Polished Bliss: 3 days & a 12 year old E36 328...


Professional Detailer
This was the start of another new maintenance contract and was meant to be for an M3, however Alex decided to get rid of it as he couldnt justify a car of that value sitting about in his garage half the time. So instead, he picked up this minted E36 328 with only 46k on the clock:

As you can see, the car was pretty clean already, all be it slightly pink looking :)

So after a quick pre rinse with hot water (50 degrees) at high pressure i started on the wheels. Like the car in general, these were hardly dirty and even clean all the way to the back so all that was needed was Menz 7.5 to remove the light grime and brake dust. The gel was sprayed on and agitated with a MF mitt and brush:

The arches were soaked with Meguiars Super Degreaser and rinsed at the same time as the wheels.

The car was then washed with the 2BM and lambswool mitt, including the shuts etc - again, these were pretty spotless already so no need for any APC's or degreasers :)

After a rinse, Autosmart Tardis was applied to the lower half of the car and wheels, then wiped off with a MF:

I then soaked the engine bay with Meguiars Super Degreaser and rinsed at medium pressure.

The car was then rinsed again before i moved onto the clay stage. Meguiars Mild Detailing Clay was used this time:

This removed a medium amount of contamination:

Now nice and clean, the swirls started to become visible in the morning sun:

The car had initially looked pretty good before i had washed it but it was alot swirlier once clayed and dried. Turns out the car had been given a quick going over with Autoglym SRP so the fillers had obviously been removed - showing the true condition of the paint :)

I dried the car off with a waffle weave and then blasted all the excess water out the panel gaps with the leaf blower before putting it inside.
Side repeaters were removed:

I then taped everything up ready for polishing, including the bonnet vents to stop any dust from getting inside the engine bay:

Paint thickness readings were taken next, with the car generally quite healthy:

The rear end was a bit thin in places though:

High readings on the n/s rear quarter and door showed signs of respray work, although it was a very high quality:

Aside from these areas and the front bumper, the rest of the car was original :)

Defects were medium, with alot of RIDS - however for a 12 year old car it wasnt as bad as some 2-3 year old cars i've done!:

After much playing about with polish and pad combinations, i settled on 3M Fine Cut Compound (3.02 equivalant, however i found it cut better on this particular car) with a drop of Ultrafina which seems to make it that bit nicer to work with. I used this with a Meguiars Cutting Pad @ 1800-2000rpm's, this older paint was a good bit harder than the newer ceramiclear paints and needed 2 hits per panel, some needing 3.

Here's a 50/50 shot on the back 1/4:

And a couple of fully corrected shots:

I continued to work my way around the car wth this pad and polish combination, slowing down to 1500rpm's for the smaller areas to keep heat down a bit:


Professional Detailer
[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328r.jpg"] [/URL]

Same for the sideskirts:

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328i.jpg"] [/URL]

I got around half the car machined and called it a day at around 6pm.

Day 2:

Day 2 was a continuation of the de-swirling stage, and once all the rotary work was completed i got out the Megs G220 and started to correct the smaller areas.

The section between the rub strip and side skirt was slightly too small for the rotary to fit so i used the G220 for this, using Menz 3.02 and speed 5 with slow passes letting the polish do the work.


[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328ee.jpg"] [/URL]


[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328n.jpg"] [/URL]

Tailgate corrected (1 or 2 RIDS remained due to the low paint levels):

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328b.jpg"] [/URL]

50/50 on spoiler (this was single stage):

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328tt.jpg"] [/URL]

Although single stage and fairly soft, the spoiler still had a few RIDs left as they were pretty deep, as can be seen below:

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328a.jpg"] [/URL]

The bootlid corrected well though:

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328s.jpg"] [/URL]

Time was getting on now as i was taking my time to get every panel as swirl free as possible as solid red shows up defects pretty easily despite not being easy to capture on camera! My aim was to have all the machine polishing including the finishing polish stage done by the end of the night, so i was planning on making it a late one.

Alex wanted the "M" badge removed from the bootlid so it was firstly heated up with the heat gun (this was done before the correction work on the bootlid but for easyness i'm including it here :)):

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328m.jpg"] [/URL]

Once it was removed, it was now obvious why the previous owner had put the badge on in the first place, a nice gouge out the paint was now visible:

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328h.jpg"] [/URL]

Just aswell there was a new one to go on then, and luckily it was big enough to cover the gouge :)

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328g.jpg"] [/URL]

It was now around 7 o clock and Alex turned up to have a chat and see how the car was getting on, plus he wanted to see a bit of wetsanding - which was my next job :)

The bonnet was sporting several areas where the previous owner had wiped bird crap into more than off the paint and inflicted some pretty deep scratches which couldnt be removed with polishing alone.

The worst one was sanded back with 2000 unigrit (no pics of the scratch as my camera wouldnt focus on it properly):

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328uu.jpg"] [/URL]

I then removed the sanding marks with 2 hits of 3M Fast Cut Plus with the G220 machine, removing approx 15 microns in total with only a light trace of the scratches left, which pleased Alex :)

The other areas (seen below) weren't quite as deep so i used 3000 unigrit for these:

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328vv.jpg"] [/URL]

I removed these with 1 hit of 3.02 and the G220.

By this stage it was now the back of 9pm so i decided to leave it at that for day 2, a bit disapointed i hadnt got more done but Alex was genuinely interested in the whole detailing process so this made it more worthwhile - better to keep a customer happy :):thumb:

Day 3:

As i hadnt got it done the night previous, i got straight into completing the finishing stage of the machining knowing i had a fair bit left to do before the car would be complete.

3M Ultrafina and a blue finshing pad was used at 1500rpm's and Po85rd on a 4" polishing pad was used with the G220 on the smaller areas such as the front bumper etc - this took approx 2 hours so it allowed me to stop for 20 mins to have lunch. Although the fine Cut Compound finishes down well, the 2nd refining stage really made a difference to the clarity and reflectiveness of the red :)

Before the number plates went back on i decided to de-swirl these too :D

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328gg.jpg"] [/URL]

After the masking tape was removed and a quick dust down i applied Vintage with the red side of a German Applicator Pad:

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328j.jpg"] [/URL]

This was left on the whole car and left to cure.

The engine bay was dressed with Aerospace 303:

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328p.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328e.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328k.jpg"] [/URL]

I then polished up the tailpipes, using Blackfire Fine Cut Compound, followed up with Megs NXT:


[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328d.jpg"] [/URL]


[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328ff.jpg"] [/URL]

The interior was given a thorough hoover out and i shampood the front matts, wiped down everything with a mild APC solution and then dressed the interior plastics as they were looking quite dry. For this i used
Poorboys Natural Look Dressing:

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328u.jpg"] [/URL]

This was applied with a MF applicator and then given a final buff off.
I also fed the leather, again opting for Poorboys (Leather Stuff) just for a change :)

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328q.jpg"] [/URL]

The glass was cleaned with Meguiars Glass Cleaner Concentrate.


Professional Detailer
Interior Pics:

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328f.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328hh.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328l.jpg"] [/URL]

The tyres were dressed with Blackfire Long Lasting Tyre Gel, wheels were sealed with PB Wheel Sealant and the arches were done with Meguiars All Season Dressing.

I then buffed off the Vintage and dressed the exterior trim with All Season Dressing:

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328t.jpg"] [/URL]

This was left for about 30 mins before i gave it a final buff to avoid streaking when wet.

A final inspection was all that was needed before taking pics of the finished result - not bad for a 12 year old car i think :)

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328aaa.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328ccc.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328kk.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328ll.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328mm.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328jj.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328ddd.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328ii.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328rr.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328ss.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328ww.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328xx.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328zzz.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328yy.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328eee.jpg"] [/URL]

[URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Clark_VTR/C328fff.jpg"] [/URL]

Total Work Time: Approx 28 hours.


Clark :thumb:


Registered User
Clark, you know how I like all of your work big chap, but this one is absolutley amazing. I know how old and tired these cars can look and even had to give up on de-oxidising the same colour and year one for a friend. I only had the PC at the time and gave up after an hour. They can be a right ******.

The exterior shots are fantastic and TBH the car looks brand new.

Top job. I even think you might be getting a wee bit better at your job dare I say!!