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KillnTime
06-06-2011, 04:39 PM
I recently purchased a 1998 Toyota Camry for my son. The car is mechanically sound but was neglected in terms of exterior care. I've always taken very good of my cars so most of my detailing experience is bi-weekly washing, 4x/year waxing, and occassional claying.

This vehicle needs more and I'm hoping you can help with some tips on what I should do. My goal isn't to have a showroom ready car, but just to clean it up some.

In pictures 1 and 4 you can see what looks like cracking on the hood (and it appears a few other places. In pictures 2 and 3 you can see where the paint has chipped right off and it is starting to rust (based on other dings on horizonal surfaces, I'm betting on hail damage). There are also some misc scratches, some very superficial and some fairly deep.

I have an electric non-orbital buffer and a LOT of elbow grease. I'm open to any suggestions on steps, techniques, and products.

Thanks.

charlesberry
06-06-2011, 04:47 PM
Hi, I would clay everything, including glass. The chips with rust, I would tape off, sand, prime and paint. It's not a show car so I would use a spray can to apply. After applying, I would wet sand with 2000 grit paper, use soapy car wash water (yes with lots of suds - it acts as a lubricant). Sand it down to roughly match the existing level of the surrounding paint.

After this is done, it's going to need polishing. I use Meguiars 105 polish, then polish again with 205. These are polishing/cutting compounds that are very beginner friendly.

After this, you can take 0000 grade steel wool and clean the glass. Spray LOTS of window cleaner on the glass and buff with the steel wool - the 0000 stuff is like cotton and will NOT scratch.

And for those who think you can't get decent beginner results using primer and paint in a spray can - http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40341

Good luck and happy detailing!!

KillnTime
06-06-2011, 04:54 PM
Thanks. Will the claying or the polishing take care of the "cracks" in the hood? The glass is actually in pretty good shape but I'll give the steel wool treatment a try.

So the correct order is clay, polish, wax?

Ilovemycar
06-06-2011, 05:29 PM
I recently purchased a 1998 Toyota Camry for my son. The car is mechanically sound but was neglected in terms of exterior care. I've always taken very good of my cars so most of my detailing experience is bi-weekly washing, 4x/year waxing, and occassional claying.

This vehicle needs more and I'm hoping you can help with some tips on what I should do. My goal isn't to have a showroom ready car, but just to clean it up some.

In pictures 1 and 4 you can see what looks like cracking on the hood (and it appears a few other places. In pictures 2 and 3 you can see where the paint has chipped right off and it is starting to rust (based on other dings on horizonal surfaces, I'm betting on hail damage). There are also some misc scratches, some very superficial and some fairly deep.

I have an electric non-orbital buffer and a LOT of elbow grease. I'm open to any suggestions on steps, techniques, and products.

Thanks.

Outside of charlesberry's advice, I'm not sure that I would even try "paint correction". I recently detailed a Mazda, which I researched beforehand and learned that they are sometimes known for thin clearcoats. I have no scientific evidence, but a couple of the loudest complaints I've heard for thinness was some Toyota Corollas. OTOH, I think I've read that both GM and Mercedes might have pretty tough clearcoats. Can't remember what was said about Lexus. Now I don't know how the Camry differs from the Corolla, but at that age, I'm not sure how much clear you have left, if any. Once the base coat is exposed, it is truly exposed to the elements. So, soft pads on a PC is one thing, but a rotary with lots of elbow grease . . . . . ooo boy . . .

I'd take that advice of addressing the open rust spots, and after that I'd just add protection once in a while, like sealants, after claying.

I also use 105/205, but I don't think I'd polish that Camry (I'm interested in hearing others' opinions). In fact on that Mazda I just did, I settled for something like 95% correction only on a 2008.

I need a paint meter to confidently do full paint corrections on vehicles that have little clearcoat.

charlesberry
06-06-2011, 05:44 PM
You can't fix cracks in the paint. It needs a new paint job. Now, using a non orbital buffer is not for beginners. Sounds like a high speed polisher. That being said, and old Toyota is a great car to learn with. I'd use foam pads, and I soak mine in water. Do not use a dry pad on paint. You could try a foam pad, soak it in hot water, wring it out, add some polish, and give it the old college try. If you go this route, use a 6 inch pad, anything bigger won't really work to well. AND KEEP THE BUFFER MOVING. Do not let it sit still, it will damage what's left of the paint and clearcoat. Let the buffer do the work. You don't need to push down and force it onto the paint. Please use the slowest setting on the polisher.

Clay, polish, wax. Correct. Take some before and after shots too. Let us know how it turns out.

charlesberry
06-06-2011, 05:54 PM
I should add, if you're really serious, I'd invest in a Porter Cable orbital polisher, pads and polish. I have friends show up all the time for polishing and detailing. You'd be amazed at the results you can achieve.

skywolf
06-06-2011, 06:29 PM
I should add, if you're really serious, I'd invest in a Porter Cable orbital polisher, pads and polish. I have friends show up all the time for polishing and detailing. You'd be amazed at the results you can achieve.

I second that. I used to be a washer and occasional ninja waxer. I invested in a PC and picked up a nice kit from Adam's. I spent about seven hours claying, polishing and waxing my Saturn. I imagine it took a long time because it was my first time. I did a friends MINI much quicker (smaller car) and it turned out even better. Anyway, my Saturn turned out AMAZING. 9 years old and it's the shiniest car I own, even among the two 2011s in the household.

KillnTime
06-06-2011, 06:56 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. I am not sure I'll have a chance to get to the rust and paint portions as I will only have about 2 three hour shifts to get to the car before he takes it back to school. I might have to wait until August to get to that part. I will definitely clay and then try the polish. Can the polish be applied by hand or must I use a Porter Cable (or similar) polisher? I'll finish with a wax and hopefully that will last two months until I can get more time.

thekurgan
06-06-2011, 07:13 PM
That hood looks like it was repainted, possibly from an accident and it was a bad job, cheap or didn't cure entirely. Toyota paint (factory) won't appear this way over time, it's solid. I would have the hood, the entire hood, repainted. There isn't much polishing, claying, etc. will do except waste your time and frustrate the hell out of you, let along cost a LOT for product.

Todd@properautocare.com
06-06-2011, 07:20 PM
When you say an electric non-orbital buffer are you referring to a rotary polisher (It just spins?)

You cannot fix cracks or damage like that by polishing, only by repainting, as previously mentioned.

dboy11
06-07-2011, 07:31 AM
Thanks. Will the claying or the polishing take care of the "cracks" in the hood? The glass is actually in pretty good shape but I'll give the steel wool treatment a try.

So the correct order is clay, polish, wax?

No the cracks are in the clear coat, its called clear coat failure. Most of this could have been prevented had the original owner would have taken better care of the car. The polishing will help greatly but they are most likely to deep to correct at this point.

KillnTime
06-08-2011, 08:22 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions and tips. I've been very busy at work so haven't had a chance to do much work on this yet.

My son, on the other hand, has gone to town on the interior. It is amazing how dirty people let the inside of their cars get. Disgusting. He has cleaned it such that while it might not be fit for a queen, it certainly will be fine for his girlfriends mother. All the smegma is gone from all the nooks and crannies. Seats cleaned, stains gone from carpets, new mats ordered. It looks terrific.

I did get a bit of time tonight to work on the exterior. We polished the headlight lenses with the 3M product. They look much better but I think I'll take one more whach at it as I wasn't sure how far I could take it. I still wasn't please with the light output so we went and bought Silverstar Ultra bulbs. Much, much better.

On the way to/from the store I notice the light scratches in the windshield. Given the curved pattern, it is clearly caused by junk caught in the wiper blades passing back and forth across the windshield. Geesh, doesn't anyone clean the wipers at each gas fill????? I think I'll give the steel wool technique a try.

I thought I'd see what I could do on the hood. We clayed it and then I waxed a portion of it with Presta. Very nice results but those cracks in the clear coat were probably even more noticable. I tried some Meguiar's Ultimate Polish on another section of the hood. It took up a bunch of light scratches and swirl marks but didn't do anything with the clear coat cracks -- I guess that isn't surprising. I put some Meguiar's 26 over this. Also very nice results. I'll have to do a "bake off" between the Presta and the Meguiar's to see what I like better. One thing I'll say: The surface sucked up wax like I'd never seen before. I probably used 2x the amount of wax to do a 1/4 of the hood than I would normally use on the entire hood.

Interesting thought occurred as I was working. We own three cars that total 450,000 miles -- 2000 A6 Avant, 2003 325i and now a 1998 Camry. Plus a 2011 X3 with only 4,000. Unfortunately, the 325i power steering gave out on the way home today. Belts still fine, now rattle from the steering pump, plenty of fluid but very hard turning. Off on the flat bed it went for diagnosis.

I'm hoping to get the exterior done tomorrow.

KillnTime
06-08-2011, 08:28 PM
And..... I think I misspoke in my OP. What I really have is a Sears Buffer Polisher. I decided not to use it and am just going at this by hand.