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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I consider myself a veteran detailer... until I got on here! I work at an Acura dealership and do detail work on the side, but this detailing on here is a whole new level!
But the good news is, I want to learn the even more in depth aspects of detailing.
For example:
I'd like to try polishing more. I have a Griot's Garage orbital with pads. However, I've never REALLY tried to polish anything. Can someone suggest a good polish system that is easy to use?
I keep seeing references to AutoGlym and all these crazy half-acronym, half-number products that people use on here. Where do you get these??
Does anyone have any secret products that you can't just find from Griot's, Meguiar's, Prima, etc?
This is depressing. I'm THE guy amongst my family, friends, and co-workers to go to for detailing work... so I MUST fulfill my potential!! haha
Thanks.
 

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Re: Expanding my Detailing Knowledge (TLC Detail)

http://www.optimumcarcare.com
http://www.menzernausa.com/
http://www.duragloss.com/
^^^Three of the most popular lines out there right now. You really can't go wrong with any of them...I've used products from all three, and have had few problems or complaints. I guess the only minor thing I saw was with Menzerna products..they tend to leave a dusty finish. But, dusty finish was a small price to pay for the results of Menzerna Super Intensive Polish (SIP).
You could also visit Autogeek.net - some great resources on there as well.
 

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Re: Expanding my Detailing Knowledge (am1899)

The only thing I don't like about the Griots Garage Random Orbital is that they only have a couple of pads for it and it doesn't look like you can change the backing plate.
However, the good news is that it looks like it accepts any 6" velcro pad. Here is a link to some good 6.5" pads... http://www.autogeek.net/lc-ccs-6inch-pads.html. I'm not crazy about 6.5 inch pads on a DA, but it looks like you will have to deal with it if you keep that machine.
I'm going to post the major detailing steps in order that they are generally completed and information about them.
Exterior:
Starting with wash. Just about any automotive wash is good. Washing a vehicle is all about technique. http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=3385363
Drying. Just as important as washing. Get a couple of good microfiber waffle weaver drying towels.
Detailing Clay. If you aren't familiar with it, here is a good link... http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=3385380
If you want some good polishes for that machine, check out Optimum, Menzerna and Meguiar's for good polishes. Optimum Hyper Compound, Compound and Polish are all three great. I recommend having all three as you can fix a majority of problems with those. Menzerna makes the best finishing polishes around. 106FF and PO85RD are the best. Meguiar's #83 and #80 work great on a DA. You can find all of hose at Autogeek.net. You mix and match pads and polishes to remove certain defects from different cars. not one single combo will work on every car. And I don't know hoe the dealer taught you, if at all, but around here, we start of with the least aggressive pad and polish first to see what we can remove. We like keeping clear on cars.
50/50 wipe down. You will hear this a lot on this forum. It is a 50/50 mixture of rubbing alcohol and distilled water. You can spray a panel down with the mixture to remove any polishing oils left behind after polishing. You do this to check your work or to prep the surface for your sealant.
Paint cleaners. If you aren't going to polish a car, then you need to use a good paint cleaner in between claying and sealing/waxing. There area few good ones around, but I like using Duragloss #601 or Klasse AIO (All In One).
Glazes. You will find that a lot of us don't like using glazes. If you perfectly polish a surface, there is no need to use one and they will only hinder the protective ability and longevity of a wax or sealant. All they do is fill imperfections and that isn't what we like doing. However, if you aren't polishing a car and would like to do a little filling, you can try Meguiar's #7 or Danase Wet Glaze. If you use #7, follow with a wax and not a sealant. I recommend Collinite 476s as it has a very long durability for a wax. If you use Danase Wet Glaze, you can follow with a sealant or wax OR, you can put Danase Wet Glaze on top of the sealant or wax.
You need to read up on the difference on waxes and sealants and when is a good time to use them. For a good sealant, I like using Duragloss #105. The longest lasting sealant I have tried. A great wax is Meguiar's #26 or Pinnacle Souveran Paste Wax. One is $15 and the other is $85. Souveran is easier to apply and will give you a slight edge on deep gloss. However, for the money, #26 is hard to beat. Generally, people apply a good sealant for durability, wait 24 hrs and then add a wax for looks on top of the sealant.
Microfiber. I don't know if being a dealer detailer you know anything about microfiber, but if you don't, get some.
Interior:
There aren't many secrets about interior cleaning, but a couple of things... 1) Tough Stuff will clean just about any fabric, plastic or vinyl surface. 2) A great overall hard surface cleaner for the interior is Meguiar's Quick Interior Detailer. 3)Clean the gauges with a clean microfiber and Plexus. 4) 303 Aerospace Protectant is a favored interior protectant all over the detailing community. I use it a lot. It leaves a nice matte finish and protects well. Matte finishes are generally preferred over oily finishes. Other, cheaper options are Meguiar's Natural Shine protectant or Armor All Natural Shine protectant. 5) The more you read, the more you know.
Those are some complete basics. I could even begin to get into every aspect of proper detailing. That is up to you to read, ask questions, and test to learn.
A good place to start is with me's post above and all his links. AND, you can always IM me and ask questions.
Good luck and welcome to the proper side of detailing. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif


Modified by 67Customs at 1:14 PM 9-15-2008
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the help and advice. I will be doing some further research as I am intent on perfection.
I'm buying a 2000 Brilliant Black A4 (not so Brilliant right now!) and it will undergo a HUGE detail, so many of these products will be enlisted for help!
Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was just thinking: is there a formula or combination you use specifically for removing swirls that you've found to work well?
Ex:
Light Swirls: White X Pad with XYZ Polish
Medium Swirls: Black Y Pad with ZKE Polish
Hopefully that makes some kind of sense!!
 

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Re: (22AudiQ)

It's possible to generalize, but there are many variables to coordinate which very possibly results in different combinations of polishes and pads depending on paint hardness, operator preference, working conditions, etc..
Here are my generalizations using the Menzerna line (since I don't have much experience with other brands):
Light swirls - white pad / Menzerna 106FF or SIP
Medium swirls - orange pad / SIP
Again, I may choose something as mild as Zaino Z-PC if I'm doing Honda paint, or I might even consider a wool pad if I'm doing VW or Audi.
Pad size also depends on the type of machine used (random orbital vs. rotary) and you also have to factor in speed (such as 1500 RPM on the rotary).
 

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Re: (22AudiQ)

Well, as a owner of another B5 A4, I can lend a few of my experiences so that you can get a feel for what you can expect.
First, the clear is EXTREMELY hard.
There isn't to much "light" polishing going on with these clears when you are talking about any kind of defect removal.
Here is the last detail I did on the Audi. Complete defect removal...
http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=3939921
Keep in mind, this was done with a rotary. If you are doing this with a DA, you aren't quite going to be able to use the same products. It just shows the extent of which you need to go to properly polish the Audi's clear.
A few things, if you are doing some major swirl busting, you will want to start with Optimum Compound and a LC Yellow Pad. Follow that with Optimum Polish on a LC Orange pad and then a good finishing polish like Menzerna PO85RD on a LC White pad.
If you are doing some moderate swirl busting, maybe start with Optimum Compound on a LC White or Orange pad and then follow with Optimum Polish on a LC White pad.
Light polishing, maybe start with Optimum Polish on a LC Orange Pad and then follow with PO85RD on a white pad.
These are just for the B5 A4/S4 clears. These are combos I have used and tested on my own car and are suggestions for starting points. It doesn't mean it will work for you the same way. Also, those suggestions aren't full proof on any other vehicle either. The best way to do a car is to test with the lightest polish and pad combo and work your way up. Up the pad first, and then up the polish. However, starting lightly on the A4 is going to get you nowhere if you are trying to bust swirls.

Here is another thread done by someone over at Autopia on a B5 S4http://www.autopia.org/forum/p....html
This guy also used a rotary, but again, it is nice to see a detail done on a similar vehicle to get a feel for what is needed.
Quote, originally posted by 22AudiQ »
Are the color coded pads pretty much universal from manufacturers? Like a white one is the same from Menzerna or Meguiar's, etc.
No, they aren't. If you are looking to buy pads from that company, find a chart that shows the cutting bility of the pad. Use that as a reference. Also, not all cutting pads cut the same and not all polishing pads polish at the same level. Keep that in mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Now that we have the polish thing touched upon, what do you suggest for waxes? I've been happy with Prima Epic and Griot's BOS waxes, but neither seem to have much "life" and Griot's is a P.I.T.A to remove.
I park outside, so I'm looking for a great protectant that lasts for a long time but also gives a great gloss.
 

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Re: (22AudiQ)

Quote, originally posted by 22AudiQ »
I've been happy with Prima Epic and Griot's BOS waxes, but neither seem to have much "life" and Griot's is a P.I.T.A to remove.
For life and looks, a killer, CHEAP combo that absolutely lasts and looks great...
Duragloss #601 followed bu #105. Then, use Duragloss #951 for a topper a couple of days later anf for touch-ups.
#105 easily lasts on my cars for 7 months if not more (I always get anxious to put something else on and can't go further in my tests
). My vehicles also remian outside 24/7.
#951 puts the wet glow to paint that is just dripping. It is a spray wax, so it is extremely easy to apply so you can use it once a month without adding more than 10 minutes after a wash to apply it. It will help #105 last even longer if you use #951 once a month or so.
I'm telling you, Duragloss has figured this sealant thing out.
Quote, originally posted by me »
Meg's 21(?).
After my last test, I'm not to fond of #21 for it's durability. So far, NXT 2.0 is doing better.

It does go on easy and looks great, though.


Modified by 67Customs at 12:13 PM 9-18-2008
 

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Re: Expanding my Detailing Knowledge (TLC Detail)

i handle all the detail work at my dealership, everything from buffing to polishing to steam cleaning to reconditioning leather, my dealership sends all our used to a "detail shop" then i get it and actually detail it lol
not bad mouthing detail shops in general, used to work at one, but the ones dealerships around me use are awful
anything you need to know just send me a message ill check this topic again tomorrow its a good one for everyone
 

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Re: Expanding my Detailing Knowledge (bigkid719)

Just list everything these second-class "detail" shops do, and compare it to the process the rest of us snobby, elitist, Autopian-ish folks employ. I just want to be able to walk into a VW dealer and say, "Pssssh, you guys still using fillers and chamois?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What I really think it comes down to is the fact that people controlling the dealership love money more than cars. And you can't necessarily blame them- it's their livelihood.
But this whole inferior detailing at dealerships is just sickening... I'm a car guy. The people who I work with are money guys. We don't mix!
 

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Re: (22AudiQ)

Unfortunately, that's reality. If I were running a dealership, I'd probably think the same way too. It'd be nice to have all the cars correctly detailed, but given the cost and time for good work and the fact that most buyers will never know the difference, the choice is obvious.
On the other hand, if everyone started becoming more aware of the small details and started bringing their high-powered flashlights, examined the entire paint surface under sunlight, used sandwich bags for the "smoothness" tests, had a way to carefully remove potential fillers (with permission from the dealer), and as extra credit brought in paint meters, the quality of car prep would increase significantly.
Won't ever happen though, even though it's entertaining to imagine so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: (me)

I agree. I'd probably run it a similar way... but what I'm given to work with is so inferior, it's just impossible to crank out a good, finished product. Acura customers are PICKY... we had a customer bring in a white glove the other day. They run their hands all over the car I just waxed with some crap bulk wax that feels like sandpaper because the clay bar I use is 4 years old.
I understand running a business, but when you're charging $50,000 for a Honda, you better be using something decent! haha
So yes, I suppose I would be stingy too- but I'd atleast allow detailers to use what they need, even if it's a bit expensive.
 
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