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

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  #1  
Old 06-22-2003, 10:56 PM
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mquetel mquetel is offline
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Detailing and prep question (noob warning)...

I've read on a number of occasions here that the detailing products you use are not as important as the preparation and methodology.

I'm a complete detailing noob and will be moving from a pretty abused SUV to a new 330Ci soon. I would like to keep it looking good and protect it for longterm ownership. I'm not sure what kind of time commitment I'm willing to invest, but I am open minded about it and think it could grow on me.

Could someone explain or provide a pointer to what prep means in this context and perhaps some pointers on how to get started with detailing in general? My car will be a mostly blank slate and I want to get started correctly.

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2003, 05:38 AM
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For what its worth, here's my detailing schedule, feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

Ripsnorts generic exterior detail/cleaning schedule
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  #3  
Old 06-23-2003, 08:13 AM
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There are a lot of detailing tips here.

Do not be in too big of a hurry to start babying the paint on your new 330Ci. Read as much as you can before doing anything more than just washing/drying. Wash frequently - probably once a week, depending on your driving and parking conditions. Remove suicidal bugs and the droppings from incontinent birds ASAP - they are acidic and can etch the paint!

IMO careless washing is the main source of paint marring. Use a car shampoo, not a dish detergent for normal washing. Rinse your wash tool (mitt or towel) in a bucket of clean water after every pass or two. Use only a light pressure on your wash tool - you’re washing delicate paint, not a frying pan - do not scrub!

In Oregon you can go a month or more without any wax protection without risking damaging your paint at all, but if you feel the need to add a layer of wax any non-cleaner type wax will be fine - just apply thin layers so that it can be wiped, not rubbed, off!

After you’ve completed your assigned reading, then you can do the full treatment:
. . . .Wash with a high detergent dish soap to get rid of any wax/oil on the surface. (Dawn)
. . . .Clay to get rid of embedded contaminants, brake dust, rail dust, water spotting, etc. (Clay Magic or Z-18)
. . . .Light polishing to get rid of dealer installed swirl marks. (3M SMR)
. . . .Finer polishing to bring out the gloss. (P21S GEPC)
. . . .Glaze to fill any remaining marring. (3M IHG)
. . . .Wash with car shampoo to get rid of any remaining abrasives/oils/etc. (???)
During this prep work it will really help if you have a high-intensity hand-held lamp (200W-300W) to help you see the micro-marring.

Now you’re ready for either carnauba or sealant. I recommend that you use the car shampoo marketed by the maker of the wax that you choose. If your choose a synthetic sealant, Zaino gives the best sparkle, but amplifies the micro-marring and is very susceptible to marring. Platinum Ultimate Paint Protection would be my choice for a synthetic. If you go with carnauba, then you should get a copy of the GuruReport.

Good luck and enjoy your new 330Ci!
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  #4  
Old 06-23-2003, 08:55 AM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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Mquetel,
I use Griots Garage products and have had great results with them. (www.griotsgarage.com) they have a great starter kit and it comes with a very comprehensive book with info for the first timer and experienced detailer. Don't waste your time paying some guys looking for a buck for their "Expert" opinion on products. Most all of the bigger name products will work equally well (Meguiars, P21S, Griots)

Take your time, don't rush, and you will have no problem with detailing. Always keep in mind there's many, many ways to detail your car, no one way is the best. Do what you like and what gives you good results.

Last edited by in_d_haus; 06-23-2003 at 08:57 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-23-2003, 09:14 AM
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mquetel mquetel is offline
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Thanks for the suggestions and advice! It has been a bit overwhelming to know where to start given the volumes of info out there.
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  #6  
Old 06-23-2003, 10:09 AM
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So, I pretty well let my old Mazda go to crap because of a lack of time and because I drove the thing about 30k miles/year (I drove a *lot* in my old job function).

From what I gather, I should wash no more than two times a year with Dawn to remove old wax residue. I'm thinking spring/fall (after and before) winter would be good for that. I bought a bunch of p21s products, so I'm guessing that I should really use the paint cleaner for the twice yearly big washes and on small sections as needed for claying in-between major washes.

For washings in between that, can I just add more carnuba wax as water stops beading, or do I need to strip with Dawn before adding more wax? I figure on clay baring as needed, but I don't think I'm going to get into the PC thing quite yet.
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  #7  
Old 06-23-2003, 10:14 AM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by dlloyd1975
From what I gather, I should wash no more than two times a year with Dawn to remove old wax residue. I'm thinking spring/fall (after and before) winter would be good for that. I bought a bunch of p21s products, so I'm guessing that I should really use the paint cleaner for the twice yearly big washes and on small sections as needed for claying in-between major washes.

For washings in between that, can I just add more carnuba wax as water stops beading, or do I need to strip with Dawn before adding more wax? I figure on clay baring as needed, but I don't think I'm going to get into the PC thing quite yet.
P21S products are good though I really don't see any value to the Paint Cleanser (other than lightening your wallet)

I wax every 90 days between the Big details, I don't bother to strip the wax.
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  #8  
Old 06-23-2003, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by in_d_haus
P21S products are good though I really don't see any value to the Paint Cleanser (other than lightening your wallet)


Do'oh! Consider me lightened, then.

Quote:

I wax every 90 days between the Big details, I don't bother to strip the wax.
Cool. Could I wax more frequently than that, say every 30 days, without stripping? I'm also guessing that if I have to clay an area, I should re-wax that area as well.
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  #9  
Old 06-23-2003, 10:26 AM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by dlloyd1975


Do'oh! Consider me lightened, then.



Cool. Could I wax more frequently than that, say every 30 days, without stripping? I'm also guessing that if I have to clay an area, I should re-wax that area as well. [/B]
I've got the Paint Cleaning cleanser, it's got a great "Gee Wiz" factor...so use it up

I'd be concerned about wax buildup by doing it every 30 days. By 90 days there isn't much wax left on the car, there would still be a fair amount of wax on the finish at 30 days (except in the worst of conditions)
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  #10  
Old 06-23-2003, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dlloyd1975
For washings in between that, can I just add more carnuba wax as water stops beading, or do I need to strip with Dawn before adding more wax?
There’s no need to strip the carnauba before adding

P21S GEPC is an excellent final polish - very fine abrasives - great for bringing out the ultimate shine. 3M Perfect-It III Finishing Glaze is an equally good product at slightly lower cost. Both products are most effective when used with an RO buffer, but if you use firm and even pressure you can get an excellent finish by hand.
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  #11  
Old 06-23-2003, 11:56 AM
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Thanks for the advice everyone!

So, how many coats of P21S carnuba could I apply at one time to the paint? I'd like to apply plenty in late fall since there's lots of salt and other muck on the roads here in the winter.
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2003, 12:00 PM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by dlloyd1975
Thanks for the advice everyone!

So, how many coats of P21S carnuba could I apply at one time to the paint? I'd like to apply plenty in late fall since there's lots of salt and other muck on the roads here in the winter.
Ah so once again you will probably get many varied opinions to this as well. I use up to 4 coats, IMHO ya can tell a difference, I've heard people put on as many as 6.

Others are of the opinion that more than one is a waste of time.
If ya got the afternoon free give it a shot and see what you think...please let us know your opinion as well.
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  #13  
Old 06-23-2003, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by in_d_haus
Ah so once again you will probably get many varied opinions to this as well. I use up to 4 coats, IMHO ya can tell a difference, I've heard people put on as many as 6.

Others are of the opinion that more than one is a waste of time.
If ya got the afternoon free give it a shot and see what you think...please let us know your opinion as well.
It may be fall before I have time to spend an afternoon to do that to the car. My wife just printed out a two page to-do list to try and get done before she starts school again in late August. Ouch!
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  #14  
Old 06-23-2003, 02:15 PM
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Layering carnauba is fine, but it doesn’t do much for improving the longevity of the wax. For the best results use very thin layers and wait a day between layers to allow the solvents to completely dissipate.
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  #15  
Old 06-23-2003, 03:55 PM
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I don't really anticpate being able to wax for most of winter (probably October to February), so it sounds like my protection will run out no matter what I do.
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  #16  
Old 06-23-2003, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dlloyd1975
I don't really anticpate being able to wax for most of winter (probably October to February), so it sounds like my protection will run out no matter what I do.
You might be able to survive if you get Klasse All-In-One and top it with P21S.
I recommended AIO because it's not expensive, you can get it for under 18 bucks and it's very easy to use, just wipe on, let dry and wipe off. You don't have to wait before topping with carnauba and it works great as paint cleaner/polish as well.
Your paint is worth it!
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