Detailed: 1997 F150 XLT, red - PowerStrokeNation : Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Detailed: 1997 F150 XLT, red

Since we're all truck guys, I thought maybe folks would enjoy seeing this writeup. This one belongs to a friend of mine. He bought it with 50K miles on it. It now has just shy of 200K on it. No longer his daily driver, it now spends its time towing his race car to the track and back. It lives a hard life. He told me that since he's owned it, he "thinks [he] waxed it once."

This wasn't going to be a "full correction" type of detail, since the truck gets used as a tow vehicle and will inevitably get beaten up some more. I worked hard on the deep scratches that were visible to the casual observer, and one-stepped the rest. We had set a budget, so I fiddled about with the truck until I felt like I'd done the right amount of work.

Annoyingly, about two hours into the job, the water at the client's house was shut off. Turns out that the town was doing maintenance on a main line a block over, and the water ended up being off for close to five hours. Which was annoying. But, it allowed me to work on stuff other than the paint for much of the first day, leaving the second day available to work on the paint.

Interior:
Ford truck interiors withstand a heck of a lot of abuse, so this wasn't too tough. Carpets got Majestic Solutions' Extraction Plus with a really aggressive "Magna" carpet brush that I also got at MS. Stubborn spots got MS' solvent-based carpet aerosol, "Carpet Spotter HD."

The plastic and vinyl got a new addition to the arsenal - MS Tidal Wave. I like MS Leather and Plastic Cleaner, but even with some fragrance poured into it, the scent is awful. Tidal Wave cleans just as well, and smells like lemon zest. I wish I'd tried this product a lot sooner, it's great. After getting cleaned, I treated it all with 1Z Vinyl-Rubber Care. In terms of looks, I'd say it's between 1Z Cockpit Premium (which has no look at all) and Vinylex or 303. It also smells great. I highly recommend this interior dressing.

Glass got Adam's Glass Cleaner, another product I'm very happy with. I know there are some Adam's fans on here, so if you haven't tried their glass cleaner, do so. It works GREAT, doesn't streak, doesn't misbehave in hot weather, and even smells great. What's more, when you buy it by the gallon, it costs basically the same as Stoner Invisible Glass. Not bad!

Engine:
Considering how awful the exterior of the truck was, the engine room wasn't too bad. Mostly it was dusty; no sign of any fluid leaks, so this was easy. I'm guessing that most people here are familiar with the "JL Method" for detailing an engine bay. Rinse the cold engine, spray liberally with MS SGS (3:1), and agitate as needed. Rinse again, dry with leaf blower, then apply Meguiar's Hyperdressing (4:1). Close the hood, start the engine for 10-15 minutes to set it up, then shut off the engine and wipe off the excess.

Wheels and tires:
The tires came clean pretty easily with some MS Super Green Stuff APC (3 parts water:1 part SGS), and a stiff brush I keep just for tires. The wheels, though, were a different matter altogether. After SGS didn't make a dent, I moved to MS Wheel Brite (4:1), which is a Meguiar's Wheel Brightener workalike with more phosphoric acid in it. To my astonishment, this didn't do a lot. I mean, they got better, but my guess is that this grime had been on there for at least ten years. To get them any better, I'd need to remove the wheels, and that wasn't an option, since the truck still had its trailer, with race car on it, attached!

The center caps, which are made of plastic, are beyond saving. I suppose I could have tried some Tardis, but I didn't want to risk that on plastic and possibly ruin them. File these wheels under "you can't win them all."

Headlights:
First I cleaned them with some MS SGS. Then it was 2000 grit 3M wet sanding paper, followed by my old PC7424, a 4" Uber yellow cutting pad, and some Malco 1500-grit compound called "Foam Restoration Compound."

Exhaust:
I didn't even bother. :) It's the original exhaust, with no tip on it. Trying to polish part of it would have looked silly, and I certainly wasn't going to polish it all the way up to the muffler.

Jambs and weatherstripping:
S100 Total Cycle Wash dealt with the grime in the jambs nicely. I'm not sure I'll buy TCW (or it's cousin, P21S Total Auto Wash) again though. It's a great product, but to me, it doesn't do anything that MS SGS doesn't do at about 10% of the price. The weatherstripping eventually got the same 1Z Vinyl-Rubber Care that the interior got.

Wash:
Naturally, I used the 2BM as always. In the soap bucket was quite a lot of Majestic Solutions Super Green Stuff APC. The truck was really, really dirty, so I wanted to clean it as best I could before claying it. It's about here that the water got turned off. When I finally got to do it, the sponge slid across the paint like it was on sandpaper. I could hear the dirt. And the dirt wasn't coming off. I washed it again, and that didn't do much either. Hmm. That's probably going to be an issue come clay time. More on that in a minute.

Trim:
I had plenty of time since the water didn't work, so I used Black Wow here. I find BW kind of hateful to work with, but I can't argue with the results. The stuff does look good.

The rub strips down the sides couldn't be saved. They appear to be injection molded red plastic. The black stuff you can see on this trim in the pictures is actually embedded in little tiny cracks in the trim. Strange. I made the call that there was probably no saving them, and moved on.

Clay:
I started off with my favorite, Bilt-Hamber soft. It quickly became obvious that I would need a LOT of clay. And, since the dirt problem was so severe, I decided that it hardly made sense to use my BH clay on this truck. All that dirt was going to mar the paint anyway, there was no way around it. So I got out the big iron - Majestic Solutions purple "aggressive" clay. I also mixed up a bottle of ONR for clay lube, with about triple the amount of ONR concentrate than normal. This provided a bit more lubrication and quite a lot more cleaning power. Eventually I ran out of purple (!!) and switched to MS blue. That's right. An entire, 200g bar of MS purple. Gone. But it did an excellent job. Took me a while, and several passes in a lot of areas like the roof, but to my amazement, the truck was smooth. Marred up like heck, but smooth.

Paint correction:
I was all over the place on this one. :) I've taken a liking to a Malco compound called "Foam Restoration Compound." I've abandoned Menz. Power Gloss in favor of this stuff. The Malco stuff cuts hard and fast, works with lots of different pads, and cleans up incredibly easy. It's my favorite cutting compound. I brought out a Meg's Solo wool pad when needed, but if I'm honest, I don't really enjoy working with wool, so I only used it when absolutely necessary. My favorite was a green 3M UK foam cutting pad. I'd forgotten how good this pad is. It cut just as well as the Uber yellow foam pad, but seemed to finish a little better. I only have one 3M green, though, so I was soon back to Uber yellow, which itself is a great pad.

After that, it was Menz. Power Finish with Uber green pads at about 1500rpm with my Makita rotary. I also used my 3M UK yellow, but on this particular paint, the Uber pad corrected better but still finished down well. Power Finish / Uber green is a great, great combo that I'd recommend to anyone.

LSP:
This truck lives outdoors and gets used like a truck. The owner isn't really a detailing kind of guy. And I hadn't gone for full correction, either. Let's see. What's durable, offers some filling, and looks great on red? Bilt Hamber Auto Balm, that's what. It's the same sealant I used on my own black F250. It's wonderful stuff that looks great and lasts for several months.

Pictures! Here are some befores. I've captioned a handful of them, but most should be pretty obvious.


Befores:

This photo is the only before that I've got that shows the cloudy headlights:








The dent on the tailgate gave me fits during polishing...






Both sides had this dull paint below the rear side windows, from rain water running down on it for years:




Here's that clay I was talking about. This is the blue stuff, and I took this photo after doing the a-pillar of the truck with it!











This is the only "before" I got of the interior, and it's badly overexposed. But the interior wasn't too terrible anyway.







Afters

On the left, the panel behind the door has been compounded with the Malco stuff. Not a bad finish from a cutting compound!


Pre-LSP:


The tailgate came out nicely, in spite of the dent in it making my polisher jump around all over the place:


The headlights came out nicely. The bumpers were done later, with BHAB and an old applicator, which cleaned them up nicely. I didn't forget them, I promise! Anyway, I had to tread lightly around the plastic grille - the "chrome" is peeling off of it in a lot of places:


The shots below this line are the ones I took with LSP on the truck; the ones above here were only after polishing:











Thanks for looking!

Karl in NC
Early 1999 F250 6-speed: the DD and tow rig; DIY intake, stock exhaust straight piped
2004 Honda S2000: the autocross and sunny weather car

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 04:55 PM
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Re: Detailed: 1997 F150 XLT, red

Sweet. Do you have somewhere I can contact you? I have two clay bars. One's blue, and the other is yellow. i don't know anything about them...

I DO know, however, that using them causes my truck to look wet sanded...

Is that right? Most of it came out after compound and wax, but this is my first time with clay bars.


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Detailed: 1997 F150 XLT, red

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Originally Posted by theSLEEPER View Post
Sweet. Do you have somewhere I can contact you? I have two clay bars. One's blue, and the other is yellow. i don't know anything about them...

I DO know, however, that using them causes my truck to look wet sanded...

Is that right? Most of it came out after compound and wax, but this is my first time with clay bars.
You can contact me here in this thread, or over PM, or I can PM you my email address if you'd rather. I get on PSN about every other day.

First things first. Do you know who makes the two clay bars? Colors are, unfortunately, not universal. So you can't be guaranteed that a yellow one is always a certain grade versus a blue one.

With an aggressive clay, yes, some marring of the finish is unavoidable. Clay works on two principles. First is that it's sticky, and second is that it's abrasive. The abrasion knocks loose the contaminants on the surface, and the stickiness picks the same contaminants up and off the paint. So it's sometimes a fact of life that claying will mar your finish. Especially if you're dealing with a vehicle like this F150 that has a thick layer of years-old crud on it.

Standard claying of an average vehicle, with a regular clay bar like you might buy at an auto parts store, shouldn't scratch up your finish too bad. If it is, you're probably not using enough lubricant. The clay shouldn't hang up and try to get stuck. If it is, relubricate the area.

Does that help any? Again, if you can remember who you got the clay from, that'd be a big help.

Karl in NC
Early 1999 F250 6-speed: the DD and tow rig; DIY intake, stock exhaust straight piped
2004 Honda S2000: the autocross and sunny weather car

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 05:22 PM
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Re: Detailed: 1997 F150 XLT, red

I actually got it from a place I use to work. They sell high quality detailing supplies. But I don't have any info on them. I might be able to get something off of the wrapper.

But, for the most part, you answered my question... it was just making me nervous, so I quit. It seemed to be working great, but when the lubricant dried, I noticed the dullness, and kinda freaked out.

What should I do after the clay bar? Just put the compound to it? Then wax? That's what I did this time, and it looks great, but I can still tell that I basically wet sanded my fender...


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Detailed: 1997 F150 XLT, red

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Originally Posted by theSLEEPER View Post
I actually got it from a place I use to work. They sell high quality detailing supplies. But I don't have any info on them. I might be able to get something off of the wrapper.

But, for the most part, you answered my question... it was just making me nervous, so I quit. It seemed to be working great, but when the lubricant dried, I noticed the dullness, and kinda freaked out.

What should I do after the clay bar? Just put the compound to it? Then wax? That's what I did this time, and it looks great, but I can still tell that I basically wet sanded my fender...
Yes. After clay, you polish. A word about polishing though, since you used the word "compound," I felt I should mention this. There are various grades of polishing compounds, from heavy cutting compounds (aggressive) to fine finishing polishes (mild). Generally speaking, the aggressive stuff is often called "compound." As a rule with detailing, you should always start with the least aggressive method that you think might work. It could be that you don't need to jump straight to an aggressive cutting compound; could be that a medium polish is all you need. No sense in removing more paint from the vehicle than you have to.

There's another reason to do this. The more aggressive a polish you use, the more likely it is that you'll have to go back over the vehicle a second time. Aggressive cutting compounds don't finish down well - that's not their job. They'll often leave buffer trails, or "holograms," behind. Think of it like wet sanding. You wouldn't put wax right over top of a panel you just sanded, you'd polish the panel before wax. That fender you mentioned that looks like it's been sanded, I'm guessing you used a heavy compound on it and tried to go straight to wax. Is that about right?

Apologies if this is stuff you already know. I added it for general information.

Karl in NC
Early 1999 F250 6-speed: the DD and tow rig; DIY intake, stock exhaust straight piped
2004 Honda S2000: the autocross and sunny weather car

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2010, 10:15 AM
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Re: Detailed: 1997 F150 XLT, red

Good info, Thankyou

How is Mothers brand claybar ?

and da truck looks good

96'
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2010, 04:32 PM
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Re: Detailed: 1997 F150 XLT, red

Actually, I'm not sure the compound i used was heavy enough... I need to take pictures of all of this stuff I'm using, maybe you'll be able to tell me more about it.

Can you tell me anything about high speed polishing? I have a small orbital, and a large high speed polisher, but I'm not big on the high speed, since it seems to sling stuff everywhere...


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-27-2010, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Detailed: 1997 F150 XLT, red

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Good info, Thankyou

How is Mothers brand claybar ?

and da truck looks good
That one will do just fine. Between the Meguiar's and Mother's ones, just buy whichever one is on sale. I know the Meguiar's kit comes with a surprisingly nice microfiber towel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theSLEEPER View Post
Actually, I'm not sure the compound i used was heavy enough... I need to take pictures of all of this stuff I'm using, maybe you'll be able to tell me more about it.

Can you tell me anything about high speed polishing? I have a small orbital, and a large high speed polisher, but I'm not big on the high speed, since it seems to sling stuff everywhere...
Well, for a start, it sounds like you're using too much polish. And you want to spread the polish with the machine turned off. Those two changes should rid you of most or all of the sling. Another tip - if you've never used one before, it's a good idea to get started on a junkyard panel. Run a rotary too fast, or move it too slowly, and you can punch right through your paint. This is known as "burning" the paint, or "strikethrough." If you've never used one before, I suggest learning on a scrap panel.

Otherwise...using a rotary is a very, very large topic. What do you want to know?

Karl in NC
Early 1999 F250 6-speed: the DD and tow rig; DIY intake, stock exhaust straight piped
2004 Honda S2000: the autocross and sunny weather car

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-27-2010, 01:50 PM
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Re: Detailed: 1997 F150 XLT, red

The different pad uses... How to keep the wool on the pad instead of in my mouth...


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2010, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Detailed: 1997 F150 XLT, red

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The different pad uses... How to keep the wool on the pad instead of in my mouth...
I tend to avoid using wool pads for that exact reason. I find them a pain in the arse to work with. They're certainly effective, and I use them when I have to, but I really do hate them. Anyway, wool pads will throw off less and less fiber once they've been used a few times and broken in.

The different pads are for use with different polishing compounds. Basically, manufacturers make foam pads with varying degrees of abrasion, or "cut." And, unfortunately, not all pad manufacturers use the same color coding on their entire line. So a yellow pad from Company A often does something different than one from Company B.

Once you've got whatever pads you're going to use, match the specific pad to a specific polish. For instance, a "heavy cutting/compounding" pad would be used with a cutting polish. Like Menzerna Power Gloss, Meguiar's 105, or the Malco Foam Restoration Compound I mentioned in this thread. After that step, you'll go back over the vehicle with a less aggressive combo. Maybe a "medium polish" pad or a "light polish" pad with, for example, Menzerna Power Finish. Finally, if you need or want to, you can do a final step, with a pad that has no cut to it at all, and a "finishing polish," which also has no cut to it at all. You'll see these pads called "finishing pads."

Often, but not always, when people on the web talk about a "yellow pad" or a "white pad," it's reasonable to assume that they're talking about Lake Country pads. LC pads are sold by LOTS of e-tailers and are probably the most common. For me? I hate 'em. I've got a collection of probably a dozen different pad manufacturers. If I were to pick a single line of pads to use, it would probably be the "Uber" pads from Detailer's Domain. I don't like the orange ones, but the others are all excellent. And, the velcro backing is labeled with words like "Heavy Polish" or "Finishing," so for people who are new to this stuff, it's easy to pick the right pad for the job.

Hope that helps!

Karl in NC
Early 1999 F250 6-speed: the DD and tow rig; DIY intake, stock exhaust straight piped
2004 Honda S2000: the autocross and sunny weather car

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