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Old 06-21-2010, 01:01 AM   #1
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Flex 3401 vs 3403

As the title suggests. Which one would be best for mild paint correction, waxing, polishing, and general light work? And in addition: would this(FLEX L3403 VRG Lightweight Circular Polisher 5.5 inch Pad Kit, FLEX Rotary Polisher Kit, ceramic paint polish kit, 5.5 inch foam pads, Lake Country,) be acceptable to use on conventional clear coat? Or is it only for ceramic clear coat?

Please exclude learning curves, as that is not an issue ;-) How long does it take for each of them to break down a light polish w/ medium/light cutting pad? And can a rotary be used for waxing?

Sorry for the million questions =)
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:20 AM   #2
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Re: Flex 3401 vs 3403

Comparison to each other:

3401-DA,heavier,takes more passes to achieve results and longer, limited to edge 2k adaptor to use smaller pads,

3403-Rotary,lighter,stronger motor,can use smaller/bigger BPs and pads,

For breaking down polishes, there is no definite answer because that would depend on the DAT product used. But definitely, a rotary will correct faster with less passes and cover a larger area. I have never used a rotary to apply waxes, only used a DA, but went back to hand application; i have better control over product usage that way. Hope that helps.

I would choose the LK603VVB over the other two models though, for two reasons, its the best priced and doesn't overheat during prolonged usage compared to the 3403.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:10 AM   #3
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Re: Flex 3401 vs 3403

two different machines, on Random Orbital and other rotary. The 3401 is often the one referred to when suggesting Flex buffers.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:41 AM   #4
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Re: Flex 3401 vs 3403

In our Video forum there's a few videos on buffers..


How To Pick a Polisher


Here's a short video where you can see the Flex 3401 in action as I show how to "Pick up a bead of product".



These are two very different tool, the Flex 3401 will be easier to learn how to use and master but because the Flex 3403 is small and lightweight it too is fairly easy to learn how to use and master...


Learning how to achieve a 100% swirl free finish using ONLY a rotary buffer will take some practice but a lot of people are happy to get close to 100% swirl free and then apply the wax or paint sealant and at that point it will be swirl free. Just depends on how much of a perfectionist you are.


See this article,

How to choose the right polisher for your detailing project


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Old 06-21-2010, 12:24 PM   #5
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Re: Flex 3401 vs 3403

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike.Phillips@Autogeek View Post
In our Video forum there's a few videos on buffers..


How To Pick a Polisher


Here's a short video where you can see the Flex 3401 in action as I show how to "Pick up a bead of product".

YouTube - Performing a "Test Spot" to the paint on a 1957 Chevrolet Belair


These are two very different tool, the Flex 3401 will be easier to learn how to use and master but because the Flex 3403 is small and lightweight it too is fairly easy to learn how to use and master...


Learning how to achieve a 100% swirl free finish using ONLY a rotary buffer will take some practice but a lot of people are happy to get close to 100% swirl free and then apply the wax or paint sealant and at that point it will be swirl free. Just depends on how much of a perfectionist you are.


See this article,

How to choose the right polisher for your detailing project


Thanks for the wonderful article! I guess I need to learn to use the search function a bit more...

I think I have decided on the Makita 9227 C. Do you know if I can apply wax or sealants it?
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Old 06-21-2010, 12:29 PM   #6
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Re: Flex 3401 vs 3403

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher View Post

I think I have decided on the Makita 9227 C. Do you know if I can apply wax or sealants it?
What can be done and what should be done are often two different things...

Applying a wax or paint sealant using a rotary buffer can be done but you have to be very careful that you don't leave the paint looking swirly. Again, some people don't care about details like swirls, especially on a grocery getter or light colored daily driver.

I don't now what you're expectations are?

Most the people on a forum like this are "Serious Online Enthusiast" looking for show car results. Most, not all. Usually they let us know...


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Old 06-21-2010, 12:51 PM   #7
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Re: Flex 3401 vs 3403

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike.Phillips@Autogeek View Post

I don't now what you're expectations are?
Sorry about that. No swirls would be preferred, but not important. The big thing is that they are not SUPER obvious. I live in Washington and it drizzles all the time - and for some reason especially after I just washed the car. I am just don't really want to go through the effort of maintaining a show car finish up here, I can settle for second-best.
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:02 AM   #8
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Re: Flex 3401 vs 3403

If your like me (and it sounds like it) you havn't used a DA or Rotary before.

In which case most people will recommend you start with a DA - the risk of burning paint with a rotary is quite high (apparently).

If your going to go the DA route then you just need to ask yourself if you want a Flex 3401 OR a cheaper DA (Megs/PC/Griots).

Personally I am going straight for the Flex3401, it is expensive, but I figure it will be worth it in the long run...
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:52 AM   #9
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Re: Flex 3401 vs 3403

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Originally Posted by tephra View Post
In which case most people will recommend you start with a DA - the risk of burning paint with a rotary is quite high (apparently).

If your going to go the DA route then you just need to ask yourself if you want a Flex 3401 OR a cheaper DA (Megs/PC/Griots).

Personally I am going straight for the Flex3401, it is expensive, but I figure it will be worth it in the long run...
Yes a rotary has a little more of a learning curve to make sure you dont harm the paint and a bigger learning curve to get the finish hologram free but it is not something to be afraid of either. As long as you are careful you will be just fine. A big thing to remember is to always tape off anything you dont want to accidentally hit with the buffer.

Secondly, you will love the flex! I have had mine for a while and absolutely love it. It has great correctiong power and handles very nicely.

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Old 06-22-2010, 07:14 AM   #10
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Re: Flex 3401 vs 3403

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher View Post
Sorry about that. No swirls would be preferred, but not important. The big thing is that they are not SUPER obvious. I live in Washington and it drizzles all the time - and for some reason especially after I just washed the car. I am just don't really want to go through the effort of maintaining a show car finish up here, I can settle for second-best.
I lived in Oregon most of my life and was a Trainer for Meguiar's in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. I had a detail shop in Bellvue for a while when I lived in Densmore, so I'm very familiar with all the rain.

Out of all the polishers available, using a rotary buffer requires the most upper body strength and skill, that's why in this article I wrote

How to choose the right polisher for your detailing project


I gave the tools an

"Ease us use ranking"
  • The Flex Lightweight was given a 4 and the full size rotary buffers were given a 5
  • The single head DA Polishers with Free Floating Spindle Assemblies were give a 1
  • The Cyclo was give a 2
  • The Flex 3410 was given a 3
The reasons were explained thoroughly in the article too...

If you just want to do mild correction and apply some wax and basically maintain your car's finish any of the DA Polishers are more than capable of doing this and the learning curve is the easiest.

If you want a tool you can grow into then get the rotary buffer, that's what I started out with and I have zero regrets.

All the above tools are capable of doing what you want, just in different ways. If you have any questions, call our Customer Care line at 1-800-869-3011 as these folks are very good at making sure you get the right tool and pads for the project you're working on.


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