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07-06-2002, 12:51 PM
Hey guys and gals, I need some advice on removing light scratches and swirl marks. I have a PC orbital and a milwaukie rotary. The orbital just doesn't do the way I am using it. I have used the Rotary with a wool pad to remove one moderate scratch (with PPG DRX 65) but am not keen on using it over the entire car. I feel safe with the PC and sponge pads but again, not enough umph. I was hoping one of you experts could walk me through sequentially, with the products, type of pads, and which machine. (I assume the Rotary would be only for the first step). I am new to this particular board so please forgive if this has been hashed out many times before.

07-06-2002, 01:13 PM
I also accidently got some wax (meguires) on the leather trim around my door and have had a hard time removing it. I don't want to hurt the black leather finish so have stuck with soapy water. Most but not all came off. Any suggestions to get the last bit off??

07-08-2002, 10:45 AM

07-08-2002, 06:34 PM
This is going to get pretty lengthy, I apologize in advance.

1) Perform all of the work in a cool, shaded area, free of any direct sunlight. Make sure the car is cool as well - heat from the sun, or from the engine compartment could cause streaking & will make the products extremely difficult to remove.

2) I'd suggest using your PC instead of the rotary - I've had excellent luck with removing scratches/swirls with my PC and in fact, rarely use my rotaries.

3) Wash the car as normal, using your favorite auto wash solution. Rinse it thoroughly, but don't dry it.

4) Grab a ClayMagic Blue Clay bar and a spray bottle with some quick detailer or lube (1oz soap + 15oz water). Spray down an area about 2'x2' with the lube. Prepare your clay bar and clay the area. Use more lube or less pressure if the clay is "grabbing" and use more pressure if the clay is just zinging around the panel. You'll feel it when it's just "clinging" to the panel as you clean. Use a straight back-and-forth motion when claying - no circular motions.

When done with the 2x2 area, knead the clay thoroughly, fold it a few times, pull it apart, work it into a ball, then flatten it again. This will clean the clay, and ensure that any contaminants that it picked up won't scratch your vehicle. Continue claying the rest of the car, working from the top of the car to the bottom (roof, hood, decklid, doors, quarters, fenders, nose, rear bumper).

5) When done claying, wash the car again to remove any clay residue that may have been left behind. If you've clayed properly, you'll have a finish that is as smooth as glass - it will feel like the car is brand new. If you ever hear any scraping/dragging noises with the clay, stop immediately and re-clean it as described in step 4.

6) With the car washed, clayed, washed & dried, you're set to start attacking those swirls.

7) General theory: We want to use the least aggressive method for removing the swirls as possible, as they swirls are primarily located in the clear coat, and protecting the clear coat is a major priority for us.

I prefer to use my PC with Lake Country Manufacturing's Variable Contact Foam pads. The pads come in various "grades" (from strongest to weakest cutting power): wool, yellow, white, black. I'll refer to these as "the yellow pad" or "the white pad" throughout the rest of the post.

8) Grab some 3M Finesse IT II compound, and apply a small amount to the pad - I'd say about 6-8 lines (1/8" wide) from end-to-end of the pad should be enough to start with. Don't turn the buffer on yet, but rather, smear the product around on the panel first. This will distribute the product across the pad, and will help eliminate splatter. Set the speed on your buffer to about 4 - 4.5, and again, work from the top down (just like claying).

Start-up the buffer and visually pick a spot about 2'x2'. Start by moving the buffer in a front-to-back pattern (bumper to bumper), using overlapping strokes. Use moderate pressure - don't bear down on the PC, but don't let it just glide all over the surface. Keep working it front to back until you've covered teh 2'x2' area.

Now, start working the buffer in a "to-and-away" motion (fender to fender) while working gradually across the area (bumper-to-bumper). You're effectively drawing a big tic-tac-toe pattern with the buffer, but you're using overlapping strokes as to completely cover the panel. Keep using moderate pressure.

Repeat this pattern a few times, using less and less pressure as you go. I usually like to finish up with a diagonal pass across the area, using overlapping strokes again (I draw an "X" over the tic-tac pattern). Keep working the product until you've buffed most of it off - it usually takes me about 2-3 minutes to do a 2x2 area. The product will haze quickly, but keep working it. Buff any remaining residue away with a clean, soft towel, using straight motions. I prefer MicroFiber towels myself, but 100% cotton bath towels will work well too.

9) Evaluate your progress. If you're not getting the swirls to go away, you might have to switch to the wool pad and repeat. Again, the goal is to be as gentle as possible. If you have to use the wool pad, jump the speed up to about 5 - 5.5; this should do the trick for all but the most stubborn swirls.

Go over the entire car, using the procedure as described in step 8.

10) Now, use a less agressive product like Meguiar's Body Shop Professional Swirl Free Polish or Dual Action Cleaner Polish, or 3M Swirl Mark Remover. Use a yellow foam pad to apply these products, same speed setting and technique as in step 8. Use more pressure as necessary in the areas that need it.

11) Grab a nice polish, like P21S Paintwork Cleansing Lotion and a white foam pad. Apply the polish just like in Step 8, but use a slightly slower speed (like 3.5 - 4). This will really bring out the glow and gloss; I love the P21S PCL.

12) Finish up with a coat of your favorite wax. If any streaking exists, a quick shot with some Quick Detailer should remove it.

As far as the wax on the leather trim, I'd suggest using some creamy peanut butter, or some Griot's Interior Cleaner dilluted 50/50 with water. Follow-up with a high quality leather protectant.

Hope this helps, and for the record, most of these tips are in our Special Report: Guru Reports - The Wax Test 2002.

07-08-2002, 11:53 PM
I hit print right away! Thank you for such a nice step by step report. I happen to have most of the products you list except the pads and PS21. Is the guru report a outlet for these products as well?
I guess I will find out.

07-09-2002, 03:06 PM
We don't sell any products other than the reports and user guides. That way, we aren't biased one way or the other towards a product - if we report that we loved it, it really is good; no alterior motives (cause if there were, I'd be rich, and I'm not rich!!) :-)

Best wishes & happy detailing,

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