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Detailing & Appearance Discuss washing, waxing and detailing information as well as interior/exterior cosmetic modifications. This includes neons, body, cosmetic wheels, etc. Even under the hood detailing.

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Old 08-31-2007, 11:37 AM   #1
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Default Buffer swirl marks seem unavoidable

A friend of mine has a 2001 Grand Prix and asked me to detail it. The inside came out beautiful, and the exterior is OK after the meguiars soft soap. But it needed waxed. I did not claybar, and I think that may be the missing step to my problem.

I'm just using some Meguiars Cleaner Wax I got in a kit on clearance @ Sears. I have some gold class, but really don't want to use that because this guy isn't a clean freak about his vehicle, and I am lol. Whenever I hit the hood with the new 6" buffer I got from Harbor Freight, it seems very very catchy, not smooth.

I use the same method I've always used. Apply a generous amount of wax to the bonnet, smear it around, put it down on the paint and start off slowly. No matter how much wax I apply (even if it is too much), it still catches. And the result... mucho swirl marks. I don't understand.

For now I've only done the hood... and am waiting on a new part from the buffer from harbor freight. I noticed the foam pad seemed to be cracked in the middle. Whether that was my doing, or shipment'* doing, I don' tknow, but that'* the first step. Is there a topic I'm missing on here, or do you guys have any reccomendations? The car is a dark red/maroon color, so it needs to be pretty good because everything is visible in the dark color.
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:54 PM   #2
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Doesn't that wax need to be put down and let dry a bit before hitting it with the buffer? I'm pretty sure it does. Try putting it down by hand. Also, is that an orbital buffer?
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:34 PM   #3
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First let me say, with 99.9% certainty, that the swirls marks were there before you even touched the car. Swirls are a fact of life that only the most careful and anal of people can prevent on the paint. And since you said this guy isn't a clean freak, that is all the evidence we need to know the car looked like that before you worked on it.

Second, what kind of buffer is this, an orbital or a rotary? I've never used a rotary yet, but I've heard they take some getting used to and will skip around. But honestly, if it'* a rotary, you shouldn't be using it to put on wax anyway. You either want to do it by hand, or with an orbital buffer on a slow speed.

And lastly, don't use a "generous" amount of wax. Most all waxes work best with a thin layer. Any more is just wasting it, and you are just making more work for yourself trying to take it off. Put just enough on that when you work it on the paint, you can barely see it.
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Old 09-01-2007, 04:35 PM   #4
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Also, your pad choice is going to make a difference on how it applies.

To me the swirls could be from the lack of claying and when you hit it with the buffer it removed some of the stuff the clay bar would have, and then smeared it around the hood causing the swirls.
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Old 09-01-2007, 07:06 PM   #5
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Claying is an excellent step, especially if the vehicle hasn't had a good cleaning and detailing in a while.

The method I use when giving vehicles a good cleaning, after a good washing...

1. clay bar

2. Apply 2 coats of Scratch X (3M Rubbing compound works just as well too). I apply by hand using a 6" round microfiber apllicator. I use small amounts adding more to the apllicator as I need it. Then the wife comes along behind me and takes it off using the orbital buffer.

3. Apply my finish wax, I use Meguires NXT, in the same manner as I did the Scratch X. Usually I do 2 coats.

4. I go over the whole vehicle wiping it down with Meguires detailing spray, again I use the NXT line, making sure my wife and I didn't miss any wax.

I know this might not be how some profesionals do it, or might be considerred too anal my some but it leaves me without any swirl marks and has removed swirls from some vehicles I've cleaned.
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Old 09-01-2007, 07:43 PM   #6
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Unfortunately I did the same thing today... sorta :(

I washed the hood normally and dried the car. Then I proceeded to put wax on (because I'm too lazy to do anything else). When I was finished it looked spotted if you looked at it right. I cried :(.

I tried to re-wax it but got the same results.

Wash it again
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Old 09-02-2007, 12:01 AM   #7
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Alright guys... thanks. I will just apply it by hand because that sounds about the best option available. I did buy some liquid ice paste wax and liquid clay bar today though. You guys think the paste or the liquid wax would last longer? I'd imagine the paste would.
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:57 AM   #8
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I don't think the liquid calybar is as good as the real thing, still probally better than nothing if you're on a budget. You might want to do a search on it here, someone once mentioned they used a Mr Clean Magic Eraser to spread it and got better results, maybe they will chime in.
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