autogeekonline car wax, car care and auto detailing forum Autogeek on TV
car wax, car care and auto detailing forumAutogeekonline autogeekonline car wax, car care and auto detailing forum HomeForumBlogAutogeek.net StoreDetailing Classes with Mike PhillipsGalleryDetailing How To's
 

» Detailing Classes

New Dates Available for the Autogeek Roadshow!
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Stuart, Florida
    Posts
    47,133
    Post Thanks / Like

    Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod

    Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod



    303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit







    From the manufacturer

    303 Fabric/Vinyl Top Cleaner

    This cleaner differs from other top cleaners, as it uses colloidal action to get the job done. Colloidal action was first used by scientists to break up particles in oil from oil slicks in our oceans. The oil literally would dissolve in the water. Think of this cleaning action in terms of the reaction of the atom in an atomic explosion. The atoms in the colloid lift, separate and hold in suspension the oils, grease, dust, and soils which have been penetrated.

    This breakthrough allows the ultra-wet water to hold grease, dirt, and oil in suspension, allowing them to dissolve within the water. This product is safe for all convertible tops, and also works wonders on fabric, velour, and carpeting. The 303 Convertible Top Cleaner is non-hazardous, non-flammable, and non-toxic. It is safe to use on tile, floors, doors, woodwork, ovens, and upholstery.



    303 High Tech Fabric Guard

    This product protects all new or cleaned “outdoor” fabrics from water, dirt, grease, and UV sun damage. Outdoor fabrics include,

    • Canvas convertible tops.
    • Cloth automobile seats and carpets.
    • Bimini boat tops.
    • Canvas boat enclosures.



    303 High Tech Guard also resists soiling and mildew formation, by restoring an effective level of lost water repellency. There are no silicones within the product, and if you have used a silicone product before you know it does repel water. That’s about it though. Silicone treated fabric lasts on average 2-3 months, as compared to High Tech Guard that protects for up to three years. Silicone has that harsh, pungent smell; whereas High Tech Guard has a mild, clean odor. Most importantly, High Tech Guard is recommended by industry leaders that include,

    • AMCO Convertible Fabrics
    • Winnebago
    • Orvis
    • Thor
    • Sunbrella
    • Walt Disney World



    One treatment can last up to three years.




    My comments

    This might surprise some of you? I've been detailing cars all my life now and teaching classes on the topic documented since 1987. Maybe not as long as some but probably longer than most in this industry. Generally speaking, convertibles cost more than their hard top twins, that's the reality of purchasing a "Sports Car". Here's my experience, I RARELY meet anyone that has owned or owns a convertible car that regularly cleans and protects their top. In fact, I would say most convertible owners not only don't take proper care of their car's top but most don't know how to correctly and properly clean and then protect the top. Kind of surprising considering with a little online research it's not any harder than washing and waxing the paint and most car owners are qualified to do this aspect of car ownership.


    The key thing...

    I would say the key thing about properly cleaning and protecting a canvas top is actually all about the brush. Why? Because if you use a scrub brush where the bristles are too course or stiff, they will tend to tear loose the woven fibers apart and then your canvas top will look fuzzy. And there's no real way to undo this kind of damage. Spraying on the cleaner is easy. Spraying on the protectant is easy, the important part to get right is the part that actually takes a little muscle and that's agitating the cleaner over the top to loosen embedded dirt and road grime and this requires the right brush.


    303 Convertible Top Brush
    At the time I cleaned and protected this convertible top we did not have the NEW 303 Convertible Top Brush in stock. But we do carry a Horse Hair Brush and it is completely safe for cleaning cloth tops. You'll see a picture of this brush in my write-up below.


    The kit comes with the cleaner and the fabric guard, the brush you have to purchase extra. I'll include a link for everything in the last post of this review.




    Here's my review car, it's a 1949 Mercury Convertible. This is a custom street rod with a big block Chevy engine. This car is valued just shy of $300.00.00





    The owner, a good friend of mine contacted me about purchasing the 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit, he told me the top needed to be cleaned and protected. Knowing I had this review coming up I offered to do it for him so I could use the 303 products to write the review and get the pictures showing how I would tackle a canvas convertible top.

    While the top looks good in these pictures, it's dirty and in need of a good cleaning. This car has been moved around and stored in various shops since it was built. It has also been exposed to fresh paint environments and my guess is it has overspray paint on it just like the paint, which has overspray paint.





    Here's a close-up of the top, you can see dirt specs on it but I'll guarantee you that that there is a ton of dirt and dust that has embedded INTO the weave.






    Bug poo all around the top too.... and in this shot you can see the WEAVE of the fabric. The dirt sinks into the weave and this is why you need to use a brush to agitate the cleaner over the top. Just rinsing the top won't work.






    Step 1 - Vacuum or blow any loose dirt off the top, I did this in the garage with a Tornador Air Blowout Gun, sorry no pictures. You can also vacuum the top. The idea being to extract any loose dirt BEFORE introducing water to the surface as the water via gravity will draw loose dirt DEEPER into the weave. So dry extract first.



    Time to go outside and do some washing.







    While this is a high-dollar build, there ares some gaps between the top and the window glass. I consider myself a professional detailer and as such, treat all cars like they are mine. I put the painter's tape over the gaps to prevent any rinse water from getting into the car.







    Step 2 - Blast any remaining dirt and other contaminants off the top with a strong spray of water.





    Step 3 - Spray the 303 convertible top cleaner all over the top including the sides and the seams.













    Step 4 - gently scrub the top to work the cleaner over and into the weave.











    It's best to do this early morning or on a cloudy day so the sun doesn't work against you and try to dry the top while you're working on it.







    Step 5 - After scrubbing the top, rinse until the water runs clear. You shouldn't see any white foam or cleaner as a sign all the cleaner and thus all the dirt has been rinsed off the top.





    Be sure to thoroughly rinse any seams or folds of cloth like you see in the front of this top. Just like any car detailing process, the key to success is always the PREP WORK, not the final step.





    Step 6 - Then of course, as a professional, I go ahead and wash the entire car. Besides cleaning and protecting the top we're going to use this car for a Paint Correction and Ceramic Coating Class and make a video of the process. I'll include the video at the end of this review.





    Now this is one clean 1949 Mercury Convertible. For me, this is what I call a "Bucket List" car. That is I've worked on a few 1949 Mercury hardtops, but never a convertible. And chances are, I may never work on another convertible 49 Merc, they are kind of rare.







    Here's what I used, to clean it's full name is 303 Tonneau Cover and Convertible Top Cleaner.





    Here's the Horse Hair Brush....







    Clean - but saturated wet with water - that's okay, I have a tip to show you how to get it completely dry.






    Next up....

    How to safely and correctly dry a convertible top.


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
    Mike Phillips Facebook Page
    Twitter
    Instagram
    Mike Phillips Detail Training Credentials
    Sign-up for Mike's Tips & Techniques Newsletter


  2. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Stuart, Florida
    Posts
    47,133
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod

    Continued.....

    The Cobra Guzzler HD Waffle Weave Drying Towels

    What makes these microfiber drying towels unique is the inner foam core that absorbs water. They are soft microfiber and washable and resusable but it's the foam core that makes them unique and perfect for drying cloth tops.








    How to correctly dry a canvas cloth top

    Here's what you DON'T do - you don't RUB them over the surface.

    Here's what you DO do - you place them against a section of the top and then press them against the top using your hands. Pause as you move your hands around on the surface to enable the water to move out of the canvas material and into the microfiber surface and inner foam core via capillary action.





    Normally I would use both hands to press the Guzzler HD against the top but my other hand is taking the pictures.




    Take your time and you can BLOT out the majority of the water.










    Then continue around the top. You can usually get a one or two good blots out of each side and after that it's faster and more effective to switch to a clean, dry Guzzler HD. This is why I include a link to a 6-pack of Guzzler HDs. If you're going to own a convertible, then aquire the right tools and the right number of tools you're going to need to do the job right. Then take care of your tools.





















    I used 5 Guzzler HD drying towels to get this top dry to the point I was happy and then to move on to the next technique for drying a canvas cloth top.








    Moving air

    Next I place an Air Mover on a roll-around tool cart and let it blow on the top overnight. This is my preferred way to fully and completely dry a canvas cloth top. 303 states the top must be completely dry before applying their Fabric Guard.




    You can get one of these here --> Shop-Vac Professional Air Mover








    Created air current

    The Air Mover will create a air current "pattern" in the garage and thus air will over over the entire surface of the top. By the time I come back to work in the morning the top will be completely dry and still SURGICALLY CLEAN.




    I know that some people will simply park their car outside on a hot sunny day and this will dry the top too - but - you just washed the top and cleaned it and now it will be exposed to the air or the world around you, which means it can get dirt or dust landing on the top and traveling back into the weave. Your choice, dry inside or dry outside. I don't really care how you do it, I'm just showing you how I do it.




    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
    Mike Phillips Facebook Page
    Twitter
    Instagram
    Mike Phillips Detail Training Credentials
    Sign-up for Mike's Tips & Techniques Newsletter


  3. #3
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Stuart, Florida
    Posts
    47,133
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod

    Continued...


    Applying the 303 Fabric Guard

    After the top has completely dried - now you apply the 303 Fabric Guard and this is as easy as spraying a wet application onto the top.






    Be sure to spray into any and all stitching and also the fold or creases (if any).









    Optional Technique - Massage product into top

    After wetting the canvas cloth top with the spray, my preferred method is then to work the product into the fibers. You don't have to do this and 303 doesn't state in their directions to do this. This is a Mike Phillips specific technique that you are free to use for your own top. Just wear protective nitrile gloves like you see me wearing.











    After sealing one side, move to the other side,






















    Fully treated top

    Here's what the top will look like after being fully treated with the 303 Fabric Guard. Notice it's darker? Don't freak out. This is normal and you'll see in the pictures below the top will return to its normal beautiful color.






    Drying the Fabric Guard treated top

    To help the Fabric Guard to dry faster, I set-up and turned on the Air Mover and let it run all night.








    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
    Mike Phillips Facebook Page
    Twitter
    Instagram
    Mike Phillips Detail Training Credentials
    Sign-up for Mike's Tips & Techniques Newsletter


  4. #4
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Stuart, Florida
    Posts
    47,133
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod

    Continued....


    Here's the final results...


    The top looks crisp and clean, like it did when it was brand new.














    And the completed look after my class machine polished the paint and applied a ceramic paint coating to the paint.









    Review

    The cleaner and protectant in the 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit are pro grade quality. You can trust them to safely and effectly clean and protect your car's canvas cloth tops. They are easy to use and perform exactly as advertized. You don't have to worry about either product changing or altering the color or appearance of the cloth material on matter what the color. The real key to great results are to follow the step-by-step directions I outlined in the process I shared above. That includes,
    1. Vacuum or blow off loose dirt and debris first.
    2. Blast top with a strong spray of water to flush off an dirt vacuuming or blowing the top didn't remove.
    3. Spray the top with the cleaner and agitate with the appropriate brush.
    4. Blot the top dry and then complete the drying process with moving air.
    5. Apply the Fabric Guard protectant and allow the product to fully dry before putting the car back into service.


    If you own a convertible and have NOT properly or regularly cleaned and protected the top, the next time you're by your car take a close look at the top. Does it look GREAT? Does it look NEW? Chances are it doesn't look crisp and clean like the top on this Mercury and it's time to carve out a weekend and tackle this project before the fabric starts to look any worse or starts to deteriorate to the point where it must be replaced.




    On Autogeek.com


    303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit

    Natural Horse Hair Interior Upholstery Brush

    The Cobra Guzzler HD Waffle Weave Drying Towels

    Shop-Vac Professional Air Mover

    Orange Heavy Duty Nitrile Gloves - Sizes: Medium - Large - X Large - XX Large



    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
    Mike Phillips Facebook Page
    Twitter
    Instagram
    Mike Phillips Detail Training Credentials
    Sign-up for Mike's Tips & Techniques Newsletter


  5. Thanks JWilliams.RadiantDetail thanked for this post
    Likes JWilliams.RadiantDetail liked this post
  6. #5
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Stuart, Florida
    Posts
    47,133
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod

    Continued....


    And if you want to see how we detailed the 1949 Mercury and the 1970 Chevelle next to it, here's a short Hyperlapse video.


    Mike Phillips - Hyperlapse Video - ALL HANDS ON - NO SITTING | Facebook


    As you watch the video you'll see we carefully covered-up and taped-off the top to protect it in-case one of the students accidentally lifted their polisher while polishing. This of course would spray splatter dots of polish all over the top.

    I teach this type of technique in all my classes. Fact is, you can buff out a car with the top up, or with the top down, but either way you're going to have to cover-up and protect the top or the interior.

    To do this, we use the Autogeek Cover-up Towel and 3M Painter's Tape. I'm sharing this for anyone reading this into the future so you "think" about this before detailing your convertible. Usually if someone owns a convertible and they haven't taken care of the top... they also haven't taken care of the paint. So either before or after treating the top, cover it up when doing any machine compounding or polishing.





    On Autogeek.com


    Autogeek Detailing Cover-Up Towel

    3M Automotive Performance Masking Tape 3 Pack




    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
    Mike Phillips Facebook Page
    Twitter
    Instagram
    Mike Phillips Detail Training Credentials
    Sign-up for Mike's Tips & Techniques Newsletter


  7. #6
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Stuart, Florida
    Posts
    47,133
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod

    Continued...


    And here's the write-up for the paint correction class for the Mercury and the Chevelle.


    Pictures: Free Ceramic Coating Class - Wednesday, December 11th, 2019








    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
    Mike Phillips Facebook Page
    Twitter
    Instagram
    Mike Phillips Detail Training Credentials
    Sign-up for Mike's Tips & Techniques Newsletter


  8. #7
    Senior Member JWilliams.RadiantDetail's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    710
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod

    Excellent post Mike, my convertible top looks awful awful awful. I haven't done anything to it in like 2 years, and my car was sitting outside non moving for close to a year and a half of that time broke. I need to do this + probably would some sort of convertible specific dye kit to make it black black again.

    At least for me he was spot on about people with convertible tops not taking care of them. The 1st few years I owned this car I ALWAYS did the top, but after it broke and I stopped driving it I just stopped. Not to steal Mike's thread but here's a current picture of my top as proof how right he is. This is perfect proof you need to do as Mike says here.


    Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod-top-jpg


    As a detailer I should be super ashamed to even post that pic, and I really am. But this thread was like an unintentional intervention.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Eldorado2k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    11,030
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod

    Wow. What kind of car is that?

  10. #9
    Senior Member JWilliams.RadiantDetail's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    710
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldorado2k View Post
    Wow. What kind of car is that?
    2008 Saturn Sky Redline, this thread inspired me to go outside right after I posted the pic and begin to clean it. 30 seconds in it started to rain, imagine that lol. Was just a sprinkle so I stood in the semi rain and scrubbed scrubbed scrubbed. I don't have any 303 convertible cleaner left, so I used my Scholl Concepts APC.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Eldorado2k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    11,030
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Review: 303 Fabric Convertible Top Kit - 1949 Mercury Convertible Kustom Streetrod

    Quote Originally Posted by JWilliams.RadiantDetail View Post
    2008 Saturn Sky Redline, this thread inspired me to go outside right after I posted the pic and begin to clean it. 30 seconds in it started to rain, imagine that lol. Was just a sprinkle so I stood in the semi rain and scrubbed scrubbed scrubbed. I don't have any 303 convertible cleaner left, so I used my Scholl Concepts APC.
    It just started to rain over here near Long Beach as well... I had a bunch of stuff outside including my polisher. I had to hurry and bring everything in fast! Lol.


Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. FABRIC Convertible Protection
    By 98LowRanger in forum Auto Detailing 101
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-14-2016, 05:59 AM
  2. 1973 Mercury Cougar Convertible Training Car for the May Competition Ready 3-Day Detailing Classes
    By Mike Phillips in forum 3-Day CAR Detailing Bootcamp Classes - Info & Dates
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-26-2016, 08:32 AM
  3. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 04-20-2015, 10:16 AM
  4. Review: RaggTopp Fabric Convertible Top Care Kit
    By Bryan@Autogeek in forum Product Reviews
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-15-2013, 08:42 PM
  5. Fabric Convertible top Over spray
    By chipdog59 in forum Auto Detailing 101
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 08-04-2011, 11:42 PM

Members who have read this thread: 25

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

» June 2020

S M T W T F S
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1234