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  1. #1
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    Help detailing neglected BMW Z4? New guy starting from scratch

    Hello All,

    New to all this. In the past I've been a one bucket wash guy with a garden hose, didn't even dry the cars after washing. Long time ago even had a chamois but it was so much work it just drifted away like the stiff board it always seemed to be when I picked it up. Back in 2015 I left the city, with its clean streets, and retired to my own little horse ranch in the mountains of Northern Idaho.

    Between all the projects I was lucky to be able to even wash the rigs a couple of times each summer. After a day of driving the cars are dust covered. Ultra fine silt dust and gravel dust roads the last 3 miles. Wife's car is such a mess after a single trip her job in town that you have to clean yourself if you touch anything except a door handle. Forget looking out the back window!

    Fast forward to now and I'm getting back to driving my Z4, which I have to clean after ever ride, and I've set my sight on getting a 2nd Gen Toyota Century late next year once it becomes legal to import. That car deserves to be pampered so I'm on the road to figuring it all out. In the process I started to notice how dull the Z4 is and how the dirt just clings to the Rav4. That's what I'm digging into right now.

    I tend to go all in as usual. Getting ready to order a Griot's G9, thinking maybe the Black Diamond kit, but still lost in all the package options. Plan is to wash like a grown up, restore the paint on the rigs I have, and get some good finial finishes going. In the process of inspection I'm finding the Rav4 has rust starting in some rock chips and the truck has a section of paint that just plain failed, so got to learn touch up painting while I'm recovering the finish.

    Current cars
    2005 BMW Z4 - garaged
    2014 Toyota Rav4 - garaged in winter
    2011 Chevy HD3500 - garaged in winter

    I have a tractor to practice on, can't hurt that thing

    End of next year I should have a 1997 Toyota Century parked in the garage


    Keith


    This is what I'm thinking to start, thoughts are welcome

    3 bucket wash with grit guards. Foamaster Gun kit

    Tires - wooly bushes with Wolfgang Uber. Pressure wash the underside and wheel wheels

    Iron X, and Pinnacle Ulta clay and lube

    Black Diamond Polishing kit, has the G9 polisher, pads I need are included. Coating would go on the Rav4 and Z4. Just wax on the truck.

    Wolfgang Headlight kit

    303 convertible top kit, Need to find the right blush

    Maybe Ultima Waterless Wash , Cobra waterless wash towel for when I get the Z4 off the dusty roads on any given day.

  2. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Hello from Northern Idaho

    Quote Originally Posted by doitwithlife View Post

    Hello All,

    New to all this. In the past I've been a one bucket wash guy with a garden hose, didn't even dry the cars after washing. Long time ago even had a chamois but it was so much work it just drifted away like the stiff board it always seemed to be when I picked it up.

    Back in 2015 I left the city, with its clean streets, and retired to my own little horse ranch in the mountains of Northern Idaho.
    Congratulations!

    When I left Meguiar's and moved to Florida to work for Autogeek, I tell people I didn't "move" - I escaped.

    I covered Northern Idaho when I worked for Meguiar's as Trainer. I covered Oregon, Washington and Northern Idaho. Beautiful country and away from the hectic big city life.




    Quote Originally Posted by doitwithlife View Post

    I have a tractor to practice on, can't hurt that thing
    Nothing wrong with practicing on old tractors...


    Pictures: 1947 John Deere Tractor - Show Tractor Makeover!











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  4. #3
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Hello from Northern Idaho

    One thing I would suggest...


    The title of this thread reads,

    Hello from Northern Idaho


    The way people on forums work, is if they are the type of person that hangs out on a forum to ANSWER other people's questions, they scan the form for threads that have titles that read something like this,


    Help detailing BMW Z4? New guy


    Now the above will get the attention of nice people that like to help others.

    The current title attracts other nice people, the kind of people that like to "welcome" new members, not necessarily answer questions with information.


    Somewhere on this forum I have an article on this topic...



  5. #4
    Super Member 2black1s's Avatar
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    Re: Help detailing neglected BMW Z4? New guy starting from scratch

    I commend your curiosity and I'm sure you can find a wealth of information here to satisfy it. And your determination... But...

    Freshly detailed cars and dirt roads on a regular basis aren't exactly a match made in heaven.

    As much as I like clean machines, I'm not sure that I could muster up the motivation if I was presented with your case.

    Good Luck.

  6. #5
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    Re: Help detailing neglected BMW Z4? New guy starting from scratch

    I think eventually you might want to apply a coating to those cars. First, however, look into short term spray sealants that will help protect but don’t need a perfectly corrected surface first. I just applied Griot’s garage 3in1 ceramic to my son’s car but there are plenty of options - it seems to last longer than most spray sealants so that might be less than ideal while you’re learning.

    Also, I’m a big fan of rinseless washes. They are quick and safe as long as there isn’t caked on mud. For your situation, where there’s dust every time you go up and down you drive, they might be a good solution. I would hate to try a tree/two bucket wash each time you drove. Or even twice a week. (For that matter I’d had to have to do that once a month; I’ve done one in the last five years.)

  7. #6
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    Re: Help detailing neglected BMW Z4? New guy starting from scratch

    Quote Originally Posted by Texchappy View Post

    Also, I’m a big fan of rinseless washes.
    Thats good to hear. Its a new concept to me, this waterless wash and/ or rinse. For day to day driving a bit of dust is no big deal. There are times when I want the car at its best when being to just knock the dust off would be a huge win.

    Right now the rigs have no protection so the dirt is just bonding with the paint. My hope is that if I can figure out the right treatment they aren't going to stay perfect, but the road is going to be less adherent and more likely to not like the magnets they currently are. Plus, they are going to last wayyyy longer.

    I'll give the spray sealants another look. Since some of our rigs are indoors more than out, we might get quiet of a bit of mileage out of them with lots less cost and effort

  8. #7
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    Re: Help detailing neglected BMW Z4? New guy starting from scratch

    I’d definitely look at the Griot’s 3in1 ceramic. It’s available widely, inexpensive, and from what I’ve read does a good job. I’ve seen 6+ months mostly from YouTube reviews but iirc at least one report on here.

    As a matter of fact, a trio of 3in1, Griot’s rinseless and/or spray on car wash, and Ceramic Speed Shine quick detailer as a drying aid would work a treat.

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  10. #8
    Super Member oneheadlite's Avatar
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    Re: Help detailing neglected BMW Z4? New guy starting from scratch

    Welcome to the forum!

    In your shoes, I donít think Iíd immediately scale up to 3 bucket washing (which, unless you have a full concours car I think is just to look good on social mediaÖ ); I think just making some smart changes can yield a very noticeable difference.

    Hopefully this stays coherent, Iím just gonna do a brain dump of my thoughts for if I were in your shoes.

    Do you have a pressure washer? Given the description of where you live, I think the most important thing you can do is work to get the grit off the surface before you touch it. Even just starting the wash by doing an initial rinse with the pressure washer does a lot to lessen your chance of wash marring. Iíve got a $100 dollar Ryobi 1600psi/1.2GPM electric unit that works just swell for car duty, even with my foam cannon.

    My 2 cents - Iím personally not a believer in using a standard car wash soap and turning it into foam for washing via a (pressure washer) cannon or (hose style) gun. My brain doesnít comprehend how a pile of bubbles that pop when you touch them will provide any extra lubrication or safety as youíre moving your mitt around. But, there are soaps that are specifically designed to work as a pre-treatment to help loosen/remove dirt before you start.

    I personally am a big Griotís Garage fan; I use their BOSS Foam Cannon and their Foaming Surface Wash and Foaming Poly Gloss in it. The advertising copy says that the Foaming Surface Wash is designed to be a 2 stage foam where you apply it (starting at the bottom and working up) to your dry dirty car. The first stage the foam bonds to the dirt and lifts it from the surface, then the second stage it drops that dirt to the floor as the foam breaks down and runs off. You then pressure wash rinse whatís left off and follow with your wash of choice.
    I can say that I noticed a night and day difference in what the water in the bucket looks like after a (single bucket with grit guard) wash. You end up with waaay less dirt in the bucket, thus there was way less dirt you were moving around on the surface. There are times where Iíll start with the Foaming Surface Wash then pull the car in the garage and do a rinseless wash. Safety wise, nothing beats a traditional wash, but my driveway doesnít have much for shade and both our cars are dark. This way Iím not fighting water spots.
    The Foaming Poly Gloss is a super easy to use (same process and the surface wash) booster to add protection to every surface. They also claim it helps cut down static as well. Itís good stuff.

    Quick thoughts on the Polishing Kit - If you get a 5Ē plate for the G9, I would get the Griotís plate designed for the machine - the backing plate is part of the cooling strategy for the machine, so you want the ventilation the Griotís plate provides. Also, Especially since you have a truck, Iíd consider having 6 (6.5) inch pads in your arsenal. The G9 is a really solid performer, and doesnít have issues like older short throw machines with keeping pad rotation going (Why they so often recommended switching to 5.5Ē thin pads in the past). To be honest, Iíve actually found times where my G9 would turn 6.5Ē thick pads better on contours and such than it would turn thin 5.5Ē pads.

    I stick with the Griotís pads, but Iíll confess this is due mainly to A: Brand loyalty - I blow less money on detailing supplies if I try to stick to as few brands as possible, and B: I just donít have enough time as a hobbyist to try out a ton of different pads.

    Remember youíll need a fair number of pads to do each car (Search: Mike Phillips how many pads do I need to buff out my car). You could totally try a variety of pads with this approach and see what works for you.

    For an Iron Remover, I like the Griotís Iron and Fallout Remover - Iíve gotten the same results from it as Iron X when Iíve done a shootout comparo with them. Honestly, you could probably just get whateverís on sale at the moment; Iíve heard good feedback on the Blackfire one as well, Iím sure all the house brands are good.

    If time is limited, you could go with a synthetic clay option (mitt, towel, pad, etc), but nothing wrong with going the traditional clay route.

    Since youíre just starting out, you could honestly start simple and do an All in One like Blackfire One Step, especially for your Toyota (my observation is that it seems most of the Asian cars tend to have soft paint which both corrects and mars easier. For your BMW and Truck, you could probably start with a compound of choice (I like the Griotís Fast Correcting Cream), then follow it with the Blackfire One Step. You could also top this with anything your heart sees fit. I did Blackfire One Step topped with Sonax Polymer Net Sealant on my Wifeís Momís car and have been really happy with the results.

    If youíre really looking to go for maximum performance of your LSP, then using a polish as your last correcting step followed by a prep wipe would be best. If youíre going to go the coating route, make sure to do your research for application. I tried a lighter-duty coating product (Gyeon Cancoat), but found that my lighting situation was sub optimal so it made for a very stressful application process.

    The Griotís Ceramic 3in1 is a good option - itís super easy to use. It doesnít give you the super insane beading of some other products, but it also has been a solid performer for resisting water spots and bird bomb etching. Iíve had it on my car since last July. After the winter you can tell itís still there, but you can tell there is contamination buildup on the side panels. Iím probably going to do a solid decontamination wash and reapply. There are a ton of options, I recommend just reading up on the ones that peak your interest.

    Like you mention, once you get some baseline protection on the cars, your life is going to be so much easier. A protected car is markedly easier to clean, which will make you more inclined to keep up with it.

    Last things on the car washing front - Instead of doing 3 buckets, you can also do the multi mitt method like Eldorado2k and others on here use. Instead of multiple buckets and a single mitt, you use one bucket of wash solution and a stack of wash mitts. Once youíre done with a mitt, instead of recharging it in the bucket you toss it aside to be laundered and go to a fresh mitt. Youíll use a bunch, but it really speeds up the process. I like the Ultra soft microfiber Rinseless Wash Mitt on the site, and you can frequently get them on sale for like $5.

    Also, for your conditions, Iíd say Rinseless (with a pre-spray) is a safer bet than Waterless - if youíre on a dirt road Iíd play it as safe as possible.

    Hope this helps!

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  12. #9
    Super Member 2black1s's Avatar
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    Re: Help detailing neglected BMW Z4? New guy starting from scratch

    oneheadlite... That's some great information for the OP.

    Like I said earlier, motivation would be a big factor for me given the "dirt road" circumstances. Heck, I couldn't even find the motivation to think of how I might handle that circumstance other than throwing in the towel.

    Good job!

  13. #10
    Super Member oneheadlite's Avatar
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    Re: Help detailing neglected BMW Z4? New guy starting from scratch

    Thank you!
    Mainly I just wanted to chime in because I know (especially when just starting off on here) it’s easy to get excited and want to go all out and buy all of the things. But I think it’s good to step back and look at where you’re at at what you’re working with.

    As an example, for myself I’m shifting my mindset for my expectations for my own car. It’s a daily driver with over 250k that sees 25k added each year. Instead of stressing myself out about show car level perfection, I’m just bringing back the joy of keeping it clean and having a good looking car more often (instead of a dirty car with perfect paint underneath - no time for a 100% proper wash, but there are no swirls if you don’t wash it!…)

    Speaking of throwing towels, I forgot to mention - OP, you need the Griot’s PFMs in your life for drying. I personally like the 16x16 size, you can dry your whole Z4 with one, and probably your truck with 2. For rinseless I like the Shine and Buff Waterless (they’re blue and grey) or the Rag Company Eagle Edgeless (I think mine are in the 400gsm range?).

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