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The Detail Department
Detailing tips, tricks to keep your bimmer in showroom condition.

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  #1  
Old 05-22-2003, 09:40 AM
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alee alee is offline
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Lightbulb Official Claying Tips and Tricks: Share your techniques here!

This is the official thread for sharing your claying tricks, techniques and ideas. This is critical car care step that many people skip because it is either misunderstood or because people are afraid of trying it. Sharing your techniques and ideas here may encourage more people to try claying.

Rules of the thread:
Let's keep it constructive! There is no single right way to clay your car! If you have a technique that works for you, share it with the group. If there is a particular product you like, let everyone know what it is, and more importantly, why you like it. If you have questions, ask away.

Anyone caught claiming to be the sole authority on clay techniques, or anyone caught bashing another person's technique because it isn't like his/her own technique, will have their post removed, no exceptions.
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  #2  
Old 05-22-2003, 09:52 AM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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  #3  
Old 05-22-2003, 09:56 AM
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Technique?

I don't know if I have much of one. When I first tried this years ago when the original Meguiars consumer stuff came out, I used bitty pieces and not a whole lot of lube, mostly because it wasn't very sticky.

Now, I use professional ClayMagic (blue/fine) and lots of AutoSmart Smart Inspection because this stuff is a lot stickier. I do use the whole big piece flattened out to about the size of the palm of my hand, but even then it's still a bit unwieldy so the next time I'm considering splitting it into smaller pieces.

Overall, I'm probably not OCD enough for most of the people on this forum, though.
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  #4  
Old 05-22-2003, 10:04 AM
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Nick T. Nick T. is offline
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Nick’s unsolicited Claying Tips & Tricks

Disclaimer: I am not a professional detailer nor an expert on paint care. I’m just a charter member of the ARZOA who has a little experience with clay, and one of my cars is Jet Black and shows all of my mistakes!

Basic Rules:
Clay baring does not damage paint, only unskillful or careless clay bar users damage paint! There are several basic rules to the successful use of clay bar:
(1) use plenty of lubricant
(2) use only fresh, clean clay
(3) use plenty of lubricant
(4) use a very light hand with the clay
(5) use plenty of lubricant
(6) stretch and refold the clay frequently (do not knead)
(7) use plenty of lubricant
(8) on any given area, only clay until it passes the baggie test
(9) use plenty of lubricant

Step by Step:
Wash your car using Dawn liquid dish detergent. This will get rid of any wax, oils, or silicone on the paint. Don’t use a circular motion, use longitudinal strokes on the horizontal surfaces, and vertical strokes on the vertical surfaces.

Prepare a spray bottle with a half ounce of your favorite car wash soap and fill with water ... preferable distilled water from the grocery store.

Put your hand in a sandwich baggie (the very thin kind, NOT a ZipLoc), spray a small area of your paint with the soap/water solution as a lubricant and lightly run your hand over the paint. Any contaminants will feel like huge bumps through the baggie!

Before using your clay it’s best to cut it into smaller pieces. I cut mine so that when flattened I have a fairly thin 2”x3” rectangle. When claying I use only one side of the patty - it makes stretching and folding easier. When folding is needed I pull on the 2” ends to make a 2”x4” patty, then pull on the 4” ends to make a 3”x4” patty. Fold in half and you have a clean 3”x2” patty that is clean on both sides. Again, use only one side before refolding.

Use your claybar lightly on any areas that feel bumpy ... and use plenty of lubricant. No need to use the expensive lube sold for use with a claybar .… your car wash solution is just as good, but use it very liberally. It's much less expensive than your paint!

After finishing the claybar process wash the car again with your favorite car wash solution. If you do a thorough rinsing as you work, then washing will not be needed. Again, use longitudinal strokes on the horizontal surfaces, and vertical strokes on the vertical surfaces. Use light pressure when washing, and rinse your mitt frequently. Blot to dry, do not rub.

If your paint has any swirl marks or spider-webbing, now is the time to take care of them.

A little caution with the claybar: Do not be tempted to save a couple of dollars by using the least expensive clay. As you use the clay periodically stretch it out and refold it to always present a clean surface to your paint. If you drop the bar, then throw it away! Always use a lot of lubricant and a light rubbing motion ... be gentle with your paint.

Recommended products:
Dawn liquid dish detergent (for wax, oil, etc. removal)
Clay Magic or Z-18 (for claying)
Big Blue Towel from Classic Motoring Accessories (for drying)

Remember: When claying use plenty of lubricant and a light touch. With a little effort you’ll have great looking paint. Good luck.
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  #5  
Old 05-27-2003, 11:38 AM
jderry jderry is offline
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Is it necessary if you are using a PC orbital buffer? Is it a wrong approach to use the yellow pad to take out the oxidation and any imperfections, followed by a white pad for polishing and then a grey pad?

Do you guys recommend claybar once a year at least even with diligent PC orbital care?

TIA
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  #6  
Old 05-27-2003, 12:11 PM
Guest84 Guest84 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by jderry
Is it necessary if you are using a PC orbital buffer? Is it a wrong approach to use the yellow pad to take out the oxidation and any imperfections, followed by a white pad for polishing and then a grey pad?

Do you guys recommend claybar once a year at least even with diligent PC orbital care?

TIA
Yes. Your paint will pick up comtaminents that will imbed themselves into the clear coat. An example would be road tar that hardens could possibly break loose and scratch your surface when you're polishing...
The idea behind clay is...remove all contaminents before polishing the surface so that none of these contaminents don't end up scratching your finish while you polish/wax it.

Even the cleanest cars in the world (Neighbors Turbo Porshe!) can pick up contaminents (See below)


Last edited by Guest84; 05-27-2003 at 12:14 PM.
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  #7  
Old 05-27-2003, 01:10 PM
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Nick T. Nick T. is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by jderry
Is it necessary if you are using a PC orbital buffer? Is it a wrong approach to use the yellow pad to take out the oxidation and any imperfections, followed by a white pad for polishing and then a grey pad?

Do you guys recommend claybar once a year at least even with diligent PC orbital care?

TIA
Good questions! The answers require a little background info:

Clay is intended to do two things; remove embedded contaminants that protrude above the surface of the paint and through the thin layer of lubricant (rail dust is the classic example), and to remove contaminants that are on the surface (water spots, etc.). IMO clay should only be used for the first purpose by us amateur detailers. To remove water spots or other “stuff” that are on the paint’s surface usually requires enough pressure to break through the lube, and in inexperienced hands can easily cause scratching.

Using an RO buffer with a cutting pad grinds down the contaminants to a level even with the paint’s surface. That’s fine for most contaminants, but for embedded stuff cannot be removed later with clay since there is nothing for it to grab onto. If the remaining stuff has an iron content it will lead to rust spotting.

Here’s my take on your questions: The first time you do a car, use clay before the RO buffer to get out any embedded stuff. Then use the DA with yellow, then white, then gray pads to fix surface contaminants the clay didn’t get, remove marring, and bring out the shine. Then top with your choice of protectants.

After this clay only on an as needed basis. Do a baggie test every few months. Clay when the number of bumps exceeds your requirements. The frequency of claying will depend on the number of miles and the driving conditions.

Hope this helps!
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Last edited by Nick T.; 05-27-2003 at 03:08 PM.
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  #8  
Old 05-27-2003, 01:17 PM
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Nick T. Nick T. is offline
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Ripsnort - - I apologize for “stepping on" your post! I started typing my response to jderry, had to leave the house for about an hour, and finished typing the response without reloading the thread, so I didn’t see your post until after I had posted mine.
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  #9  
Old 05-27-2003, 03:06 PM
Guest84 Guest84 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nick T.
Ripsnort - - I apologize for “stepping on" your post! I started typing my response to jderry, had to leave the house for about an hour, and finished typing the response without reloading the thread, so I didn’t see your post until after I had posted mine.
You answered more thoroughly than I! No problems!
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  #10  
Old 05-27-2003, 03:39 PM
Mathew Mathew is offline
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The only advice I can share is to use lots of lube and don't drop it
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  #11  
Old 05-28-2003, 02:57 PM
Lansing Lansing is offline
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How often do you clay...?

How often do you clay, and can it be done too much? My 330ci is only 8 months old, and already the rear bumper (horizontal surface) is starting to feel a little rough. Don't have that glassy feel anymore despite the multiple Zaino coats.

Anyway, can I clay too much and do any of you clay just specific areas?

Thanks,
Lansing
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  #12  
Old 05-28-2003, 03:40 PM
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Nick T. Nick T. is offline
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Claying, if done correctly (lots of lube and light pressure), won’t damage the paint - so I don’t really see how you could do it too much. On my roadster I occasionally to a baggie test and then do a touch-up claying on any areas that need it. The rear quarter panels are the most likely targets.
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  #13  
Old 05-28-2003, 05:12 PM
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F1Crazy F1Crazy is offline
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Re: How often do you clay...?

Quote:
Originally posted by Lansing
Anyway, can I clay too much and do any of you clay just specific areas?
Horizontal surfaces are more prone to contamination so claying just the hood, roof and trunk may be all you need.
...and front bumper of course.

Like Nick said before, I don't think you can clay too much. You have to look where your car is driven. If there is a lot of opportunities for contaminants to get on your paint you will have to clay more often, in some cases even every 6 months. Doing the baggy test is probably the only way to find out if it's needed.
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  #14  
Old 05-28-2003, 09:13 PM
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sp330i sp330i is offline
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I've attempted to use it for stains and bird do without much luck, but it works great for other surface contaminents that make your surface rough, like tar. Living in FL and frequent washing prevents me from needing clay except for the front bumper and behind the wheels.

I had great success this weekend using it on my wheels. While I clean them frequently, they had developed some very small black specs on them that wouldn't come off by washing them, polish, or tar remover.

I let them soak for 10 minutes with tar remover, wiped the tar remover off and then sprayed them with lubricant and used the clay. With a lot of patience and frequent lubrication, most if not all of the imperfections were removed. I'm now a clay proponent.
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  #15  
Old 05-29-2003, 07:42 AM
Lansing Lansing is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by sp330i
I've attempted to use it for stains and bird do without much luck, but it works great for other surface contaminents that make your surface rough, like tar. Living in FL and frequent washing prevents me from needing clay except for the front bumper and behind the wheels.

I had great success this weekend using it on my wheels. While I clean them frequently, they had developed some very small black specs on them that wouldn't come off by washing them, polish, or tar remover.

I let them soak for 10 minutes with tar remover, wiped the tar remover off and then sprayed them with lubricant and used the clay. With a lot of patience and frequent lubrication, most if not all of the imperfections were removed. I'm now a clay proponent.
Yeah, I have yet to throw the clay on the wheels although I am accumulating a few of those black specks. The Zaino does a good job of protecting the rims, but I still get a few specks and some 'contamination' (sounds really really bad) on my rear deck and bumper.

Guess I'll pull the clay out again. Just hoping I don't have to start from ' square one ' and re-dawn, Z, etc. the car. I have multiple coats of Zaino on my car making it look generally great, and providing a good shield against the elements.

The thing I still don't get...do any waxes, etc. protect against things like rail and brake dust? Would seem that as strong as Zaino is that it would help if not entirely repel this stuff.
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  #16  
Old 05-29-2003, 09:01 AM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lansing

The thing I still don't get...do any waxes, etc. protect against things like rail and brake dust? Would seem that as strong as Zaino is that it would help if not entirely repel this stuff.
No product will "entirely" protect from brake or rail dust or even plain old dirt for that matter.

I've found that clay is most important on the front, obviously, and on the rear of the car.
The hood,roof,trunk, and sides stay realtively clean unless it rains.
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  #17  
Old 05-29-2003, 09:11 AM
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FYI, "Rail dust" is simply iron dust(with alittle brake dust added in). Add dirt you have "Rust".
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Old 05-29-2003, 09:12 AM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ripsnort
FYI, "Rail dust" is simply iron dust. Add dirt you have "Rust".
Actually add water and you have rust...
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  #19  
Old 05-29-2003, 09:13 AM
Guest84 Guest84 is offline
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Well, if you want to get that technical, add oxygen.
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  #20  
Old 05-29-2003, 09:20 AM
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F1Crazy F1Crazy is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lansing
The thing I still don't get...do any waxes, etc. protect against things like rail and brake dust? Would seem that as strong as Zaino is that it would help if not entirely repel this stuff.
Just think about it, the stuff that gets embedded has to penetrate portion of a clearcoat, what protection do you think wax will provide?
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  #21  
Old 05-29-2003, 09:40 AM
Guest84 Guest84 is offline
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Come to think of it, the wax *is* the 2nd line of defense for your paint finish...the clear coat is the first line of defense!
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  #22  
Old 05-29-2003, 09:52 AM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ripsnort
Come to think of it, the wax *is* the 2nd line of defense for your paint finish...the clear coat is the first line of defense!
As long as it's not Red...Red BMWs don't have clearcoat
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  #23  
Old 05-29-2003, 09:53 AM
Guest84 Guest84 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by in_d_haus
As long as it's not Red...Red BMWs don't have clearcoat
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  #24  
Old 05-29-2003, 10:02 AM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by in_d_haus
As long as it's not Red...Red BMWs don't have clearcoat
Current ones do. Older ones didn't.
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  #25  
Old 05-26-2004, 07:40 AM
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~One man’s opinion / observations ~

Place some saran wrap or a zip lock bag over your hand and rub across the finish lightly. Every snag you feel is below surface contaminant that the Detailers Clay bar can remove but you may not be able to see. The best way to describe the proper method for using detailer clay is to use plenty of the lubricant and aquaplane the clay bar over the surface in straight-line motions.

Detailer’s Clay Application

·Divide the Detailer’s Clay into equal pieces and knead into a ball to ensure pliability
·Take one of the pieces and flatten it out into a circle, approximately enough that it will fit into the foam clay holding pad.
·Place the kneaded clay into a damp pad (Cleaning Clay Pad Groit’s P/N 11204) spray with a lubricating solution (Woolite™ or Dreft™/Water 5:1) the foam clay holder will retain moisture and enable an even pressure to be applied to the paint surface while using it.
·Spray evenly onto a two square foot section with the lubrication solution, ensure that the surface being clayed is always wet
·Glide the Clay across the area in a front to back in a straight-line aquaplaning type motion
·Use an imaginary two-foot by two-foot square area to work on.
·Use a light to medium even pressure until the surface becomes smooth and silent.
·If the Clay is streaking on the paint, you need more to apply more lubricating solution, it is better to over lubricate the paint film surface than let it dry-out
·When the Clay is moved across the paint film surface you should hear a friction sound and some resistance. This is the grit being lifted from the paint. When the resistance and noise stops, dry the solution off with 100% cotton Alpine DF Microfiber cloth.
·If you drop the clay do not try to clean it, discard it or it may cause micro scratches in your paint film surface.
·To avoid wasting detailer’s clay because you probably will drop it, place a towel on the ground under the area you're claying so the clay will fall onto the towel without picking up gravel etc.
·Rinse of any clay residue and ensure there is no more contamination to remove
·Move onto the next two-foot by two foot square area and repeat the process.
·Once half the section is completed turn the clay over to a fresh, clean side and complete the remaining section.
·Check the surface of the clay often, once it becomes contaminated fold to a clean surface.
·Wash, rinse and dry each section and ensure all imbedded surface contaminants have been removed before moving on to the next panel / section
·When complete wash, rinse and dry the vehicle to ensure removal of any clay / lubricant residue

When the detailing clay becomes somewhat soiled from using it on the paint surface, set it aside for use on glass surfaces only, then when it becomes very soiled use it on the wheel surfaces. After this cycling discard it (do not use clay on class or wheel surfaces and then paint as it will contaminate the paint surface)


~Hope this helps~

Experience unshared; is knowledge wasted…/ Jon
justadumbarchitect *so I question everything*
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