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rosso

Machine Polishing the Paint

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Over the next week or so as I wait for parts to arrive, or I just get tired of doing the mechanical stuff, I want to start cleaning and polishing the car - and so far just doing it by hand is not giving me the results I had hoped for.

 

Any suggestions on how to go about this - I do not own a polishing machine, but might try something at Harbor Freight if I knew what that something was. Suggestions anyone?

 

I have 3 almost full bottles of Meguars:   Cleaner/was, Swirl Remover, and Polishing compound. Hoping to be able to use them rather than buying more stuff.

 

Thanks in advance - the project car is really turning out nicely and only a bit over 11 weeks to Powerland 2020

 

 

Edited by rosso

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What's the current state of the paint?  That really is what will dictate how you go about it.  As far as machines, I'd recommend a Random Orbital Buffer/Polisher.  The random orbiting motion really helps to protect the paint from getting burned through which you can do with a regular polisher that just spins if you hold it in once place too long.  It's makes the process just about dummy proof.  To go along with that, pick up some foam pad kits of the appropriate size to match the buffer.  You'll want a kit that has a cutting, polishing, and waxing pad. Grab 2 or 3 because they fill up with the material you are buffing off the car so it's nice to change them as you go about buffing. The buffer and pads can come from Harbour Freight to keep the cost down and it'll all do you just fine.

Since I'm in quarantine, drinking my morning coffee at home.... here's some cheaters from my experience doing this over the years on my own cars in my own driveway; other's with more experience may have tips to add.  These are kind of arranged in a worse condition to better condition order; and also most aggressive to least aggressive paint correction approaches.  So if you start at the worst go through the subsequent steps down the list.  Use reasoning... if you just used a cutting compound for dull paint, don't use it again for the scratches, just do it all together and go onto the next least invasive method.  I don't have color sanding in here because I've never tried it.  Also, you do not need to use Meguiar's products, it's just what I've used and had good experience with.

*Always wash your car before doing this
Dull / Chalky Paint
- Cutting Comound (recommendation Meguiar's M205)
- Cutting Pad
WARNING:  If your paint is like this you either have a single stage paint that has been left unprotected for a long time or a base/clear coat paint where the clear coat has failed and lifted off the base coat.  In both these conditions the underlying condition is unknown.  It is best to proceed with caution and closely monitor as you buff to watch for burn through where you have buffed away the colored paint and hit primer/metal.  This is just a risk when the paint has been left to deteriorate to this condition.  Wipe of remaining residue.

*The above is a worst case paint state, after this state it is a good idea to clay bar the car before doing the below steps.  It helps to remove surface contaminants that may get into your pads and introduce problems during the polishing steps.

Scratches You Can Catch With Your Finger Nail
- Cutting Compound (recommendation Meguiar's M205)
- Cutting Pad
- Buff small sections at a time only along the scratch.  Your approach will vary depending on the scratches depth. 
------If it goes through the color layer to the primer or metal, go ahead and clean out the scratch with a good cleaner.  Dawn actually works great to clean and degrease.  Apply some matching touch up paint making it ever so slightly proud of the surface.  I'm talking fractions of a millimeter.  Then use a very fine sanding paper (1000grit) and wet sand it flush with the surface.  Use the recommended compound and pad above and buff until the finish looks the same as the surrounding clear.  Only buff over the repaired area (the width of the buffer) since you are using a cutting compound.  This is to avoid unnecessary removal of good clear coat in areas a distance away from the scratch.
-----If it isn't through the color coat and is only in the clear, go ahead and buff it with the above recommended compound/pad.  Just watch that you don't go through the clear coat.  With a random orbital that would be pretty difficult to do unless you have thin or damaged clear coat. Wipe of remaining residue.

Swirl Marks / Spider Webbing / Haziness in Clear Coat
- Cutting Compound (recommendation Meguiar's M205 or M105)
- Cutting Pad
- Start with the M105 and buff an area for a minute or two.  If the swirls or haziness readily disappear go over the car with that.  It's a less aggressive cutting compound than the M205.  If the swirls are not going away, step up to the M205.  Buff the car section by section until the surface defects are gone. Wipe of remaining residue.

Clear Coat has Lost That "Wet" Sheen
- Polishing Compound (Meguiar's Ultimate Compound)
- Polishing Pad
- As with the section above.  Just go section by section and work it until the area looks as good as you are wanting. Wipe of remaining residue when done.

Car is Shiny but Dirty

- Wax
- Waxing Pad

- Wash the car and apply wax

Car is Clean and Sparkles in the Sun

- Good job!  Drink a beer or a Gin and Tonic (my personal favorite)

Edited by BrandonS

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Here's my car: It looks shiny but has uneven blotches like faded but they don't easily come out by hand.

 

49687912353_9f4c9d4dc8_o.jpg

Thanks Brandon for the info, Since we are now officially in a "stay home" state I won't be ab;e to go to Harbor Freight to buy a polisher. I will start with the polishing compound I have and if that doesn't work go stronger. (M105?)

I guess the polishing will have to wait until we get through this virus mess.

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21 minutes ago, rosso said:

Here's my car: It looks shiny but has uneven blotches like faded but they don't easily come out by hand.

 

49687912353_9f4c9d4dc8_o.jpg

Thanks Brandon for the info, Since we are now officially in a "stay home" state I won't be ab;e to go to Harbor Freight to buy a polisher. I will start with the polishing compound I have and if that doesn't work go stronger. (M105?)

I guess the polishing will have to wait until we get through this virus mess.


Oh yea, that's shiny already!  Nice looking goon.  You should be able easily get that done wit M105 and a random orbital if not just polish or something like 3M Swirl Remover.

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On 3/26/2020 at 3:08 AM, rosso said:

Here's my car: It looks shiny but has uneven blotches like faded but they don't easily come out by hand.

 

49687912353_9f4c9d4dc8_o.jpg

Thanks Brandon for the info, Since we are now officially in a "stay home" state I won't be ab;e to go to Harbor Freight to buy a polisher. I will start with the polishing compound I have and if that doesn't work go stronger. (M105?)

I guess the polishing will have to wait until we get through this virus mess.

 

Go easy on the 105.  That a fairly aggressive compound I use as a first step after the paint has been sanded.  Keep the buffer moving, and try not to let it get hot.  I would recommend not buffing any edges.  The paint on the edges is thin, and it's very easy to burn through it.

 

I like Brandon's recommendation of trying it with the swirl remover first.  Keeping the pad flat as possible and staying off the edges applies here, too.

 

I generally wait 30 to 45 days for wax.  I generally use Glaze on fresh paint, and I apply it by hand.

 

 

 

 

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I am working on doing the same thing. I have a 78 620. It is the original paint and I am pretty sure it is single stage paint. Paint comes off when I wipe heavy with a rag. This was my wife's grandfather's  work truck for almost 40 years and the paint is actually in amazing condition for its age/use. It is really faded but I did one quick pass by hand with McGuire's #9 polish and swirl remover because that is what I use on my Audi. It looks a lot better but from what I have read you need to do it at least 4 times UVxrPXi.jpgand I think leaving it on for a day before removing. Eventually I would like to have it repainted but just hoping to make it look better now. 

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Spent about 6 hours polishing today. 3 full times with harbor freight buffer. I did 4 full passes on every part of the car each time. You can now see your reflection in the paint. You can see in the 1st photo where I have yet to do under the rear window the before and after. I would have died doing the entire job by hand. Just get extra pads as the harbor freight ones fall apart fast. I honestly just wanted the paint to look a little better but it now looks almost new. WVVKkMx.jpgcwBjVdF.jpg

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