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Polished Bliss: Evo VI TM Edition - 33 hours of show preparation

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by WX51TXR, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. WX51TXR
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    WX51TXR Polished Bliss

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    [Oct 24, 2007]
    A month or two back, when we told Clark he was going to have to have a week off (!), it seemed like a good idea to me to book in a single car for the week. My thinking was that this would limit the loss of income from detailing, and also allow me enough time to do the work without compromising all of the other tasks I have to do on a daily basis. So, a week or two later when a local chap called Keith popped in with his newly acquired Evo VI Tommi Makinen Edition, asking for a full show preparation detail and two coats of Vintage, it seemed like an ideal job... or so I thought.

    The car itself is a minter; just fewer than 20,000 since it first hit the road in the year 2000, and a really full history, even including petrol receipts! In terms of paint defects and the need for the detailing work, a pre inspection revealed the usual swirling and random scratching, plus numerous stone chips that would need filling. Keith also pointed out the graphics were full of air bubbles (or trapped dirt), and that the wheels were suffering wear and tear around the bolt holes. It was agreed that the graphics would come off ahead of the detail, and that new ones would be fitted mid detail (after the machine polishing work but before the wax layers). Game on...

    Monday

    Monday’s are always a nightmare, due to having to deal with the weekend’s e-mails, messages and voicemails, along with catching up on the forum sections we are currently sponsoring. Accordingly, I didn’t want to lose too much of the day to the detail, so I limited myself to just the wash and claying steps...

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    The process was the same as usual. The car was foamed with Meguiars Safe Degreaser, rinsed using the pressure washer, then hand washed with mitts and Meguiars Shampoo Plus (2 bucket method), then rinsed again. Autosmart Tardis was then used neat to remove all traces of tar, and the car was rinsed again. All panels were then clayed with Meguiars Detailing Clay Mild, which took no time at all as the car was pretty clean anyway. The wheels required more effort, and a two stage process; firstly I used Menzerna Gel 7.5 and some new wheel brushes we are testing to shift the bonded brake dust, and then I followed up with Tardis to shift any stubborn tar spots. The final results were spot on...

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    I finished up for the day by foaming the car with Hyper Wash one last time (as the car had sat for an hour or so while I did the wheels), rinsing thoroughly with an open ended hose and then drying the car off fully with our trusty leaf blower. It was then moved inside ready for polishing the next day.

    Tuesday

    Tuesday was looking little better in terms of free time, so I settled on doing just the roof and all of the pillars. After taping off the window rubbers I took readings across these areas using our hand held DFT Combo gauge. The results were not confidence inspiring...

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    I couldn’t help at this stage but have a wonder around the whole car with the gauge, and soon found that most of the panels were sitting between 85-95 microns with numerous low areas in the 60s and a few higher zones up into the low 100s. On reflection though, 69 microns isn’t that big deal on paint that only comprises two layers; a quick test confirmed I was dealing with single stage paint, so things were about to get messy. After a little experimentation, I opted for Menzerna 106FA and 3M pads to do all of the metal panel correction, as Menzerna RD3.02 was removing way too much paint and not finishing down LSP ready. On panels with relatively few defects, the 106FA and blue Ultrafina SE High Gloss Polishing Pads did the trick nicely in a couple of attempts, while on more defective panels, the black standard High Gloss Polishing Pads were needed, along with 2-3 attempts for maximum defect correction. Thus it was time consuming, but this was show preparation after all...

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    Me in action on the roof...

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    Wednesday

    Wednesday was the big one... I had to get all of the metal panels done by the evening ready for the installation of the fresh graphics, so I started early and pressed on all day long...

    Little tips to pass on; on cars with bonnet vents, there are two important things to consider. Firstly, if you get polishing dust down into the vents, how easily will you be able to clean them out again? If in any doubt tape them off fully... but remember that the paint on grill vents may be very brittle, due to the effects of heat over time – tape it and more often than not you’ll pull some off when you peel off the tape. To avoid this, you can cover the grills as follows and kill two birds with one stone; and it only takes 1-2 minutes per grill to do...

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    All you do is take a piece of paper, push it gently into the edges of the grill to define the shape, then take it out, cut it out, lay the grill shaped piece back in and finally tape the edges neatly. Job done!

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    After doing the near side wing and front door, I was left with a nasty scratch that needed a lot more work. Jim at Auto Perfection had kindly sent me some new goodies to test beforehand, so I opted to dry sand the area with 4000 grit micro-sanding discs, removing a good 9-10 microns in the process. I then polished out the haze with ease using just 106FA and one of the black standard high gloss pads, which reflects just how fine the sanding haze was – top trick Jim, cheers mate!

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    With all of the metal panels polished, it was time for the new graphics to be fitted. Donald from the Vinyl Cut kindly gave up his evening to do the work, and as always, a damn fine job he did too...

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    #1
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  3. WX51TXR
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    WX51TXR Polished Bliss

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    [Oct 24, 2007]
    Thursday

    The graphics themselves left a bit to be desired though. Not only did they not come with fitting tape, but they were also slightly swirly in places...

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    I was pretty annoyed at this, as I wasn’t about to let swirly graphics let the paint down, so I the next day I gave Keith a call and told him I wanted to machine polish the vinyl. This carried a fair risk due to them being so new, but I was fully prepared to cover the cost of reinstallation if things went wrong, so I pushed on. After a difficult experience with an Armourfend type film a year or so ago, I have long known that Blackfire Gloss Enhancing Polish is ideal for polishing graphics; just enough cut to nip out swirls, but not so much as to cause any hazing. Once again it didn’t let me down...

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    Then it was on to the plastics, and it was here that things became more difficult. Although Clark was off on holiday, he had done an SL500 the previous Thursday and Friday, and also a supercharged VR6 on the Monday and Tuesday, so he had taken the plastics paint thickness gauge. Knowing how thin the paint was on the metal panels made me stop and think, and without a gauge I didn’t want to go at the plastics too hard, but equally I wanted them to not let the rest of the car down. I also knew that the car would be going in to the bodyshop at some point in the near future to have one of the side skirts painted (due to fracturing of a dodgy lacquer coating). With this in mind, I took the bold decision to push on with full correction in mind, as I knew Keith wanted it as perfect as possible. By now it had become personal, and I knew I would be happy to cover any costs if things went wrong. You may be surprised to read that, but in this case the car had to be perfect, and if I didn’t correct it then Keith would have painted it, so I in a sense there was nothing to lose – I wanted it right!

    The method I adopted was 106FA on a CCS Polishing Spot Pad by PC – the plastics in general were too awkward for the rotary, and I wanted to push on hard without causing heating problems. The results were good...

    Before

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    ...so good in fact that almost all of the plastics came up spot on. The only panel that gave me a hard time was the passenger side skirt. Although this looked perfect compared to the one on the driver’s side (which was suffering the fractured lacquer problem), one light attempt with the above pad and polish combination resulted in sever hazing. At first I thought I had struck through, but there was no paint transfer (thankfully I had switched to a fresh pad before starting the panel), which indicated I was working on a lacquered surface (similar to the other side skirt). I switched to Menzerna 85RD in order to try and remove the haze, and this improved matters, although not 100%. I then switched to Blackfire Gloss Enhancing Polish (for the mildest possible cut), and this fully corrected the problem. A quick wipe down with Methylated Spirits confirmed the haze was gone, and hadn’t been hidden by the glazing oils in the product. Phew! I can only think that the lacquer on the skirts wasn’t baked at the time of application, and has remained extremely soft, making it susceptible to severe compound hazing. Such things are sent to try us...

    When I finally got the rear spoiler, I was tired and not looking forward to the task in hand. Keith and I had investigated the possibility of taking off the whole spoiler to promote access to the whole of the bootlid, but this proved too challenging due to the glue used to fit it, so instead I removed the blade on the top level and worked around everything. I used the rotary to do everything, as the areas were mostly broad and flat. What I did make sure of though, was to heavily tape any potential strike zones as plastics damage occurs virtually instantaneously at 1800rpm! I also removed the handle from the Makita in order to be able to get the head into all of the awkward areas. In total, I spent over 3 hours getting the spoiler and bootlid spot on...

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    Friday

    After spending the morning off site washing the DB9 and SL55 AMG we look after on a weekly basis, I moved on to some of the details and the first coat of Vintage on the Friday afternoon . The engine didn’t need anything other than dusting out, as Keith had already done a great job of cleaning it up. I toyed with the idea of using 303 Aerospace Protectant on it, but with it featuring mostly metal parts I decided it just wasn’t worth it – the 303 is better on engines with lots of plastics (i.e. anything made in Europe!)...

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    It almost goes without saying that all of the shuts were carefully dusted and cleaned out (using the usual brushes, work towels and copious amounts of Meguiars Last Touch). They were then treated with Zymöl HD-Cleanse and waxed with Vintage...

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    The interior needed nothing more than a light Meguiars APC wipe down (10:1) and a vacuum; again, Keith had done a great job in this respect. The glass was cleansed inside and out with HD-Cleanse, applied using the white side of a German Pad and buffed off with work towels...

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    At the end of the afternoon, I applied the first coat of the Vintage using the red side of a German Pad, and then tackled the wheels and arches while it cured. The alloys were treated with Poorboys Wheel Sealant and the tyres dressed with Blackfire Long Lasting Tyre Gel, while the arches were dressed with Meguiars All Season Dressing (applied using a microfibre pad after jacking the car up to reveal the insides of the arches). The Vintage was then buffed off using Deluxe Mega Towels and a light mist of Last Touch at the end to ensure smear free perfection...

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    #2
  4. WX51TXR
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    WX51TXR Polished Bliss

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    [Oct 24, 2007]
    Saturday

    A day off! Went to see Ratatouille at the cinema with the kids, brilliant fun!

    Sunday

    The last job was to add another coat of Vintage to all of the exterior surfaces (including the glass, trims and graphics) and get it buffed off and photographed before Keith came in to pick it up at lunchtime. So, a nice easy morning, with the only difficulty being having to work carefully with the new graphics to ensure no snagging and peeling of the pointed edges. The weather improved a lot through the morning, and by lunchtime the sun was beginning to peep out a bit...

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    ... that’s it, just a little more please...

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    ... c’mon, a little more, pleeaassee...

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    ... you beauty (!), taken just as Keith arrived...

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    So, the final reckoning then; 33 hours of hard graft all said and done, with two 1am finishes. I cannot see how I could have done any better; the paint is now 99% perfect, with just the odd random trace here and there that is too deep to warrant full removal. The finish in the flesh after two coats of the good stuff was way better than the pictures show... as is sadly always the case. Keith has booked the car in again for a top up ahead of the show season next year, and between now and then it will over winter in a garage. I enjoyed this one immensely, but it killed my week, and I’m still struggling to get back on top of the usual stuff I have to do two weeks later. So, in a way it is a swansong for me, as I am going to finally have to give in to work pressures and stop detailing unless absolutely necessary. Onwards and upwards as they say (although but it wasn’t meant to be like this). Cheers for looking!

    :)
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  5. jr001
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    jr001 Member

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    [Oct 24, 2007]
    An amazing job to take on. Most of the defects looked very standard, but you faced so many decision-crucial corners that this looked very interesting and challenging indeed. Taking on board the paint thicknesses and their interpretation, the deadline before the transfers, second hits, sanding, curing time. Perseverance with the tricky bits, using the PC where required, relying on previous experience - all of this goes to show what an amazing job that was done on this car, even by the standard of you pros. I hope Clark said 'well done'.

    I've found this to be probably the most interesting report to read so far, and bearing in mind that I don't have any thoughts for these cars or subarus etc, you've made me like a few things about this car and you've drawn me into the intense nature of this job. That's bloody good, even considering you had the car for a few days.

    Thanks for sharing the tips in the report, it's always good to read about these things and how you managed the footery bits.

    Go have a few beers and be pleased with what you've achieved mate. I know that although you work on cars every day almost, this one will have given you tremendous self-satisfaction.

    Thanks for sharing this one.

    You would do another one tomorrow, right?

    Top stuff Richard:icon_thumright:
    :respekt: :respekt: :respekt: :respekt: :respekt: :respekt: :respekt: :respekt: :respekt: :respekt:
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  6. m40rcd
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    m40rcd Sunny Delight

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    [Oct 24, 2007]
    Breathtaking :applaus: :respekt:
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  7. Boydie
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    Boydie Guest

    [Oct 25, 2007]
    such great detail and good read! really want to get my car sorted asap lol
    #6
  8. WX51TXR
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    WX51TXR Polished Bliss

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    [Oct 25, 2007]
    Cheers John and everyone else, much appreciated. Aye, I would take another one in like a shot. I was just saying to Clark today that I would like to offer this kind of service level all the time; yes we'd lose a bit of business through being too pricey, but we're hardly short of work, so it is an option. It's so much more satisfying when you don't have to rush. :)
    #7
  9. Wes G
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    Wes G Member

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    [Oct 25, 2007]
    Thats just superb work:hubbahubba: :cool: I love reading these threads, they give us so much help with our own cars although Im sure none of us can get anywhere near that standard!!! Shame you are so far away...cant you open a unit down in the south east??? lol:icon_thumright: Keep up the good work and thanks for posting these work of arts up!...Wes.
    #8
  10. campbell
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    campbell Member

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    [Oct 25, 2007]
    that was an awesome post...very interesting read and the results speak for themself! well done and that evo is gorgeous

    Lee
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  11. jesters3
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    jesters3 Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 25, 2007]
    Quite frankly we are not worthy :respekt:

    I am always amazed..more stunned...that you can make such a car look spotless and positvely awesome, I take pride in my work but I have to take my hat off to you sir.
    #10
  12. deuce
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    deuce Member

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    [Oct 31, 2007]
    I'll second that. Fantastic work guys!
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