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View Full Version : Am I Expecting Too Much From Detailing?


mandms7
08-27-2006, 11:53 AM
About a year ago I brought my previous Jet Black 330Ci to a highly recommended detailer to remove swirls and scratches. He claimed to specialize in black cars. The guy spent 3 hours on my car, and after I got it back, it looked no better than when I brought it in. In fact, some areas looked worse.

Fast forward to yesterday. My "new" Mystic Blue 2005 330Ci had a good amount of swirls/scratches on the right hand side where the car had been repainted. I found a mobile detailer in my area on Autopia.org, where those obsessed with detailing hang out. Based on some pictures of prior work and happy customers, I figure this guy must be pretty good. He came out, looked at the swirls/scratches, said he could get them out using his PC, and two hours later I'm still looking at a car with swirls and scratches. As before, some areas looked even worse, having a whitish haze look to it, which I think is a result of a lot of fine scratches somehow introduced by his PC. :mad:

At this point I've pretty much had it with detailers. I try to do my research and pick one who has proven good work and is reputable, but I keep getting burned.

Is it even possible to get your paint to a state that if I stick my nose up to it that I should not see any swirls or scratches, or at least remove a vast majority of them? Am I just expecting too much?

frhsfootball80
08-27-2006, 01:28 PM
words of wisdom....DO IT YOURSELF so you can meet your expectations, ;)

mandms7
08-27-2006, 05:35 PM
At this point, I couldn't agree with you more. However, I was hoping to have the swirls/scratches removed professionally and then maintain it by hand by myself. Now I'm going to have to go buy a PC and use it probably only once.

frhsfootball80
08-27-2006, 08:26 PM
u dont have to....ive removed all my swirls without a PC its not hard as it sounds just a good amount of elbow grease and ur good to go. not worth buying the PC unless money isnt an issue

mandms7
08-27-2006, 09:17 PM
Do you use Mequiar's Scratch-X? I tried that before contacting the detailer, and despite going Incredible Hulk on the swirls/scratches, they wouldn't budge.

dboy11
08-28-2006, 08:34 AM
About a year ago I brought my previous Jet Black 330Ci to a highly recommended detailer to remove swirls and scratches. He claimed to specialize in black cars. The guy spent 3 hours on my car, and after I got it back, it looked no better than when I brought it in. In fact, some areas looked worse.

Fast forward to yesterday. My "new" Mystic Blue 2005 330Ci had a good amount of swirls/scratches on the right hand side where the car had been repainted. I found a mobile detailer in my area on Autopia.org, where those obsessed with detailing hang out. Based on some pictures of prior work and happy customers, I figure this guy must be pretty good. He came out, looked at the swirls/scratches, said he could get them out using his PC, and two hours later I'm still looking at a car with swirls and scratches. As before, some areas looked even worse, having a whitish haze look to it, which I think is a result of a lot of fine scratches somehow introduced by his PC. :mad:

At this point I've pretty much had it with detailers. I try to do my research and pick one who has proven good work and is reputable, but I keep getting burned.

Is it even possible to get your paint to a state that if I stick my nose up to it that I should not see any swirls or scratches, or at least remove a vast majority of them? Am I just expecting too much?

Why not bring your car to me at this point I'm willing to do yours for free...I have over 30 years as a part time weekend detailer and drive a black 540....to get all the swirls out is close to impossible but my car comes real close....the detailers that you are using are hackers at best....in order to remove swirls you need heat to break down the product...for that you need a rotary and a cutting pad with a designated swirl remover....then polish to take out the hazing...

beauport
08-28-2006, 10:40 AM
u dont have to....ive removed all my swirls without a PC its not hard as it sounds just a good amount of elbow grease and ur good to go. not worth buying the PC unless money isnt an issue

Good point, you can do it all by hand but to achieve the same results as using a machine will take longer and give you a pretty good workout - but yes it can be done.

DotBalm
08-28-2006, 10:11 PM
Why not bring your car to me at this point I'm willing to do yours for free...

Bigger than big. If you do, maybe you can post before and afters...

schley
08-28-2006, 11:45 PM
Why not bring your car to me at this point I'm willing to do yours for free...I have over 30 years as a part time weekend detailer and drive a black 540....to get all the swirls out is close to impossible but my car comes real close....the detailers that you are using are hackers at best....in order to remove swirls you need heat to break down the product...for that you need a rotary and a cutting pad with a designated swirl remover....then polish to take out the hazing...

wow that is one of the more generous offers i have seen on bimmerfest...... god bless you... and i'm visiting this fall........:dunno: :)

dboy11
08-29-2006, 08:47 AM
wow that is one of the more generous offers i have seen on bimmerfest...... god bless you... and i'm visiting this fall........:dunno: :)

There is a point of return for me with this guy...I sincerely think that he is using hackers, there are plenty in this industry...reason as I stated above, there is no real money to make at detailing unless you are the owner of the biz. If he is willing to drive to me I will be happy to give him what I think is possible and what's not possible....he might be looking for something that NOT possible...I will post some pics of cars that I have worked on here shortly and you can judge for yourself if I have the talent or not...thanks

dboy11
08-29-2006, 08:51 AM
OK to start off here are two examples of my work....the red top one is single stage paint on a early model Trooper...The next was over spray removal from a car that had hit a can of white striping paint...more to follow

chuck92103
08-29-2006, 08:53 AM
Wax hides the swirls to some extent but does not remove them. After a few washes they are back. Scratched clear coat is scratched clear coat. If you do want to see swirls avoid dark colors.

dboy11
08-29-2006, 09:09 AM
OK high speed aluminum polishing is one area that I offer...these where off a Jeep that I had...the Jag is a current customer you can see the reflection of the house very clearly in the car...this was accomplished with a rotary buffer with a lite cut swirl remover...I'll keep going

Spartacus_33
08-29-2006, 10:29 AM
At this point, I couldn't agree with you more. However, I was hoping to have the swirls/scratches removed professionally and then maintain it by hand by myself. Now I'm going to have to go buy a PC and use it probably only once.
Trust me my man........ you will use it more than once. You'll find all kinds of uses for it (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161722), other than just your car.

As far as using it over and over on your car... I just bought a 12 pack of mf bonnets for my PC and used them to remove Klasse and carnuba last weekend. I'm telling you, it makes a difference polishing the product off with your PC rather than by hand... you will get your money's worth out of the PC... If I had it to do over, I would probably buy the one from Griots (http://www.griotsgarage.com/catalog.jsp?L1=L1_1000&L2=L2_1004&SKU=10925) though... looks like it's easier to hold.

TOGWT
08-29-2006, 10:54 AM
A high-speed polisher is one of the most effective and versatile and tools, it can eliminate myriad flaws in a paint finish, putting the finishing touch on a paint repair and produce a ‘new car’ flawless shine

This is a rotary polisher for the skilled enthusiast or professional detailer, using the high speed and heat to enable compounds to abrade the paint film surface that require more power /speed than an random orbital buffer could provide.
It is not unusual for a detailer to use a high-speed machine to compound a vehicle and then switch to a dual action, random orbital machine (Porter Cable TM 7336) to apply a pre-wax cleaner, a wax or sealant. The (10 amp) motor works effortlessly for high speed polishing and the entire unit weighs only 6.5 lbs. The user selectable speed can be adjusted from 0-3,000 rpm, which maintains a constant speed even under load conditions. A large wrap around handle provides excellent two-hand control for working over edges or into tight corners. A spindle lock built into the polisher makes changing pads safe and easy.

I have resisted writing a guide for the use of a high-speed polisher in the past because they can remove and/or burn paint and create swirl and buffer marks if used improperly. A high-speed polisher actually removes the swirl by removing the layer of paint down to the lowest point of the swirl. With a little patience, practice and common sense, an enthusiast can master the skill needed to create a swirl-free, mirror bright finish. Staying within the speed range of 1,000 – 1,500 rpm, providing you are careful not to hold the pad in one place for too long, and paying attention when you come to the `edge' of a panel or a body contour it will not cause any damage or paint burn. Staying within this speed range it's pretty much idiot-proof (I can use it, what does that tell you)

dboy11
08-29-2006, 10:59 AM
A high-speed polisher is one of the most effective and versatile and tools, it can eliminate myriad flaws in a paint finish, putting the finishing touch on a paint repair and produce a ‘new car’ flawless shine

This is a rotary polisher for the skilled enthusiast or professional detailer, using the high speed and heat to enable compounds to abrade the paint film surface that require more power /speed than an random orbital buffer could provide.
It is not unusual for a detailer to use a high-speed machine to compound a vehicle and then switch to a dual action, random orbital machine (Porter Cable TM 7336) to apply a pre-wax cleaner, a wax or sealant. The (10 amp) motor works effortlessly for high speed polishing and the entire unit weighs only 6.5 lbs. The user selectable speed can be adjusted from 0-3,000 rpm, which maintains a constant speed even under load conditions. A large wrap around handle provides excellent two-hand control for working over edges or into tight corners. A spindle lock built into the polisher makes changing pads safe and easy.

I have resisted writing a guide for the use of a high-speed polisher in the past because they can remove and/or burn paint and create swirl and buffer marks if used improperly. A high-speed polisher actually removes the swirl by removing the layer of paint down to the lowest point of the swirl. With a little patience, practice and common sense, an enthusiast can master the skill needed to create a swirl-free, mirror bright finish. Staying within the speed range of 1,000 – 1,500 rpm, providing you are careful not to hold the pad in one place for too long, and paying attention when you come to the `edge' of a panel or a body contour it will not cause any damage or paint burn. Staying within this speed range it's pretty much idiot-proof (I can use it, what does that tell you)

Great write up on the rotary its what I have been doing for years

chuck92103
08-29-2006, 12:25 PM
High speed polishing is nothing more than sanding down the clear coat to a smoother finish. You can only do this so many times and then you ruin it.

You are not removing imperfections. You are removing clear coat with imperfections. Nothing is fixed, you are removing coating.

This is why black cars look like crap after a a year or two. More than swirls, excessive waxing with high speed buffers has dulled the car.

dboy11
08-29-2006, 12:37 PM
High speed polishing is nothing more than sanding down the clear coat to a smoother finish. You can only do this so many times and then you ruin it.

You are not removing imperfections. You are removing clear coat with imperfections. Nothing is fixed, you are removing coating.

This is why black cars look like crap after a a year or two. More than swirls, excessive waxing with high speed buffers has dulled the car.


Some of you people and your answers amaze me...using a high speed polishers is nothing more than sanding???

you are taking a small amount of the clear coat off....its removing the imperfections or swirl if you will....that is on the surface of the clear...those are caused primarily by washing and drying of the car and not using the proper technique....however in all the years that I have been fooling around with my cars and customers I have never burned threw the clear from polishing and I've done mine allot...I'm not saying that its impossible but not likely......Excessive waxing with high speed buffers has dulled the car....this makes no sense to me.....polish is designed to clarify the clear coated surface...wax in to deigned to make if shine and protect....I'm sorry when I read things like that its seems to be coming from someone with limited knowledge of product and process....I have spent years developing my skills in this area and understand it very well.

Alvizzo913
08-29-2006, 12:40 PM
Isn't polish an abrasive substance that is bad for the clear coat when applied too much?

chuck92103
08-29-2006, 12:47 PM
Isn't polish an abrasive substance that is bad for the clear coat when applied too much?

EXACTLY! Some folks just do get it.

dboy11
08-29-2006, 12:50 PM
Isn't polish an abrasive substance that is bad for the clear coat when applied too much?

two types of polish one is a chemical based...klasse AIO is a chemical based cleaner...it removes what's on the surface but really doesn't cut the clear....then you have polish that have abrasives, or what is called a grit styled compound they are deigned to cut the clear...these can wear your clear coat down over time, but not likely to the point that you would go threw it...unless you used a rotary with a cutting pad and really bared down on the paint....polishing your car with a PC or by hand a few times a year is not going to hurt the finish on your car...I do mine about every quarter...I drive a black car and after a period of time the swirls marks are there its just the way dark colors are

Spartacus_33
08-29-2006, 01:34 PM
Hummmm, blood pressures are raising, they are.... [he says in his best Yoda voice]....

Guys.. it's OK to disagree...... now lets all settle down a little......:stickpoke

TOGWT
08-29-2006, 02:43 PM
Before buffing it’s always a good idea to check the paint film thickness to see how much of the paint film thickness available, check is periodically during the process and on completion to see how much was removed. Take measurements with a paint and coating thickness gauge (Check-Line Model DEF-900)

Paint Film Thickness:
Most modern vehicle paint film systems (paint build) comprise a Primer coat of 2Mils, a Colour coat of 1-2Mils, and Clear coat 2-3Mils thickness. Removing more that 0.3 mil (0.0003") of clear coat will cause premature paint film failure. As a point of reference a sheet of copy paper is 3.5Mil (0.0035")

This is primarily because removal of too much clear coat can cause paint failure, as the paint systems UVR protection is a function of the clear coat. It also provides protection from a hostile environment and an excellent brilliance, but is easily scratched; once it is compromised repairs involve re-painting, as the base colour has no brilliance, shine or depth, start with the least abrasive product to accomplish desired results, and only if necessary move up to the next grade of abrasive.

Using a Paint Thickness Gauge:
An electronic paint thickness gauge can be an invaluable tool, the gauge is especially useful during buffing and compounding All the major car manufacturers specify that measurements should be taken before, during and after these steps.

This is primarily because removal of too much clear coat can cause paint failure over time due to the fact that UVR absorption is the job of the clear coat. Too little clear and the colour coat won't be protected from UV radiation.

For this reason, it’s also recommended that paint be measured when buffing since you can’t see how much paint is being removed during the buffing process. If too much clear is removed, either on the original OEM finish or the refinished areas, a warranty issue may develop down the road.

picus
08-29-2006, 05:01 PM
I get the questions of "how much polishing can you do?" all the time. Here is my general answer:

Most cars come from the factory with between 12 and 15 microns of paint (that's 12-15 one thousands of a mm, btw), about one third to half of that is clear coat. How much of that you remove when polishing depends on a couple things. First, the compound you're using. Second, the machine and pad.

Now with a rotary clear coat life is definitely always on my mind. A rotary removes paint (clear coat is clear paint with acrylic enamels in it) much more quickly than a PC even with lighter compounds. That's why rotary work on a car should be limited only to times when it is needed, not for general maintenance.

Now that said, to give you an idea of how much a rotary generally removes - I've buffed newly painted cars after color-sanding with a wool pad and diamond cut 2. These cars came out of the booth with around 30 microns of paint, and when we were done color sanding (600, 1000, 1500, 2000 grit) and buffing (wool/dc, white foam/finish) we were around 26 and a half microns of paint, so 3.5 microns for a color sand. That's why on modern factory painted cars I usually recommend not color sanding, but it gives you an idea about how much paint we're taking off with pretty much the heaviest procedue we have.

With normal rotary use I've never seen more than half a micron removed in one session if properly done. In fact I would say that skilled rotary users etc... remove well under half a micron per rotary session (i'd guess 0.1-0.2). Unless it's a show car you will more than likely be able to compound for more years than the car will last.

Now the PC. As you can guess by now the PC generally removes paint much slower. It *can* remove as much, but it would take a lot of time, pressure, and heavy compounds/pads. For the most part a moderate PC use (say, menzerna ip/orange, fpii/white) will remove less than a tenth of a micron of paint. A real world example; on my car as a lot of you know I've compounded quite heavily with the PC, probably 6 polishing sessions, I started with 13.1 microns of paint and I'm down to 12.8 now, so under .3 microns in well over a year and a lot of polishing.

So, bottom line is that using a PC for maintenance (say FPII/white or SSR2/white) once or twice a year odds are good you'll have sufficient paint for 20 years of polishing.

FWIW: there is no such thing as excessive waxing. Aside from wasting product you can not wax "too much", you can buff too much, but on modern cars it is unlikely that unless you went to the worlds crappiest detailer or are buffing every day your cars paint will not fade after two years from buffing.

schley
08-29-2006, 05:08 PM
There is a point of return for me with this guy...I sincerely think that he is using hackers, there are plenty in this industry...reason as I stated above, there is no real money to make at detailing unless you are the owner of the biz. If he is willing to drive to me I will be happy to give him what I think is possible and what's not possible....he might be looking for something that NOT possible...I will post some pics of cars that I have worked on here shortly and you can judge for yourself if I have the talent or not...thanks

dude why are you coming off like you are being challenged? I don't give a rat's ass how much talent you have at detailing cars, the forum is about giving and receiving information, not to piss people off coming off high and mighty with no sense of humor.

I'm looking in the detail department to learn some info and tips, not to hear the resume of some anonymous detailer 500 miles away from me.

Relax, I'm sure you can kick all our asses with a PC, god bless you. You can be the best at what you do, but if you come off like an :bareass: then why would we want to listen to someone void of tact?

I sense a lack of respect for other posters in your responses so just check yourself, no big deal.

BTW i'm still bringing my car up there so you can show me your stuff:thumbup:

mandms7
08-29-2006, 11:00 PM
Why not bring your car to me at this point I'm willing to do yours for free...I have over 30 years as a part time weekend detailer and drive a black 540....to get all the swirls out is close to impossible but my car comes real close....the detailers that you are using are hackers at best....in order to remove swirls you need heat to break down the product...for that you need a rotary and a cutting pad with a designated swirl remover....then polish to take out the hazing...
Thank you for your very generous offer dboy11. I really appreciate it, and I might take you up on it. However, with the way I'm feeling right now, I would prefer that no one else touch my car at this time due to these bad experiences.

dboy11
08-30-2006, 08:24 AM
Thank you for your very generous offer dboy11. I really appreciate it, and I might take you up on it. However, with the way I'm feeling right now, I would prefer that no one else touch my car at this time due to these bad experiences.


Can respect that....I would suggest that you visit this site to read up about detailing and products...you will see me there as Beemberboy...its free to read and register if you choose

Spartacus_33
08-30-2006, 08:34 AM
I would suggest that you visit this site to read up about detailing and products...you will see me there as Beemberboy...its free to read and register if you choose

Dude,

Perhaps you need to spend less time promoting yourself and more time learning how to insert hyperlinks..... :dunno:

DotBalm
08-30-2006, 08:05 PM
I appreciate the info re polishers and paint / clear coat depth.

Reminds me of how I ruined a car's finish by using rubbing compound as part of my wash ritual back in high school. Took a perfectly shiny looking car and really messed it up. The paint used to come off on the towels.

PropellerHead
08-30-2006, 10:15 PM
With normal rotary use I've never seen more than half a micron removed in one session if properly done. In fact I would say that skilled rotary users etc... remove well under half a micron per rotary session (i'd guess 0.1-0.2). Unless it's a show car you will more than likely be able to compound for more years than the car will last.Exactly. I've been polishing and waxing my 2000 540i6 for almost 6 years and haven't burned through the clear. Is it possible? Yes. But it'll take as long as getting a nice sun tan from the moon.

dboy11
08-31-2006, 09:10 AM
Dude,

Perhaps you need to spend less time promoting yourself and more time learning how to insert hyperlinks..... :dunno:

Fair enough PAL I forgot to put the link in...what a crime! Promoting myself hardly I'm just trying to help this guy understand what is the truth of detailing and not


http://www.detailcity.org

surfsidedetail
10-07-2006, 07:58 AM
I'm a mobile detailer in Socal and are these the results you are looking for?? I taped off the hood and polished only the right side


http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/5765/dianasjunk212largerg4.jpg
http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/9154/dianasjunk213largeyc0.jpg
http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/8391/dianasjunk215largecz6.jpg

http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/449/dianasjunk226largeau4.jpg

Right side of the hood polished
http://img224.imageshack.us/img224/1174/dianasjunk228largeyc8.jpg
http://img226.imageshack.us/img226/2750/dianasjunk229largelp7.jpg
http://img224.imageshack.us/img224/3851/dianasjunk230largeeg8.jpg

surfsidedetail
10-07-2006, 07:59 AM
All of those results were done with Porter Cable, the right pad and Meguiars compound :) so you don't necessarily need the rotary unless the paint was trashed even worse