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Old 04-07-2011, 08:29 AM   #1
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Best products and process for paint like BMW Jet Black

Just got my car back from having an exterior detail. Long story short, I tried doing it myself (which Ive done a bunch of times on my other cars) and seemed to have failed miserably.

Looked good under halogens, but out in the sun had this strange almost hologramming/micro-marring look to it. According to the detailer it was a lot of leftover oils from products, waxes, etc. I had started with a Chem Guys citrus wash, at the recommended dilution for removing previous product. Either that wasnt enough, or the GTehchniq P1 polish left a lot of stuff behind.

The detailer did his thing and the car looks good, but he mentioned that the paint is just about on par with BMW Jet Black (the car is an Infiniti G37 with Malbec Black paint....that color is also available on the M) in regards to hardness (or should I say, softness)

Now my question is - what kind of products and process should I look at for maintaining the finish? Im assuming some swirls will get in there somehow (and, there are still some left behind even after the detail). I have all sorts of pads and polishes now, but Im leaning toward selling it all and starting over with something that would be more appropriate for such a soft paint.

I have the original PC and will keep that. I was leaning towards the Meguiars MF system because it seems to maximize the power of the original PC. I have read that the compound then final wax from the system may not leave the best finish on soft paint like this....any truth to that? Any other suggestions? Im not set on the Megs system, so suggest away for anything else. Im pretty sure I need some product that should be really really easy to wipe off once Im done with it, because the paint is so soft I dont want to re-swirl the areas I just corrected.

Once *I* am satisfied with the job, I will probably OptiCoat it myself (unless the guy that detailed it is going to work with me to get just about very swirl out without charging me TOO much....Im not relying on that being the case though)

Thanks in advance.

-Chris
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:39 AM   #2
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Re: Best products and process for paint like BMW Jet Black

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:28 AM   #3
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Re: Best products and process for paint like BMW Jet Black

I haven't used the Megs MF system however I think it might be a little harsh for your soft paint.

Soft paint can be very difficult to correct with out micro marring.

What types of pads and compounds/polishes do you already have on hand? You may not need to get rid of anything just use different pad/product combos to ensure a swirl free finish.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:42 AM   #4
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Re: Best products and process for paint like BMW Jet Black

Sometimes you have to think outside the box with soft paint. I've had good results using a cutting pad with a finishing polish as well as a finishing pad with M105. The next experiment is to use the MF finishing pad with the Correcting Compound and see how that works.

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Old 04-08-2011, 07:25 AM   #5
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Re: Best products and process for paint like BMW Jet Black

This is what I have, and Ill explain what I tried:

For polish, Poorboys SSR1 and 2.5, Megs Ultimate Compound, M105, M205, Gtechniq P1

For pads, 5.5" Lake Country Hydrotech in Crimson (ultra finish) and tangerine (ultra polish). 4" Excel Erasure (they seem to be made by Lake Country), yellow (hardest), white (light polish), black, red (softest)

I "gave up" after I got the oil smearing because I wasnt sure it was oil smearing....I thought I had really hosed the paint but the detailer told me otherwise. A good example spot was the left fender. There were a few "RIDS" type swirls (they werent scratches, but they were deeper than normal swirls). I hit it with a few things....first the 4" pad and Gtechniq P1....figuring I needed at least a little aggression. That didnt touch it. Tried P1 with a harder (yellow) pad. Again, didnt touch it. What ended up working was Megs 105 on the polish pad, which of course left some hazing, but that cleaned up nicely with P1 on another polish pad. After having some success there, I tried to move on to the rest of the car (using P1 on polish pad first) but started noticing a haze under the halogens. Pulled it out into the sun and saw what I thought to be micro-marring but may have turned out to be oils leftover from the polish or previous products.

What is interesting is that if the paint is so soft, why did it take 105 to get out some basic slightly deeper than normal swirls? The only thing I can think of is the fact that Im using the original PC and the pads are pretty thick (1.25" or thicker). I figured lower profile pads (like the megs MF pads) might help harness the power of the old PC a little better, possibly leading to the use of less aggressive products (could M205 have better correction ability with the low profile compound pad).

After talking to the detailer he suggested using the compound and wax included in the Megs MF setup....but not necessarily the whole setup (he said try the products on my pads first). But after still seeing swirls that were there when I dropped off the car, it makes me wonder if what he is suggesting is not aggressive enough even though the paint is that soft. On the other hand, the swirls I see are visible under halogens about 6" from the car. 99% of the swirls are probably only noticeable at certain angles of sun (damn you sun!!) and only if you are looking for them (damn my mind for remembering where they are!!!)

The only reason Im even thinking about close to perfection is that I wanted to seal it all in with OptiCoat, provided no expected ill effects on such soft paint.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:43 AM   #6
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Re: Best products and process for paint like BMW Jet Black

Just because the paint is "soft" doesn't mean it will correct easily. For example a lot of detailers say that Corvette paint is "soft" but it takes some heavier compound to actually rid the car of swirls.

Soft means that is will swirl/scratch easily but doesn't really mean that it's easy to correct.

A friend of mine has a BMW 328i (black) and it's paint swirls and scratches almost by looking at it.

So you going for the opti-coat protectant will hopefully assist with the softness.

As for how to tackle the paint, each paint system is different and honestly the only way your going to be able to find out what works on your paint is to tape off a 2x2 section and work it until you get that spot perfect. You may have to do 4 or 5 different pad/product combos to finally get it right. Go through all polishing steps, and even the sealant/wax that you choose. To see what your finished product will look like. Then you need to repeat that on every section of the car. Most sections will react the same at your test spot but you may run into areas that take a little more correcting than you test spot. Good rule of thumb is to ensure you check your progress after each step and on each section to ensure your getting the results you want.

It very well maybe that you have to use M105 and a light cut pad (or heavier cut pad) to get some of the deeper defects, then follow that up with a lighter polish and polishing pad. And you may even need to hit it with an ultra fine polish and pad to get it to finish the way you want to.

To help with the oils issue that you ran into before, try using a paint cleanser after the polishing stages or you can do a dawn wash to strip it of all oils. I usually use IPA (diluted to 10%), however I wouldn't use this on "soft" paint since it will most likely induce some slight swirling.

Hope this helps. It's really hard to tell you exactly what to do since every paint system will react differently. Even on the same model/year of car its possible to have the same process not work on both cars.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:54 AM   #7
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Re: Best products and process for paint like BMW Jet Black

Soft paint and deep defects:

M105 on the PC with almost any pad sans surbuf or MF is still fairly "OK", and is many times required to remove some deep RIDS. I'm sure something like M205 would eventually cut through, but for a pro the time-cost-benefit analysis will lead him to something faster. No problem with that as the Pro knows what to look out for, can measure paint, and can see how things are working before it is too late. The DIYer can also do all these things, but will usually lack the experience for the first times around.

Keep in mind not all RIDS are the same depth even if they are right next to each other and look the same. Also know that you are looking at a black car from very close. A few feet away some of those RIDS may not be noticeable. Is the reduction in paint life from thinning clearcoat worth the RIDS?

Going after RIDS with M105, you want to use M105 just up to the point you want the defects corrected. This is where a test panel comes into glory. Do small and short passes with M105 and inspect after each pass. Do a few sections with M105 (perfecting your technique more at each section) so you can try finishing combinations over the M105 marks. Use a white pad or something soft if the surface has any contours for M105, and black pads for refining polishes.

Menzerna 106FA works great on cars like the Berlina Black S2000, even as a one step. 3M Ultrafina is another good option. Stuff like 85RD although made for jeweling sometimes is too gummy and just makes more of a mess. Sometimes it makes a spectacular difference, though:








Wiping is probably the most difficult aspect of soft blacks. Stuff like 85RD on a blue pad is basically wiping, which can leave a slight micromarring haze. In one case 106FA finished down much more crisp.

Use very clean towels, and very soft towels. Keep them clean, wash properly and separate from any other mf, and use glass cleaner to wipe of polish residue little by little. Other than that, take your time.

And once all that is done, I'd definitely throw some OC or CQuartz on it ASAP!!! Either should be able to go one easily enough to not re-introducce marring.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:02 AM   #8
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Re: Best products and process for paint like BMW Jet Black

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I did actually try to wash the oils off, but I didnt have an APC to use, so I re-did a high ratio wash with Chem Guys citrus. Unfortunately that didnt seem to make a difference for whatever reason. That was proven by the fact that I could spray straight water on the car and it would still bead.

Its an interesting point about how far to go, should I bother getting every last swirl out, etc. Especially if they are that hard to see in the sun. I think Ill step back from it for now and drive the car and check it whenever I can. Its very possible Im being too neurotic about getting every little thing out before OptiCoating. I suppose worst case is that I cant live with certain things *after* its been coated, so the coating would need to be polished off and then reapplied once the paint is corrected.

Now I just need to find out if OptiCoat has issues with soft paint and/or self healing clearcoat. I actually have a bottle of Gtechniq C1 sitting at home, but later found out that it may have issues with such soft paint.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:04 AM   #9
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Re: Best products and process for paint like BMW Jet Black

Try glass cleaner for removing polish residue, much more effective than Citrus Wash. APC for paint is not needed IMO.

What issues would C1 have on soft paints?
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:12 AM   #10
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Re: Best products and process for paint like BMW Jet Black

Didnt even dawn (no pun) on me that you could use glass cleaner. Just straight Windex?

Rob from Gtechniq said it can be hard to get C1 correct with soft paint. Thats all he mentioned about it.

Honestly I think Id prefer OptiCoat anyway, because there is at least a window to make sure its correct (30 minutes with the consumer version is plenty of time I think).

I think Im coming to terms with leaving the car the way it is and just OptiCoating it. I have to remove the existing sealant/wax though, thats going to be the tough part without remarring the car.
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