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Polished Bliss: Vintage Prize Detail on MKI MX-5

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by WX51TXR, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. WX51TXR
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    WX51TXR Polished Bliss

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    My god, I've found time to do a write up! Sadly this is no laughing matter for me these days, my hopes of getting back to detailing on a regular basis have evaporated in an energetic cloud of e-mails, orders, events and other matters to attend to, so this one was a real pleasure and made a nice change. Of course, being the elderly gent that I am, I had Clark’s help throughout this detail, which is always a pleasure too.

    Ok, the deal with this one was as follows - the Maxda MX5 club approached us last year to do a demonstration event for them, but without suitable premises to work from, we asked them to wait 12 months, and as a sweetener we also said we’d then do a prize giveaway of a full correction detail. This blossomed nicely for them, as in the meantime we became licenced with Zymöl, so the prize was thus upgraded to a full correction detail with Vintage, the winner being drawn in a raffle organised by the club. The concept for the day was for us to complete the work on the car in advance bar one side of the bonnet, which we would then work on in front of the club members for them to see what detailing is all about, and what we offer in the way of services.

    Once the winner was known, we asked him to pop round so that we could view the car in advance, in order to ensure we allocated enough time in our diary for the work to be done. I wasn’t at the unit when the owner swung by, but Clark was, and he lost no time in telling the owner that his pride and joy was a good example of a 10ft car. The owner was slightly confused by this term, so Clark put him straight, by telling him it looked good from 10ft, but any closer and it was a mess! The owner in all fairness took this quite well, but the gauntlet was laid down, with him expecting a miracle from us. Nothing like a healthy dollop of pressure, as word of this got back to the owners club and all of the members!

    Onto the detail then, which was done over a full Saturday and Sunday morning, in advance of the main demonstration event on the Sunday afternoon. This is how the car looked when it was dropped off first thing on the Saturday morning...

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    The car, a MKI MX-5, is 12 years old, has around 30k miles on the clock, had a new hood fitted recently and is generally a very tidy car. It is garaged most of the time, being taken out 1-2 times per week for short runs in the dry, and is taken to club meets and shows through the summer months each year. I was actually quote impressed by the cleanliness of the car, with the alloys being clean right through to the backs, and the arches only suffering a light covering of dust and grime...

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    This being the case, the first step in the wash process was to apply a safe degreaser to the arches using a foaming head spray gun, which enables the product to cling in-situ for longer than normal and do it’s job properly...

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    The whole car was then foamed with a similar all purpose exterior cleaner, via a foam lance attached to our pressure washer. This was left to dwell for 10 minutes while the wheels were cleaned...

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    Given the decent state of the wheels, I simply used a pH neutral gel and a combination of a wheel brush and microfiber mitt to ensure all last traces of dirt and debris were removed...

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    The whole car, including the arches, was then rinsed at high pressure, and all exterior surfaces then hand washed using a gentle shampoo and the two bucket method. It’s important to remember all of the fiddly bits that aren’t necessarily on show...

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    At this stage I also washed down the door shuts, and noticing that the grubby interior matts were rubberised, I whipped them out, scrubbed them clean with an interior all purpose cleaner and brush, and then rinsed them off with the hose...

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    The whole exterior was then rinsed again using an open ended hose, and after testing all of the main panels with my fingertips, I did a little bit of spot claying here and there to remove a small amount of bonded surface contamination. The leaf blower was then used to dry the car off, and blow water out of all of the shuts, panel gaps arches and wheel spokes. With the wash stage complete, we rolled the car inside, shut the door and dressed the arches with a solvent-based dressing that would take hours to dry fully over the course of the rest of the detail. We then started the paint inspection, and this is what confronted us when the lights went on...

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    Just the usual deep swirling, random deep scratches and marring then, all of which would be robbing the car of clarity and reflectivity. Paint readings confirmed an average thickness over much of the car of 90-100 microns, with the bootlid being the only panel showing obvious signs of being resprayed (a plethora of trapped in wetsanding marks and 400-600 microns of paint). From past experience, we expected the paint to be on the soft side and single stage rather than clearcoated, and we were right on both counts. After a little discussion, we opted to start with a heavy cerami-clear finishing polish using a finishing pad on the Makita for the metal panels, and the same polish using a polishing pad on the PC for the plastic panels and light clusters. As it turned out, the rotary combination wasn’t quite up to removing the deeper random scratches afflicting most of the major panels, so we switched to a polishing pad, which then did the trick nicely. Also, the PC combo was failing to remove everything in a single hit on the plastic panels, but with the plastics paint gauge indicating thicknesses of just ~60 microns in some areas, I decided to opt for two hits with the original polish/pad combination rather than step up to anything more aggressive. Here are some of the before and afters on both panel types...

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    After the machine polishing work was completed, we rolled the car outside into the sun to check for any trace of hologramming, which can be a real pain on soft paint, no matter how carefully you are able to finish down. Although the sun was only partially out, the paint looked good all round, and we were satisfied the finish was as good as we could achieve safely. The following pictures show how the bare paint looked, just goes to show that thorough preparation counts for a lot in terms of the final finish achieved...

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    We then rolled the car back inside, dusted it down carefully with a Zymöl woollen duster (brilliant bit of kit, well worth the money), and further cleansed the paint with Zymöl HD-Cleanse, applied using a microfiber pad misted with quick detailer. After buffing off the paint cleaner (using a spritz or two of quick detailer to loosen the residue in places), we then applied a thin coat of Zymöl Vintage using a soft foam pad (the wax was worked in to the pad using our fingertips in order to ensure it was fully melted and easy to spread) and buffed down again 5 minutes later. We then called it a day, knowing that we had broken the back of the detail.
    #1
  2. WX51TXR
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    WX51TXR Polished Bliss

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    On the Sunday morning, we arrived at the unit early in order to get our own cars ready for the folk from the MX5 club coming round later. This is one of the biggest pains of running this type of event; finding time for own cars is hard enough these days, and having to keep them spot on for business purposes isn’t easy. However, with our routines down and well practiced, both cars were soon out on display and looking respectable...

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    We then tuned our attention back to the demonstration car, and dressed the tyres with a water-based gel, applied a coat of a wheel specific sealant to the alloy wheels, polished the exhaust tip with a fine cut metal polish and firm foam pad, and cleaned the exterior glass with Zymöl HD-Cleanse. Finally, we gave the interior a basic detail; the plastic and vinyl surfaces were wiped down with a dilute interior all purpose cleaner solution and then dressed with Zymöl Vinyl, the glass was cleaned with Zymöl HD-Cleanse, the carpets and seats vacuumed, and the door shuts cleansed and protected with a one step solvent-based sealant (the aluminium kick plates were also polished with a fine cut metal polish and firm foam pad)...

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    With the job done (bar half the bonnet), we had time for a quick bite to eat before we were joined by the members of the club...

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    Once everyone had arrived and had nibbles and soft drinks, we then started the demonstration. For over 3 hours we talked through proper car care methods and techniques, and broke up the stages and discussion with practical demonstrations on the unfinished bonnet of the prize winning car. To some, 3 hours may sound like a long time listening to one person speak, but it really flew by, and I can honestly say it was one of the most enjoyable days I have yet had running Polished Bliss. I have always seen sharing and education as a key foundation stone of Polished Bliss, and it is now really brilliant that we have an ideal environment in which to do this for car clubs and enthusiasts. Here is a shot of Clark demonstrating rotary usage...

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    The final thing to do once all of the work was finally finished was to roll the car outside into the sun and show the club members what we had achieved...

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    The owner was overjoyed with the results, and here he can be seen taking a picture of himself in the bonnet reflection...

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    ...and this is what he saw...

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    The all important sun shots, showing how we achieved around 95% correction on 12 year old single stage paint using a safe and conservative approach...

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    All in all, the day was a great success, and the club members have given us such positive feedback that we have now booked in similar events with the local Jaguar and Porsche clubs. It’s days like these that make it all worthwhile!

    :)
    #2
  3. ManicMunky
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    ManicMunky Member

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    Wow!

    Absolutely stunning work!

    Shame about the car though ;)
    #3
  4. clcollins
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    clcollins Member

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    Once again a great result achieved, and thanks for the comprehensive write up, there always good to read in be inspired by.
    #4
  5. chris_20
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    chris_20 Member

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    really enjoy the write ups you guys do...credit to yourselfs and the passion u put into the business
    #5
  6. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    Great post! Stunning results as usual but it looked like everyone got a lot of out the day.
    #6
  7. Covenant
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    Covenant Member

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    Great stuff guys.

    I suppose in a way it was a double-edged sword that the winner had a black car. It's always going to be rough to get right, but when you get a black car done it's always stunning.
    #7
  8. clcollins
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    clcollins Member

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    Perhaps a numpty question, but here goes, what do you mean when you write: "The whole car was then foamed with an all purpose exterior cleaner........." What is an all purpose cleaner, car specific shampoo, normal shampoo (because it's worth it), Jif (sorry Cif), washing up liquid, bathroom foaming moose?

    Yes, before anyone posts a reply saying 'are you dumb, you can't wash your car with that', the last 4 were a joke, I'm not totally inept (contrary to popular belief)

    Thanks in advance
    #8
  9. Clark@Polishedbliss
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    Clark@Polishedbliss Professional Detailer

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    APC - basically just a cleaner for all purposes as the name suggests, we normally use Meguiars All Purpose Cleaner or P21S Autowash, it strips any protection that may be on the paint before we wash so that we have a clean base to work on when the polishing steps begin etc :)
    #9

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