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      07-11-2013, 05:07 PM   #1
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polishing/detailing bad for clear coat?

Hi Guys,
I got 2009 e90 in alpine white, i was thinking of giving the car a professional detail by a detailer but i m in second thoughts if these polishes & rotary machines are bad for the clear coat? i guess the polish remove a certain amount of clear coat from the paint? call me paranoid but this is my first expensi baby & don't want to risk anything, a good shampoo & some wax should be enough?

Thanks..
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      07-11-2013, 07:13 PM   #2
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If your paint is flawless then using a proper washing technique and applying a good LSP (wax/sealant/coating) every so often is all you need. Unfortunately, not many paint are flawless. The trick is to correct all the defects once.... then maintain it going forward. Easy said than done but it is possible.


As far as removing the clear....it really depends on what you want to have done.

The paint thickness of our cars generally around 150 - 200 microns. Our clear coat is approximately a third of that. That is about as thick as a post it note (75 microns). Once its gone...it is gone. You are in the danger zone when your paint reach below 100 microns or 4 mm. This is why one should always seek the least aggressive method to get the job done.

Polishing takes very little off the clear but compounding or sanding will. The amount of clear to be remove is proportional to the severity of the defects on the car. Fine swirls or water spots are different than deep swirls or scratches so you can't treat both of them with the same approach.

A good detailer will measure the paint before and after the work. A good detailer will have more than one tool (Rotary) at his disposal. A dual action polisher like the CG or PC is very common among some detailers as well as some hard core enthusiasts. A high end detailer will most likely have a force-rotation DA like the Flex 3401 or the Rupes DA in their bag in addition to the rotary. Some high end shops may even use air tools.

Don't be too concern on the work. Be more concern on who is actually doing the work. Like everything else in life....ask questions before you turn your car over. You generally will be better serve if you go to an independent guy rather than a high volume shop IMO but then.....I am bias.

Good Luck.
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      07-11-2013, 10:00 PM   #3
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Just have to say that after completing my first detail, I would never take it to someone else. Not only do you learn a lot doing it yourself, but you know who touched your car.
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      07-12-2013, 04:37 AM   #4
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      07-12-2013, 09:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psnt1ol View Post
If your paint is flawless then using a proper washing technique and applying a good LSP (wax/sealant/coating) every so often is all you need. Unfortunately, not many paint are flawless. The trick is to correct all the defects once.... then maintain it going forward. Easy said than done but it is possible.


As far as removing the clear....it really depends on what you want to have done.

The paint thickness of our cars generally around 150 - 200 microns. Our clear coat is approximately a third of that. That is about as thick as a post it note (75 microns). Once its gone...it is gone. You are in the danger zone when your paint reach below 100 microns or 4 mm. This is why one should always seek the least aggressive method to get the job done.

Polishing takes very little off the clear but compounding or sanding will. The amount of clear to be remove is proportional to the severity of the defects on the car. Fine swirls or water spots are different than deep swirls or scratches so you can't treat both of them with the same approach.

A good detailer will measure the paint before and after the work. A good detailer will have more than one tool (Rotary) at his disposal. A dual action polisher like the CG or PC is very common among some detailers as well as some hard core enthusiasts. A high end detailer will most likely have a force-rotation DA like the Flex 3401 or the Rupes DA in their bag in addition to the rotary. Some high end shops may even use air tools.

Don't be too concern on the work. Be more concern on who is actually doing the work. Like everything else in life....ask questions before you turn your car over. You generally will be better serve if you go to an independent guy rather than a high volume shop IMO but then.....I am bias.

Good Luck.
+1

Great post. The key line is: "Don't be too concern on the work. Be more concern on who is actually doing the work."

A good detailer will take off the minimal amount of clearcoat (which won't be much if your paint is in good shape) and your car will look great. A bad detailer can take off too much clearcoat and you won't know it for years.
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      07-12-2013, 05:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insane79 View Post
Hi Guys,
I got 2009 e90 in alpine white, i was thinking of giving the car a professional detail by a detailer but i m in second thoughts if these polishes & rotary machines are bad for the clear coat? i guess the polish remove a certain amount of clear coat from the paint? call me paranoid but this is my first expensi baby & don't want to risk anything, a good shampoo & some wax should be enough?

Thanks..
It's your first expensive baby, so we all understand you don't want anything bad to happen to it, but you have to understand what is involved to remove swirl marks and imperfections in paint. To put your mind at easy, let's extremely multiply the thickness of your clear coat so you can better understand.

A swirl mark is typically a light scratch on the surface of your clear coat. So let's say your clear coat was actually 10 inches thick. Your first swirl marks are probably only 1/16 of an inch deep into your clear coat. In order to remove the swirl mark, you have to trim (meaning polish) your clear coat down by 1/16 of an inch in order to level out the clear coat so the swirl mark "magically disappears". And at the end of it, you still have 9 and 15/16 inches of clear coat left.

My point is, your clear coat itself is a rather thick. Remember it's intended to last the lifetime of the vehicle if maintained properly. The available detailing chemicals (polishes and compounds) as designed to remove a very very small fraction of your clear coat. So getting your car detailed (as long as the detailer knows what he's doing) is nothing to sweat about.

Just like what the other guys said, it's not the idea of a detail that you should be concerned about, but rather the skill of the one performing the detail.
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      07-15-2013, 09:14 AM   #7
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Being a professional detailer myself I understand exactly how you feel and what your concerns are. I deal with clients on a daily basis that have been victims of bad detailers.
You have options:
1- Search for a REPUTABLE detailer in your area..not the cheapest. I'm sure guys here can help you with that.
2- Do it yourself...believe it or not you'll find it pretty easy IF you enjoy cleaning your car. You can buy: Sonax Perfect Finish (amazing polish, awesome results), a Griots Garage or Porter Cable Dual Action Polisher and 2 White Lake Country foam pads (great for your white E90) and Blackfire Paint Sealant or GTechniq C2v3 for protection and you'll be blown away by the final finish.
3- Just leave it as is and apply a glaze before the wax to fill in minor scratches.

Hope this help...guys here have given you great advice...just don't go with a cheap detailer that will cost you a lot more on the long run.

DON'T BE SHY TO ASK, ASK AND ASK QUESTIONS TO THE DETAILER YOU'RE PLANNING ON HIRING TO ENHANCE YOUR AUTOMOBILE INVESTMENT.
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      07-15-2013, 04:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by WOT Bimmer View Post
Just have to say that after completing my first detail, I would never take it to someone else. Not only do you learn a lot doing it yourself, but you know who touched your car.
+1. There's also a sense of joy and pride seeing the results of your own work. Other great resources related strictly to detailing are Autogeekonline.net and Autopiaforums.com.
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      07-15-2013, 07:34 PM   #9
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I've had my car detailed by a professional and more recently I have gone the DIY route. The car looks fantastic either way, but you get a great sense of pride with the latter option.

When you polish/compound the car you are removing clear coat so you are rightfully concerned, but if done and maintained properly it's a step you should only have to do once.

Regardless of whether you detail the car yourself or hire a pro, be sure to research proper washing and maintenance so you can keep your car looking great and avoid having to polish again too soon.
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      07-15-2013, 10:15 PM   #10
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2- Do it yourself...believe it or not you'll find it pretty easy IF you enjoy cleaning your car. You can buy: Sonax Perfect Finish (amazing polish, awesome results), a Griots Garage or Porter Cable Dual Action Polisher and 2 White Lake Country foam pads (great for your white E90) and Blackfire Paint Sealant or GTechniq C2v3 for protection and you'll be blown away by the final finish.
3- Just leave it as is and apply a glaze before the wax to fill in minor scratches.



DON'T BE SHY TO ASK, ASK AND ASK QUESTIONS TO THE DETAILER YOU'RE PLANNING ON HIRING TO ENHANCE YOUR AUTOMOBILE INVESTMENT.
+1

Just got the Sonax PF last week, I will be trying it out this week. Menzerna SF4000 has served me well in the past and this could be my work horse going forward.

If OP is to DIY, I would recommend more pads.
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      07-16-2013, 03:12 AM   #11
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thank for the replies guys, decided to give the car a shampoo & wax, is it ok waxing the car with a rotary machine with a wax pad? shouldn't be a problem as i think the pad will be softer compare to the polish/detail ones..

Thanks..
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      07-16-2013, 05:44 AM   #12
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+1

Just got the Sonax PF last week, I will be trying it out this week. Menzerna SF4000 has served me well in the past and this could be my work horse going forward.

If OP is to DIY, I would recommend more pads.
You're going to love the Sonax PF. It has more cutting power with a very high gloss finish and no dust at all (if you keep your pads clean). For best results get a Rupes if you don't have one already.
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      07-16-2013, 10:17 AM   #13
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thank for the replies guys, decided to give the car a shampoo & wax, is it ok waxing the car with a rotary machine with a wax pad? shouldn't be a problem as i think the pad will be softer compare to the polish/detail ones..

Thanks..
I don't know how efficient you are with a rotary but IMO...it is a bit overkill. All you are looking for when waxing a car is a thin layer spread over the surface. It is just as easy to do it by hand and you wont have to deal with the mess that comes with a rotary at times.

I am not a wax guy but I used the PC 7424xp as a wax spreader in the past and I much prefer the DA to spread the wax than a rotary.


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You're going to love the Sonax PF. It has more cutting power with a very high gloss finish and no dust at all (if you keep your pads clean). For best results get a Rupes if you don't have one already.
Been thinking about the Rupes 21 for a while and it has become a "Want versus Need" situation for me.

I am not convinced the Rupes could gets me there faster than my 3401. My Mikata rotary is reserved for those nasty paint but this happens rarely. My PC has been demoted to a wax spreader. I hate to spend the money for a new system like the Rupes and have it sit around.

On a side note.... I am planning to use GTechnig C1 top with Exo this week on a super soft paint. I am a fan of GTechnig and CarPro.
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      07-16-2013, 10:28 AM   #14
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I don't know how efficient you are with a rotary but IMO...it is a bit overkill. All you are looking for when waxing a car is a thin layer spread over the surface. It is just as easy to do it by hand and you wont have to deal with the mess that comes with a rotary at times.
what about the orbital machine? its less aggressive then a rotary machine ?

Thanks..
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      07-16-2013, 10:49 AM   #15
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what about the orbital machine? its less aggressive then a rotary machine ?

Thanks..
If you are referring to one of these and you already own one then...sure.




I wouldn't spend money to buy one however. Money will be better spend elsewhere. The key to waxing is "Less is More". Most people used way too much product only to wipe it off 30 minutes later.
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      07-16-2013, 10:54 AM   #16
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Been thinking about the Rupes 21 for a while and it has become a "Want versus Need" situation for me.

I am not convinced the Rupes could gets me there faster than my 3401. My Mikata rotary is reserved for those nasty paint but this happens rarely. My PC has been demoted to a wax spreader. I hate to spend the money for a new system like the Rupes and have it sit around.

On a side note.... I am planning to use GTechnig C1 top with Exo this week on a super soft paint. I am a fan of GTechnig and CarPro.
That's what I thought at first when the Rupes came out..I've been using my Dewalt rotary which I love and the Griots Garage DA for years now but when one of my close friends and fellow detailer received his Rupes and I tried it out I was hooked. I started with the Rupes 15 and then ordered the 21 to which I replace the backing plate for a 5.5 plate.
The Rupes will get you to where you want to be safer than your rotary. If you detail for a business the Rupes is a must have. You won't be using your rotary as often. I guarantee you that
See if a local detailer has one and try it out.

Last edited by FI PETE; 07-16-2013 at 11:00 AM.
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      07-16-2013, 11:03 AM   #17
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That's what I thought at first when the Rupes came out..I've been using my Dewalt rotary which I love and the Griots Garage DA for years now but when one of my close friends and fellow detailer received his Rupes and I tried it out I was hooked. I started with the Rupes 15 and then ordered the 21 to which I replace the backing plate for a 5.5 plate.
The Rupes will give you almost as good cutting power as the rotary without the heat (my main concern) plus it covers more surface. If you detail for a business the Rupes is a must. You won't be using your rotary as often. I guarantee you that
Dang it!!!! Just when I thought my mind was made up.... I guess I have to give KB at BuffDaddy a call to get the Rupes 21 with the washer mod next month.
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      07-16-2013, 11:13 AM   #18
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Dang it!!!! Just when I thought my mind was made up.... I guess I have to give KB at BuffDaddy a call to get the Rupes 21 with the washer mod next month.
you won't regret it buddy..the initial investment is high but you'll be impressed at the amount of correction you can achieve in a much shorter period of time.
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      07-16-2013, 11:22 AM   #19
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On a side note.... I am planning to use GTechnig C1 top with Exo this week on a super soft paint. I am a fan of GTechnig and CarPro.
are you using EXO or EXOv2?...EXO has a 12hrs cure time vs EXOv2 that is only 3hrs...That'll be a 2 day project since C1 needs 12hrs to fully cure before being topped with any other coating. Unless you have some IR lights, they'll cut the cure process by half.

I'm an authorized detailer for GTechniq (my favorite), C.Quartz Finest, Opti-Coat Pro and 22PLE. I also use Modesta
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      07-16-2013, 12:00 PM   #20
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are you using EXO or EXOv2?...EXO has a 12hrs cure time vs EXOv2 that is only 3hrs...That'll be a 2 day project since C1 needs 12hrs to fully cure before being topped with any other coating. Unless you have some IR lights, they'll cut the cure process by half.

I'm an authorized detailer for GTechniq (my favorite), C.Quartz Finest, Opti-Coat Pro and 22PLE. I also use Modesta
I am using EXOv2... I don't have IR lights so that's why I couldn't start this until the weekend . I will have the car for 3 days (Friday to Sunday).

"C.Quartz Finest, Opti-Coat Pro and 22PLE. I also use Modesta"....A little jealous. You have all the best toys!!!!!
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      07-16-2013, 12:25 PM   #21
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I am using EXOv2... I don't have IR lights so that's why I couldn't start this until the weekend . I will have the car for 3 days (Friday to Sunday).

"C.Quartz Finest, Opti-Coat Pro and 22PLE. I also use Modesta"....A little jealous. You have all the best toys!!!!!
Good luck with it...the EXOv2 is going to make that black paint look awsome..I always do 2 layers of EXOv2 on the entire car and then apply a 3rd layer to all top surfaces (hood, roof, trunk) for added protection.
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      07-16-2013, 12:47 PM   #22
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Good luck with it...the EXOv2 is going to make that black paint look awsome..I always do 2 layers of EXOv2 on the entire car and then apply a 3rd layer to all top surfaces (hood, roof, trunk) for added protection.
thanks!!!!

You are a true pro. You know the color I am working on based on the products chosen and my other reference to it being super soft.
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