I just thought I'd share the detail I did on my F250 shortly after I bought it.
It was a used car lot find through Craigslist. An early 1999 XLT 4x2
with a ZF6
transmission. At first, I wasn't interested in a manual transmission, and after my first test drive, I passed. After sleeping on it, and scouring the internet for other F250s, I realized that the price on the truck was a great one, and that maybe I should give the truck a second chance. I brought it home the next day.
I'm sure part of the reason the truck was so well priced is that it was really ratty looking. It had spent half its life registered as a commercial vehicle, and looked the part. Before setting to work, I used my paint thickness gauge to assess how much paint was left on it. Many of the readings were healthy; some were desperately thin, especially on the driver's side of the truck. I was worried I wouldn't be able to save it.
So, on with the processes I used, and below, the photos. I'll go in basically chronological order of when I did what steps. This detail took me several days, since I was fighting a pinched nerve the entire time.
Plastic trim first thing, you say? Yep. This is one of my tricks that works well for me. First thing I do, before I even wash a vehicle, is clean up any black plastic trim with some Majestic Solutions Super Green Stuff APC (3:1). Then, I spray Stoner's Trim Shine onto all of it. The idea is to get the Trim Shine on there first thing, without worry of overspray, because the next step (the strip/wash step) will get rid of any overspray. Also, on areas where you step, like the running boards, the wash takes a lot of the slipperiness off of these surfaces. Try this sometime, it really works.
The mirrors, however, didn't accept the Trim Shine as well as I had hoped they would. For these, I experimented with Bilt Hamber Auto Balm, a product from England that is gaining traction in a lot of online detailing circles. I have since abandoned Auto Balm on trim, since over time, it shows white residue on parts like mirrors that are made of rough plastic. The mirrors will eventually get re-dyed, just like I did with the cowling in a different thread here on PSN.
First I wiped them down, then wet sanded them. Started with 600 paper, then 1500, then 2000. I then polished them using a 4" wool pad on the Makita, along with some Malco headlight polish. This Malco stuff does seem to work better on headlights than regular paint polish does. Once they were fixed, I sealed them with some Collinite 475.
Everybody here is familiar with how nasty the engines can get, and this was something I really wanted to make look nice. First, I covered the alternator and the Tymar intake that I'd made for it, then rinsed the cold engine with low pressure water. Then, Majestic Solutions Super Green Stuff (3:1) in a Solo 418 pump sprayer was sprayed liberally everywhere. A group of brushes and sacrificial Costco towels were used to get the really grungy bits clean. Then I rinsed, and blew the engine dry with my leaf blower. Finally, I dressed the whole thing with Meguiar's Hyper Dressing at 3:1. I then started the engine and let it idle for 20 minutes. Job done.
The interior wasn't much better. :wall: Dust and dirt pretty much everywhere, and the carpets were disgusting. No matter though. All the plastic and vinyl got Majestic Leather and Plastic cleaner at 1:1, with an ounce of their "Clean Cotton" scent poured in. Once clean, this stuff all got Vinylex - an underrated product. Vinylex leaves dark plastic looking dark, but doesn't leave it greasy or shiny.
The carpets were dry brushed and vacuumed. Then, I hit them with Majestic Extraction Plus carpet cleaner at the recommended 10:1. I soaked the carpets with the Extraction Plus, and then brushed them vigorously. Then I "faked" an extraction machine, with a spray bottle full of hot water and my shop vac
. The really awful spots on the carpets got Majestic's "Carpet Spotter HD" carpet cleaner. This is a strong, solvent based, aerosol product. Spray it on, and watch the foam come up in the color of the stain! Then blot it up. It's amazing stuff.
The seats got similar treatment. Brush and vac
, and then I hit them with Majestic's "Super Duty" aerosol foaming upholstery cleaner. I had to go gently here, because if I got the seats too wet, dirt would start to wick up out of the foam of the seat, making them WORSE! Fortunately, I figured this out early, so I went light with the cleaner from that point on.
Wheels, wells, and tires
To my amazement, the wheels weren't in awful shape. I hit them with Majestic Wheel Brite, which is very similar to Meguiar's Wheel Brightener. I cut the stuff 4:1. Spray on, hit with a bunch of brushes, rinse off.
First Wash and Clay
Not that there was any LSP on this thing, I mostly wanted something strong to rid me of the considerable grime that was all over the truck. So I mixed up a bucket of Dawn, with a little SGS thrown in for good measure. I also wiped down the jambs during this step.
After the wash was complete, I clayed with Bilt-Hamber soft clay as a part of the rinse step. Being able to use rinse water as your clay lube is a big time saver. And this clay works very, very well. It's my favorite.
As usual, straight to the Makita rotary I went. In a handful of the really awful spots, I used a Meguiar's Solo wool cutting pad along with some 3M Perfect-It II rubbing compound. Once those areas were better, I went to my standby - Menzerna Power Finish. I used the Power Finish with a broad selection of pads. The sides of the bed got a LC flat orange pad, because I have a lot of them, and needed a "sacrificial pad" for this area. I say sacrificial because of the bed rail caps - the area just underneath them is too small even for a 4" pad. So, I had to run the pad right over the rail caps, which tore the pads to pieces.
The driver side of the bed was, by far, the worst on the truck. Looks like a previous owner loaded stuff into the bed by dragging it across the side of the truck and into the bed! Scratches ALL OVER. Deep ones. And, naturally, this is where the paint was the thinnest. So, I had to tread lightly. In fact, when I first got started, I noticed that the pad was coming up black. The clearcoat is just GONE from this part of the truck. I've started calling it the "Clearcoat Delete Option."
Once the worst of the buffer trails were gone, I went back, again with Power Finish, and this time with a 3M UK yellow pad at about 1700RPM. It's not a very aggressive pad, but it got the job done. I also like how soft and thick it is, so it conforms to bends in the panels. It's my favorite pad.
Here I tried something new - S100 polishing soap, which I bought at the Harley dealer. Fantastic stuff.
For this truck, which lives outside, I chose Bilt Hamber Auto Balm as my LSP. Auto Balm lasts for months and looks great. It really darkens up black paint; one of the few LSPs I've used that really does change the look of a vehicle.
Glass was cleaned with Invisible Glass, using Majestic Solutions' blue window towels, which are identical to every other window towel I've seen. For stubborn water spots, I broke out some #0000 steel wool along with the IG.
Whew! Alright, that's the process. Here are the pictures - first the befores, then, in a second post, the afters.
Some engine befores:
Buffer Trails and defects, most of which look to be the work of someone unskilled with a buffer:
Pictures of the worst area on the driver's side of the bed. If there are small children reading, you should cover their eyes:
This shot shows how nasty the other side of the truck is, and how awful the mirrors were:
There was white dust all in the jambs, possibly from the truck being used in construction?
Headlights looking a little tired:
The interior wasn't much better. Here's a random collection from the many photos I took of it:
What the heck was this guy doing in this truck? Chasing sand storms?