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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So my friend is going to pick my WRX from NY when it comes in... he wouldn't take any money so I offered to detail and opti-coat his car. He finally agreed to it. I got the car here and he had just washed it so it didn't look to bad, especially for a 7 year old car that has never been polished out. The problem where we live is town water. I cannot express the hate that I have for this water. It spots so horribily. So I look at the car at first glance and see the common marring and such... no big deal. Then I look a little closer and see the EXTREME water etching and I knew I would have to take a different approach.

There are multiple wax/sealant strippers out there, I opted to use plain old dawn dish detergent. I loaded up the foam gun... soaked the car down and washed it all up. The first wash took a good hour or so. I refoamed the whole car, got out the clay and started over. Each panel was clayed and then washed again to remove any residue. All door jams, under the side skirts, etc were all clayed. Total wash time wash a little over 4 and a half hours. The car was blown dry and I could see from the water that there was little to no wax left.. which didn't matter much since the whole car was going to be polished and then get an IPA wipedown.

I pulled it into the garage and this is what was ahead of me.












So now you see the extreme water etching I was going to have to deal with... hard to pick up on silver, but trust me when I tell you it was ALL over the car. This is also a garage kept car, that's the worst part about it. I had my Flex DA polisher as well as my Meguiars red pads and Menzerna polishes. I tried the super intensive polish which is a medium cut compound, and while it cleaned and polished the paint, the spots were still there, I had to move to something much more extreme. Menzerna's power gloss, which is a very heavy cutting compound. The hood had to have 2 passes done, the sides did ok with one, a few areas required 2 as well. (i'm updating this as I go... we have a VERY slow connection here).

The pics where you see where the doors are still marred are just where I am showing the section in front of it. I didn't have any blue tape to do a 50/50 shot to show the differences.










Sorry about some of these shots... they are in no particular order, but i'm trying to arrange them as best I can.

Now it was on to the second step of correction with the Super intensive polish. This is a good polish that can be used just by itself and then your wax or sealant over it, or as part of a 2 or 3 stage correction. My favorite polish out of all of them actually.









little daylight on the back to show the reflection...



I'm not going to show all of the pics of the other side because it will just take up more space than needed, but it's basically the exact same thing. Here are 2 pics of the completed polishing .



The headlights were pretty beat up since the car now has over 100,000 miles on it so obviously sand, bugs, rocks had all chipped these things up. The following shots are of the headlights before, then after being wetsanded with 1000 grit paper, powergloss, and then super intensive polish. They came out pretty good... I wasn't totally happy with them, but without really going low on the paper grit and taking a lot of plastic off, they came out about as good as they were going to get.








other light was a little less beat up..


Opti-coat added









and outside after blowing polishing dust and such off the car....

 

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The Fruit
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my 2010 looks like that.. its a mess. Its so chipped the nose would probably do better with a re-spray vs detailing but I cant afford that just yet. My headlights are all pitted like his are too. How do you go about cleaning that up? I'd assume I could wetsand then buff like I would paint. ?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i'm going to upload some pics of the headlight work in just a few minutes actually... but yeah... depending on how bad the pits are start at 1000 and then either use a heavy cut compound or you can move to 1500 and then 2000 and use a less cut compound.
 

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The Fruit
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Mine are beyond headlight renewal.. I dont have corrosion.. I have road debri damage. :(

I'll likely have to start with 1k grit and work my way up to 2k. The pitting is pretty intense.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've seen some guys go as low as 600 and work up from there. It's a lot of sanding, but i'm sure that would correct your problem depending on how deep the pits are. Then again, you can always just stay at the 1000, go over it, check it and repeat... if you feel them ... do it again. It sucks to have that problem though, you don't realize how much headlights add to the appearance of your car until you see the car with them restored.
 

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The Fruit
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I'm not that brave.. though I've seen it done too. I know the feeling of realization though. A buddy recently painted the insides of his headlights like I have mine (he has a low mileage '11 wrx) and I was shocked at how much better his looked vs mine.. same paint, same everything aside of a lot less wear n tear.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm not that brave.. though I've seen it done too. I know the feeling of realization though. A buddy recently painted the insides of his headlights like I have mine (he has a low mileage '11 wrx) and I was shocked at how much better his looked vs mine.. same paint, same everything aside of a lot less wear n tear.
so where is all of your damage coming from? Long commute?
 

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The Fruit
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Something like that. The highways here in Virginia Beach are terrible to begin with but I have a operating range for work that spans from Phili to Charleston SC. Only recently did management balance out the workload a bit and assigned my Charleston area to another network engineer. Most of my work I do remotely but by contract I still have to show up in person on a fairly regular schedule. I prefer to drive vs fly because I control more of the variables. That and my car is comfy, have my own tunes and I dont have to worry about sittin next to someone that smells like a dumpster in july. ;) lol

So yes.. lots and lots of highway mileage. So far on my 2010 I'm a touch over 75k mi.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
did you consider the clear bra? I'm not positive about it on headlights... but I would imagine it would be ok. Might yellow a bit after time, but better than beating your headlights up right?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey thanks man... gray I was on autopia, but I heard they were busted for malware or something.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
They had issues a while back but all is good now. ;)

I'm same UN on Autopia and several other detailing forums.
Well that's good. Its a great site with a lot of very good info. I learned alot from there and I also worked at a detail shop... we did big yachts, airplanes, and cars. It was a fun job though. I just really started to enjoy making cars look good and seeing peoples reaction when the car looks better than new.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Mango if you don't need your car for a few days and want to send them over to me. ..i'll see if I can get them back in decent shape. Or if you're in the md eastern shore area let me know.
 

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That is quite inspiring. My '03 actually has really good paint left even on the front of the hood. If I could get all the water stains out it would look new (other than the faded bumpers)....

Only problem is I don't trust myself with a power tool on it, and I don't know anyone around here that I would have do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Using a da polisher such as a porter cable it is pretty much impossible to mess the paint up.
 

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Using a da polisher such as a porter cable it is pretty much impossible to mess the paint up.
Hmmm, I think I could do that. I had my eye on one a couple of years ago but couldn't justify the purchase. My wife's car is pretty bad though - it might be just the perfect excuse....
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The da polisher isn't fast and it will take some time to get it done. I myself like the menzerna products a lot... but there are really good products out there. That are cheaper. If you get the porter cable (pc) use 4" pads... you'll get better cutting action. The flex da polisher is what I use. More powerful and will really cut down on your work time. I started with the pc though and use both on many of my detail jobs.
 
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