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

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  #1  
Old 02-24-2014, 01:51 PM
thunderkyss thunderkyss is offline
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Location: Texas
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 68
Mein Auto: 745Li; 2004
Newb Questions??

So... after reading several threads in this section & autogeeks, I've come to realize I've been halfassing it. I want to start detailing my cars, but I've got a couple of questions.
  1. Where do you buy your supplies?
    I've gone to the Auto Supply stores in my area. None of them have a good selection of brushes & they seem to only carry three lines of product; Meguires, Mothers, & Turtlewax.
  2. How do you organize your gear?
    Towels for washing, Towels for drying, Towels for polishing. Red Pad, Gray Pad, Blue pad. Polishers, compound, sealants, waxes, AIO.... a myriad of brushes, & I'm sure you have some custom tools as well.
  3. What speed do you use?
    I've got a DA polisher.... but it's only got one speed & it's pretty slow. I'm going to get a "professional" polisher, maybe in the near future... but do you actually use multiple speeds or are you pretty much locked in?
  4. Claybars... do you use them once, then toss them? Do you keep using them until you can't find a clean spot?
  5. Orbital pads..... do you throw them in the wash with your towels? Or just clean them best you can with a brush & soap?

I've got more, but can't think of them right now.
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2004 745Li
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  #2  
Old 02-25-2014, 01:16 PM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Location: Bay Area California
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 647
Mein Auto: X5 Diesel xDrive35d
Yes I too used to do the same - a simple car wash with dishwashing liquid, rinse and dry. Ended up with a ton of swirl marks! Always thought swirl marks were a given for a daily-driver unless you detailed it very often. After getting on this forum I realized that needn't be the case.

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Specific comments inserted below in blue.

The one change that was most effective in eliminating swirl marks was the two-bucket wash technique.


Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderkyss View Post
So... after reading several threads in this section & autogeeks, I've come to realize I've been halfassing it. I want to start detailing my cars, but I've got a couple of questions.
  1. Where do you buy your supplies?
    Autogeek.net Most of what I need is available here . . . every so often you can find those 15% off coupons and/or free shipping.

    I've gone to the Auto Supply stores in my area. None of them have a good selection of brushes & they seem to only carry three lines of product; Meguires, Mothers, & Turtlewax. Yes you rarely find the next level up products in such stores.
  2. How do you organize your gear?
    I store most of what I use for my bi-monthly washing and twice a year detailing on this cart. This allows me to move everything to where I want it (avoids wasting time going back and forth) and when I am done I just wheel this cart to the corner of my garage.

    Towels for washing, Towels for drying, Towels for polishing. Red Pad, Gray Pad, Blue pad. Polishers, compound, sealants, waxes, AIO.... a myriad of brushes, & I'm sure you have some custom tools as well.
    • Towels for drying - Dry Me Crazy . . . really absorbs the water!
    • MF towels for buffing/polishing etc - Miracle Towels
    • Pads - in the process of switching to Lake Country Pads - appears to be a favorite on this forum.
    • Waxes/Polishes/Compounds - I use Menzerna, a bit pricey but they are AWESOME! I use FG400 when required, SI1500, SF4000 and PowerLock. I apply two coats of PowerLock and let it cure for about six hours (usually overnight if I plan it right) I prefer a polymer sealant (versus carnuba wax) . . . polymer sealants lasts much longer and suits my twice a year detailing needs well. With two coats of PowerLock the gloss is excellent.
    • Brushes - my two favorite sets are - with these I can do the wheels and engine bay quite easily.
    • For brake dust - Meguiar's Wheel Brightener - might be an overkill, but it gets the job done! Sonax is the other product I often see on this forum - I have not used this one.
    • I don't use AIOs . . . but I do use Pinnacle Liquid Crystal water-less wash for in-between washes. I can do a whole car in about 20 minutes. Typically I do a full wash twice a month and for the in-between washes (on an as-needed basis) I use this Pinnacle waterless wash. Use plenty of MF towels and don't apply too much pressure - otherwise you will create a ton of swirl marks!
    • Tools - Shark 18 Volt Cordless Hand Vac - has a motorized brush and cleans the usual dirt on the carpets very nicely. Cordless makes it easy to use therefore more likely to be used!

  3. What speed do you use?
    I've got a DA polisher.... but it's only got one speed & it's pretty slow. I'm going to get a "professional" polisher, maybe in the near future... but do you actually use multiple speeds or are you pretty much locked in?
    Speed setting 2 or 3 seems to give the best results. I have occasionally used 4.
  4. Claybars... do you use them once, then toss them? Do you keep using them until you can't find a clean spot?
    I use them multiple times, store them in ziplock so they don't dry out. I knead them AGGRESSIVELY after claying each panel. I don't use them if I drop them on to the floor.
  5. Orbital pads..... do you throw them in the wash with your towels? Or just clean them best you can with a brush & soap?
    I wash them all together in a front loading washer - I use the deep sanitize setting . . . used to use regular laundry detergent (Tide) . . . now I use Pinnacle Micro Rejuvenator . . . INCREDIBLE!

I've got more, but can't think of them right now.

OP, hope this helps! Good luck.

Others with more experience please chip . . . please suggest products/techniques you have found particularly good/useful. Thanks.

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  #3  
Old 02-25-2014, 10:11 PM
chet31 chet31 is offline
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Location: Madison WI
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 416
Mein Auto: 05 330i convertible
I do a quick scrape of my pads, then throw them in with my MFs, and use regular detergent. I have a PC 7424. The max setting is 6.5 or so, but that is almost "out of control" and is hard on pads and the hands. So I generally use a setting of about 5 for polishing, and 2 for applying sealant.
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  #4  
Old 02-26-2014, 06:33 AM
Kevin@GTechniqNA Kevin@GTechniqNA is offline
Product Dev. Director
Location: Wilton, Ct
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 14
Mein Auto: XTerra
Second to what was said above. Just a few additions.

1). On the microfiber towels: keep the ones you plan on using for glass completely separate when cleaning them. You don't want the dirt, silicone, waxes, etc, leaving slight residue on your glass towels and then spreading that residue across the glass next time you go to clean the glass.

2). For the clay bar: If you kneed the clay bar under hot water, it will expand and release a majority of the contaminants picked up from the surface of your car and therefore extending the life of your clay bar. Of course always use your best judgement on when you pony up and get a new one.

3). Color coding with duct tape or electrical tape is a great way to mark your brushes so you know what each one has been used for and you don't accidentally end up trying to clean out some compound or polish dust with a dirty brush you cleaned your rims with. Same thing with the microfiber towel. Green towels for paint, yellow towels for interior, blue for windows and black for general heavy cleaning.

4). For the orbital pads, you can throw them in with the towels, but I have found that washing them by hand will extend their life since the adhesive tends to break down for the velco backing faster when I use the machine.
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  #5  
Old 03-13-2014, 09:13 AM
JessicaJ JessicaJ is offline
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Location: Richmond, VA
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 21
Mein Auto: 1991 BMW 318i Convertible
From the feminine side . . .

I'm pickier than my husband about my car and its finish. Some things I can recommend:

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner--FANTASTIC on tires/hubcaps for mild degreasing, etc. Dilute with water, or use full strength for serious stuff. I also use it on carpet (or really anything because it's so mild) as my "first" go through. I use a wet rag if it's something that cannot be scratched, such as upholstery or carpet, and add a little to it. If it's something that I can't hose down, I use a spray bottle to rinse it well first, sopping up any overspray with cloth diapers.

A spray bottle with distilled water. I do a lot of restoration of vintage/antique items. I love distilled water because it leaves absolutely no residue. I don't have to worry about mineral deposits. I've been known to douse a vehicle with gallon jugs of it when rinsing, but I'm pretty sure that's only for those of us who are certifiably obsessed with getting something clean.

"Supercloth™...the European cleaning secret" I was given one as a 'gift' several years ago, and figured it was junk, but I use it so often because it works so well. I use it with distilled water, but it only needs to be wet--no cleaners. Printed on the cloth it says "Made in Italy. Non-woven fiber composition, 60% polyamide, 40% polyurethane" All I know is has never let me down. I've used it on some pretty delicate surfaces and it cleans like nobody's business. It's right up there with my beloved microfibers.

I wash all my microfibers, mitts and everything, in my front loader washer on the heavy soil setting, high temp, bulky setting (so it uses more water) with the maximum rinse. They come out perfect. Oh, and I use Woolite Everyday, no fabric softener or dryer sheets, no bleach, tumble dry low.

After seeing thunderkyss' cart, I'm incredibly envious, and it's going on my wish list. Nonetheless, I do NOT store my towels, pads in my tool shed. If I get that cart, they'd go in a plastic tub first--too many contaminates/dust blowing around. And I HATE it when someone (DH) uses my buckets for anything other than car washing. My buckets are different colors so if I'm distracted when I'm washing, I don't forget which is which.

I probably do a lot of non-masculine, non-traditional things, but hey--they work, and work well.
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