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Hi Folks!

I have been reading a lot about clay bar on YT and the other day decided to buy a pack from my local store. The imported USA Maguairs, although available, is extremely expensive. Our local market (SA Shield) now produces a kit for 3/4 of the price and it works like it says! My SLK is black and the transformation is quite incredible! I have used black polish previously to get a shine but this clay bar takes all the c**p off one time, with an amazing result. Then you can polish and wax for even a better finish!
 

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And that gives me some incentive to use my pack too (if it ever gets above 7o).
 

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Hiya Folks,

I have corrected the paint work on several German Vehicles over the past decade and felt compelled to share some of my experience in this regard on your thread.

The humble old clay bar has come a long way since I started working with them 10 years ago. I must caution that this is perhaps a very important step in a number of key steps to restore that factory finish and the clay bar merely lifts grime from the paintwork ahead of cleansing, cutting and polishing. I recently managed to rescue a 25-year-old W124 Merc Paintwork with stunning results as follows:

1. Starting for the first time, wash vehicle with diswashing liquid mixed with water to remove all protective coatings and have an inert base to work with - I would advocate only ever doing this once on your vehicle and really carefully considering whether this is ever necessary at all...all your trims and paint would have to be re-coated with protectants after such a drastic measure;

2. Clay bar the entire vehicle - only use a dime size piece and conduct it in backward and forwards motions to counteract swirl...it actually saves heaps of time for removing heavy swirl - a trick I learnt from the British AutoGlym Professional Demonstrators...it saved me money and time;

3. Wash again using two-bucket method and splash out on a good quality low sud wash - I used Bowdens Nanolicious from Australia or Zaino's Car Wash Products from the USA;

4. Towel dry with an excellent quality micro-fibre cloth - our local detailer imports excellent quality from Thailand at half the price of mainstream stores and we have washed our cloths on several occasions to get great results - the quality of your clothware is vital to success. Be sure to place in the washing machine after each use and protect from dust - we use Bowdens Microfibre Wash for our sponges and cloths and pack them into plastic tubs to carry between home and warehouse;

5. Learn to use a Random Dual Action (DA) Polisher...I have a 5-year old Meguiars Professional that cost a mint in the UK some years ago and it has stood the test of time...you get what you pay for in this area.

6. We now use a Menzerna 400 Cut (Interestingly a heavier cut but excellent on hard paintwork of Mercedes) which only requires a thumb size amount for a whole SLK bonnet - yes a 100ml bottle will do a whole fleet of vehicles. The Menzerna cuts break down whilst polishing to a finish which saves loads of time. They are excellent on darker paint work. We lubricate the polishing pad (yellow-medium cut sponge pad) with a gentle spray of instant detailer - we use Bowdens Fully Slick but anything from Meguiars would be fine such as Quik Detailer or even plain water lightly sprayed prior to rubbing and then over the polished area whilst working. This averts drying out the polish too quickly whilst working it with the machine - if it dries, you need to buff it off;

7. Whatever you do, avoid sharp changes in profile - especially the trunk lines on the SLK R171 - I have burnt through the paint layer on this transition on our earlier vehicle when I was way less experienced on this subject - I usually apply a thin layer of masking tape over these areas and alos over the rubber seals/trim to prevent stupidity taking hold of me...you will find that your machine is attracted to these areas as you become hypnotised with the excellent results and a momentary lapse could ruin your day. These taped areas are quite simply tackled by hand.

8. The best way to tell that your cut or polish is ready to be buffed off, is to run your forefinger over a section - if clear paint is revealed, it is time to buff it off and either do another coat on that section or get ready for the next treatment.

9. Always do small sections and take your time...it is a session of expressing love for you vehicle and a wonderfully satisfying achievement to see the results. Do not get despondent if you do not remove the swirl on the first round...on average two to three re-applications in the same area is what it takes.

10. Once you think you have it nailed. Go down to the Menzerna 200 Cut which also breaks down to a finishing polish. Repeat as above. Recently I have found this not necessary if one is a little impatient or lazy as you have a finish that surpasses anything you have had before;

11. Once complete and happy, remove taped sections and apply a sealant - I use the Menzerna Sealant but I have also found any good Carnauba based wax or sealant will suffice...every one develops a personal preference and quality varies. Apply it with a soft application sponge in very small amounts over large areas - take what you think it requires and halve it. Once on, leave the sealant or wax to bed into the work...I find buttering it on and then having a cuppa and reading the newspaper and then returning to buff it off works best. You can never leave this stuff on for too long...as opposed to polishes that must be removed prior to hardening or you will spend hours rectifying your error.

12. Always do it in the shade or in the garage and at night I have found it best with good quality lighting to check your swirl levels. Never do any of this work in direct sunlight...I paid the price in years gone by. Also make sure you paint work is cold to touch for best results.

Take days to do it and it will come out better as opposed to attempting in one sitting.


Hope this helps.

Cheers

Perry
 

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@Ruffles......
Did you manage to burn the paint on the edges using a DA?
I have only ever managed this using a Rotary in my early days.:wink:
Not to hijack this item, but I used a DA polisher for the first time on my SLK with Griot's perfecting pad and cream. The cream breaks down as it its worked so there is less chance of 'burning through'. I liked the results so much I'm claying and polishing the Jeep as well.
 

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Hiya Mugs,

Yep I did manage to do this with my DA polisher on the first time using it in 2012....it was a medium compound Meguiars Cut that was on it....I was really inexperienced.

Some shots of the after effects of proper paint correction (first is our 25-year-old E500 Limited in Sapphire Black; the second is our 15-year-old SLK AMG in Obsidian Black and the third is our 80-year-old Mercedes 170VA in Caramel and Milk Chocolate)


Cheers Perry
 

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Hiya Mugs,

Yep I did manage to do this with my DA polisher on the first time using it in 2012....it was a medium compound Meguiars Cut that was on it....I was really inexperienced.

Some shots of the after effects of proper paint correction (first is our 25-year-old E500 Limited in Sapphire Black; the second is our 15-year-old SLK AMG in Obsidian Black and the third is our 80-year-old Mercedes 170VA in Caramel and Milk Chocolate)


Cheers Perry
Wow, I suppose I have been using polishers for 30 years and when I use a DA I feel like I won’t ever cut through the paint.
I have in my past made some real bodge ups using a rotary :surprise::grin:

Nice correction work on your cars.....they look to be in showroom condition. :wink:
 

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Hiya Mugs,

Yep I did manage to do this with my DA polisher on the first time using it in 2012....it was a medium compound Meguiars Cut that was on it....I was really inexperienced.

Some shots of the after effects of proper paint correction (first is our 25-year-old E500 Limited in Sapphire Black; the second is our 15-year-old SLK AMG in Obsidian Black and the third is our 80-year-old Mercedes 170VA in Caramel and Milk Chocolate)


Cheers Perry
The 170VA is a heart-stopper. Congrats!
 

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Wow - I just really wish I had the patience to do this. The results would be fantastic.

As it is, a quick trip down to the local hand wash and the occasional shiny spray is as good as it gets...
A little bit of effort once a year is all that is needed, a weekend work out and you will get to know your car more intimately :grin:
 

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Hiya Mugs,

Yep I did manage to do this with my DA polisher on the first time using it in 2012....it was a medium compound Meguiars Cut that was on it....I was really inexperienced.

Some shots of the after effects of proper paint correction (first is our 25-year-old E500 Limited in Sapphire Black; the second is our 15-year-old SLK AMG in Obsidian Black and the third is our 80-year-old Mercedes 170VA in Caramel and Milk Chocolate)


Cheers Perry

Wow - great finish on all of them. Thanks for sharing
 

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Folks,

I spent 5 hours today on the SLK and covered roughly half the vehicle and it is even better....10 hours should be all that is required each year...

Cheers

Perry
 

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Wow - I just really wish I had the patience to do this. The results would be fantastic.

As it is, a quick trip down to the local hand wash and the occasional shiny spray is as good as it gets...

I well understand your response. Never have so many words in so few years in so many publications been written about car cleaning. Job creation, a new industry of self-appointed experts who ARE the go-to people for the ultimate finish if you have an overflowing bank account.
Unless you're seeking concours prizes & happy to live on your nerves worrying if somebody might actually touch your car, with just a modicum of patience an acceptable/better than average finish can be achieved without huge costs or spending 24hrs faffing.
KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid applies:
1. A 2 bucket wash.
2. Claybar using as a lubricant well diluted car shampoo in water - DON'T fall for the scam that says you must buy a special lubricant.
3. Use a cleaner. There are thousands of brands - most do the same job.
4. Apply wax. Ditto above.
and repeat 1 & 4 until it's obvious a re-deep clean is needed.
 
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