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

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  #1  
Old 05-01-2016, 11:14 AM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Menzerna Super Intensive SI 1500 Polish - specific question

I do a deep cleaning (my version) once a year on my BMW X5 (E70) Black Sapphire. This car is June 2010 build and currently has close to 100,000 miles. I bought this car new.

I will pose the specific question at the end.

Due to time constraints I can only do this deep cleaning/detailing once a year (inside my garage) - usually in early Spring.

My cleaning steps:
  1. Wash the car (two-bucket wash) with the orange color Citrus wash to remove any previous wax, etc.
  2. Clay thoroughly - usually takes me about two hours
  3. First round - polish using Menzerna SI 1500 - using appropriate Lake Country pads and an orbital polisher. This polish removes most if not all of the fine scratches I picked up over the past one year.
  4. Second round - polish/glaze with Menzerna SF 4000 - again with the appropriate buffing pads. The car at this point literally glows - see attached picture
  5. Next I do the polymer step - Menzerna Power Lock. I let it cure it overnight.
  6. I apply a second coat of Power Lock and let it also cure overnight. At this point I have lost some of the gloss I had in Step 4 . . . I don't mind trading some of the gloss for the once a year detailing this two coat polymer affords me timewise.

My questions to the experts here:
Is Menzerna SI 1500 too aggressive? How much of the clear coat thickness am I losing each time I do this? My understanding is these BMW X5s have about 180 micron thick clear coat when they are new - and I remove about 3 micron each time I polish using SI 1500. Is my understanding correct?

Assuming I do this SI 1500 polishing 10-12 times (about ten years of ownership), am I running the risk of cutting through the entire clear coat? I don't have a clear coat thickness meter.

I am open to suggestions that will improve the end results and/or reduce the time it takes to do this job. I prefer to use Menzerna products - these seem to work best for my skill level . . . I have tried Meguiars, Mothers, Zaino, etc in the past . . . I like the ease of using the Menzerna products mentioned above and the end result it achieves.

Thanks.

PS: The plastic trim parts on the wheel arch, etc looked very tired and greyed out . . . partly because I don't take the time to mask it before polishing . . . this time around I tried Wipe New . . . previous silicone based products I used didn't restore the plastic properly . . . this one (polymer/nano technology) seems to have solved my problem. See attached photo.
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  #2  
Old 05-01-2016, 01:29 PM
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csmeance csmeance is offline
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Here's their chart:



SIP is designed to remove 2000 grit sanding marks so it isn't that aggressive of a polish/compound. As well, SIP was designed in mind due to Mercedes Benz using ceramic clear coats that are much harder than traditional clear coats. Benefit for SIP on softer paints is longer working time.

Some detailers have posted online that polishing usually removes a micron of paint if that with polishes in the 2000 grit range. It's higher grit polishes/compounds that remove a lot more such as compounds designed to remove 1000 grit.

I wouldn't be worried about going through the clear coat due to polishing. I would however suggest that you add a sealant step after washing 6 months down the road. That ensures proper protection from UV rays and other contaminants. No need to clay or any of that 6 months down the road. This gives your clear and base coat extra protection.

It seems like you have a really good understanding of what you are doing, keep up the great results
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2016, 03:23 PM
CGP CGP is offline
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I also use the Menzerna two step process - I think it is great. I can't comment on whether you will damage the clear coat because as you know it also depends on the color of pad you use and how long you actually polish the paint and the machine you use.

You asked if there was any way you can reduce the time. You may want to try nano skin rather than clay. I find the nanoskin is much faster. With nanoskin it definitely will not take two hours.

Second, is it necessary to give the car a two stage process every year? I will give a new car a two stage polish. The two stage polish helps level the paint. Certainly for the next two years I would not give the car a two stage polish. For me, I dont find the paint damaged enough to require a two stage process every year. I find that a finishing polish is fine to remove any fine swirls that may have accumulated over the year.

It would be great to learn the views of others. Am I just lazy? Do others give their car a two stage polish every year?
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  #4  
Old 05-01-2016, 07:51 PM
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csmeance csmeance is offline
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2 stage polish simply means you use a more aggressive product and a less aggressive product afterwards to ensure all the haze from the aggressive product is removed.

The mantra of detailing is to start with the least aggressive and step it up if needed.

Start of with the least aggressive on an area and see the results. If the compound/polish & pad combo didn't cut enough it's time to step it up. If it cuts properly and leaves a great finish you've found the one.


To the OP, you loose some of the gloss from step 4 because the product is a "glaze". Glaze by it's very nature is designed to fill in imperfections and add gloss and it fades very quickly. I'd recommend you look into burnishing the paint with a grey finishing pad and very light polish.
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  #5  
Old 05-01-2016, 09:44 PM
CGP CGP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csmeance View Post
To the OP, you loose some of the gloss from step 4 because the product is a "glaze". Glaze by it's very nature is designed to fill in imperfections and add gloss and it fades very quickly. I'd recommend you look into burnishing the paint with a grey finishing pad and very light polish.
I may be wrong but I don't think the Menzerna in step 4 is a "glaze". Menzerna sf4000 is a polish and needs to be removed before you apply the last step product. It is a product to be used as you suggested with a grey finishing pad.
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  #6  
Old 05-02-2016, 09:10 AM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Thanks to all for your comments . . . for easier reading my follow up questions and comments below are inserted into your comments . . .

Couple of things I forgot to mention in my original post - I am not one of those folks who will get upset about a single rock chip or scratch - my objective - I buy cars new, tend to keep them for about 10 years / 200,000 miles . . . towards the tenth year I don't want the car to look really beat. I don't like clear bras, rock chips - I accept them as patina!

I start with the fact that I can afford to dedicate about 15 hours per year to detailing this car, spread out over five days. I usually do this when my wife is traveling - allows me to park this car for the whole week. Yes this car is my daily driver.

My normal wash routine - every three months or so I do the full blown two-bucket wash with the car parked in my driveway. Every week to ten days I do the quickie waterless wash (Pinnacle, has carnauba wax) and about twice a month the waterless wash (ONR). Of course heavy rains or winter weekend trips to Tahoe will somewhat change this routine.

What was most astonishing to me was how much of the scratches and swirls came from using poor wash techniques and how little came from actual driving! My friends initially never believed my claim - then I proved it to them after doing a simple waterless wash after a round trip to LA (about 1,000 miles) - hardly any new scratches or swirls . . . they are also amazed at how easy it is to do a waterless wash - key is plenty of good quality microfiber towels - NOT the Costco yellow MF towels!

Now on to my specific comments . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by csmeance View Post
. . . SIP was designed in mind due to Mercedes Benz using ceramic clear coats that are much harder than traditional clear coats. Benefit for SIP on softer paints is longer working time.
What did you mean by "longer working" time? The gloss/shine will last longer?

Some detailers have posted online that polishing usually removes a micron of paint if that with polishes in the 2000 grit range. It's higher grit polishes/compounds that remove a lot more such as compounds designed to remove 1000 grit.
Something like Menzerna PG 1000?

I wouldn't be worried about going through the clear coat due to polishing. I would however suggest that you add a sealant step after washing 6 months down the road. That ensures proper protection from UV rays and other contaminants. No need to clay or any of that 6 months down the road. This gives your clear and base coat extra protection.
Agree on the extra protection - but I always thought for the polymer sealant (in my case Menzerna Power Lock) to adhere properly it required a clean smooth surface - meaning you need to clay it . . . this is why I double coat the Power Lock and stretch the detailing to once a year . . . and yes I am counting on some of the wax protection I get from the Pinnacle Waterless wash and the ONR rinseless wash.

Are you suggesting the polymer coat will adhere to a surface that is not perfectly smooth?


It seems like you have a really good understanding of what you are doing, keep up the great results
Previously (prior to this car) I used to take it to the handwash place (about $40 per wash), very convenient, by the time I was done with my Starbucks coffee and a few emails the car was ready, AND it looked perfect . . . a couple of days later the swirl marks start to show up . . . and yes there were a ton of them!
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  #7  
Old 05-02-2016, 09:40 AM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Thanks for the response . . . my comments below in blue . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by CGP View Post
. . . You asked if there was any way you can reduce the time. You may want to try nano skin rather than clay. I find the nanoskin is much faster. With nanoskin it definitely will not take two hours.
I thought of trying nanoskin this time then decided against it after reading some negative comments about them . . . not sure if those comments are valid . . . decided to stick with what I know . . . I use a clay holder, so it is not too bad . . . two hours is an approximation, lot of the time is spent on looking for any serious scratches that need special attention.

Second, is it necessary to give the car a two stage process every year? I will give a new car a two stage polish. The two stage polish helps level the paint. Certainly for the next two years I would not give the car a two stage polish. For me, I dont find the paint damaged enough to require a two stage process every year. I find that a finishing polish is fine to remove any fine swirls that may have accumulated over the year. . . .
I see your point . . . my logic . . . I can take the time and look for all the fine swirl/scratches that accumulated over the past year and fix them individually OR I can use SI 1500 and remove a very thin layer of clear coat and finish it off with a glaze, SF 4000. I understand the concept of starting with SF 4000 and then use SI 1500 *if* necessary . . . problem for me is - if it is necessary then I have to redo the SF 4000 step again to get that extra shine back.

To avoid all this uncertainty I go in with an SI 1500 followed by SF 4000 . . . and if, as csmeance said, I am not likely to burn through the clear coat in ten years (10-12 applications) then I am good.

Yes I too would like to hear if others do the two-step process every year.
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  #8  
Old 05-02-2016, 10:11 AM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CGP View Post
I may be wrong but I don't think the Menzerna in step 4 is a "glaze". Menzerna sf4000 is a polish and needs to be removed before you apply the last step product. It is a product to be used as you suggested with a grey finishing pad.

Yes that is my understanding too . . . Menzerna, on a 10 point cut-scale gives it a 4 (SF 4500 is a 2) . . . and a 10/10 for gloss. See attached screenshot. Here is the link to the webpage.

I used Lake Country's gold jeweling pad to apply SF 4000.

The shine/gloss after the SF 4000 step was quite remarkable - particularly given I am just an amatueur who does this only once a year.

The drop in the gloss/shine happened after the Power Lock was applied - not too bad, but after investing some 15 hours and seeing the shine/gloss at the end of SF 4000 you want to have that shine/gloss remain!

For the SI 1500 I didn't use the LC orange pad . . . went with the white pad to back off on the bite . . . given I have very few swirl marks.

For the Power Lock I went with the LC black pad (zero cutting ability) . . . I wonder if the red (which I think has a bit more cutting ability, not sure) would work better.
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  #9  
Old 05-02-2016, 07:13 PM
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F1Crazy F1Crazy is offline
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If your car has very few swirls I think you may be able to skip SI 1500. As mentioned before start with least aggressive polish so if you don't have 1500 grit swirls and scratches why go so aggressive?

I would also skip orange citrus wash and stick to car shampoo, any polish will remove all the wax/sealant from the paint. These strong dishwashing soaps are detrimental to rubber and trim on the car.

Sealants only have a problem bonding if paint is waxed with carnauba so don't worry and apply Power Lock every 6 months. Stick to the black pad.
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Old 05-03-2016, 04:02 PM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Thanks! Learned a few new things . . . specific comments in blue below

Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Crazy View Post
If your car has very few swirls I think you may be able to skip SI 1500. As mentioned before start with least aggressive polish so if you don't have 1500 grit swirls and scratches why go so aggressive?
Agree on least aggressive first . . . but . . . there will always be a few deeper ones that require SI 1500 . . . by the time I locate those deeper scratches I now have to do the SI 1500 polish to remove it and then *redo* the SF 4000 I did initially. To avoid repeat polish I just do the SI 1500 on the full car and follow it with the SF 4000.

With SI 1500 once a year I wasn't sure I will burn through the clear coat in say ten years . . . hence the question in my original post.


Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Crazy View Post
I would also skip orange citrus wash and stick to car shampoo, any polish will remove all the wax/sealant from the paint. These strong dishwashing soaps are detrimental to rubber and trim on the car.
This is not a strong dishwashing soap, I should have described it better . . . Chemical Guys Citrus Wash - specifically made for auto detailing. Thus far I don't see any negative effects on the rubber parts . . . I only use this once a year . . . my once every two or three month full wash uses the SONAX Gloss Shampoo Concentrate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Crazy View Post
Sealants only have a problem bonding if paint is waxed with carnauba so don't worry and apply Power Lock every 6 months. Stick to the black pad.
Didn't know this (bonding problem when wax is present) . . . in my case, given I do the waterless wash (Pinnacle Waterless Wash) and Pinnacle has carnauba wax in it, I need to make sure I do a thorough wash before doing the six month polymer sealant.


Thanks again.
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  #11  
Old 05-04-2016, 11:50 AM
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I wouldn't worry about carnauba in the Pinnacle Waterless Wash.
Looks like you are good to go. Good luck!
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Old 05-29-2016, 08:15 PM
tradicles tradicles is offline
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fine polish

Quote:
Originally Posted by CGP View Post
I also use the Menzerna two step process - I think it is great. I can't comment on whether you will damage the clear coat because as you know it also depends on the color of pad you use and how long you actually polish the paint and the machine you use.

You asked if there was any way you can reduce the time. You may want to try nano skin rather than clay. I find the nanoskin is much faster. With nanoskin it definitely will not take two hours.

Second, is it necessary to give the car a two stage process every year? I will give a new car a two stage polish. The two stage polish helps level the paint. Certainly for the next two years I would not give the car a two stage polish. For me, I dont find the paint damaged enough to require a two stage process every year. I find that a finishing polish is fine to remove any fine swirls that may have accumulated over the year.

It would be great to learn the views of others. Am I just lazy? Do others give their car a two stage polish every year?
I find that menzerna or G techniq finishing polish is good enough after claying, it will remove any fine scratches and restore gloss. I then follow up with G techniq C2V3 spray sealant.
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