub with a soft bristle brush. Rinse them with warm water, squeeze out the excess water then allow them to dry thoroughly. Put them in resealable plastic bags and have them labeled product specific. If I have to clean a pad while detailing, I will "spin dry" the pad using my PC 7424, starting on 1 and bring the speed up until it is dry. APC works great but really almost any all purpose cleaner will work: Mr. Clean, Lysol, Simple Green, etc..
Quote from Mike Phillips:
After teaching hundreds of classes here at Meguiar's, there are some common mistakes most people make when trying to remove swirls and scratches with a dual action polisher. Most of them have to do with technique.

Here's a list of the most common problems
1. Trying to work too large of an area at one time
2. Move the polisher too fast over the surface
3. Too low of speed setting for removing swirls
4. Too little pressure on the head of the unit
5. Too much pressure on the head of the unit so the pad quits rotating
6. Not keeping the pad flat while working your product
7. Too much product, too little product
8. Not cleaning the pad often enough

Here's a list of the solutions in matching order,
1. Shrink your work area down, the harder the paint the smaller the area you can work. The average area should be an average of about 16" by 16" up to 20" by 20"or so. You have to do some experimenting, (called a Test Spot), to find out how easy or how hard the defects are coming out of your car's paint system and then adjust your work area to the results of your Test Spot.
2. For removing defects out of the paint you want to use what we call a Slow Arm Speed. It's really easy to move the polisher too quickly because the sound of the motor spinning fast has a psychological effect to for some reason want to make people move the polisher fast. Also the way most people think is that, "If I move the polisher quickly, I'll get done faster", but it doesn't work that way.
3. When first starting out many people are scared of burning or swirling their paint, so they take the safe route of running the polisher at too low of a speed setting, again... this won't work. The action of the polisher is already g-e-n-t-l-e, you need the speed and specifically the pad rotating over the paint as well as the combination of time, (slow arm speed), together with the diminishing abrasives, the foam type, and the pressure to remove small particles of paint which is how your remove below surface defects like swirls or scratches. It's a leveling process that's somewhat difficult because the tool is safe/gentle while in most cases, modern clear coat paints are harder than traditional single stage paints and this makes them hard to work on. This is also why people get frustrated, they don't understand paint technology, all they know is their paint swirls easy and getting the swirls out is difficult and thusfrustrating.
4. For the same reason as stated in #3, people are scared, or perhaps a better word isapprehensive, to apply too much pressure and the result of too little pressure is no paint is removed thus no swirls are removed.
5. Just the opposite of item #4, people think that by pushing harder on the polisher they can work faster and be more aggressive, but the truth is the clutch in the tool is a safety mechanism to prevent burning and will cause the pad to stop rotating, thus less cleaning or abrading action and once in a while this will lead a person to then post on the forum something like this, "Hey my pad doesn't rotate". There needs to be a balance of enough pressure to remove defects and keep the pad rotating but yet not too much pressure as to stop the rotating action. This balance is affected by a lot of things, things like type of chemical, some chemicals provide more lubrication and the pad will spin easier, curved surfaces or any raise in body lines will tend to stop the pad from rotating. This is where experience on how to address these areas comes into play or you do the best you can and move on. It's not a perfect tool, nor a perfect system, but it's almost always better than working/cleaning by hand.
6. Applying pressure in such a way as to put too much pressure to one side of the pad will cause it to stop rotating and thus decrease cleaning ability.
7. Too much product over lubricates the surface and this won't allow the diminishing abrasives to do their job plus it will increase the potential for messy splatter as well as cause pad saturation. Too little product will keep the pad from rotating due to no lubrication and there won't be enough diminishing abrasives to do any work. Again it's a balance that comes with experience, or another way of saying this would be it's a balance that comes with hours of buffing out a car to learn what to do and what not to do. Information like what you're reading here is just an edge to decrease your learning curve. Hope this is helping.
8. Most people don't clean their pad often enough and most of the time the reason for this is because they don't know they're supposed to clean their pad often and they don't know how to clean their pad. You should clean your pad after every application of product or every other application of product, your choice, most of the time cleaning your pad after every other application of product works pretty well. It enables you to work clean and enables the foam pad, the polisher and the next application of fresh product too all work effectively.
The first 4 are the most common. The dual action polisher is a gentle tool, that's why people like it. People are afraid of machines because they're worried they're going to either instill swirls or burn through the paint. When they learn that this is pretty hard to do with this machine, so after enough research or after watching a demonstration they learn to trust it and try it.

Summary: People like the dual action polisher because its oscillating action is safe and gentle to the surface. For the same reason people love the dual action polisher, (it's safe and gentle), a segment of people get frustrated with it because it won't remove all defects all the time. It won't tackle serious or deep defects quickly and easily.
 

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