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Car Junkie
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Discussion Starter #1
The swirls on my car are starting to get mildly annoying. There are lots of other things I want to do right now, but one day I'd like to get the paint addressed correctly.

The basecoat looks pretty good, but the clearcoat is well swirled from some dummy's orbital tool. I'm thinking that the proper treatment is at least a good, CORRECT buffing job, perhaps followed by a fat layer of clearcoat. That might go a long way towards getting rid of orangepeel as well.

How much would something like this cost at a reputable shop? Does it vary according to region?
 

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DIY:
Porter cable Random Orbital: $115
Pads and such $25
Griots Machine Polish #2 and #3: $32

This will remove a microscopic layer of clear coat that will remove the swirls.
 

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Car Junkie
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Discussion Starter #3
I've thought about DIY, but I'm worried that I'll only make the problem worse. After all, the swirls are there because someone messed up with an orbital. What did that person most likely do wrong, and how would I (a complete paint newbie) be able to do it any better? I can turn a ratchet but I'm kinda nervous about touching the finish.
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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Jetfire said:
I've thought about DIY, but I'm worried that I'll only make the problem worse. After all, the swirls are there because someone messed up with an orbital. What did that person most likely do wrong, and how would I (a complete paint newbie) be able to do it any better? I can turn a ratchet but I'm kinda nervous about touching the finish.
The Portercable Random Orbital Polisher moves in a random circular motion so it does not leave swirl marks if used properly. Check out Griot Garage's polishing pads and wax pads.

You're more likely to leave swirl marks with your hand toweling than you are with the Portercable system AND Griot's pads and polish. I've had great results with both. Just be sure to use microfiber cloth to remove the excess polish, and keep in mind "a little goes a long way". Basically to make the polishing machine effective, you need to run the orbital polisher at a high speed (4 or 5) but move your hand fairly slowly (I'd say about a foot every 2 seconds) and make sure that there are very little polishing compound left on the surface of the car to be wiped off.

This question is best served in the detailing forum.
 

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What Hack said! And, I'd bet dollars to donuts the swirls were NOT induced by a bad detail job, but rather poor washing, drying techniques or possibly the previous owner ran it thru an automatic car wash a few times...that will swirl your finish in just one shot!
 

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Car Junkie
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Discussion Starter #6
Actually, I'm almost 100% it was a bad detail job. The prep guys at my car dealership did a full detail of the car before I took it home. The car looked fantastic until I decided to strip off the wax. It still looks great - the scratches are still gone, and the overall condition of the car is still awesome - but the swirls are evident and they're uniformly all over the car. I thought about complaining, but I don't really want them to try it again. I did not notice the swirls when I first saw the car, which was just after a quick wash to get off the transport grime.
 

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fahrer
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Try clay barring it?

My e46 is black too, so "I feel your pain."

I had never clayed anything up until this past weekend and didn't
want to start on the car, so I did a bike, (specifically an '00 R1).
It's a dark blue-purple metallic with a clear coat.

I was surprised how many of the swirls seemed gone after
just claying - very pleased with the results. (used Clay Magic,
from Autozone, ~$10).

I know claying isn't supposed to do anything about the swirls,
but it sure looks better. Placebo effect?

I'm also in the same boat since I didn't think to tell the dealer
not to prep the car before delivery, so they buffed the thing.
I've got some killer swirls that I didn't notice at delivery since
it was an overcast evening and had a helluva coat of carnuba
on it.

If you do use the PC, let us know how it all works out. I'm
pretty leery of attempting to use one as well, so I'd be very
interested to hear a non-pro-detailer's opinion of how it goes.

btw - I've also sort of come to terms with the fact that I'm
going to get swirls; they're unavoidable. All I can hope to
do is minimize them by being careful with my wash/wax
techniques.

I *****ed about adding swirls to my hood during my first wax -
no one I complained to could even see them though!
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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What you're seeing is probably what I termed "chemical swirlmarks", swirlmarks left behind by dirty towels and improper removal of wax particles. Depending on what you use to remove wax, the towel that you use may leave behind an un-even layer of wax in the patter that you use to buff it off. This is especially noticeable under direct sunlight conditions. Claybar will remove this chemical swirlmarks but it will not remove physical swirlmarks induced by improper use of an orbital polisher.

It is always a good idea to claybar a car before you apply wax though. Some of the high end waxes (PS21, Griots BOS or Carnuba paste, the good Zymol stuff...) do not have a cleaning filler and will require an initial application of clay for the best result.
 

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Car Junkie
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Discussion Starter #9
This is my second black car. I'm not sure why I chose black again, after what I went through to keep my last car clean. I must be a masochist. :dunno:

Anyway, I have clayed parts of the car before, and I don't think they'll remove these swirls. As Hack said, I believe my swirls are actually in the clearcoat and are the result of poor buffing. I'm thinking about going the DIY route. My only fear is that the paint will look worse than it does, as I currently don't want to spend money on the finish.

Hell, if I do decide to take it to a shop one day, I might go for a reblast in Carbon Black. :p Well, maybe not. But maybe. Nah, too much money. Well....
 

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bluer1 said:
If you do use the PC, let us know how it all works out. I'm
pretty leery of attempting to use one as well, so I'd be very
interested to hear a non-pro-detailer's opinion of how it goes.

Detail forum. This is only a small example of the posts by PC users:

http://bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2839&highlight=Porter+Cable
http://bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=5597&highlight=Porter+Cable
http://bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=5802&highlight=Porter+Cable
http://bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7438&highlight=Porter+Cable
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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9,106 Posts
Jetfire said:
...snip

Hell, if I do decide to take it to a shop one day, I might go for a reblast in Carbon Black. :p Well, maybe not. But maybe. Nah, too much money. Well....
Two words. Chrome Shadow.
 

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fahrer
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The HACK said:
What you're seeing is probably what I termed "chemical swirlmarks", swirlmarks left behind by dirty towels and improper removal of wax particles. Depending on what you use to remove wax, the towel that you use may leave behind an un-even layer of wax in the patter that you use to buff it off. This is especially noticeable under direct sunlight conditions. Claybar will remove this chemical swirlmarks but it will not remove physical swirlmarks induced by improper use of an orbital polisher.

It is always a good idea to claybar a car before you apply wax though. Some of the high end waxes (PS21, Griots BOS or Carnuba paste, the good Zymol stuff...) do not have a cleaning filler and will require an initial application of clay for the best result.
I hear you. In my case, I did introduce some swirls. My fault though
as I was having to finish up the wax job after dark in order to avoid
the TX sun.

I have been pretty impressed with the longevity of the 3M
Liquid Perfect-It wax - much more impressed than I thought
I would be.

I haven't clayed the car yet, but am looking forward to soon.
The bike, however, looks 100 times better, (and it looked nearly
new to start with).
 

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The HACK said:
The Portercable Random Orbital Polisher moves in a random circular motion so it does not leave swirl marks if used properly. Check out Griot Garage's polishing pads and wax pads.
Another vote for the Griots answer to this problem. I've got the complete system, and swear by it. I polish my entire paint surface every year with griots #3, using #2 (or even #1 one time) for the unfortunate scratch when it occurs.

I was a complete amateur prior to getting my bimmer... Don't be intimidated, it's easy.

Dave
 
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