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  1. #1
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    New to machine polishing, some questions....

    Recently picked up an '04 F-150 with 57K miles. Truck is in excellent cosmetic shape, especially considering it's 15 years old. One owner, and by the looks of it I'm guessing garage kept. Planning on picking up the Harbor Freight DA polisher to start taking care of the F-150 as well as my wife's '16 Ford Flex. I've already ordered a 5" backing plate to replace the HF one so I can use LC 5.5" flat pads. I know there are "better" DA's out there, but for a hobbyist like myself the HF DA will suffice. My goals are to remove surface defects on the F-150 while also improving the overall paint appearance. For my wife's Flex there are very few surface scratches and blemishes on otherwise excellent paint. Just looking to correct the few surface blemishes and polishing everything else. After doing a TON of reading and research, I feel like I have a very firm grasp on machine polishing basics. But still have a few questions before I dive in.......

    The paint on my F-150 (medium wedgewood metallic) is in great shape. No oxidation and hardly any noticeable swirl marks. However, there are several surface scratches, marrings, bird dropping stains, etc. that I'd like to address. These are scattered around the truck on most panels. My plan is to do a test area on one of the panels with the scratches or marring (obviously after washing and claying) using an LC orange pad w/ Meguiars Ultimate Compound, then followed up with Meguiars Ultimate polish on one of the LC finishing pads, but not sure which one. Black, white, green? While addressing a panel with the scratches and marrings using the LC orange pad and compound, do you apply more pressure and spend more time to the defective areas and less pressure/time on the better paint on the panel? Basically I'm trying to understand how to work an entire section with the same pad and compound where there are defects but also "good"paint. I'm thinking pressure and working time are the key, but just want to make sure.

    With all of that said, do you guys agree the Meguairs UC and UP with LC flat pads are good choices for myself? I'm not looking for showroom new, but would like to remove defects and improve the paint on the F-150 as well as improve and get some pop/shine to my wife's Flex (grey/silver metallic paint). In regards to pads, what colors do you guys recommend? I'm planning on orange for the first step on my F-150 with Meguiars UC, but am not sure on what color for my second step using Meguiars UP. I'm not sure if the Flex will need the aggression of an orange pad with UC, but testing will tell. Either way I'd like to use the same color pad for the UP application on the Flex as the F-150. I'm thinking Orange with UC then white or green with UP. Thoughts?

    Black pad to apply wax? Have a new tube of Collinite 845 that I want to give a try. Any tips on applying a liquid wax by machine?

    And lastly, how does this look pad wise to get going on two vehicles (not done at the same time).

    Orange (compounding) - 6
    White/Green (polishing)- 4
    Black (wax application) - 2

    Any other tips/suggestions are much appreciated!!

  2. #2
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    Re: New to machine polishing, some questions....

    I would go and look at the review of the new version of the Harbor Freight DA polisher on Apex Detailing Channel on Youtube. Seems like a bump down in the quality build vs the old version from them. I would highly consider the Griots Garage 6" polisher. As you know you have a polisher for many years. And also the warrenty is excellent from them if something happens. The extra cost of the GG6 can be well worth it in the longrun.

    Have not experience with the LC pads. But generally speaking it's hard to say what will work in the cutting step or not. And the polishing is a little easier as it's get you the gloss and think that you will be fine with the white pads from them. Maybe consider the Meguiars D300 compound instead of the UC. It's works great on foam pads too and you have a compound if needed to be stepping up to a mf cutting pad from Meguiars. If going with UC you can make some extra passes per sections to get more cut and a higher speed setting. The pressure applyied on a DA you don't get so much out of. As it's useally slows down the pad rotation. Like firmly hand shake and steer the polisher and you are good. Also marking the backing plate to see that you maintain the pad rotation is a great thing to do.

    Useally you go with the same amount of passes per sections and armspeed to get an uniform level down on the paint. If you have some deeper defects you can work them an extra set of passes per sections with a reload of the UC. To just spot buff smaller sections.

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  4. #3
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    Re: New to machine polishing, some questions....

    Thanks for the reply.

    Bummer on the new HF DA!!

  5. #4
    Senior Member rlmccarty2000's Avatar
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    Re: New to machine polishing, some questions....

    I would look into the Meguires Microfiber Cutting Pads and d300. By using this you ca remove most scratches that are not down to the primer and even make those look better. The HF polisher needs help powerwise and the Megs microfiber pads are light and spin faster. Follow up with a finishing pad and polish. If you are using was d301 or d302 has wax and a fine polish and would be a good base for Collinite.

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  7. #5
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    Re: New to machine polishing, some questions....

    Quote Originally Posted by rlmccarty2000 View Post
    I would look into the Meguires Microfiber Cutting Pads and d300. By using this you ca remove most scratches that are not down to the primer and even make those look better. The HF polisher needs help powerwise and the Megs microfiber pads are light and spin faster. Follow up with a finishing pad and polish. If you are using was d301 or d302 has wax and a fine polish and would be a good base for Collinite.
    Thanks for the reply. I already have Meguiars UC and UP on hand. Sounds like I need to consider a better quality DA. I think I'm going to end up going with the Griot's Garage DA. The review of the new HF DA in the video from the 2nd post was less than encouraging!! I was also eyeing up the PC 7424XP, but for a few bucks more I can get the Griot's, which seems to be one of the higher recommended ones here on this forum.

    With the Griot's Garage DA instead of the Harbor Freight DA, how does my plan from my original post sound?

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  9. #6
    Senior Member vobro's Avatar
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    Re: New to machine polishing, some questions....

    Sounds like a good start to me,the GG is a workhorse with a great warranty.

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    Senior Member MarkD51's Avatar
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    Re: New to machine polishing, some questions....

    I agree with others, the GG6 would be the best bang for the dollar, yes, a little bit more money than a HF, but there's also piece of mind, a lifetime warrantee with the Griots. The PC is a good machine too, I have one, but most will tell you the Griots is a bit more powerful, less tendency to stall.

    You can outfit the Griots with a number of backing plates as well, to correspond with Pads in the 3", 4", and 5,5" sizes.

    See where you get with the Megs Polish first before resorting to the compound. You can always spot polish here and there with the compound if there are some areas not cleaning up well with the polish first, then return to the polish again for the highest luster and shine.

    The LC Flat Pads are of high quality, but you can burn up any pad by overworking them, so have a decent number of a couple-few different densities, and then get in the habit of after polishing a couple panels, swap out for a clean fresh one and begin again where you left off.

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  13. #8
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    Re: New to machine polishing, some questions....

    No matter what machine you use. Just do a test spot starting with the finest pad and finest polish you have and keep going up in grit and coarseness until you get what you want. Then, that is the pad and compound choice you should go with.

    In the end, what you’re doing is levelling paint. You want to get to the end result using the finest pad and polish combo you can.

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  15. #9
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    Re: New to machine polishing, some questions....

    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyCanuck View Post
    No matter what machine you use. Just do a test spot starting with the finest pad and finest polish you have and keep going up in grit and coarseness until you get what you want. Then, that is the pad and compound choice you should go with.

    In the end, what you’re doing is levelling paint. You want to get to the end result using the finest pad and polish combo you can.
    Great advice. Thanks!!

    I'm going to order the 12 pack mix-n-match of the LC flat pads. Should be plenty to get me going. Going with 5 orange (cutting/compounding), 5 white or green (polishing) and 2 black (wax application). I'm sort of torn on the polishing pad between the white and green. Afraid the white might be too aggressive for a final polish, but also afraid the green might not clean up well enough after the orange with Ultimate Compound. Am I over thinking this?

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  17. #10
    Senior Member VISITOR's Avatar
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    Re: New to machine polishing, some questions....

    Here's what you need to get into machine polishing - Recommendations for a beginner by Mike Phillips

    the GG6 has been a proven workhorse for over a decade and is the one polisher (before long stroke polishers entered the market) that helped push the envelope (torque/power/quality build) towards other polishers we have currently have now. equip it with the different size backing plate and pads, there isn't really much you can't tackle with it. i've had my 2nd gen GG6 since they came out and it's one tool i wouldn't be without...

    p.s. apparently with the new (bauer) hf da, there are two different versions of it like with the previous one. still though, i would rather save up and buy the GG6 and do it right from the start...




    btw, Brian/Apex Detail has no bias towards any brand and will honestly say what he feels about any product/tool (IIRC, there's only one brand that he's not fond of and will not buy anymore of their tools). here he proves that the GG polishers are both quality inside and out...

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