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  1. #1
    Mike Phillips

    Autogeek's Detailing Class in South America!

    Autogeek's Detailing Class in South America!

    On Saturday April 5th and Sunday, April 6th, we held our two-day detailing boot camp class at my good friend Christian Thompson's detailing shop in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    In my detailing boot camp classes I teach the order to do each step when detailing cars. The pictures below are taken from the different steps after first going over the products and procedures in a power point presentation. After each step is presented in the power point the topic ends with a slide that reads,

    Break for hands-on

    These classes are fast paced with a little classroom time to get the head knowledge needed to do a specific task or procedure the right way followed with plenty of shop time using the products and tools to back up what was learned in the class.

    Removing Scratches out of Glass
    One of the demo cars was a restored Mustang in dire need of both wetsanding to remove surface texture as well as glass polishing to remove decades of wiper scratches in the windshield.

    For this we used the Porter Cable 7424XP plus Ceriglass from CarPro which uses Cerium Oxide for an abrasive to actually abrade the glass and level it thus removing the scratches.

    The first thing I teach guys is to never start on the driver's side where if something were to go wrong you could impair the driver's vision. Instead, I teach to start on side glass, back glass or in this case, the passenger side of the windshield.

    Classic cars have what are called fresh air grills where vents inside the car can draw fresh air. In most cases you cannot get to the sheetmetal below the grill to clean and remove any splatter from the glass polishing process, (or the paint polishing process), so it's important to tape-off and cover up the openings on fresh air grills on classic cars.

    Here were inspecting the sheetmetal below the grill as there is already compound splatter from the other people that have at one time or another buffed out this car.

    We're not going to add to it at this class...

    After covering the fresh air grill with some masking tape I start by demonstrating the correct technique for using a Porter Cable to remove scratches out of the glass.

    After inspecting the results from the first few passes to show the scratches are being removed and optical clarity is being restored, it's time for one of the students get some hands-on training and experience.

    Perfect technique his first time machine polishing glass....

    When machine polishing glass it helps to have a buddy to mist a little water while you're buffing because glass polishes tend to dry up quickly. This works best with a water sprayer that really does a good job of atomizing the water into a fine spray as this dramatically reduces any splatter mess.

    Next up... headlight polishing....

  2. #2
    Mike Phillips

    Re: Autogeeks Detailing Classes in Argentina!

    Next up is headlight restoration....

    For light oxidation you can often times get away with a simple machine polishing. If the OEM coating is failing or the headlights are severely damaged, then the fastest way and more thorough way to restore the headlight is to sand off the failing OEM coating and then remove your sanding marks then seal the headlight.

    Machine Wet Sanding
    The Griot's Garage 3" Mini Polisher is one of my favorite tools for machine wet sanding. I use it for wet sanding car paint and also for headlights and because a lot of guys have never seen machine wet sanding using this tool or 3" sanding discs I show it in all my detailing boot camp classes.

    Clean your pads before buffing
    After sanding we're going to use a wool pad on the Flex PE14 to make quick work of the sanding marks but before you use any pad on any tool it's a good practice to always first clean your pad.

    To clean wool pads you want to use a steel pad cleaning spur and either rest the tool against your leg while running the spur over the pad.

    Or you can rest the tool on the ground and then run the spur over the pad.

    To remove the sanding marks we're using Detailer's All-In_One Headlight Restoring Polish.

    Here I'm showing how to use the 10 @ 10 Technique to pick up a bead of headlight polish on the fly....

    And after just a few minutes of buffing all the sanding marks are removed and the headlight is ready to seal.

    To seal the headlights we used Detailer's Headlight Protectant Spray.

  3. #3
    Mike Phillips

    Re: Autogeeks Detailing Classes in Argentina!

    Next up... engine detailing...

    The engine on this Toyota was absolutely horrible looking. I pretty confident when I say it has not been cleaned since it rolled out off the assembly line.

    The first thing we did was to blow it out using a Metro-Vac Sidekick. Then we taped-off and covered any electrical components that we didn't want to get wet.

    More pictures to come....

  4. #4
    Mike Phillips

    Re: Autogeeks Detailing Classes in Argentina!

    The order of steps when detailing a car

    What I teach in my classes is to always work forward in the process, never work backwards and this means don't repeat step.

    In keeping with that idea I show glass polishing, headlight restoration and engine detailing BEFORE washing and drying the car and the reason why is because all three of these other exterior tasks have the potential to get splatter onto the exterior of the car from the chemicals used for each procedure.

    If you do each procedure before you wash the car then if you get any splatter on the car it won't matter because you can remove the splatter mess when you wash the car.

    If you wash the car first, you risk getting,

    • Glass polish splatter on the paint when you machine polish the glass.

    • Engine Degreaser and any grimy splatter off the engine and out of the engine compartment or the underneath of the hood when you clean and detail the engine and engine compartment.

    • Compound and polish splatter when you sand, polish and seal the headlights.

    I don't like doing anything twice so the way I detail a car is also the way I teach others to detail cars and that's to knock out these above three procedures first and then wash and dry the car starting with the wheels and tires first and then moving to the top of the vehicle and washing the body panels from the top down.

    Next up...

    • Mechanical decontamination.
    • Taping off edges and raised body lines.
    • Measuring paint thickness.
    • Hand sanding.
    • Machine sanding.
    • Compounding with wool pads on rotary buffers.
    • Machine polishing with foam pads on the Flex 3401.
    • Sealing the paint.

  5. #5
    Mike Phillips

    Re: Autogeeks Detailing Classes in Argentina!

    Mechanically Decontaminating Paint, Glass, Chrome and Plastic
    (Any smooth hard surface on the car)

    Next up we went over three ways to mechanically decontaminate the paint. When we talk about mechanically decontaminating the paint this means to use a physical object to remove any type of above surface bonded contaminant off the vehicle.

    For example in this class one of our training vehicles is a classic Mustang with a newer paint job. The finish quality of the paint job is horrible. Not only is the surface mottled it also has dry spray all over it.

    You could sand the overspray off but when using high quality sanding discs it wears the discs out so you can't sand with them. Instead, we're going to mechanically remove the overspray and to do this we'll go over how to use,

    • Detailing clay
    • Nanoskin Autoscrub Pads
    • Nanoskin Autoscrub Towels
    • Nanoskin Autoscrub Wash Mitts

    First up, how to correctly use detailing clay....

    I have the guys inspect the results using the baggie test...

    Then we go over the Nanoskin Autoscrub Towel and my tip for marking the back to help get the most use out of the towel. We also covered using the Nanoskin Autoscrub Wash Mitts and while these are positioned for use during the washing step you can use them with a clay lube just like you would use the towel and visa-versa, you could use a Nanoskin Autoscrub Towel during the washing process instead of the Nanoskin Autoscrub Wash Mitt.

    Inspecting the results. Note that the overspray on this car makes the paint feel as rough as #40 grit sandpaper when inspecting with a plastic baggie.

    So it's very apparent to the touch when the overspray is removed.

    Next up and my favorite way to mechanically decontaminate paint and that's by machine using the Nanoskin Autoscrub pads on a Flex 3401 forced rotation, forced oscillation polisher.

    Just to note, the reason you see the pad tilted so it's not in 100% contact with the paint is because I'm tilting the polisher to get the edge of the pad around the chrome letters that spell out MUSTANG as the overspray surrounds the letters.

    Hands-on Time

    Now it's time to turn the guys loose to use the various tools and finish the car...

    Here's Richard using a fine grade Nanoskin Autoscrub Towel. Richard has a real passion for detailing perfection.

    This is actually Felipe test out the Nanoskin Autoscrub Wash Mitt on the hood...

  6. #6
    Mike Phillips

    Re: Autogeeks Detailing Classes in Argentina!

    How to tape-off a car for wetsanding
    After decontaminating the paint it's time to tape-off all the edges and raised body lines. For this we go over tips and techniques for laying down 3M Blue Vinyl Tape.

    Measuring Paint Thickness
    Even though custom paint jobs will normally have more clear paint on them than a factory finish it's important to measure the paint thickness to help you make what I call

    The Go or No Go Decision

    The paint on this car was averaging around 10, 11 and 12 mils so we decided to go forward with the sanding process.

    How to correctly hand sand
    First we went over the correct techniques for hand sanding. While it's important to know how to use the right technique when sanding by hand I also know that once a person hand sands and then machine sands, except of tight or intricate areas they will always opt to machine sand instead of hand sand because not only is it faster but it also does a better job and leaves more paint on the car. The buffing step also goes a lot faster as it's a LOT easier to remove machine sanding marks than it is to remove hand sanding marks.

    Notice the tight, close pattern to my strokes when hand sanding. Your sanding mark pattern should not look like you're making W's or M's in the slurry.

    Machine Sanding - Edging
    I love the Griot's Garage 3" Mini Polisher. I cal it a 3" Wet Sander because it works so well for machine sanding with 3" sanding discs.

    What I do when I sand down a car or teach others to sand down a car is to start by doing what I call edging.

    Edging is where you sand the paint next to any edges or raised body lines first and then after sanding these perimeter areas tackle the major sections of the paint. In my classes I go over why this is important for a number of reasons and to do this by machine you must have a 3" orbital polisher that you can use with the 3" discs or do it by hand.

    Machine Sanding - Majoring on the Majors
    After showing how to edge a panel and explain why to do this first, next we switched over to the Porter Cable 7424XP with 6" Trizact #3000 discs and knocked out the major portions of the panel right up to where we edged the panel.

    Faster, easier and you leave more paint on the car
    Not only is machine sanding faster for the sanding step and faster for the buffing step it's also a LOT easier because the machine does all the work for you.

    #5000 Trizact
    As an option, you can re-sand using the #5000 Trizact discs which will refine the #3000 sanding marks to be a lot more shallow and this makes buffing them out as fast as humanly possible. After sanding with #5000 Trizact you can actually see reflections return to the paint the sanding marks are so shallow and refined.

    What I'm pointing at here is how we can start to see the facial features of the human face and lettering on the shirt in the sanded section.

    How to remove sanding marks
    Next we're going to use the Blackfire SRC Compound with a wool pad on the Flex PE14 rotary polisher.

    The 10 @ 10 Technique
    Here we're going over how to pick up a bead or strip of product using the 10 @ 10 Technique so you don't sling compound all over the place and also so you look cool doing it.

    Most guys do the slop-n-glop method of squirting some compound onto a panel or the face of the pad and then smearing it around before turning the polisher on.

    Edging the panel
    This is another type of edging only here I'm first going to remove the sanding marks around the edges of the panel and then tackle the major portion left over. In my classes I explain why plus show how.

  7. #7
    Mike Phillips

    Re: Autogeeks Detailing Classes in Argentina!

    Time for hands-on experience....

    What I'm pointing at is the fact that the edge of the fender did not get taped-off. The edge of the hood did but not the fender. So I'm pointing this out to Martin so he'll be careful till we can get some tape on the edge.

    Now that's being careful....

    Wait for it...

    Wait for it...


    Okay, we found the 1/4" 3M Blue Vinyl Tape and we're adding a little more here and there...

    If you look to the right, you can see I'm placing some 3M Blue Vinyl Tape on inside of the fender edge for a little more sanding and to protect the edge when we start compounding.

  8. #8
    Mike Phillips

    Re: Autogeeks Detailing Classes in Argentina!

    Now take a close look at this picture....

    Here's the hood cropped out of the above picture, you can see the overhead florescent tube lights reflecting in the paint after sanding with Trizact #5000 discs.

    These sanding marks will buff out fast and easy, heck with #5000 Trizact we're already restoring the D.O.I.

    Next up.... using rotary buffers with wool pads and Blackfire SRC Compound to remove the sanding marks.

  9. #9
    Mike Phillips

    Re: Autogeeks Detailing Classes in Argentina!

    Next up...

    The Compounding Step

    How to use a compound with wool pads and rotary buffers to remove sanding marks to restore a clear, glossy finish.

    First we go over the goal which is to remove 100% of the sanding marks without burning through any corners, edges or raised body lines. All of these things are already taped-off using the 3M Blue Vinyl Tape and while the blue vinyl tape is fairly resistant to accidental buffing you still don't want to buff directly on it.

    Then we go over how to use a rotary buffer to first edge each panel and then buff out the center portions of each panel. We also went over how to pick up a bead of product using the 10 @ 10 Technique and how to check surface temperature to make sure no one gets the paint too hot.

    Then a demonstration with Pablo on how to pick up a bead of product using the 101 @ 10 Technique....


    Now it's time for everyone to join in...

    Using a 4" wool pad on a rotary buffer with an extension to get close to the windshield trim and under the wiper arm.

  10. #10
    Mike Phillips

    Re: Autogeeks Detailing Classes in Argentina!

    Next up....

    The Polishing Step

    After using the Blackfire SRC Compound with wool pads to remove the sanding marks, now we're going to switch over to Blackfire SRC Finishing Polish with foam pads on the Flex 3401 to remove any holograms left by the fibers that make up a wool pad plus maximize the gloss and clarity of the clearcoat.

    The lesson starts with defining the goal which is to create a hologram or swirl free show car finish and why we switch over to a less aggressive polish and foam pads for this step and switch over to a dual action polisher that will both rotate the pad and oscillate the pad at the same time.

    First a demonstration on the correct technique, speed settings, how slow and the direction to move the polisher...

    Answer a few questions about this step...

    Now it's hand-on time!

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