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Heheheh, My 2009 Laguna Coupé Already A Classic Here!!

LowiePete

Well-Known Member
Although written by a disabled guy with limited motor function, the copied content
of this thread has developed into a "detailing made easy" resource, so you don't
_have_ to be disabled to get some benefit from it. With limited motor function,
looking for products that suit a partly physically disabled person who pursues
this as a hobby has been quite a high priority.

Introduction
I started this thread nearly 5 years ago on Detailing World to not only share my
limited experience with modern products, but to try and bring together ideas from
others who suffer with similar problems. It's not all bad news. One small compensation
for me is that I have heightened senses for judging drag on a wiping cloth.

Despite my limitations, I'm aiming to show that we can probably give you
"butcher's dog" guys a run for your money ;) This is my car, less than a
fortnight after taking delivery...

s5.postimg.org_nkjwl2eyf_coupe2.jpg
Of course, I was encouraged to start detailing it...

Detailing... hmmmm.
On my previous car I used Greased Lightning's Showroom Shine - starting the
process off with a washed car. The car was metallic British Racing Green (on
a Renault!) and I was nothing short of amazed at how well it brought it up.
After 2 applications the car stayed remarkably weather-proof. By the time I
traded it in, the finish was extremely good, especially for 7 year old paint
resident in a sea-side town.

I've read the various threads on this topic and all I'll say at this point is to
follow the directions, especially the bit giving time for the product to do its
work. The "wash" part contains surfactants that will lift the dirt into suspension,
so the spreading needs to be by good quality micro-fibre cloth, slightly damped
to start with. However, 6 and 7 year old paint is quite different to brand new,
and there's lovely leather to look after too - hence my arrival here.

As a disabled guy I especially liked not having to lug heavy buckets of suds
about the place along with almost inevitable spills. I'm not too steady on my
feet, so this is a major factor for me.

2 Weeks Later
Having had a couple of long trips away, the car had received several cleans
with Showroom Shine. However, it was also time to get serious. This shows
the car with a Collinite coating. The wheels may look clean, but I wasn't that
impressed in the flesh as it were. They seemed to lack any sparkle which
won't show in the photos.
s5.postimg.org_fy6xw6i47_coupe5.jpg

s5.postimg.org_wndfp7l13_coupe6.jpg
The finish is nice and shiny, but my personal preference is for a "warmer" depth.
IMO, the colour of this car doesn't suit the Collinite. However that purchase
hasn't been wasted. It's fantastic on wood! My grand-father clock has probably
never looked so good in all its 300 year history!

One fantastic product is Opti Seal, wipe on, walk away. However, what it
did was highlight the "cooler" shine even more.

Update - 05 June 2009

I think I've finally settled on a polish that suits this car's colour. I bought some
FK1000P to do the wheels, and having read that it seems to give a "warmer"
shine on lighter cars, I decided to give it a try. Tested on one panel, could
see there was a satisfying difference, so I went the whole hog. Only one coat
so far, second coat later next week perhaps, weather permitting. Wheels have
had 2 coats and I like the results.

Three late evening pictures of current progress...

s5.postimg.org_5qtggw27r_coupe10.jpg

s5.postimg.org_40affekon_coupe11.jpg

s5.postimg.org_fdwyqlv7b_coupe12.jpg

Update - 14 June 2009
Sunday 14th June saw me travelling up to the East Midlands meet at Lowdham.
T'was good to finally meet some like-minds, I don't feel quite so alone now :)

At the meet I was able to show a few guys how I apply the Greased Lightning's
Showroom Shine. Afterward, I applied a second coat of FK1000p to the boot lid,
left it the recommended 20 minutes in the hot sun, and Wow..!!

Back home today and I've begun on the rest of the car and some progress
pics are below...
s5.postimg.org_ejf0ibcqf_coupe20.jpg
Note that I had cleaned the wheels on the side shown to test the effects of
hotter brake dust on clean wheels. There wasn't any. The 2 coats of FK have
done their work. I've yet to clean them in these pics!

s5.postimg.org_nsh6sflmf_coupe21.jpg
If you look closely, you'll see the quarter portion I brushed clean at the meet
to show Ed how quick and easy it was. Note that the rear valance has yet
to have its 2nd coat.

s5.postimg.org_eyqabbynr_coupe22.jpg
This shot shows how much warmer the shine is and IMO how much better the
FK suits the colour of this car.

Update - 17 June 2009
One other product that I've recently tested is ONR and you can read my review
of it where I tackled what is usually seen as a dreaded job..

Living in the East of England, with the weather predominantly driven from the
West, means that dew and light showers will always leave a film of dirt on the
car, including very fine sand. After 3 damp nights it'll form a crust baked hard
by the sun. This has always been the time to take the most care - talk about
swirls alert! So, instead of the Showroom Shine, I'm going to try using ONR for
this task. I'll probably spray it in quite a concentrated dilution and use an MF
cloth dampened with ONR to wipe off. Should be much cheaper as I'll only be
doing the horizontal surfaces as a QD. Will report further on this.

Summary of Progress So Far
Products used...

Greased Lightning's Showroom Shine, though some of the tasks I've previously
used this for will probably be displaced by ONR, see above.

ONR - still under test here, but so far, I'm very impressed with the work it does.

FK1000p - Easy to apply, and easy to wipe off. Beware over-application as
the surplus isn't so easy to buff off.

Opti Seal - fabulously easy to apply and fantastic results. However, I now have
a question. Is it a good idea to apply it over the FK1000p, or not?

ClearKote - another easy to use product for the black plastic and tyre walls.

Stoner Invisible Glass - fantastic performance from this product. I now clean
the screen with a water dampened MF and buff off. Bug debris and bird muck
present little resistance. Although the screen is very areo-dynamic, I'm amazed
how little work the wipers need to do at speeds over 40mph or so. The beads
just fly up and away.

I'm partly through applying the second coat of FK1000p and will probably post
completion pics later this week. Hopefully, from now until October, it'll just be
soft maintenance before thinking about winter protection.

19 June 2009
Here they are...

The white spots on the drivers door and glass are reflections from the
shiny leaves of a tree behind the car.

s5.postimg.org_qzgbpsvg7_coupe31.jpg

s5.postimg.org_8l5sltj5j_coupe32.jpg

s5.postimg.org_c61o51np3_coupe33.jpg

For my next post copies, I'm going to jump forward a couple or three years to show
a range of newer products and how they make life so much easier than hitherto.

Regards,
Steve
 
Last edited:
An Experiment With Spit'n'Polish

Hello Folks,

It's been one of those days, too sticky to stay indoors and rain threatening
at any time outside. However, the cloud cover did give me some ideal waxing
weather. Having been reminded of a boot-polishing routine on here, I thought
I'd try and adapt the spit 'n polish that I used to do on my shoes, just to get
past a far too perceptive Chief Steward at 7am each morning.

So why would I want to do this? Well, there's not only the shine, but the
sheer satisfaction of achieving it. Also, if you look after it, it'll last and last.
Obviously, I'm gonna put a bit of a modern twist on this, but essentially this
method of applying wax is time-honoured.

One of the things to consider is the carnauba wax being used for this. A lot
of the modern waxes contain new fangled things like solvents and polymers
which in all probability would interfere with this process, so I've used a good
old-fashioned wax. Harlys Wax was the weapon of choice, but a good old
tin of Simoniz Original would probably do just as well.

The Process
Basically, spit 'n polish requires just a cloth, a wax and some spit. What it
also needs is a lot of patience and when applied to shoes, some strength
in your fore-finger. You dip into the polish just once and apply it raw,
working it well into the surface, then leaving it to haze. The next part is
known as "bulling".

You apply a dollop of spit, which revives the working area, and using the
same polishing cloth, with no extra polish, just continue to work the surface
until either you get the shine you desire, or you repeat the spit refreshment,
only stopping when you get to that point.

Translated for the Car's Paint
Using a largish foam pad, run it round the carnauba wax tin and immediately
spritz that with liquid. I used Meguiars Ultimate Quik Detailer, about 6 squirts.
Lightly apply to a small area, initially in a circular motion, then alternate twixt
straight lines in opposite directions for about 2 minutes. At no time do you do
any rubbing! This first coating is just to ensure that you don't miss a bit.

Having made sure that you have given the area a complete coating, stand
back for about a minute to allow it to haze. Then directly spritz the area
with the QD. Without reloading your pad with wax, just continue working the
surface. This is the bulling stage.

Your wiping motions should be very light and fairly brisk, just continuing the
wiping patterns from where you left off from the first wipe. Eventually, after
say 4 or maybe 5 minutes, you'll notice that you'll achieve a shine that needs
very little buffing indeed. Now, you could at this point give the paint another
spritz. However, to get back to this state may take a further 6 to 8 minutes.
In other words, each spritz will elongate the bulling period. Still no extra wax
is required.

It's your choice, if you have the patience, then go ahead with the 2nd spritz.
Either way, buff off the paint once you get to that shiny state where if you
continue, the surface will be too dry. It's difficult to describe, but you'll
recognise it soon enough. The buffing will reveal a slickness that will probably
surprise you, especially with a carnauba wax.

You might think, why would a guy with gammy hands advocate such an
involved way of applying wax? Well, what you will have done, with just one
dab at the wax and just one very easy buff-off, will be the equivalent of
applying several layers of wax. As long as you work it properly, getting it to
the stage I've described, always working as gently as you like, there'll not be
any satisfaction like it - guaranteed!

Often, especially with modern waxes, you need to allow a good enough curing
time in which to layer wax. There's actually a real risk of the solvents just
removing the first layer. Either that, or you get to a point where buffing is
almost impossible because the layer is too thick and too soft. Using this
method obviates all of that.

The finish you get will make it look like you've used a special wax, rather than
a plain and cheap carnauba, like the Harlys is. It's probable that the slicker
surface will repel dirt better and be very much easier to clean - I'll report
back on this. All in all, I'm thrilled with how this experiment has gone thus far.

With little or no sunshine, the photo quality doesn't do the process justice.
I have a feeling it'll look much better by tomorrow anyway.

s5.postimg.org_eb18l0ks7_r11coupe40.jpg

s5.postimg.org_87jo13uif_r11coupe41.jpg

Regards,
Steve
 
Some Questions Answered
I'd be interested to know what you mean by "interleave" here...
OK, now this might be a bit long-winded - but I'll give it a go. It would probably
be much easier with diagrams, but in the absence...

So, let's start with a visualised area, half of a bonnet side or a quarter of a
roof. You start with circular motions from top left to top right and step down
to work back to the left and across again until the whole area is covered.
Now you go straight up, and back down, in straight lines like a mowing action,
then across and back.

Once you've covered the whole area and you haven't missed anywhere, at
any one point there will be wax bonding taking place. As you come to pass
over it after the first spritz, the water will prevent the immediate bonding of
new layers with those existing, simply carrying the wax in suspension over it.

However, at no point is this process even. You don't have any control over
the amount of water between the wax layers, so some of the original layer
could indeed be temporarily compromised, only to be filled with new wax.
Another factor in this is the wildly varying amount of pressure that you are
bound to apply. In some areas you are bound to squeeze out the water,
but this could be over set wax anyway. A second layer will be applied.

Over the area as a whole, bearing in mind that you could be working it for
anything up to 10 minutes means that you'll have countless and very
random overlaps between the layers. In my minds eye, interleaving is
probably the closest description I could get to what's on the paint. I hope
that makes sense.

Regarding the filling effect, is this light swirls you are seeing being filled?
The best way for me to check on how swirled my paintwork is, is to go out
at dead of night and check the reflections from the street lamp opposite.
The previous time that I did this led me to believe that it might soon be
a good idea to get someone to do a quick machine refinement. Last night,
I was pretty pleased at what I saw. The machine can be delayed a while yet.
You can get this from a single layer of wax and there is potential that the oils or dyes may act to mask further... This would make the basis of a good little test if you had time to photograph it,
Oh my goodness, would it! ...and would that I had the skill to do it too!

I've just been out to the car, the cloudiness is being a pain. What I'm seeing
is a surface very much akin to that of a wax twice the price, i.e. the CG 50/50
Please ignore the dirty wheels, may tackle them later today...

s5.postimg.org_eqcie16pj_r11coupe42.jpg

From my point of view I'm doing this for both looks and protection. The
idea being to get the surface as hydrophobic as I can get it, _and_ still have
a "warm" finish. I'm not a fan of the cold hard look, especially as the flake
pop is silver. As far as durability goes, to a great extent, that's academic.
However, it should make maintenance easier. The slickness of the surface
tells me that instantly.

IMO, debating on just how many layers there actually are, should probably
be seen as something akin to navel-contemplation. (no disrespect Dave!)
I find that layering wax is quite difficult, especially as with some waxes the
solvents may be interfering anyway. So I see this method as more of making
best use of every dab of wax and just seeking the best shine from it. Both
from the application and the results viewpoint, the process is very satisfying.

The paint on the carbon fibre parts of the car both look and feel wet!

I can't believe that it's 4 weeks ago since I tried the "spit & polish" technique.
Here's how the car looked then...

s5.postimg.org_eqcie16pj_r11coupe42.jpg

...and here it is today.

s5.postimg.org_gjff2crw7_r11coupe45.jpg

We had some prolonged rain here yesterday, the beading was simply amazing!
Since the waxing the car has had a couple or three ONR wipedowns and a
UQD treatment.

Next Monday, the car goes in to have the brake calipers painted, so the
wheels are going to get a thorough treatment...
Wash - ironX - clay - pre-wax - FK1000p sealant and SV Autobahn waxed.
All this in preparation for the World Series by Renault on 20th/21st and the
Stamford Car Show over the Bank Holiday. Busy, busy...:buffer:

Regards,
Steve
 
Stamford Car Show 2011
The 2011 Stamford Car Show was another fantastic day out with something
like over 400 cars on display. Here's the Laguna...

s5.postimg.org_dmwzftbg7_r11coupe50.jpg

s5.postimg.org_5za2xics7_r11coupe51.jpg

s5.postimg.org_x61kp6a7r_r11coupe52.jpg

s5.postimg.org_wj2nzndbr_r11coupe53.jpg

This is the car treated to a coat of CG Black Light, on top of the previous
Harlys Wax coating, which I'm kinda pleased with.

The fly-pasts by the Vulcan & Wellington bombers were something pretty
special too!

Regards,
Steve
 
gTechniq P1 Polish Review

Hello Folks,

Well, it's that time of year again; of thinking about stripping back all the summer
layers and preparing for winter. So, while I'm planning to do a write-up on my
winter prep, something new has appeared in my armoury that's definitely worth
a word or three. Having watched the video and read through several posts
where it has featured, I thought I'd try gTechniq's P1 polish.

Now of course there was no way I can or could use this by machine and if I'm
going to be realistic about this, my limited motor function is also not going to
help with hand application either. To date, all my pre-wax cleaners have been
chemically based, the P1 would be the first true "polish" I'd have used. So, it
was with some trepidation that I ordered a £25 bottle. More about that, later.

My first trial with the P1 was on a Mercedes owned by the farmer's wife on
the farm where I stay twice-yearly. This car is subject to no little abuse, not
least all the Cumbrian rain. I did detail this car about 18 months ago, but
someone "helpfully" removed all the protection by taking it to the farm's
TFR laden power-wash facility. The first thing I noticed with this product
was the audible indication of the paint's roughness.

This audible smoothness indicator was going to be very useful later when I
tackled the Mk1 Escort RS2000 under the covers. Now of course I'm not able
to apply anything like the kind of pressure on the foam pad that most of you
guys can. Compared to you, I'd probably only be tickling the surface. Would
this be enough to have _any_ impact at all?

Well, the first thing I did was to mask off an area of the boot lid on the Merc
and then have a go. Getting the protective gloves on and off proved quite
difficult in comparison to getting the sound of the pad crossing the paint
down to the finest of whispers. However, the result wasn't as clear as that
shown in the gTechniq video. Oh well, you can't win them all, so no pics.

Does it Get Rid of Swirls?
Of course, for any hand-applied polish, that's always going to be one of the
hottest questions. The answer is not straight-forward. I don't want to say
that it's an outright no, because there is no question that the paint is one
whole lot smoother after treatment. Certainly, treating the area behind door
handles gives a very satisfying result!

Looking at my own car, use of P1 has by no means rendered the paintwork
swirl-free. However, those that remain are much fewer than hitherto. Back
in the winter of 2009 I have a feeling that I may have inadvertantly added
some swirls by not being careful enough when salt was present. It's probably
these that are still bugging me today and are only ever going to be removed
by machine.

Is P1 Good Value For Money?
My initial response to this is No. £25 is no small amount to pay for something
that is nothing more than a cream carrying a measured amount of abrasive
material. OK, so it's nano, but I'm not convinced that it justifies this price.
It desperately needs some competition to bring it down.

Having said that, the results _could_ provide a very good argument for a
complete justification of its price. So, once comparisons like that are made,
the cost doesn't seem quite so painful. However, the greatest redeeming
factor in this is its versatility. Yes, you did read correctly, there are a myriad
ways to use this product. The clue to this came from someone saying use P1
diluted 4:1 in response to a request for a paint-cleaner suggestion.

With there being two application processes - i.e. using both smooth and
smoother sides of the applicator pad, you'd think that it was going to use
twice as much product when compared to a pre-wax cleaner. However,
and this does depend upon you regularly examining the pad, it is possible to
make this product stretch a good bit further than may be expected.

How, by intermittent spritzes of ONR on either side the pad. As long as you
check that there's no build-up of crud on the pad, it's quite feasible to do
twice the area as this photo shows...

s5.postimg.org_rvjqvejp3_p1review01.jpg

So, the upshot is that you can either use it neat, or extend its use simply
by a few sprays of ONR.

The roof eventually came out looking like this...
s5.postimg.org_q50ptx25z_p1review02.jpg

Does P1 Have any Downsides?
Apart from taking care to protect your hands while applying there is one small
niggle. It tends to find the tiniest cracks to dry white into, as seen in the
chrome and rubber here. If, like me, you don't remove these before appyling
your wax, it'll take the most finicky brush you can find to remove.

s5.postimg.org_q7xgj8c3b_r11coupe56.jpg

Overall
For paintwork preparation there is no doubt that this is the best product that
I've used to date. Apart from the cost, I have no hesitation in recommending
it. For use by hand you will need plenty of patience, but there's no doubt
that you'll be rewarded for it.

Regards,
Steve
 
An Antidote to Meaningless Lists

While I was pondering over the idea mentioned in a previous post it occurred
to me that we regularly see "top 5" list requests, most of which end up in an
incongruous morass of complication. Miraculously, another rather extensive
one has just appeared. If _anyone_ actually gains knowledge from these posts,
then I'd be very surprised indeed. Of course, I am aware of what is/could be
called the "sheep mentality", but here's the antidote...

Thinking this through, and because my armoury has now gathered a whole
variety of products, I'm going to tackle this on a season by season basis. This
gives me an opportunity to describe different approaches, often using or
re-using the same product. This leads to a core of just a few products that
are useful all year round.

Optimum No Rinse / ONR
Those of you familiar with my postings will know why I'd always place ONR at
the top of any list. This product has been the revelation that has allowed me
to continue to be a "detailer". I use it quite differently in winter than in other
seasons, and I'll go into detail appropriately when writing these up.

CG Hose-Free Eco Wash / HFE
This is my favoured product for washing wheels all year round. If the car
gets too dirty at other times, I'll happily use HFE as a pre-wash to ONR.
Twice this year I've turned to HFE to help remove bizzare concrete dust
coatings the car has received. Grrrrr...

Megs Ultimate Quik Detailer / UQD
For an off the shelf product I've been very surprised and quite delighted with
the performance of this product. The nozzles on the latest bottles allow you
to apply it in an extremely fine mist and the shine / beading / slickness of
the surface after use is very satisfying. There is still a place for other QD
products, but UQD is what I most often reach for now.

Polishes, Pre-Wax Cleaners and Waxes
As all of these products are now put away until the spring, in readiness for
the "summer prep", I'll expand more on them when that part of the discussion
is reached. All I will say is that unless you have the luxury of a heated and
dehumidified work area, it's a nonsense to try and apply waxes or sealants
until the spring. Now that we have the cold and damp weather, the time for
applying these is long passed.

It's not just a waste of time, effort and indeed product, you will be
severely compromising the protection levels and longevity of that protection.
In a nutshell, applying paste waxes or sealants at ambient temperatures of
less than 60degF / 15degC is not in anyone's best interests. I'll agree that
the finish will probably look fine, but I'd not count upon it lasting any while.

Really, I'm not trying to be a spoil-sport by saying this. I'm fully aware of the
therapeutic benefits of waxing; I just don't wan't anyone to end up with an
inevitable disappointment caused by being ill-informed. At best it'll be a very
poor compromise, at worst it may put you off using products which, when
applied in ideal conditions, are probably the best value for money there is.

Accessories
I'm loosely using this term to mean the products that help you focus on the
details. Top of that list is FK108AS - a product much more versatile and much
cheaper (in the larger sizes) than the much vaunted Aerospace protectant.
Also included are MF noodle mitts, MF cloths and wheel brushes. More anon.

The next post will go into detail of how I approach my winter regime...

<off to put on "thinking-cap" b.b.s.>

Regards,
Steve
 
Winter Detailing

Hello Folks,

Of course, the starting point for this missive is a thoroughly prepared and
protected car. Back in September I gave the paintwork a good clean with
gTechniq P1, followed by 2 coats of FK1000p, then several days later
followed that with 2 coats of CG Blacklight and finally a coating of CG V7
hybrid a day or so after that. Yes, I know I could have stopped with the FK,
but while I like its protection, I'm not that keen on its glassy bling.

Since then, other than my usual bucketless washes, the car has had a couple
of what I'd call heavy washes, using HFE as the "lubricant" to loosen and
remove fine concrete dust deposited from an electric cutting disc. The first
time this happened I blew my top because it could have been avoided. Grrrrr...

As carrying full buckets of suds is particularly hazardous for me, with almost
inevitable spills, I just diluted 1 capful of HFE into about 4 or 5 litres of fairly
warm water and used a noodle mitt to spread it around in a contactless
fashion, squeezing out around 6 to 9 inches above the surface.

The second contactless pass several moments later usually sees movement
and concentration of the dust as it gathers into the bodywork valleys. Any
wiping was generally following a gentle squeeze of liquid on its travels,
ensuring that plenty of liquid was in pursuit of the particles.

I'm describing this in some detail because I use the very same technique when
the car is covered in salt. Although with salt, I use ONR instead of HFE and I
also pre-spray the paint with ONR at QD strength. As regular readers of my
posts on ONR will know, I use ONR in a bucketless wash fashion for most of
the year. The existing swirls are, I believe, the result from the first time I did
this as an experiment in winter with ONR and salt. It was a salutory lesson!

I've learned that when washing a car covered in salt, especially when it's icy,
it's a big mistake to under apply water or washing solution to the surface.
The problem is that road salt, even when partly dissolved, can still be just as
abrasive as sharp sand. The biggest part of that problem is that the partly
dissolved salt is invisible! That's not to say that you need to use copious
amounts of water either. Basically, you need just enough to fully dissolve the
salt and to keep it dissolved whilst it is still in contact with the paint.

You'll still use a lot less than with a hose. I probably use no more than 8-10
litres over two buckets. At the point where I replenish, there'll probably still
be over a litre of solution left in the bottom, so only 6 or 7 litres will ever
reach the ground.

So, once the car has had it's bucket assisted pre-wash, rather than dry it,
I will then go on with my usual ONR bucketless wash technique. Why?
Because, until I can be sure all vestiges of salt are removed, there is no way
I would put a dry MF towel anywhere near the paint. Please remember that
use of a hose is neither practical nor available at this point. The only real
difference twixt summer and winter is the number of MF cloths used. In the
summer, I'm quite happy to wring out an MF cloth that has become saturated
with the ONR solution, provided that I have at least 2 clean folds left to use.
With salt present, absolutely no chance!

One other benefit of using ONR is that you can watch it evaporate and know
that you will not get water spots. The existing polished surface is doing its
bit to repel the water; all you need do is ensure that your MF cloth is still
absorbing the surplus. Also, all the MF cloths are rinsed out in a bucket with
dish detergent to rid them of as much salt as possible before they go into the
washing machine.

The beauty of ONR is that it will really help with delaying the water in the salt
from evaporating. When I read of others' experiences with ONR, I get a very
distinct impression that they fall into 2 types of user. Those who treat it like
a shampoo and add work to compensate for it, and those, like me, who treat
it like a cleaner, and allow the product to do its work for them.

If you fall into the first category, all I can say to you is relax. If you apply
ONR in a fashion where you allow it get into and under the dirt, it not only
rewards you with less work, you actually reduce the risks of marring and
smearing. After using ordinary shampoos and the 2BM, I'm aware that it can
be a huge leap of faith. As long as you are using dilutions suitable for your
water hardness, then it is quite OK to trust the product. It isn't a shampoo!

The other bug-bear in winter is cleaning the wheels. Again, thorough prep and
protection in the autumn reaps its rewards. With the wheels wearing FK1000p
topped with SwissVax, they repel a fair bit. Problem is that even though I'm
a light brake-pedal user the pad dust is still a nightmare. Mix in the wet and
a good dose of salt and other road muck, they still present some work to
get them clean.

Once again, it's HFE, rather than ONR, that I turn to for this task. One capful
into a half-filled bucket and I'll do one wheel and the underside of the arches.
In summer that'll do for 2 wheels. Again, to the best of my ability, I try and
apply as much liquid as needed in a contactless fashion by squeezing out the
mitt, with my hand supporting me as I rest it at the top of the wheel.

That's allowing the liquid to do its work while I get myself down into a better
supported position where I can concentrate on cleaning between the spokes,
in probably quite ungainly fashion. In summer, I'll happily get into my folding
chair and enjoy the weather; in winter this has to be as quick a crouch as I
can manage. No matter when, the main advantage of using HFE is that there
is no need to rinse, or even dry...

Next comes the glass. The windscreen and rear window have coatings of
gTechniq glass treatment, so when doing the full wash I try to get as much
liquid to go rearward as I can. Because of its rake and the way the wipers lie
in protection, only the base of the screen will gather muck to any extent.
Areas outside the wiper reach are easily cleaned with plain water. So, I simply
use one dampened MF cloth, no chemicals, and immediately follow this with
another to dry.

Around the wiper arms and below will be dealt with depending upon what has
gathered there. If it's bad, then some warm water and a separate clean
noodle mitt will be used. At this point we have a clean car on the outside,
so next comes the decision of what, if anything, to do next.

If it's a fine day and it isn't too damp or too chilly, then following up with a
QD is fine. Probably my favourite all-year-round product is FK #425, even if
it is the most garish pink liquid to be found :) Using a plush MF cloth, folded
into two, and using just one quarter for the initial wipe after every spray, you
can and should be quite parsimonious with the application.

Generally speaking, by the time you have applied to and wiped-off from the
horizontal surfaces, you'll have enough product on that quarter of the cloth
to do the verticals, without applying more product. Be careful about over
applying and watch out for the dew point. Do be aware that the product is
meant to flash dry. In other words, it must happen! Otherwise, you'll work
against yourself and not only get streaking, you run the risk of the product
combining with the dew/water and possibly weakening your existing wax
protection because it hasn't dried!

Can any waxes be used in winter? Well, certainly no paste wax, that I know
of, unless you can create the ideal application environment indoors. Of the
liquid waxes I believe that all the Collinites are also temperature dependant,
so of the commonly used ones that I have tried, it leaves Optimum Car Wax
and Megs Nxt. Of the two, I'd probably only try the OCW, but only on a day
when I'd consider using a QD. With the current protection levels I don't think
that a need for a wax will occur again until I do my summer prep next April.

Going back to QDs, I'm quite looking forward to trying out the Megs UQD in
the cold weather. Compared to their liquid waxes, which I haven't rated that
highly, it has been a fairly recent but very impressive find. Will report back on
this as and when.

Car cleaning in winter need not be an arduous task. Certainly, for me, being
introduced to ONR has meant that I'm prepared to go out there in winter and
indulge my passion for stroking those beautiful metal curves without doing any
damage. HFE has meant that even those closely spaced spokes don't present
too much of a cleaning problem either. I still have a healthy respect for the
salt-monster, but I hope this missive helps you to make winter washing less
of a chore. The only watchwords for both products are: allow and enjoy!

Regards,
Steve
 
Spring Detailing & Summer Prep
Hello Folks,

Of course, the slightly warmer and longer days of spring herald the expectation
of renewing intimate connection with the car's paint and getting it to look its
very best. Before I launch into the products bit, I want to use the intro for
this missive to describe an overall approach to detailing. My car will be 3 years
old next March and so far it has not had...
  • a power washer anywhere near it, not even the wheel arches
  • a polishing machine
  • or a clay bar applied to it, other than once on the wheel backs
What that means is that it does not take aggressive means of cleaning in order
to maintain a good shine. Indeed, I think this missive will demonstrate the
yang, of the benefits of a gentler approach.

I know, this paragraph is going to talk about some of the shibboleths of car
detailing. Every time I see snowfoam on a car, a little part of me shivers.
This is especially so when there is nothing on the ground to catch any of
the spent liquid. When you think of the pain that oxygen deprivation causes in
mammals, I dread to think what it does to marine life. You don't ever want
to experience a dead river; the sight, the smell, the sheer desolation!

Why do I have this attitude? Because, if you pre-spray ONR and allow that
to dwell, it will give any snowfoam a full and complete run for its money
when it comes to cleaning ability, with almost nil run-off by comparison.
Oh, and I haven't mentioned the preparatory work and clearing up work that
is saved.

As for avoiding any machine polishing, well, it's all in the wash technique. I'm
pretty well convinced that what I'd call the major swirls on my paintwork were
caused during the first winter's experiment with ONR. Considering the softness
of the Renault paint, I so far haven't found the need for a machine polish. It
has been a "maybe" topic for countless months, but I still don't find any
pressing need. Again, it's a plus for the "gently-gently" approach.

When I first took delivery of the car, there was some roughness in the paint
and any serious detailer I spoke to drew attention to it. However, the regular
spring and summer clean-backs of the surface have now rendered it very
smooth. Indeed this leads me well into the proper start of this section of
the product run-down.

Pre-Wax Cleaners
Of course, before applying any of these products the car needs to be very
thoroughly washed. Usually, by mid-April, the road salt is put away for use
later in the year, so that risk has gone. Up to now, I've tried a whole variety
of PWC products, most if not all with satisfying levels of success.

The P21S/R222 PWC is a firm favourite and is certainly easily applied and
removed. The Raceglaze product is similar, though slightly thicker than the
P21S which, in my hands, made it slightly easier to apply to the pad.
However, probably my favourite product was Optimum's Poli-Seal. Of course
this not so much a PWC but an AIO and the base for the following coats of
wax was noticeably better, for just as much work as the other two products.

Each time I've cleaned back the paint, so it has got that tiny bit smoother.
What this has shown is that products applied in the interim have been doing
their protective bit. However, the apple-cart has been well and truly upset
by the arrival of the gTechniq P1 polish.

Currently, I do now have mixed feelings about doing both a summer and winter
prep. Of course I always look forward to both, but the amount of work that's
involved does leave its mark. It'll take several days for my hands to recover
from all that rubbing. Yeah, it'll be the equivalent of a tickle by most of you,
but the discomfort doesn't get easier to cope with. I guess you know where
this is going; I'm seriously considering doing an "annual" clean-down instead.

The main reasons for this are that I can achieve such a fantasticly good
basic surface clean with the P1 and the protection products I use are by no
means spent at the time they presently get removed. I guess that's the
beauty of using 21stC products, although I'm not ready to go down the
entire nano-road. The sheer satisfaction of using a wax is not going to be
thrown away yet awhile. I've already discussed using P1 in a previous post
on this thread, so it's on to choice of waxes / LSPs.

Waxes / Sealants / Glazes & Hybrids
As you can probably tell from the sub-title, I've waved my PayPal at a very
wide variety of potions. Most, but not all, have been pastes, which have been
a preference for most of my life. The hard Simoniz wax of the 1960's was a
beast to get the best out of, but the satisfaction when it went well was off
the scale. No clear-coat paints back then, either.

Of the plain carnauba waxes that I've tried, there's...
  • Valentine's Concours
  • Valentine's Road & Track
  • CG 50/50
  • Collinite 476S
  • Harlys Wax
  • Optimum Car Wax (Liquid)
  • Megs Nxt Wax (Liquid)

The first two are very good waxes. They both have a common drawback in
that you have to pick a suitable day for application. If it's too warm, or too
breezy or there's high humidity, then both application and removal needs to
be well judged to avoid it being hard work. Otherwise, fantastic finish,
particularly from the Concours. Both last well.

In stark contrast to this is the CG 50/50 - a breeze to apply and remove with
matching performance in both looks and durability. While the Collinite is quite
legendary in performance, the high polymer content gave my paint a far too
cool blingy finish that I wasn't keen on. Out of the lot, it's probably the Harlys
that presents the best all-round ease of use, finish, protection, satisfaction
and value for money.

My "spit and polish" test using the Harlys earlier this year was a huge success.
My passenger door still has not been stripped back and it's only in certain
lights that you can tell. Although having had several coats of various QDs it's
still repelling water. Anyone who questions the durability of the Harlys has
either not applied it in ideal conditons or they have mistreated it since. Again,
I believe it's back to the "gently-gently" approach that's winning through.

s5.postimg.org_eqcie16pj_r11coupe42.jpg
The car just a few days into the Spit'n'Polish test. Wheels show that it does get driven :)

The Megs liquid wax was nothing to write home about, while the OCW is a
regular refill into my armoury. I tend to use it more like a QD, though for a
liquid, it stands on its own for shine and durability. As with all the Optimum
range, application is so simple.

Sealants
After using Collinite and seeing its glassy finish, I've not been that drawn to
using sealants, mostly because to my eyes the silver metallic flake doesn't
respond well to that glassy look. It's just not to my taste - I prefer the warm
and deep look to the cool and stark. However, never to be missing from my
armoury is FK1000p - yeah, another cool and stark finisher that demands
some extra work, but, for its price and performance, it's no wonder that it's
very popular here.

The one thing I like most is that it will take almost anything on top of it, as
long as you allow time for it to fully cure in ideal conditions. The combination
of the FK with Harlys or CG 50/50 on top is really very satisfying. On the
wheels, nothing I've tried beats it for durability. On the other hand, I've
experimented with various mixes to try and get some better flake-pop out of
the wheels. On its own, the looks from FK don't quite get there.

s5.postimg.org_tlx9gedyv_r11coupe17.jpg
The car with front panels wearing just one coat of 50/50

Of course, there's another sealant that I've used, OptiSeal. Now that is one
serious contender for the bling awards, but for me it has several down sides.
Just like the FK, it has some serious solvents in it that sweep away all or most
of what's gone on before. Just watch how easily FK1000p will remove tar
spots from wheels! There's no question that Optiseal is also easier to apply
than almost any other sealant.

For me, it's just the finish I'm not keen on and I'm not sure that it matches
the longevity of protection that the FK provides. I could be wrong on this last
point! The OptiSeal is reserved for the days when the ease of use has to
have a higher priority than the resulting looks.

Glazes & Hybrids etc.
Among my investigations, trials and experiments, have been a mix of a few
products that seem to defy any form of classification. Strangely, they all
come from the Chemical Guys stable. My first go with a CG product was their
MF cloth cleaner which I was not impressed with. That to the extent where I
was fairly ambivalent about trying anything else of theirs. Until, reading the
HFE reviews here that was. You already know how I feel about that product.

This was followed by trialling CG's Wet Mirror Finish - this was actually a 2nd
choice because my first wasn't presently in stock. There is one common
problem with all of CG's "mayonnaise style" products; getting a consistent and
even amount of product onto the pad. Almost inevitably, you end up with too
much on the pad and you begin to work against yourself. In common with
most, if not all, quality products, less is more!

Going back to the WMF - if you can keep a consistently thin coating, it
performs well as a base for FK1000p - though you do need to let it harden
overnight. Otherwise, the FK solvents are more than likely to wipe it away.
I tried this on my wheels with some success and I'm likely to repeat it at
the point when the SwissVax Pneu runs out. Nothing goes to waste here!

More recently, I've been trialling CG's BlackLight LSP - neither a sealant nor
a wax, and apparently a new breed of coating altogether. A breeze to apply
subject to the aforementioned consistency barrier, and just as easy to buff
off. The closest way that I can describe the resulting surface is that it looks
and feels like a cured wax that has also had a QD like FK425 applied to it. It's
kinda plastic but much less glassy than a sealant. 2 coats and it seems to
present a good protection barrier. It's still under test here, but no cause for
any concern thus far.

The other potion I've tried is the V7 Hybrid which seems to be recommended
for going on top of the BlackLight. To me, the V7 wasn't that much better
than Megs UQD at a vastly inflated price. It also doesn't seem to go as far
as the UQD which was quite surprising. I'm not sure that I'll be feeling bereft
enough to buy a second bottle.

Of course, with the classic lines of my car, no product is going to be tested
to its limits, and with such a range of potions to hand, there's little excuse
for the car to look shabby at any time. Anyway, back to the point, and my
preparations for a summer prep. As I've already hinted, I think 2012 is going
to herald a change in approach. Of course, with it being a trial, I'm nowhere
near a point of advocating this regime, though I do have a sneaking suspicion
that it will work well enough to satisfy even my fussiness.

Basically, in April I will be giving the car a very thorough clean back with the
P1. If needs be, I'll even have two goes at this. As ever, it's all in the prep,
so I'll pay it as much attention as it needs, bearing in mind my physical limits.
From there, certainly 2 coats of FK1000p, with at least an overnight wait
twixt the first and second. I know that you can layer the FK within just 40
minutes or so, but in mid-April I feel that it's too soon in the year for that.
I'll now need these coatings to protect for 12 rather than 5 or 6 months!

Now, the choice of what comes next. Probably, it'll be just one coat of WMF
followed by 2 coats of CG 50/50. The wax is a toss-up - it could be replaced
with the Harlys. The thinking here is that I will top-up the carnauba as the
sacrificial layer probably in late July or early August and again as late as I
dare toward the end of September maybe early October. All being weather
dependant of course.

I may well experiment with the BlackLight and apply that in place of the
WMF - it apparently takes either a sealant or a wax on top. So, it'll be very
interesting times to come. Of course, I'll report back in due course. Up to
now, the Summer prep has been kept tidy by regular bucketless ONR washes
and application of various QDs, and that'll be the subject of my next missive.

Regards,
Steve
 
Delving Into The QD Minefield

It's my belief that if I were to ask 50 people to describe what a QD is, or
what they expect a QD to do, I'd get 50 vastly different answers. The list of
expectations from a QD seems to be as vast as the range of products that
are described as being QDs.

For me, a QD product helps fill the void when waxing is too much and just a
quick wash is not enough. When you've got some cherished metal to care
for, the simplicity of an ONR wash can just be too simple or plain too quick!
In the back of your mind is a desire for a slickness of feel, or perhaps the
sheer reflective beauty of that "just waxed" look. Of course, it's all marketing
BS and just another method of parting us from our hard-earned. Or is it?

Well, if you're wondering how badly I've been bitten by this bug, the number
of QD products I've tried is fairly extensive, especially in just under 3 years of
"modern detailing".

I know that I've often referred to ONR as being a QD, but to me this firmly
remains in the cleaners category. To my mind, far too much is made of the
polymer coating left behind by ONR. When you consider the dilutions that are
involved; at 32:1 or more, it doesn't really qualify as a QD. If it's mostly the
cleaning ability that you seek from a QD, then ONR will top the list.

FK#425
When it comes to raw slickness, shine and ease of application, then FK425
really takes some beating. It's far too easy to over apply it, and the moment
you do, you work against yourself. On a squeaky clean car, and using a
plush MF towel, you should have enough on the cloth from doing a horizontal
surface to also do the verticals. I will often do the front wings immediately
after wiping the spray off each side of the bonnet; similar thing with the
roof and doors. The rear wings may just get a nominal spraying because I'll
tackle the rear valance with the residue from the boot lid.

Optimum Instant Detailer - OID
I feel a little ambivalent about using this product outside on my silver flake.
However, for a QD to tackle interior plastics, door cards etc., it's unbeatable!
The faint bubble-gum smell is pleasant rather than overpowering. I'm not sure
that I want constant olfactory reminders of how clean the plastic is. I'm far
more keen on the subtlety of interior aromas, and OID fits the bill perfectly.

Optimum Car Wax
Yeah, I know, it's not a QD. However, if you want to apply a wax in about
the same time that takes to apply a QD, this product will never disappoint.
OK, I'll readily admit to being an Optimum whore, but when products go on
that easily, and perform to every possible expectation, their place as one
of the first to reach for products is fully justified. I could wax lyrical...

SwissVax QD
This product was a tempter into purchasing a magazine subscription almost
2 years ago. As a QD product it's pretty special and my use of it is only
ever for high-days and show days. Certainly, I'd accept it willingly as a gift,
but whether or not I'd wave my PayPal toward its outright purchase is quite
another matter.

The time for that test will come when it runs out. However, that won't be
for some while yet because of how little you need to use. One of the most
recent QD's I've purchased has been CG's V7 - and that quite magically
disappears into the paint like nobody's business. By comparison with the
SV QD it could in fact be a more expensive option. The two certainly won't
bear comparison in terms of finish - the SV will win hands-down!

Your perfectly smooth and slick surface will seem quite rough by comparison.
The SV QD is the only product that has ever provided an audible squeak when
applied directly to the pad, rather than to the paint surface. The only other
drawback is that you apply it like a wax, even allowing it to haze a little
before you buff off. No spray and wipe here! Needless to say, the results are
worth it!

Megs Ultimate Quik Detailer - UQD
If ever there was a really surprising off-the-shelf product, then Megs UQD
ticks all the boxes. Even though it is an OTS product, it isn't any cheaper
than any specialist product that you buy on-line. Compare it directly to
FK425 in terms of volume and it's not good value. In terms of performance
though, it does take some beating. If you're a fan of nice tight beads after
a rain shower, this is your product!

Of note is the newly designed spray head on the bottle. It delivers the finest
of sprays so that you can very simply regulate the amount you apply to your
paint. As with any quality product, less is more. However, if you over apply
there isn't so much of a downside. I think you'd probably be quite hard
pressed to make this product streak.

The resulting slickness of the paint may not quite match that of the FK or
even the OID, but don't be fooled into thinking that it isn't much good as a
result. Just like ONR, you're left wondering just how such a fine liquid can
provide that level of protection. Did I mention the beading?

Chemical Guys V7
Although I've already mentioned this product I still think it deserves a place
in a list of favoured products. I have recently replenished my stock of V7 to
give it a fair crack of the whip. What the guys at CG seem to be doing is
challenging all the fairly established practices, such as applying sealant
after a wax rather than before, which in itself is absolutely no bad thing.

The risk is that it could backfire on them. The description of V7 hybrid being
either a QD or a sealant already seems to cause some confusion. At the time
of writing, if I were given a choice twixt V7 and UQD, without question I'd
pick up the UQD. There may be more to V7 than meets the eye, so the
research continues...

Gliptone Body Gloss
Gliptone are probably better known for their leather care products. However,
their range of other car detailing products need not be overlooked. When I
first used the Body Gloss, I was actually quite disappointed. Yes, it left the
paintwork feeling slick enough, but where was that just-waxed look?

Patience my dear fellow, patience. After an hour or so, I came back out to
the car and was quite simply amazed. If you want instant results, then this
stuff isn't for you. However, if it's shine you want and you're prepared to give
the product time to plate out, you won't be disappointed.

It may have been short-lived, but there was also some evidence of it filling
in some of the lighter swirls. It's the same garish colour as the FK425, which
to my mind, still beats it.

Lucas Slick Mist
This was just an impulse buy while in the motor factors buying some Greased
Lightning Oil Additive. I'd heard it mentioned previously, and it didn't seem to
disappoint. However, what I found was a very thin liquid that didn't impress
me too much. Unlike the UQD, I think the emphasis on this product leads
toward shine rather than any level of protection. Far too glassy for my taste.

The spray head seems to be deliberately (carelessly) designed to spread the
product all over the place, with little semblance of control for the user. I'm
not about to be bullied into restocking when that tactic is used. Beading was
fairly disappointing and longevity seemed virtually nil. So, at a similar price
point to the UQD, I'd not be too disappointed if it was out of stock.

Conclusions
Well, the first reach QD product is usually the FK425, though others in the
armoury have their places as described. There's little to compare to the
therapeutic affects of waxing a car. So, the QD certainly fits the bill when
applying any paste wax would just be pure overkill.

What I'm finding is that I have a preference for the more versatile products.
So, the OID will not be replenished, simply because I've found that FK108AS,
which does my tyres and plastic trim on the outside, performs brilliantly on
the rubber, plastic and indeed the leather on the inside, not forgetting all
the bits and bobs under the bonnet.

Putting things together, I'm getting to a point where there are now some core
products that I'll always replenish. The excitement of trying other products
has worn off a tad, mostly because I keep coming back to the core. Having
said that, I've just learned that I've been a prize draw winner with a box of
potions coming from Serious Performance. So, that'll be quite an adventure
and I'm really looking forward to writing about things other than ONR :)

So, the core products...

Cleaner / Shampoo - ONR for bodywork, HFE for wheels
Polish - gTechniq P1 / OPS
QD - FK425 / OCW
Sealant - FK1000p
Wax - Harlys
Tyres / Trim - FK108AS
Glass - gTechniq G3

So 3 products each from Optimum and Finish Kare I guess is no surprise.

Having washed the car today, I have to say that I'm very impressed with the
protection offered by the CG Black Light so far, though the large and irregular
beads do take some wiping away. I was quite surprised at how relatively clean
the car was; it's hardly been touched for almost a month! That is quite likely
to become another core product if its protection continues. Maybe it'll be the
Harlys for summer, and BL for winter.

If you've been following this, there's one product that's not in the core list
which may be a tad surprising; the CG 50/50 wax. Totally brilliant product, but
I hesitate at the 40 quid price tag. The Harlys, at around half the price more
than justifies its presence in the list.

The Future - Bits yet to Solve
When I first joined this forum, my major desire was to be comfortable about
maintaining my own machine, and displaying the results without being a tad
embarrassed. Luckily, far from it, even if you guys do set the bar pretty high!
Modern technologies have meant that my objectives have been relatively
easy to achieve, which has been a pleasant surprise. I'm hoping that I can
continue keeping Tia's Taxi in a reasonably tidy state for some while to come.
The eye-opener for me has been the wide range of products that I've been
able to either adapt or adopt to suit my needs.

However, even as someone with gammy hands, I'm not yet ready to go with
the longer-lasting nano treatments, tempting as they are. It's good to know
that they exist, but I'll save them for when I'm more or less forced into it by
being confined to a wheelchair; long may that day be put into abeyance!

One of the drawbacks with using the "mayonnaise" style products from CG has
been to get an even and regular blob of it on the applicator pad each time you
go to replenish it. It's just too easy to overwhelm it. So, finding a good pump
dispenser that my hands can cope with is probably number one task on the list.

If you've reached this far, I hope you've enjoyed your reading...

Regards,
Steve
 
Looking After Your Hands
Hello Folks,

Since receipt of my prize parcel from Serious Performance yet a distinct lack
of decent detailing weather, I've been wondering about what to write here.
However, to concentrate on the "potions" contained in the box is really
doing it a disservice. The reason being that it also contained a range of
application and removal media, some of which I either didn't know existed
or had completely overlooked.

I suppose that it's too easy to overlook the bits and bobs we use to apply
our various potions, but to someone with limited motor function, this is a
choice that can have very frustrating consequences. For the most part, the
biggest hurdle to overcome is simply keeping hold and a decent control over
the pad. All too often, it'll fly out of your hand and sod's law will dictate that
it finds the grubbiest part of the floor upon which to land.

Of course, trying to keep hold has further tribulations; it doesn't take long
before your fingers will ache, so you need to experiment with different
grasping techniques. Then of course is the biggest hurdle; getting an even
and _thin_ coating on the paint, almost on pain of death because you'll be
punished further in getting the stuff off if it's on too thick :wall:

So, imagine getting hold of a foam applicator that's not only very easy to
hold, it's the simplest of designs and dirt cheap! I speak of the rather good
SP Tyre Dressing Applicator. IMO, calling it that is not doing it any favours!
There's no question that it'll easily apply a thin coat of liquid wax / sealant
and its absolute simplicity of design will mean real control on how much.

At first sight all you have in your hand is a round piece of foam, so what's
so easy about holding that? Well, as soon as you squeeze it, two controlled
cuts into it are revealed and once taken advantage of, anyone would be
very hard-pressed to have it fly out of their hand. Even when I scrunch up
the top half, the lower bit stays more or less in shape.

In essence, these applicators are clearly undersold! If I'd known about them,
I'd have ordered them several times, at least half a dozen at a time. I hadn't
translated the "split-foam" part of the description as being "extremely easy to
hold and control", so even if you have hands that work properly, do please
look after them...

Regards,
Steve
 
Hello Folks,

Anyone who's been following this thread since last November will probably think
that I've got myself all confuzzled, especially as back then I was talking about
probably doing a summer prep in April. Oh well, better the late warm weather
than none I suppose.

Earlier this month I spent 10 days in Cumbria and had 2 cars to do during my
stay. It was a chance to do some work on cars that needed the treatment
and it was also a good opportunity to try some products that were new to
me. You may well have read my missives about FK #350 and the Serious
Performance polishing and refining pads in the review section.

Anyway, part of my experiments involved the much praised Wet Glaze 2.
Simon from Wax Attack was kind enough to send me a sample rescued from a
broken pot and I was able to use it to good effect on the Mk.2 RS2000 in
bright red that I had to prepare for the Great Lakes Run. More of that anon,
suffice to say that I was very impressed with the results and the owner, who's
not that easily impressed, was delighted!

So that brings me to today, or more accurately yesterday when the weather
was so cold that I was resorting to reading anything and everything just to
stave off massive boredom. I was reading a page on the Wax Attack site
where it was suggesting that Wet Glaze 2 could also be mixed with other
liquid wax or sealant products, creating a hybrid.

OK, so I'm still a tad ahead of myself. Those of you who have read the pads
review will have seen that one of the pre-wax cleaners I used came from
Serious Performance too. Not only that, on the Merc C class I also used a
liquid sealant from the same stable on the wheels. It was very easy to apply
and just as easy to buff off.

So, back to yesterday and the :speechles moment when it occurred to me that
I'd have a go at mixing the remaining Wet Glaze sample with an equal amount
of the SP Sealant to create my hybrid. I've since bought a full bottle of the
WG2 if it doesn't work out. Finally, we get to this afternoon and the highest
heat has passed allowing me to have a chance to put this hybrid to the test.

After a good ONR wash of the roof, I had a go at pre-wax cleaning using the
SP Paint Cleaner. Unlike the Merc in Cumbria, hardly anything of consequence
came off. Having had some success with claying on the RS2000 I got bold
and gave the Laguna a quick once-over, with very little getting grabbed.
Washed down with ONR once more and it was on with the hybrid. I used one
of the soft black SP waffle pads, pre-injected with some ONR to apply it.

Getting an even coating was fairly easy so buffing off was fairly easy too. I
was able to coat the whole roof before buffing. A second coat was applied
fairly soon after and getting the even coat was even easier than the first.
I also left it a little longer before buffing off. What I was being left with as a
finish has been very pleasing indeed!

This photo is with the sun behind me and is a patch taken from the full-size
image...
s5.postimg.org_m0lictl4n_r12coupe31.jpg

This photo is into the sun, and shows the fantastic flake-pop that this finish
is producing... :thumb:
s5.postimg.org_666m2xwdz_r12coupe32.jpg

As an experiment, it's been hugely successful! I will definitely treat the whole
car to see whether or not I like it. As you probably know I prefer a deeper
look to a glassy one, so we'll see what happens. As for my proposed "annual
clean down", that's postponed until August when I have the World Series by
Renault event to prepare for...

Regards,
Steve
 
Last edited:
Hello Folks,

Well, I was going to entitle this missive with Glassy or Classy? - The
very dull, but ideal waxing outdoors, weather precludes that. I've now only
three more panels to do down the near side with my hybrid mix. While I'm
liking the shine and especially the slickness, I've got an uneasy feeling that
it'll turn out too glassy.

Hopefully, we might get some sunshine on Thursday in order to make a better
evaluation. In the meantime some very sticky pollen from a flowering tree 2
gardens upwind is causing some problems. I may leave that exposed side until
either the wind direction changes or the blossom finally falls off...

s5.postimg.org_ialvjx99z_r12coupe35.jpg
My usual rear 3/4 view; please ignore the dirty wheels...

So, classy or glassy?

s5.postimg.org_dsjkrtt87_r12coupe36.jpg

s5.postimg.org_rekakdauv_r12coupe37.jpg

s5.postimg.org_4sez7mx4n_r12coupe38.jpg

Regards,
Steve
 
Mayonnaise Style Waxes / Sealants / LSPs
Hello Folks,

The first thing that I'd like to say is that if anyone can come up with a good
dispenser for these products, there is a gap in the market! The need is for
a controlled amount to come out at every press or squeeze. Obviously, the
manufacturers are laughing because they _know_ it's inevitable that we'll use,
that is waste, far too much product. OK, rant over...

The purpose of this missive is to give a comparative run-down of the several
products that I've used over the past couple of years which fall into this
marketing category. Generally, most of these do perform very well, but there
is very much a blurring of the edges twixt wax, glaze, sealant and/or LSP.
I'll try and clarify this as much as I can.

CG Butter Wet Wax - BWW
This is the first of this style of product to find its way into my armoury and
it has yet to disappoint. Following several reports of not much longevity from
it as an LSP, despite the packaging claims, I've tended to treat it as a glaze
under a sealant. For example, this has worked very well on wheels under the
usual 2 coats of FK #1000p sealant. The effect was to give more depth to
the silver and enhance the flake pop. There was no compromising of the
sealant by doing this.

CG Wet Mirror Finish - WMF
Now WMF is definitely a glaze, and a very good one at that! Really, there is
very little to choose between it and the BWW. Where it really comes into its
own is on solid colours. Both the red and blue Escort RS cars that I've treated
with this product have resolved to very satisfying finishes, with great depth
and clarity. I've mostly used Collinite 476S as the LSP, though a wax like
Harlys works well over it too. The latter will always give better depth, but
not be quite as bomb-proof in terms of protection.

CG - Black Light - CGBL
This product is probably the biggest marketing enigma going! Is it a bird, or is
it a plane? Who knows? Despite its strangely funky marketing, this product is
excellent! It was my LSP over the past winter where it surprised me at how
well it resisted the road salt and almost washed itself whenever it rained.
Of the 3 CG products, this is probably the most finicky to apply - or more
correctly on how to judge when it's ready to buff off.

This product is completely unforgiving if you over-egg the applicator pad!
However, get a very thin and even amount on the paint, then it's glaze and
sealant all in one and the depth of shine is very satisfying. None of the CG
products give too much of a glassy shine, at least not as glassy as dedicated
sealants will.

I've heard talk of CGBL not giving much longevity. That's not been my
experience, but then my washing methods are probably far more gentle than
others that we read about.

s5.postimg.org_yxy67j8l3_merc1201.jpg
If anyone asks about wax combinations on silver, a coat of BWW + another of CGBL as seen
above speaks for itself... Who would have thought of how this 8yr old farm workhorse gets neglected?


Wet Glaze 2 - WG2
Leaving the CG stable we come to Wax Attack's WG2. For anyone that has
previously used CGBL, the first thing that you'll notice is the very striking
similarity to CGBL, both in terms of application and in resulting finish. For me,
when it comes to replenishing stock in the future it'll be one or t'other but
not both. One thing I can't comment upon is WG2 as an LSP because I have
yet to use it in that way. That could be the deciding factor.

Though you can't put a fag-paper between them in terms of performance,
don't get me wrong, neither will disappoint! I was also hugely impressed with
the hybrid of WG2 with Serious Performance Liquid Sealant I made.

Finish Kare #2180 Ultra Poly Wipe Sealant - UPWS
All of the previously mentioned products could probably be described as
newcomers when compared to UPWS, which in fact is a completely new
entry into my armoury. If you prefer a glassy finish, especially if you have
silver paint, then this may be the best choice of the lot! The benefits of the
FK#1000p sealant are almost legendary here, though application and removal
can be a tad problematic.

So, if ease of application comes higher than out and out protection, then
don't overlook this product. I'll do an "official" review of it early next week,
but I mention it here just to give comparison with the others. The index
numbers of both shine and protection are at 10 and with the quality of all
FK products I've used, I have no reason to doubt the claims for this product.

If you're looking for some depth, then some carnauba wax over the top will
be needed. In essence UPWS provides a protecting glaze that looks fantastic
if you like glassy finishes. The bottle instructions read a bit like the ultimate
detailer's dream, so will bring its own satisfaction too...:speechles

Conclusions
I guess that the cynics among us may claim that these mayonnaise style
products are all pretty similar, with none of them being a "one step" answer.
From the point of view of a guy with gammy hands, the sooner I can resolve
the dispensing issue the better! That's the one draw-back that all these
products have in common; certainly overdoing the dose puts you into a
position where you'll be working against yourself in no small measure. There's
a very real risk of compromising both finish and longevity!

Otherwise, none of these products could be classed as a waste of money.
I'm not sure why there are such polarised views as witnessed here. Each
product fulfils its own niche very well. As with any purchase options, it'll be
down to personal taste in the kind of finish that's being sought. Hopefully,
this missive has helped in making that choice.


Regards,
Steve
 
QDs Revisited
Lowiepete said:
- 20 December 2011

ONR
I know that I've often referred to ONR as being a QD, but to me this firmly
remains in the cleaners category. To my mind, far too much is made of the
polymer coating left behind by ONR. When you consider the dilutions that are
involved; at 32:1 or more, it doesn't really qualify as a QD. If it's mostly the
cleaning ability that you seek from a QD, then ONR will always top the list.

FK#425
When it comes to raw slickness, shine and ease of application, then FK425
really takes some beating. It's far too easy to over apply it, and the moment
you do, you work against yourself. On a squeaky clean car, and using a
plush MF towel, you should have enough on the cloth from doing a horizontal
surface to also do the verticals. I will often do the front wings immediately
after wiping the spray off each side of the bonnet; similar thing with the
roof and doors. The rear wings may just get a nominal spraying because I'll
tackle the rear valance with the residue from the boot lid.

Optimum Instant Detailer - OID
I feel a little ambivalent about using this product outside on my silver flake.
However, for a QD to tackle interior plastics, door cards etc., it's unbeatable!
The faint bubble-gum smell is pleasant rather than overpowering. I'm not sure
that I want constant olfactory reminders of how clean the plastic is. I'm far
more keen on the subtlety of interior aromas, and OID fits the bill perfectly.

Optimum Car Wax
Yeah, I know, it's not a QD. However, if you want to apply a wax in about
the same time that takes to apply a QD, this product will never disappoint.
OK, I'll readily admit to being an Optimum whore, but when products go on
that easily, and perform to every possible expectation, their place as one
of the first to reach for products is fully justified. I could wax lyrical...

SwissVax QD
This product was a tempter into purchasing a magazine subscription almost
2 years ago. As a QD product it's pretty special and my use of it is only
ever for high-days and show days. Certainly, I'd accept it willingly as a gift,
but whether or not I'd wave my PayPal toward its outright purchase is quite
another matter.

The time for that test will come when it runs out. However, that won't be
for some while yet because of how little you need to use. One of the most
recent QD's I've purchased has been CG's V7 - and that quite magically
disappears into the paint like nobody's business. By comparison with the
SV QD it could in fact be a more expensive option. The two certainly won't
bear comparison in terms of finish - the SV will win hands-down!

Your perfectly smooth and slick surface will seem quite rough by comparison.
The SV QD is the only product that has ever provided an audible squeak when
applied directly to the pad, rather than to the paint surface. The only other
drawback is that you apply it like a wax, even allowing it to haze a little
before you buff off. No spray and wipe here! Needless to say, the results are
worth it!

Megs Ultimate Quik Detailer - UQD
If ever there was a really surprising off-the-shelf product, then Megs UQD
ticks all the boxes. Even though it is an OTS product, it isn't any cheaper
than any specialist product that you buy on-line. Compare it directly to
FK425 in terms of volume and it's not good value. In terms of performance
though, it does take some beating. If you're a fan of nice tight beads after
a rain shower, this is your product!

Of note is the newly designed spray head on the bottle. It delivers the finest
of sprays so that you can very simply regulate the amount you apply to your
paint. As with any quality product, less is more. However, if you over apply
there isn't so much of a downside. I think you'd probably be quite hard
pressed to make this product streak.

The resulting slickness of the paint may not quite match that of the FK or
even the OID, but don't be fooled into thinking that it isn't much good as a
result. Just like ONR, you're left wondering just how such a fine liquid can
provide that level of protection. Did I mention the beading?

Chemical Guys V7
Although I've already mentioned this product I still think it deserves a place
in a list of favoured products. I have recently replenished my stock of V7 to
give it a fair crack of the whip. What the guys at CG seem to be doing is
challenging all the fairly established practices, such as applying wax after a
sealant rather than before, which in itself is absolutely no bad thing.

The risk is that it could backfire on them. The description of V7 hybrid being
either a QD or a sealant already seems to cause some confusion. At the time
of writing, if I were given a choice twixt V7 and UQD, without question I'd
pick up the UQD. There may be more to V7 than meets the eye, so the
research continues...

Gliptone Body Gloss
Gliptone are probably better known for their leather care products. However,
their range of other car detailing products need not be overlooked. When I
first used the Body Gloss, I was actually quite disappointed. Yes, it left the
paintwork feeling slick enough, but where was that just-waxed look?

Patience my dear fellow, patience. After an hour or so, I came back out to
the car and was quite simply amazed. If you want instant results, then this
stuff isn't for you. However, if it's shine you want and you're prepared to give
the product time to plate out, you won't be disappointed.

It may have been short-lived, but there was also some evidence of it filling
in some of the lighter swirls. It's the same garish colour as the FK425, which
to my mind, still beats it.

Lucas Slick Mist
This was just an impulse buy while in the motor factors buying some Greased
Lightning Oil Additive. I'd heard it mentioned previously, and it didn't seem to
disappoint. However, what I found was a very thin liquid that didn't impress
me too much. Unlike the UQD, I think the emphasis on this product leads
toward shine rather than any level of protection. Far too glassy for my taste.

The spray head seems to be deliberately (carelessly) designed to spread the
product all over the place, with little semblance of control for the user. I'm
not about to be bullied into restocking when that tactic is used. Beading was
fairly disappointing and longevity seemed virtually nil. So, at a similar price
point to the UQD, I'd not be too disappointed if it was out of stock.

Conclusions
Well, the first reach QD product is usually the FK425, though others in the
armoury have their places as described. There's little to compare to the
therapeutic affects of waxing a car. So, the QD certainly fits the bill when
applying any paste wax would just be pure overkill.

What I'm finding is that I have a preference for the more versatile products.
So, the OID will not be replenished, simply because I've found that FK108AS,
which does my tyres and plastic trim on the outside, performs brilliantly on
the rubber, plastic and indeed the leather on the inside, not forgetting all
the bits and bobs under the bonnet.

Putting things together, I'm getting to a point where there are now some core
products that I'll always replenish. The excitement of trying other products
has worn off a tad, mostly because I keep coming back to the core. Having
said that, I've just learned that I've been a prize draw winner with a box of
potions coming from Serious Performance. So, that'll be quite an adventure
and I'm really looking forward to writing about things other than ONR
Regards,
Steve
November 2012 Update
There's another couple of QD products to add to the list. However, they are
both variations on a theme, so they'll come under one heading.

Serious Performance Show Detailer - V2 +
Serious Performance Show Detailer - V2 - 1 US Gallon Refill

This product was given an excellent review by Spoony back in May 2010.
Despite the titles shown, both products come in similar size bottles. For the
US gallon derivative, you get a measuring cup for adding concentrated product
to water. This gives you some control over its strength, if needed. With Alex
at SP being closely linked to Finish Kare, it would not surprise me if the
Show Detailer was their manufactured by them. Hence its quality!

s5.postimg.org_rmlpm3pyv_r12coupe69.jpg
The car given an ONR wash and SP Show Detailer treatment on return from Cumbria

Although the colour resembles the FK#425, the feel of the product could not
be more different! When you spray it on your paint and go to wipe it, your
plush MF towel will feel like it has suddenly been attached to roller skates,
the slickness is released that quickly. For finish, it's certainly on a par with
FK#425, and I went back to Alex for the US gallon on the strength of it.

Regards,
Steve
 
Annual Product Review 2012
Hello Folks,
Well, where does the time go? It barely seems possible that 12 months have
passed since I was last writing up a resume of the previous year's trials and
triumphs. You may recall that I had tentatively come to the conclusion that
I could do annual clean-downs, rather than the more usual summer and
winter prep sessions. Best laid plans and all... :wall:

My conclusions back then came down to using some core products that would
always find a place in my armoury. These were as follows...
Lowiepete;3188567 said:
Cleaner / Shampoo - ONR for bodywork, HFE for wheels
Polish - gTechniq P1 / OPS
QD - FK425 / OCW
Sealant - FK1000p
Wax - Harlys
Tyres / Trim - FK108AS
Glass - gTechniq G3
Has anything changed in the interim? Heck yeah! I've had my eyes opened in
a direction that I had not in the least anticipated. I've alluded to this on a
few occasions in posts since, but to say that I was a bit taken aback is really
no understatement. The cause of all this? An early New Year parcel from none
other than Alex at Serious Performance. It was my DW Xmas Draw prize.

I need to describe my feelings when I first opened the parcel. I was almost
totally underwhelmed. With my disability obviating the usual methods of car
washing, things like shampoo, wash mitts (2 different types) and drying
towels (again 2 types) were utterly redundant here. That little lot formed
the basis of a prize for the Folding@Home team, so it did find a good home
in the end...

However, I'd only scratched the surface of the box contents. There were
still more pads and applicators and cloths, a whole variety of them, all of
which I gave cursory glances to, with a keener eye on finding out what
bottles of potions had been included. Apart from the mentioned shampoo,
these amounted to a pre-wax cleaner, a liquid sealant and show detailer.
There wasn't even a good wax? At that point of slight deflation, little did
I know how much my detailing would change, for the better!

It All Began With 2 Cuts
Giving some of the pads a closer inspection revealed that some thought had
gone into their production. There was more to this box of tricks than had first
met my eyes! All of a sudden, here was me, with my gammy hands, able to
hold pads in complete comfort and security.

To say it was a revelation is no understatement! Now, I could relax with my
attempts at applying thin coatings with little or no risk of my launching the
applicator pad into outer space, or the more usual dust-bowl. I can't over-
emphasize how much easier my detailing sessions could be by two simple cuts
into the sides of pads.

The Potions Were Not Bad - Either!
Up to this point I'd not really dealt with Alex at SP, so I'd not taken very
much notice of mentions of his in-house products. Do some research and one
thing that you'll notice is that almost every reference to an SP potion meets
with approval here. That's not an easy thing to achieve! Has it had an effect
on my core product list? Absolutely!

Revisiting The Core Products List
Of course, with 3 Finish Kare products in my existing core list, and finding
that Alex was a distributor of FK, there was room to explore their range further.
I'm guessing there'll be little surprise that I've added 3 more of their products
(all new to my experience) to the list...
  • Cleaner / Shampoo - ONR for bodywork, HFE for wheels / FK#146 Finish Restorer for glass and clay
  • Polish - gTechniq P1
  • Pre-Wax Cleaner - OPS / SP Paint Cleaner
  • QD - FK#425 / SP Show Detailer
  • Sealant - FK#1000p / Hybrid of SP Sealant and Wet Glaze 2
  • Paste Wax - Harlys / FK#2685 Pink Wax
  • Liquid Wax - SP Spray Wax / OCW / CG Blacklight
  • Tyres / Trim - FK#350 / FK#108AS
  • Glass - gTechniq G3
Additions to the list are shown in green. It's quite surprising to me that there
are 7 in total. However, let's deal with the SP products first. Despite it smelling
almost exactly like Brasso metal polish, the SP Paint Cleaner is quite a performer!
I tested this on a few cars and was delighted with the results every time.
Considering that the product is non-abrasive, it was quite surprising what was
being drawn off paint that at first sight seemed quite clean. The resulting
smoothness was also fairly remarkable.

I should say that on each occasion I was using another product new to me,
the SP firm white waffle base cleaning pad, more of which later! I used the
SP Liquid Sealant in two ways. I sealed the wheels of the Merc C class I do
on the Cumbrian farm I stay at. I also mixed it 50 / 50 with Wet Glaze 2 as
a very successful experiment, with very pleasing results! See Post #164...

The SP Show Detailer became an instant hit with me, and it very seriously
challenges FK#425 for top spot as my favourite go-to QD now. So much so,
that I replenished my stock with the 1 US gallon concentrate and not looking
back. At the same time I ordered a bottle of SP Spray Wax, thinking that I'd
test this as a replacement for Optimum Car Wax. I haven't written much
about this yet as tests are ongoing, and indeed, are quite impressive so far.

The Finish Kare range is long established on DW; it certainly goes a long way
before I started contributing posts here. Nevertheless, there were a few
products that I've tried for the first time this year, and almost every one of
them makes it to my core products list.

The FK#146 was sold to me as a clay lube. With ONR to hand, and already
an excellent clay lube in its own right, why look for something else, or indeed,
how does it make the list? Well, it's down to versatility. It isn't just a clay
lubricant at which it excells; my first use is as a cleaner. Again, how does it
usurp ONR? Well, for starters, it's a one-cloth window cleaner. It also comes
into its own for taking to shows. If you're a bit uncertain about ONR, then
the #146 will probably give you more confidence as a waterless cleaner.

Next came the revelation that was FK #350 for tyres. Well, and almost
everywhere else that you can use FK#108AS, except perhaps where you
need the anti-static properties. Exceptional value for money, not least
because it's nice and gloopy, so you can water it down to taste.

The FK#2186 Pink Wax is no stranger to DW, and I was thrilled with it!
You do need to be a bit patient with it, doing maybe two or three swipe
tests before you buff it off. Layer this wax, leaving an hour or three twixt
coats will give an unbelievable depth. A tin of this will last a lifetime! I
have yet to try this using the spit'n'polish technique, so I have yet more
to explore with this wax.

It Doesn't Stop There!
Probably the greater majority of discussion on DW revolves around the
effectiveness of various potions, be they cleaners or protectors. Very little
gets said in detail about the cloths and pads that we use. After all, a pad is
a pad, is a pad, right? Well, I used to think so! Rather than repeat myself, I'll
just refer you to a review of some SP pads I did in the summer...

Quite often too, when methods are discussed, very little information is given
on how to use a pad or a cloth. For example, do you use a microfibre drying
towel? If so, do you dampen it first?

If you answered no to that question, then I do ask you to pay particular
attention to these next few paragraphs! MF towels, when used dry, can do
some quite unexpected damage to a smooth surface! However, contrary to
popular belief here, that's down to the user, not the towel. If you take nowt
else away from this missive, do take this, the only time you use a dry MF
anything is when you are absolutely certain, beyond all possible doubt, that
the surface is clean. So, for polishing and buffing-off of potions dry MFs are
fine. Not for drying after washing however!

At _all_ other times, lightly dampen them first. That's how they are designed
to work at their best. You can inflict micro-marring with _any_ dry MF cloth,
the pile density matters for nothing in this instance! One of the cloths that
came from Alex was an MF cloth with different densities of pile on either side.
How to use that? Short or long pile to buff off?

Well, being white, I decided that I'd test the cloth on my windows, using
Greased Lightning Showroom Shine as the cleaning agent. It soon became
clear that I use the deeper pile side for the spreading and cleaning, and the
shorter pile side for the buffing-off. At first this may seem completely counter
intuitive!

The conclusion that I also came to was that investing in some posh (to me)
cloths was _not_ the waste of money I'd perceived it to be hitherto :speechles
There's no question in my mind that while el cheapo Aldi cloths have their
place in most cleaning tasks, investing in better quality items too, does bring
a reward in making tasks simpler to achieve.

s5.postimg.org_rmlpm3pyv_r12coupe69.jpg
I can't believe that I don't have later pictures of the car than this, however,
I'm not exactly displeased with just how good it looks, even after nearly four
years of busting most of the detailing myths you find here :)


The Burning Question
This time last year, before my plans got tipped-up, I'd floated the idea of
only doing a full clean-back once a year rather than twice. So, am I still of
the same opinion? The answer is a qualified yes.

The reason for my hesitation is deciding upon when. Do I do it just after the
winter, or just before? Would it be better to do it at the height of the season?
That's the conclusion that I'm rapidly coming to, with one proviso! That a
darned good thorough wash is given once the road-salt has been fully
dispensed with.

The warmer days make using clay much easier. Oh, I almost forgot, using clay
was another first for me in 2012! Yes, I bit the fear of dropping it bullet and
managed to fashion a use which suits my gammy hands. Basically, I don't
physically hold the clay at all. What I do is form a cage with my hand over
the clay bar, liberally lubricate the surface and just push the clay around
beneath my palm, letting it float free like a puck. I was actually surprised
that it worked!

OK, after that small deviation, the warmer days also ensure that you can
pick periods when temperatures and humidity are far more predictable and
ensure that whatever potions you use are going to perform at their best.
Quite how this plan is going to be put into action will be the subject of
more posts into this thread. There's still about 3 months for me to mull
over a plan of action before I make a start.

A Couple or Three Thank-Yous
Detailing can quite often be an insular hobby so the opportunity of being
able to interact with others is always grabbed here. In 2012, we've had
couple of local meetings and my thanks go to those who made an effort
to attend. Let's hope that 2013 brings more progress.

Obviously, despite my initial description above, I was totally thrilled to
receive my prize parcel from Alex at Serious Performance. I want to fully
acknowledge and thank him for his patience with all our dealings. From
the feedback discussions about product reviews to my asking of some
often dumb questions about various products, I have nothing but praise.
He happens to sell some purty good products too...

Regards,
Steve
 
Hello Folks,

So far, the car has been to two shows this year. An outing to Duxford in May
and a trip to the Bromley Pageant on my birthday in June. It's out on show
again tomorrow at the Sporting Bears do near Huntingdon.

As far as detailing it goes, there's not too much to report. I still haven't done
my annual clean-back and from the car's present condition, it doesn't look as
though it's needed imminently. However, I am intending to set to and do it at
some point in the next few weeks.

I've been trying out some waxes, my pot #84 of 89 of Definitive is rather
good. Often people ask about whether or not expensive waxes are worth it.
Clearly, this is a good quality wax and it rewards you with ease of both
application and removal and provides a deep shine. Without any rain, I'm
unable to comment upon beading, but then I don't hold much store by that
measure anyway.

The other half of the car has been treated with Bouncers' Valentine Stawb
& Cream wax. Almost everyone who passed as I was applying it commented
on how nice it smells. The shine ain't bad either! All of that was done last
weekend whilst we were "under the lid" - the cloud cover that lingers over
the East Coast, sometimes for days on end. Looking at the weather forecast
it seemed like a good idea because it looked like the cloud was going to clear.
No such luck, it's still there, so I could have re-waxed today.

As a result, the car was treated to some Swissvax QD, and the wheels got a
coating of Reload. Tyres, trim and seats got wiped over with FK #108AS and
the hoover tackled all the dead leaves and grass inside. The interior was a
tad embarrassing to be honest. But it's all ready for the Sporting Bears Show
near Huntingdon.

s5.postimg.org_4k4def393_r1318coupe.jpg

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If anyone is going, come and say Hi. The car will be wearing its "Tia's Taxi"
plates, though it'll probably be too hot to take Tia herself.
It's been a while since I posted some beading pictures up...

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Strawb + Creme on the bootlid, 84 of 89 on the roof. Both since treated with
SV detailer and SP show detailer since being applied a week or three back.
The roof looked really fantastic earlier, but me in a hurry and no camera :(

I still don't hold any store by beading, even if at times it does look good!

Regards,
Steve
 
First 2013 Clean-down
Hello Folks,

Well, after a lot of thought, quite a bit of surface examination, and yet more
rumination, I've set to and made a start on my 2013 clean-down. I guess I
needed just a tad of motivation, so a chance reading of a group buy offer on
some ArtdeShine wax seemed the way to go.

Let me say at the outset that I probably have enough wax in my collection to
last me at least another two lifetimes! However, ever since these products
began to appear here, they've intrigued me. The passion that Alfred, and now
Matt (Stangalang), have about how their products perform is pretty infectious.
With good reason. I'll let the pictures do the talking...

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...do they initially strike you as being products of some quality? I certainly think so!

Claying First

So, now some decisions had to be taken. Just how was I going to approach this
detailing session? It simply came down to a simple test. What was clear was
that the paint was clean. The protective potions used hitherto had done their
tasks admirably. So, it was just a case of feeling the surface, which yielded
another decision, that a bit of claying wouldn't go amiss.

Following a recent thread on here, now that I'm tending to use clay more and
more, I decided to experiment with the supposed 3M stuff offered from China.
I was stunned to find it arrive on my doorstep within a week of ordering it.
Bang on time.

On that thread, views seemed to be quite polarised, both for and against. It's
a bit like the never-ending debates we get here over el cheapo MF cloths.
However, to all the people who claimed that it marred their paint, all I can do
is ask: How? Or, more precisely, how, without operator error?

Having read these posts, I was doubly careful, ensuring first of all that the
clay was well and truly soft. That was before I tried working it into a pad.
I simply chopped a 200g bar into 3rds and threw one piece into a plastic
bowl and topped that with water not far off the boil. I then left it for several
minutes until my hands could stand the water temperature.

Working the piece into a small puck to go under my hand was easy. The clay
was certainly doing its thing and I was listening intently for any tell-tale sign.
Once you know what to listen for, it's amazing just how good an audible
indicator can be. So far, and I haven't done the whole car, I've just used one
piece. At the price, I'll be dumping it once the detail is complete.

Certainly, it isn't as easy as pricier clays to get to a malleable state, but
the plus side is that if you drop it, you're not gonna curse anywhere near as
loudly as you would with the more expensive stuff. As for performance, it'll
take someone with a pretty fancy meter to distinguish any differences.

I achieved some very smooth paint with no visible marring, so, for me it was
mission accomplished. As ever, I had a quick go with the Serious Performance
Paint Cleaner, using their white pad, but was fetching off very little dirt.

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The paint now clayed, ready for its wax

Now To The Wax
Of course, I was itching to get some wax onto this newly smooth paint. The
Obsidian Wax is a fairly soft paste with a very faint smell. Of course, I did as
much reading as I could; again there were a couple of polarised views, though
these seemed to stem around whether or not to apply it literally by hand.

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The first coat goes onto the bonnet and wings

Now, with my motor, any chance I get, I just love appreciating those metal
curves, but for my first go with this wax, I decided upon a method that's tried
and tested with me. I don't know if I'm unique in taking this approach or not,
but almost everyone I speak to about applying waxes seems to make me feel
quite exhausted within moments; they just seem to put so much effort into
the process.

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Anyone for flake-pop..?

Of course, it follows that if you apply so much, then so much more effort is
required to buff it off again. Not for me! What I've found, particularly with any
quality product and the ADSOW certainly qualifies, is that less is definitely
more. Oh, and there are some excellent quality waxes at budget prices, how
about FK#1000p and Harlys Wax, straight off the bat...

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...and more flake-pop

Get Your Coating Thin!

So, achieving this very thin coating. Chief among this, a good pad. I cannot
recommend enough the soft black waffle pads from Serious Performance. The
first thing to do is to aim the ONR nozzle into the pad and give it a good
priming, squeezing out any excess liquid. Then, very gently dab at the paste
wax. The Obsidian, being fairly soft only needs very light dabbing, just so you
get a faintly visible coating on the pad. From there, use very light, brisk
straight strokes. With the pad being lubricated by the ONR, you'll be surprised
at just how long you can work it. There's no need to rub it round in circles!

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Some satisfying reflections. Bear in mind that this is silver paint!

Ideal Conditions

Obviously, avoid any surface that's hot, but you do need a minimum ambient
temperature of 60degF / 15degC. You will get an instant indicator if the
surface is too hot, the spreading just won't happen. You should be able to
work in straight lines in one direction, and then work at a 90deg angle across
the same area.

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Yet more flake-pop - getting to be a record!

With the ADSOW, buffing-off could be achieved almost instantly. With a very
thin coating applied, it was a breeze to buff off. What's revealed is not just
an impressive shine, but a slickness that's very satisfying too. The whole
experience retained its aura of quality with, as you have seen, very pleasing
results!

I'll be writing a few words about the screen / glass treatment later this week...

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This photo is a sneak preview of what's to come when I talk
about the ADS Screen Treatment


Regards,
Steve
 
stangalang - ADS EU Distributor said:
Top review Steve, and thanks for using our products.
The slickness you refer to is some thing most users comment on. water behaviour is insane lol.

I have a request. Next time you are going to clay drop me a line, I would like you to review our "clay cloths". I must confess to having never really been in this section before and I genuinely think that the cloths, given their size, ease of use and time saving properties, could be a huge help

Matt
lowejackson said:
Never thought about the clay cloths helping those who struggle with certain tasks. As my old arms no longer work as they should I now only really look at very easy to use products and maybe these cloths could be very helpful
Well, I've arranged for Matt to loan me one later this month, so expect some
comment from me early in September. I've no idea what to expect, but I do
have a darned good candidate I can test it thoroughly upon. I'm quite looking
forward to it... :thumb:

Update: Just had a quick peek at AdS' Price List and the clay cloth is, wait
for it, forty quid... That's quite an outlay if someone is trying to maintain just
one vehicle. I guess that it's a good job that I have more than one car to do
on a regular basis.

Regards,
Steve
 
ADS Clay Cloth - 2 Reviews
Hello Folks,

Well, true to his word, Matt despatched an ArtDeShine clay cloth off to me.
There is only one word to describe its effect - amazing! As you may have
gathered from previous posts, I was a bit apprehensive over what I was going
to have to say about a cloth costing 40 quid.

I need not have worried! I've now worked on 4 cars with it and every time the
results have just been impressive. The candidate car was not a disappointment;
it had been subjected to 4 or 5 months of its usual neglect as the farm mule.
Talk about in at the deep end, this car was going to take some cleaning!

So, the first review shows just how effective the clay cloth is. What I did not
expect was that I could completely knock out an entire stage of my detailing
process; that of pre-wax cleaning. What a boon that is!

If there's anything that affects my hands it's doing a pre-wax clean. Even
though using the Serious Performance firm white pads did make the process
easier, I won't miss having to leave it out. While the clay cloth, ably assisted
by ONR, leaves gloriously clean paint, I'll still be finding a use for the pads
when doing a final polish, where it is needed.

The second car, also a Merc, came into the farmyard whilst I was doing a
bit of work on my car. Its bright red colour being an instant challenge! I guess
that I didn't need to be talked into having a go that much :) It's the subject
of my 2nd clay cloth review, and I'll probably be doing a write-up on the full
detail in the showroom section.

For anyone with gammy hands I cannot recommend this cloth highly enough!
If you look at it simply as a clay bar alternative, I think you'll be missing the
point. It is much more than that. Not only is it very easy, in every context
of that word, to use, the time-saving and sheer cleanliness of the paint that
you can achieve will do nothing but completely impress you.

I've noticed the almost inevitable threads appearing in the claying section,
trying to make comparisons twixt the various options. To me, the _only_
way to look at it is: Does the tool do the job? If yes, and this product
achieves it in spades, then it'll be an investment that gives your future
detailing quite a significant boost. Not only that, it'll do it with much less
effort than hitherto.

If the results come mostly from the preparation, then buy the cloth and spend
less on expensive waxes - I know which one will give you the most satisfaction!

Regards,
Steve
 
Spot the Difference?
Well, it's been a long time coming, but I finally decided to bite the bullet and
get my wheels refurbed...

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With the car up off its wheels for a week, the opportunity was also taken to
check behind the plastic mudguard inserts. That was actually quite pleasing
because apart from some light dust, it looked like it had just left the factory!

Nevertheless, everything was given a couple of coats of Bilt Hamber Dynax, a
couple or three days apart. So, as the car is a keeper, the bits that are most
hidden are at least well protected now.

As for the wheels. Well, when the car is moving, you get a thin chrome rim
appear as if by magic, so the blackness is mitigated. In the sun they look just
fantastic! How very RenaultSport the car looks now...

Regards,
Steve
 
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