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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wash, Wax, Detailing and Cosmetic protection/repairs > My first detail job...took me 5 hours!



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      12-07-2009, 08:51 PM   #1
jj970
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My first detail job...took me 5 hours!

Ok, I wish I had known that there was such a huge time investment.
I recently got a 2007 335i coupe cpo in silver with black leather interior. I decided I wanted to take care of the detailing myself, because I don't trust the cheap detailers and can't afford the good ones. Did a huge amount of research on the forums and settled on the Zaino system.

So I started at 3pm and vacuumed out the interior. Good thing I had already done the leather yesterday. I used Duragloss Leather Shampoo and then the Conditioner. Honestly, I didn't feel much of a difference. The towel I used was not dirty at all after I wiped the Shampoo off. The smell was nice though and not too leathery after I was done.

This was my first time washing my car and my first time using Zaino. I used a dishwashing soap (not Dawn Ultra) to wash it first, using the 2 bucket method stickied in the forum. The front wheels were covered in black grime and brake dust. The rest of the car wasn't too bad. Dried using microfiber.

Next, I used Mother's Clay with their Showtime Spray Detailer. First time I ver clayed a car and I hope I did it right. I made 15 little pieces out of the block. What I didn't realize was that the pieces would be so small. They really only cover 3 fingertips. I think it still had some roughness to it after I was done so I'm not sure how well I did.

It was an overcast day and my car is silver so I couldn't see how much swirl I had going on. Overall, the paint looked pretty good despite it being 3 years old.

I debated about doing the ZPC polish and eventually decided to do it.
Next came the Z2 with ZFX. I did 3 coats.
Finally, topped it with the Z6...I was running out of light and MF towels so I had to call it quits before doing Z8.

I wish I could take pics but it got too dark. From what I can tell from the garage lights, the car looks fantastic. I'll bring it out tomorrow and take some pics to post.

Thank again to all who help on the forums.

J
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      12-07-2009, 09:17 PM   #2
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any reason to cut the clay into 15 pieces? I usually cut mine in half, thats about it haha
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      12-07-2009, 09:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jj970 View Post

First time I ver clayed a car and I hope I did it right. I made 15 little pieces out of the block. What I didn't realize was that the pieces would be so small. They really only cover 3 fingertips.


J
never clay with fingertips, the clay bar should stay in palm , to put same pressure on the clay , if u clay with fingertips u may run into trouble and mess the paint finish ....

i usually cut clay bar in multiple small bars for long run .
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      12-07-2009, 09:35 PM   #4
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Try using a machine and doing a 2 step polish. It takes even longer!

Show us some pics!
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      12-07-2009, 11:26 PM   #5
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The "cut clay bar into 15 pieces" might be from the detailing 101 sticky, I'm not sure. But I remember seeing it, too -- it's somewhere like that.

Many of us use much larger pieces, jj970. I probably use about 1/4 of the bar at a time. I knead it a bit to get it soft and roll it into a ball then flatten it out and put it across my fingers. Cosmin is right, using your palm is the preferred way to keep it even across the paint, but I do better with it on my fingers as I can control it better. Whatever works for you. I don't like using small pieces because it takes longer and I feel like I'm not keeping it as flat across the paint.

If you do a good job claying, it should feel smooth as glass. So maybe you didn't do the best job, but keep at it, you'll get the hang of it.

Also, I agree with RodTheFemur -- five hours is a walk in the park. I just did my winter detail a few weeks ago, including clay and polish, and it took two days.
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      12-08-2009, 10:27 AM   #6
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Good start. Yeah, 5 hours is cake walk once you REALLY get started. I spent 5 hours on Thanksgiving with just the wheels and wells on stock 16" 156 wheels with clay and wheel wax. . . all by hand.

So, how much Z2 did you use to do 3 coats?

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      12-08-2009, 11:11 AM   #7
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5 Hrs .... Psh talk to me when you break the 12 hr Barrier

Aside from the "15 pieces" as everyone mentioned the key to the clay bar equation is not just doing the job, but accomplishing a goal; that is removing the surface contaminents on the surface of the clear.

So... if you go over a spot once and the clay is dirty and its still rough to the touch. Kneed the clay again, and go over the spot again, if the clay becomes dirty again and is still rough, go over it again. Remember lubrication of the surface is key, you have the option of using soapy water as opposed to detailing spray too.

You will find most commonly that areas near the tires (bottom side of drivers and passenger doors) and the rear of the car are subject to a lot more build up because of road debris.

Generally the horizontal areas of the car you wont need more then a once over in a well maintained car.

Lower portion usually require 2-3 passes again just depending on mileage, washing habits, etc

Oh and BTW where are the PICS!
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      12-08-2009, 07:18 PM   #8
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Well, it was all cloudy today and rained a bit, so I couldn't take pics...I had to drive a bit today and it saddened me to get some roadwater on my newly shiny car.

I got the "15 pieces" of clay thing from the sticky post. It WAS hard to work with with such small pieces. It was my first time claying and I followed the directions. If any of you have other tips (besides what was already said) I'd be happy to hear them.

If you use a big piece...how do you make sure you are using a clean area of clay? Do you flatten it out really flat? Or do you use a thick piece? How do you know when it's dirty enough that you have to fold it?

Hmm...I guess I have to clay it again...because not all the parts were super smooth.

Haha...another 5 hours then! Cuz if I clay, that means I have to polish again right? Then Z2 again...then Z6 again.

I used 3 rounds of Z2 with ZFX mixed in and it didn't take the whole ounce to do my car...I probably had a 16th of it left.

I used Z6 after I was done. But I have Z8 too. I just got too tired to do it and also ran out of microfiber towels.

This detailing thing is so involved...but the end product is so worth it! And to those who take 12 hours...that's just nuts! haha...maybe I'll be joining that club though. I see a PC in my future to get out the swirls.
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      12-09-2009, 10:59 AM   #9
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claying is the "entry drug" to full weekend commitments Yes, if you clay, you take off all the z2 and would have to re-apply. The recommendation on the 15 pieces was just in case you drop a bigger piece, you don't waste it. Unless you are doing a window or something like removing transfered paint from a collision, don't use the clay once it hits the ground. If you risk the bigger pieces, you just keep folding it over onto the dirty part. I normally use just soapy water as lube. It's nice and cheap, and breaks up the clay cohesion (it turns to mush) before the clay gets too dirty.

You did well on the quantity of z2/zfx. Normally one would use the z6 BEFORE you start with the z2/zfx to put a bit of shiny under the sealant, then top with the z8 for the final glow. And use z6 to dampen your applicator pad before starting the z2/zfx.

Best regards,
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      12-09-2009, 09:29 PM   #10
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Here's my pics!

Sorry bout the cloudy day...it's the best I could do with the weather. I still gotta perfect my technique and maybe get a Porter Cable...or JB+, can't decide...should I get a tune or polisher?







Last edited by jj970; 12-09-2009 at 09:34 PM. Reason: updated pic
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      12-09-2009, 10:29 PM   #11
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Looks great!

What percent tint is that? Looks really dark.
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      12-10-2009, 07:39 AM   #12
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TUNE! That may be contrary talk on the detail forum but go for the tune. Once I got my Vishnu ProCede I was AMAZED at the steroid injection of a tune. You can always, 1.) do it by hand for the time being, 2.) borrow a PC from a friend nearby or 3.) pay a detailer to do it once while you're saving up for the buffer.

Plus PC's are relatively cheap compared to the tune. You could scrape up the money for a machine relatively easily.

BTW the car looks amazing. Great job!!!
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      12-10-2009, 01:18 PM   #13
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Well, at this point I'd just be getting a JB+ because I want something I can take on and off easily. I have a CPO and I don't want to risk losing the warranty. So really, they'd be similarly priced...maybe the PC would cost a bit more. I already have the BT cable.

The tint is actually really light, 30%. I guess it looks darker in the pics than in real life. In one of the pics you can see it's pretty light.

Oh...I added a coat of Z8 after the pics, and it's even shinier now. Wow.
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