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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wash, Wax, Detailing and Cosmetic protection/repairs > When Understandable Logic Becomes Experiential Belief



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      04-27-2020, 08:49 PM   #1
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When Understandable Logic Becomes Experiential Belief

*** AS I'VE BEEN POSTING NEW PICTURES OF THE PANELS THAT I'VE BEEN CORRECTING AND POLISHING, I DECIDED TO MAKE THIS THREAD A RUNNING UPDATE OF MY DETAILING PROGRESS. HOPE YOU ENJOY! ***


There are two schools of thought when you learn things. The first is "Understandable Logic", or simple comprehension through understanding a series of facts that defines a particular thing, whether it's a physical object, a process, an idea, etc. The other is "Experiential Belief", or confirming the logic by experiencing it yourself.

For instance, when you're a child, your parents told you that the stove was hot, and you shouldn't touch it. At some point, you experienced warm soup and cold milk, so you knew the difference between hot and cold, but you were told the stove was "hot", so you only knew this by logic. It wasn't until you actually touched the stove and burned your hand or finger that you learned by experience and confirmed the logic that it gets hot.

Now that we've set that stage... Over the last few weeks I have been polishing my new black E91 328i with great results. From cut to finish, I have been removing the drive through car wash swirls, spider webs, and love marks from the previous owner. I first worked on the roof, then the hood, then the driver's side over several days (non-sequential).

My kit includes a [prev. gen] Griot's 6" DA polisher and their new generation 3" DA. The old 3" was not powerful enough, even at the highest setting, so I exchanged it for the new one. It came in last week and I was really excited to give it a go. Prior to receiving the polisher, I had done the driver's side fender and doors last Sunday. Based on time and getting into dinner, I decided to stop there and do the rear quarter another day.

The body panels on the E9x's have quite a lot of peaks and valleys. This can make it very challenging when polishing with large diameter pads. While the two doors were relatively easy to tackle with a 6" pad, I felt that the "shoulder" line heading into the rear quarter panel was getting more prominent. Understanding the dynamics of pads, surface area, and speed, I figured a 6" polisher would do fine on the upper shoulder and lower bumper. I'd use a 3" DA on the spot between the fender flare and the shoulder line. This area had some very noticeable horizontal scratches.

However, something was "off" the night I started the rear panel. I never felt like I was in a groove. The car wasn't positioned where I usually put it when I'm polishing, it was cloudy and rainy, so there wasn't much natural light coming in (time was around 6pm EST), and I just wasn't focused on a plan. I started with a mild approach, and I wasn't getting the cut I wanted, so I made some adjustments until things were improving. There were still horizontal scratches under the shoulder line, so I switched to the 3" DA.



The first couple passes made improvements, but I started feeling heavy vibration from the machine, which didn't feel normal. As I let up I noticed a blemish the size of a large almond. I knew right away what I had done. I was "scalloping" my movements up into the shoulder line to work on the scratches, but in doing so, the bottom edge of the pad created more friction and heat, ultimately drying out the pad. This resulted in the pad biting and scouring the paint until the velcro on the back of the pad began to loosen and separate from the backing plate; that was the vibration I felt. Either the pad burned the paint or the backing plate touched it. The sickness in my stomach started boiling and I just had to call it a night.





THE MORAL OF THE STORY

3" polishing pads create friction and heat quicker than larger pads, because they have less surface area and they hold less polishing liquid. Also, the new Griot's G8 mini polisher is 3 times more powerful than the previous generation, so Speed 6 is more like 11.

Make a plan and stick to it. Create a procedure to follow and stick to it, making small changes if you need to. Examine every surface you're going to polish. Place a pad up against the area and make sure you're using the right size. Pay attention to the high and low spots. Creases and curves can be difficult (and dangerous) if you're not careful. And don't just jump into a polishing session, just because you got a new toy, or in this case, a polisher.

I failed to make a plan,
I failed to follow my procedures,
I made mistakes.

Thankfully, there's a lot of flake left, so it doesn't look like it damaged the base coat. It's one thing when you buy a car and you know what sort of imperfections, dents, dings, etc are already there, but when YOU do it to the car, the world comes crashing down. At least the scratches came out! UGH!!!

Last edited by PR1MOWAGEN; 05-19-2020 at 04:30 PM..
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      04-28-2020, 03:54 PM   #2
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On a positive note, it doesn't show up that bad in the light. It's in the vicinity of the arrow, and even when it's not reflecting a high-contrast image it still doesn't scream, "Here I am!!"

It's definitely tolerable, but like I said, because I was the one that put it there, I'm never gonna let myself hear the last of it!

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      05-01-2020, 01:01 PM   #3
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it looks like you went through the clear-coat. (did the same on my rear bumper on my 5). These pads can cut off a lot if you are not careful.
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      05-01-2020, 04:13 PM   #4
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That's for sure. I'll drop by a pro shop and see how bad it got.
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      05-02-2020, 02:39 PM   #5
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Ouch that sucks,my best freind has a e46 m3 that he never washed since 2017, it sits outside everyday and has bird crap and caked with brown stuff. Its Shwartz and very black, but after it rains, his car looks better than mines even when i wash mines every 3 weeks and ONR as well as Wolfgang sealent. I guess not doing anything to your cars paint is best sometimes.
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      05-07-2020, 08:03 PM   #6
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Much better news. I polished the passenger side of the car. By the time I got to the rear quarter panel I switched to the 3" DA and turned it down a notch. I had a lot more control, and I was careful to monitor the heat.

In other news... here's the rear passenger door (driver's side)...

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      05-16-2020, 06:54 AM   #7
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To gauge the "burn" a little better, this shot is looking right at the mark. There's no indication of any damage, all you see are clouds in the sky. I'm not totally sure I actually burned through the clear coat. It looks continuous and consistent over the whole area. It's still there if you look dead on, but once you go off angle, the light begins reflecting off the clear (what's left of it anyway).

I'm leaning to the possibility that either the rubber backing plate touched the surface, marring the clear coat OR it may have generated enough heat to cause micro-fractures to the clear/base bond.

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      05-16-2020, 07:04 AM   #8
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Here are a few very noticeable scratches I was able to remove. The bottom scratch is still there, but barely noticeable.

Griot's 6" DA polisher
Meg's 110 cut on a MF cutting pad
Meg's 205 finish on a MF finishing pad





I still have orange peel, but I prefer it. It's not a show car, it's a daily. I'm going to perform many details and polishes over its life (well, I hope I don't have to), so I figure I'll keep as much clear as I can while improving the finish.

Last edited by PR1MOWAGEN; 05-22-2020 at 03:25 PM..
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      05-16-2020, 07:07 AM   #9
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The side markers had a lot of stubborn dirt that was baked on from the rubber gasket around the back of the marker housing. I cleaned it with IPA and then hit it with the pad. Came out great. I was worried the sharp edges would eat up the MF pad, but no issues.

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      05-16-2020, 07:10 AM   #10
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My daughter got this candid shot of me while I was inspecting the paint. LOL

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      05-19-2020, 05:19 PM   #11
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Side Skirts

I corrected and polished the side skirts last weekend. Unfortunately, the e90post album saved the passenger side skirt pics upside-down. Not sure why it did that and I don't know how to flip it, so I deleted them. Here's the driver side.

Griot's G8 3" mini random orbital
Meg's M110 cutting compound w/ Meg's MF cutting pad
Meg's M205 finishing polish w/ Meg's MF finishing pad
Meg's Ultimate full synthetic wax

Lots of imperfections and many years of oxidation...



Surprisingly, there weren't any deep scratches...



The progress shows the corrections from the left side of the pic to the pending surfaces further down...



Final results...



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