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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! ***

A little background on the car:

2011 E91 328i M-Sport wagon, 3.0L N52
Color - Black Sapphire Metallic
Interior - Black



I purchased the car used. After six months of searching for a car (previous Audi wagon was totaled) I found this. I've been detailing my personal cars for years (weekend warrior), so I inspected the paint to see what I was in for if I bought it. The body itself was in great shape, barely any dings; a few, but nothing to shake a stick at. The paint itself needed work. There were spider webs all over the car, especially the hood. It was obvious that the previous owners took it to a machine car wash. I could also tell that it was the wife's car, there were lots of cat scratches in the door handle well from long nails, as well as on the back hatch from opening and closing the door. LOL

After getting it home I spent some time examining the rest of car and getting a feel for what plan I would take to correct and polish the paint. I originally started this thread when I made a mistake while correcting. I wanted to share the experience and prevent others from doing so. Hence, "Understandable Logic" and "Experiential Belief". With so many "build" threads out there, I thought I would turn this into a "detail" thread and show off my progress. Please note that I'm not saying one method is better than another, nor do I use a specific set of products only. I'm just showing the results I get on my paint. Everyone will experience different results with different products, but as long as you use them correctly, you will typically enjoy the results.

We'll start with the bad so we get it out of the way!...



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; 06-05-2020 at 09:02 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.

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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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      05-29-2020, 08:17 PM   #12
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The flake is really sparkling in this sunset!



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      06-04-2020, 08:48 AM   #13
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The other day I started working on the rear hatch. Wagons get so much turbulent dust, dirt, and debris on the rear hatches, and they end up getting scratched if the paint hasn't been protected. Sedans don't suffer this problem, as much.

I am really excited to share this new 1" backing plate attachment I got from Kevin Brown at www.BuffDaddy.com. I highly recommend visiting his site and supporting him. This tool is ideal for the narrow panels, such as the strip that runs just below the rear window; it's a little over 1" wide. Using it on a random orbital DA polisher gave it the perfect coverage across the entire width. The one on the right is for a DA polisher, the one on the left is for a standard drill.



Along with the 1" plate I also got multiple 1" pads, including a flat MF disc for greater precision. The disc doesn't have any foam between the plate and the face, therefore more pressure is applied to the surface of the paint. This means a quicker cut, which also means you need to pay attention to your speed. If you read my first post, speed is a critical factor in cutting and polishing paint. As you move down in pad size, you reduce your surface area, so while your speed setting on your machine may not change, the RPM of your disc will. I ended up spreading the liquid on Speed 1 and cutting the imperfections on Speed 3.



Anyway, the narrow section is extremely flat, so the tool was able to glide over the surface and do its work. I didn't use any extra pressure; just the weight of the machine. I followed this with a 1" foam polishing pad to remove any haze a MF pad typically leaves. I meant to take a picture of the haze versus the polished area, but I neglected to do so (I was in the moment). Here are some before and after shots; you'll still see some minor scratches left behind that I didn't want to correct any further, bc they were just a touch too deep.

Tools used:

Griot's G8 mini random orbital
Meg's 3" MF cutting pad
Meg's 3" MF finishing pad
Rupes 2" yellow foam polishing pad
BuffDaddy 1" MF disc
BuffDaddy 1" yellow foam polishing pad
Meg's M110 compound (only a few spots required this)
Meg's M205 polish
Meg's Ultimate full synthetic liquid wax











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      06-04-2020, 09:00 AM   #14
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For the next section, I switched back to the 3" plate, a Meguiar's 3" MF cutting pad, and Meguiar's M205 polish. This conservative method was preferred, because I wanted to smooth out the top and see which scratches were left behind. Once I did this, I took out the remaining scratches with M110 on a Meg's MF finishing pad, and then swapped a foam pad to remove the haze. The reason I used a finishing pad and not a cutting pad is because I didn't want the cut too aggressive. The finishing pad also gave me more control around the slight curvature toward the top of the section.








I'm REALLY happy with this particular area. After some brief investigation before I started the correcting, I could tell where the previous owner placed their hands when opening and closing the hatch, such as the spots to the left and right of the BMW badge. For some additional reference, yes, that's a dent on the crease. It was there when I bought the car, but it can be repaired. Thankfully, there's no paint damage around it!



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      06-05-2020, 09:00 PM   #15
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I realized that I didn't share any pics of the hood. I've posted them on other threads, but since this is my "detail" thread, I figured it would make sense to give you some details.

As I mentioned in the background of my first post, the hood was one of the first panels I started correcting. It had lots of spider webs and machine swirls from the auto-wash. Thankfully, there weren't any dings or chips from highway driving. I could tell this was a local driver for sure, not to mention the low miles when I bought it.

This is a shot of the typical spider webs that were on the hood (and the rest of the car). I ran a few experiments to see what method would work best on the swirls and imperfections. In addition, I needed to be careful, because there are LOTS of peaks and valleys on the LCI hood. I didn't want to damage any of the straight-line creases.



A dual-action random orbital polisher is great for this type of task, as it oscillates the pad while it's rotating, so it prevents too much heat transfer by way of the random orbiting friction. It doesn't prevent it completely, you still have to pay attention to where you place the pad and how the pad is going to "sit" on the paint. If the pad isn't flat on the surface of the paint, then you will have uneven pressure on the paint, which will cause uneven heat buildup (refer to my first post).



Back to the experiments. I'm not going to teach you how to wash your car, this is just a detailing thread. I first grabbed a Griot's 3" polisher and started conservative. I stayed on the narrow end of the hood. I tried a professional polishing liquid, Meguiar's M205, which is a popular polishing cream, designed to bring out a brilliant shine when used correctly, on a Meguiar's microfiber finishing pad, which has a good layer of foam between the fibers and the velcro backing. The foam is very forgiving, so it's great around corners and over edges/creases. Again, the LCI hoods have LOTS LOTS LOTS of peaks, valleys, and creases.



The M205 left a great finish, but it wasn't aggressive enough to take out all of the swirls and love marks, so I switched to a compounding agent, Meguiar's M110. This provides fast-diminishing abrasives that quickly cuts the paint and imperfections. Because this is a compound, it leaves a faint haze to the paint, so it needs to be finished with M205 for best results. The M110 on a finishing pad did well, but I don't know if I was applying enough pressure, so I switched to M110 on a cutting pad and it did the trick. Cutting pads typically have thinner layers of foam, so it creates a more rigid polishing pad with less up and down "travel", which means quicker compounding and correcting.



I used a Griot's 6" (previous gen) DA polisher on the rest of the hood. While I don't recommend this for beginners, I paid very close attention to my pad placement, because of the high and low points. I had to angle it slightly back and forth as needed. After I removed the swirls with M110, I switched back to M205 on a MF finishing pad. This combination worked great. As you can see, I removed the imperfections and restored the luster and brilliance of the metallic flake.





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      06-08-2020, 10:04 AM   #16
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Yesterday was a full day, focusing on the front end. I needed to polish the bumper and headlights, and since I bought new blacked out reflectors, i figured I would just take the bumper off, which I had never done before. Boy was I in for a surprise! The task wasn't horrible, but I didn't take the wheels off, nor did I remove the liner, so I didn't see the "hidden" screws behind the fender liner above. Once I realized that it was pretty simple.







The headlights were STUBBORN. I mainly used the 3M sand papers and 3" foam drill bit pad. The driver side lens looked good after a standard round of wet-sanding and light polishing. While it looked clear, when I shined my flashlight on it I could still see scratches and residual haze. Once the light was off, it looked great. i figured this would show itself once the headlights were turned on. I was a little surprised, because I was pretty thorough. I decided to move to the passenger side and see if it came out any better. It wasn't. I tried everything; I even used additional pads from Turtle Wax and standard high grit finishing pads. The sand papers just weren't "biting" with the foam velcro hand sander. I couldn't get enough off to come clear, so I just used them manually, applying a good bit of pressure. I had to re-do the passenger side 3 times, because each time I'd polish, it was still cloudy.







Finally, I brought out the big guns with my 3" DA polisher, cutting pad, and a finishing pad. I used Meg's 110 on the cutting pad and switched to M205 on the finishing pad.











The results were nothing short of fantastic. I was so relieved, because it was getting late. I spent way too much time on what should have lasted 30-45 min per side. I was getting so frustrated with the slow progress. I went back to the driver side and balanced it out with the M110 and M205 combo. The clarity really popped this time.






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      06-10-2020, 09:36 PM   #17
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I broke down the kidney grilles yesterday and gave the rings a deep clean. This time I chose the 1" mandrel for a standard drill with M205 polish. This minimized the random oscillations, since I really didn't have a good way to secure the rings, so I had to hold them while I was polishing them.





Here's a good representation of the oxidation that was on them. See the line? The white spots were just dust, but it cleaned up really easy.





Here's a side by side of the finished ring and the unfinished.







And the finished grilles...




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      06-22-2020, 09:42 PM   #18
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nice! you are so focused on your restoration. much admired!
Thanks for sharing!
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      06-25-2020, 10:47 AM   #19
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subscribblled.

I am soon to do the same.
good tips on what fits where.
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      06-25-2020, 11:23 AM   #20
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Amazing work and dedication.

Few questions for you:

1. What's the total amount of hours you've put into this?
2. Was there dusting with Megs compound and polish?
3. How are your knees and back holding up?
4. What's the total cost you've put into this?

Don't forget to polish the door sill area and taillights. And get that dent pulled out on the trunk.
Again great work, and dedication!
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      06-28-2020, 09:46 PM   #21
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pennychow:
Thanks!!

nsjames:
Glad you subscribed! I will continue with some additional posts soon. Been slammed at work and now on vacation, so stay tuned!
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      06-29-2020, 05:15 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf 335 View Post
Amazing work and dedication.

Few questions for you:

SEE BELOW

Again great work, and dedication!
GREAT QUESTIONS!!

1. What's the total amount of hours you've put into this?

I would say around 35 hours so far of actual polishing. Itís def more when I include the scrutinizing and prep. My biggest thing is not to rush. In one of my posts, I mentioned to make a plan and stick to it. I pull my car into the garage at an angle, mainly to give me better access around the car, but also Ďcause it looks cool. LOL Itís been habit really. I set up a folding table as my polishing station and get to work, first focusing on finding the imperfections, which have mostly been swirls and love marks. Then I practice with a least aggressive method and work my way up on the heavier imperfections.

2. Was there dusting with Megs compound and polish?

YES. I mainly had dusting with M110, but I donít think I was using enough distilled water (spray) to hydrate the pad. This helps to evenly distribute the polish and to pick it up without the dust. M205 was really easy. No dust. It polished out really nicely.

3. How are your knees and back holding up?

LOL. I have to get up off the floor for that one!! Not bad, actually. I stay mindful to keep my back straight when polishing on my feet, and then I use a rolling seat as I move further down. Also, I stay hydrated with water. It takes a lot out of you!!

4. What's the total cost you've put into this?

This I have not calculated. Iíve thought about I, but never put it down. Iíll have to think about this one, because some of the gear and materials were already existing from another car. Lemme get back to you.

Don't forget to polish the door sill area and taillights. And get that dent pulled out on the trunk.

For sure. I actually took a pic of the door sills, since I have to get creative with these. I might use a mini polishing ball. Everything else is too broad. And yes, I plan to have PDF friend of mine look at that dent.
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