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afadeev

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I've been cleaning, paint correcting, polishing and graphene coating my personal fleet these past two weekends, and realized that our cars have gotten significantly curvier over the last vehicle refresh cycle. A single random orbital polisher (ROP) with a 6" backing plate is simply way too big and clumsy for more and more sections. I'm not a pro, but do like to work on my cars and keep them clean and well protected.

With that in mind, what do y'all recommend for a smaller polisher?

Corded is fine, since I don't plant to travel with the gear, and maintaining another set of batteries for another system is just too much fun (just ditched all "other" battery systems and standardizes on DeWalt tools and batteries. No, they don't make ROPs).
Something with a 2" orbital backing plate? 3" one?
Does weight matter with smaller ROPs?

Suggestions for sizes and models would be most appreciated.

TIA,
a

P.S.: My 6"-er is Griott's G9, weights ~5.5 lbs and I find it pretty easy to wield.
 
You could get some smaller backing plates for your current machine. Size depends on the car you are working on.
 
I've noticed that paint on cars these days still looks good after many years, without any wax. I remember when this was not true. Windshields, OTOH....
 
I've noticed that paint on cars these days still looks good after many years, without any wax. I remember when this was not true. Windshields, OTOH....
My 2008 (does that qualify for “these days?”)Honda Accord seems to be an exception here. No matter what I do to it I can’t get it to maintain a shine. Hired a detail service to go over it professionally and they told me that in 2008 Honda decided to mix the clear coat and top coat together for the Tuxedo Black. No matter what, it will never shine. I’ve thought of repainting it, but since it is just a commuter car I figured why bother.
The windshield needs replaced badly! Driving into the sun is like being in a star cruiser during warp drive.
It’s not expensive, just a matter of getting it done.
 
Some of the 2008 Hondas had good paint, and mine is one of them. Or maybe I just have low standards.

BTW, my Honda is slow enough that, no matter how dirty the windshield gets, it never feels like being in a star cruiser. That's probably ok. I wouldn't want to hit a bridge abutment at greater than light speed.
 
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My advice for maintenance: change your own oil as long as it's practical to do so, unless you have a trusted mechanic. Not just because it's cheaper; we've all probably read horror stories about quick-change places: tacking on other services; tightening the oil filter and/or drain plug too much, or not enough; wrong filter, etc. My older brother had to replace the engine in his Caravan because the quick-change place hadn't tightened the drain plug quite enough. A $2k bill (in 1986) since he couldn't prove that the mechanic was responsible.

Get a pair of ramps. Much easier than jacking up the car, and they'll pay for themselves with 2-4 oil changes.
 
For a crystal clear, streak-free windshield, use warm water and vinegar ( at about a 5 water to 1 vinegar ratio) and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Dip the Magic Eraser in the vinegar and water solution and scrub the windshield ( I usually start on the inside).
After it's been scrubbed, use a clean, dry microfiber cloth and dry the glass. Use a second clean, dry microfiber cloth and polish the glass.
Pro Tip: Don't let the micro fiber cloth touch the plastics in your car, they have a tendency to absorb the oils in the plastic and that will leave streaks on your glass.
 
I have a mobile detail shop do the work for me.
I had one too, but the guy folded or moved out of the area.
I asked two well-recommended shops to quote me, and the cheapest one was $1200 / car. Exterior only. Each one specializes in one car brand only, so I would need to deal with multiple vendors cars in my garage. Hard pass, even before looking at $6+10K / year maintenance run-rate.

I found out I enjoy working on my cars again (after a multi-year break), so I am investing in my own tools and gear instead.

Go to a CAR forum.

Yep.
I figured I would ask here as well, since we have folks with a surprisingly wide portfolio of skills and interests.
Car care, evidently, isn't one of those.

FWIW, I bought a light-weight 2-/3" backing plate polisher, GR3 mini pro-grade kit, and it's been well worth the price.

YMMV,
a
 
For a crystal clear, streak-free windshield, use warm water and vinegar ( at about a 5 water to 1 vinegar ratio) and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Dip the Magic Eraser in the vinegar and water solution and scrub the windshield ( I usually start on the inside).
After it's been scrubbed, use a clean, dry microfiber cloth and dry the glass. Use a second clean, dry microfiber cloth and polish the glass.

Totally agree on the method (clean, scrub, then polish and protect.
My chemical vendor of choice for windows (car and home) is Stoner's Invisible Glass Pro Glass Care 5-Piece Kit.
Works perfectly on all cars, except for the winter beater that had a particularly pitted windshield. For that one, I added a step of glass polishing, and that windshield came out (almost) as good as new.

Pro Tip: Don't let the micro fiber cloth touch the plastics in your car, they have a tendency to absorb the oils in the plastic and that will leave streaks on your glass.

Micro-fiber cloth maintenance, care, and inventory is a subject worthy of its own thread.
For anyone who cares, working with clean towels is as important as the chemicals and tools with which you work on the paint.
Most of the damage to the paint comes not from rocks and debris, but from folks scraping the car with one dirty washglove or a towel, and sand-blasting the paint in the name of washing the vehicle. Same goes for all automated car-washes, with dirt-infused wash bands rubbing all over the cars that go through the wash. Zero cleaning in-between.

I do realize that 95% of the folks out there probably couldn't care less ;-)

a
 
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I had one too, but the guy folded or moved out of the area.
I asked two well-recommended shops to quote me, and the cheapest one was $1200 / car. Exterior only. Each one specializes in one car brand only, so I would need to deal with multiple vendors cars in my garage. Hard pass, even before looking at $6+10K / year maintenance run-rate.

I found out I enjoy working on my cars again (after a multi-year break), so I am investing in my own tools and gear instead.



Yep.
I figured I would ask here as well, since we have folks with a surprisingly wide portfolio of skills and interests.
Car care, evidently, isn't one of those.

FWIW, I bought a light-weight 2-/3" backing plate polisher, GR3 mini pro-grade kit, and it's been well worth the price.

YMMV,
a
Presently I use a company called Spiffy. Have used small businesses as well just for comparison's sake. That someone would charge over a grand just to detail only the exterior is highway robbery in my opinion. All of these companies came to my house to do the work requested. Spiffy may be the only nationally known brand. https://www.getspiffy.com/
 
I bought a motorhome last year and am in a similar thought process of 'how do I make this thing last longer'. It is a full paint RV, so legit paint and not stickers etc., but there is so much surface area that I look at it and think about doing a clay-bar workup after washing and then ceramic coating and then just go back inside and curl up in a dark room. . .

I hope some people give some good recommendations, though, as I have to do the work myself and it is insanely expensive to pay someone else to do it.
 
I bought a motorhome last year and am in a similar thought process of 'how do I make this thing last longer'. It is a full paint RV, so legit paint and not stickers etc., but there is so much surface area that I look at it and think about doing a clay-bar workup after washing and then ceramic coating and then just go back inside and curl up in a dark room. . .

Claying that thing will be a project and a half, but you do want to have a clean base before you "lock it in" with a ceramic coating.
I would recommend getting your hands on the largest orbital polisher with the largest backing plate (7"-9" ?) you can find, to increase the surface area you can work on at one time. Something like Rupes LHR21 (I know it's expensive, but don't know safe alternatives in that size).

Step 1: Clean the paint chemically.
Step 2: Clean the paint mechanically. Polish, if necessary or desired.
Step 3: Seal and protect it for as long as possible, since you will not want to do that job too frequently. Adam's Graphene Ceramic Coating Advanced comes to mind, though you might need more than one bottle of that stuff! It's the next iteration of ceramic, with a long claimed lifespan. Adam's claim 9+ years of protection, which may be unrealistic with an RV that will be mostly parked outside. Maybe half that?

I had my cars coated with Adam's about a year ago, and can see no detectable degradation in coating protection and water beading thus far.
Makes them MUCH easier to clean chemically, and easy to maintain with a graphene/ceramic shampoo.

I hope some people give some good recommendations, though, as I have to do the work myself and it is insanely expensive to pay someone else to do it.


As if on queue, Project Farm did a comparison of wheel cleaners.
Some may find it informative. Adam's (1 of my 2 preferred suppliers, the other one is Griot's) came out on top:


HTH,
a
 
My driver's side door pocket always carries a 6" squeegee. Works a treat when there's heavy dew on the driver/passenger windows. Also makes cleaning glass much easier; spray with glass cleaner or just a few drops of Dawn in a spray bottle of water. Spray, squeegee off. Repeat as needed. I even carry a bottle of glass cleaner in another pocket, for mud splashes or insect splats.
 
He has a fairly recent video where he tested different paint coatings.
Yep, right here.
Spoiler alert - Adam's ceramic coating with a brush-on applicator (not the spray-on's) came out on top, but is the most expensive and will take the longest to apply. That's what I also use:


For those who ask themselves why we bother, it's the difference between building your own rockets vs. buying them already built by someone else.
Also, see this take on the subject:


HTH,
a
 
It is a full paint RV, ..... I have to do the work myself and it is insanely expensive to pay someone else to do it.
It's all about man-hours. A vehicle that's twice as big has four times the surface area so it's four time the work you're paying somebody to do.

Most DIY'ers can get away with doing things like detailing their own car inefficiently because it's something they only do occasionally. In your case, even doing it once is a big enough job that you need to approach the task with an industrial mindset or you'll be stuck in grunt labor purgatory forever.

The worst ways to sabotage yourself are repetitive inefficiencies like using wrong or inferior quality chemicals and tools for processes. Those multiply work over the entire project. Using high quality chemicals from reputable manufacturers Make the job go faster, easier and produce better results.

Since you have a huge vehicle, you will probably benefit from buying bulk quantity commercial products from detailing suppliers rather than consumer packaged quantities from car parts suppliers, big box stores or discount stores.


.....I look at it and think about doing a clay-bar workup after washing and then ceramic coating and then just go back inside and curl up in a dark room. . .

Here's a perfect example of choosing tools that improve workflow. Everybody loves the results of claying, but it's tedious and both the clay and lube costs can add up. Clay-substitute surface prep pads have become very popular among pros because, while initially pricey, they are easy an fast, using only car wash soap for lube, not requiring constant folding, combining two processes (washing and bonded contaminant removal) into one step and being easily washed and re-used time and time again.

https://www.detailing.com/store/nanoskin-autoscrub-wash-mitt-fine-grade.html

https://www.detailing.com/store/griots-garage-fine-surface-prep-mitt-yellow.html

Go to a CAR forum.
Yep.
I figured I would ask here as well, since we have folks with a surprisingly wide portfolio of skills and interests.
....

I would add a caveat to the first suggestion, perhaps go to a car detailing forum, and I would agree with the sentiment expressed in response.

I've seen a lot of very bad advice about detailing thrown about in car forums that were marque-specific or dedicated to some aspect of the car hobby other than detailing. It's a specialized corner of the enterprise and there's an awful lot of myth, legend and misunderstanding in the general automotive community.

I've also noticed that forums dedicated to pursuits that are highly specialized and highly technical (like, oh, say, rocketry) tend to attract members that are highly curious, highly technical and highly detail (no pun intended) oriented. So you'll find a wide range of members' interests and you tend to find people with significant expertise in areas other than the topic at hand.
 
Have vehicle manufacturers gone back to using inferior paint? I never even waxed my Saturn SL1, which was at least 20 years old and had at least a quarter million miles on it when it became too rusty underneath to be safe. The paint was still ok. Is it a lower latitude problem?
 
Have vehicle manufacturers gone back to using inferior paint?

There have been a LOT of evolutions in paint over the past 10-20 years.
Net-net: paint has gotten thinner, cheaper, and variability across brands and manufacturing plants has increased.

I never even waxed my Saturn SL1, which was at least 20 years old and had at least a quarter million miles on it when it became too rusty underneath to be safe. The paint was still ok. Is it a lower latitude problem?

It's a "what is your definition of OK" problem.
If you've never maintained your car's exterior, your definition of "OK" is likely much more flexible than that of the folks who polish, wax, and ceramic coat their vehicles to the point that they can see their reflections in the paint. To them, the result of something that was driven for 20 years without maintenance would be far from "OK".

It's similar to how some folks fly rockets naked, and others invest exponential amounts of time, money, and effort into imparting museum-grade paint schemes onto them.

To each his own.

a
 
To me, ok is when the paint is still shiny and there isn't any rust under it. It's just a car. Even more, an RV is just an RV.
 
Here is a car care tip. Headlamps wear out, and you lose sight distance long before the bulb goes out.

Quality headlamp bulbs matter. Blue coatings look cool, but are really detrimental to the ability of humans to see due to reflected glare.
 
Speaking of headlamps, the lenses get pitted and scratched. A bit of plastic polish can really brighten up the part of the beam you want to keep. I seem to recall seeing a 40 percent improvement in brightness at the center of the spot, according to a light meter, on one car I had.

If it's not rusty, instead of a new car, get a new windshield and headlight lenses.
 
There have been a LOT of evolutions in paint over the past 10-20 years.
Net-net: paint has gotten thinner, cheaper, and variability across brands and manufacturing plants has increased.
A lot of paint changes have been done to reduce emissions. Some of the changes might have reduced emissions but really reduced long term durability of the paints.
 
They need to paint the pieces before assembly. Use powder coat and bake it on. Much more durable than any solvent based paint.
 
Here's a simple tip. Add an inline RV filter to the garden hose when washing your car. It filters out all the stuff in the water that cause spots giving you a "spot-free rinse."
 
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