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Waxing your F-car

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by Pirate75, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. Pirate75

    Pirate75 Karting

    Feb 19, 2008
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    JT
    Has anybody used the waxing system from Griot's Garage? My neighbor, who totally anal about cleaing and waxing his cars, used it on his Shelby and said it worked better than anything he's tried. If not, what is the best system of products that you all have used. And have you had any issues with the buffers screwing up the finish on your car?
     
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  3. Superior Shine

    Superior Shine Karting

    Jul 4, 2006
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    Joe
    They’re too many variables to make this an easy answer.

    How is the finish on your vehicle now? What color is it?
    If not already pristine you will need to correct, deep clean and polish the finish first. The “best” wax will not look very good on a finish that hasn’t been prep correctly. Dark colors will demand utmost finesse.

    How much time do you want to put into waxing your car?
    There are products that combine polishing and waxing into one step. They don’t offer the best shine or the longest lasting protection but are quick and easy to use.
    Other products are designed to perform specific functions separately which will bring about greater results.

    What is your skill level?
    Depending on how your car looks, you may achieve the best results with machine polishing. A buffer requires the most skill but other machines on the market are much safer to use if you don’t have to do heavy paint correction.

    Your best bet will be to stick to a major product manufacture and follow their system entirely.

    I happen to use Meguiars products and have been for the last 14 years or so.
     
  4. Todd Helme

    Todd Helme Formula Junior

    Apr 2, 2007
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    #3 Todd Helme, Apr 4, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    You are asking an open ended question because it is impossible to answer with out more specifics. If you are asking what is the best wax for your F-car, there are so many good choices that it couldn't be answered with out writing a book. The better question would be what are some of the best wax "systems" for you, based on your needs.

    Before discussing waxes and/or sealants it’s important to remember that these types of products (LSP's or Last Step Products) are designed as sacrificial barriers, designed to protect the paint. People make too big of a deal in the wax they use, when the truth is that over 95 percent of the final appearance is based on the prep work before the wax (or sealant is applied).

    If we wanted to break car "detailing" into steps, it would look something like...

    1) Wash -The most obvious step, but the least understood. Most (if not all) of the degradation of the car's finish comes from improper washing and drying techniques. Micro abrasions, scratches, and swirl marks are almost always owner (or cheap car washer) installed and completely avoidable.

    2) Decontamination- After washing, the paint should be rubbed down with detailers clay to remove any contaminates that embed themselves onto the paint's surface. This step will restore smoothness to the paint and in some cases, clarity.

    3) Paint correction- This is the process where machines are used to actually remove and re-level the paint surface. You asked whether "buffers" can be dangerous. Absolutely, you are using a machine to abrade and remove the paint. The paint on new F430's will range between 5.5 mils and 7.5 mils, which is total paint thickness. Of this you are looking at 1.5 mils (or more) of primer and 1.5 mils (or so) of base coat. This leaves about 2.5 mils of clear coat (which is VERY thick by modern standards). This means you only have a little less then HALF the thickness of a sheet of paper worth of clear coat on the paint. Of that, it becomes dangerous to remove more than 10 percent (when paint outgases, it pushes the UV protection to the top). Removing more then 10 percent of a half sheet of paper worth of paint over the life time of the vehicle will shorten the paint's life.

    Certain tools, such as a Porte Cable (which is known as a D/A or orbital) are fairly safe because they do not remove a lot of paint, and the orbiting action reduces heat build up. These are very nice for the DIY'er, when used properly with the right pads and polishes. High speed or direct drive machines (known as rotaries or variable speeds) are serious machines which are much more powerful. In the hands of a skilled person they can remove serious defects as well be used to "jewel" the paint like a diamond.

    4) Protection- Once the paint is perfect, then it becomes a matter of waxing or applying a sealant. People could argue for years about which is better and still not have a correct answer. If you are looking for durability, something synthetic sealants like Zaino or Werkstatt provide good looking, long lasting protection. If you prefer the deeper "shimmer" of a carnauba wax, there are so many options on the market, from Pinnacle, P21s, Dodo, Zymol, Swissvax, Meguiars, and many others. If you post your needs, color, and year, I could help you choose a great combination, depending on how crazy you want to get.

    Also know that a lot of people will tell you stuff that they really have no proof of.

    Ferrari's need carnauba wax- This rumor (spread by a high end detailer in south Florida) is beyond terrible. Also, you might here that certain companies make waxes specifically for "Italian" or Ferrari paint. Ferrari currently uses PPG Cerma-Clear paint, which was originally developed in conjunction with Mercedes Benz. PPG recommends using a wax or sealant on the paint, Mercedes recommends (and uses) a German product named Menzerna (FMJ, which is a synthetic sealant), and Ferrari USA recommends Zymol. This is the same paint system, however Ferrari USA has a deal with Zymol and Menzerna is known for making polishing compounds which are used in the Benz factories.

    Clear Coat cars don't need wax- Clear coat is a clear paint. It needs protection just like single stage paints of the past. However, because it doesn't oxidize at the same rate of the older lacquers, it doesn't give off such a rapid appearance of degradation.

    You can wax the paint off your car- Not true. Again in the old days, single stage paints (esp. lacquer) would oxidize very quickly. To remove this oxidation, the paint would need to be scrubbed with abrasives, much like exfoliating your skin. So in the old days, to fight of oxidation, paint would have to be scrubbed off and you could "wax" through the paint. While some companies still make this "cleaner/waxes" most waxes and sealants found today do not feature any abrasives. Certain sealants such as Zaino actually bonds to itself, so each coat increases the overall appearance.

    I put ten coats of wax on my car, it looks awesome- This is more psychological then anything. Like I said certain sealants can be improved with multiple layers. However carnauba waxes cannot. Carnauba wax is harder then concrete in natural forum and has to be softened and cut with solvents and oils. When you are applying multiple coats of wax, the solvents from the fresh coat act to soften and remove most of the previous coat. It is always recommended to apply two coats though, for even coverage.

    My wax has 70 percent carnauba, it is better than yours!- One of the most misunderstood claims in waxes, and the basis for 2,000 dollar waxes to exist. Because of the hardness of carnauba it has to be cut with solvent. VOC regulations are strict on how much and what types of solvent can be used. Because the amount of solvent is the limiting factor, it is really impossible to get more then 20 percent carnauba wax into a solution (by density). However, claims such as high carnauba wax content live on because they are a play on words. Generally a statement such as this means that 70 percent of the wax in the solution is carnauba OR 70 percent of the volume of wax is carnauba is advertised. However, carnauba wax is usually about 1/3 as dense as the other ingredients, so it does fill more volume then the other ingredients.

    To make a long post, longer...

    The wax or sealant you choose is icing on the cake. Nothing will ever look as good as perfectly prepared paint, in which case the wax or sealant of choice is almost redundant. However, most "detailers" and body shops do not know how to properly prepare paint. In fact, must "buff" cars with a glaze which is oil based product designed to "fill" or hide swirl marks and buffer induced marring temporarily. This is also a great option for the DIYer and something you may consider. Products such as Meguiars #7 or 3M Imperial Hand Glaze will greatly reduce the appearance of swirl marks and hazing temporarily, and can be topped with a wax of choice to "lock" in the oils.
    Again, this is a very common in the detailing industry, where many people simply don't want to spend the 1000's of hours necessary to learn how to use a polisher correctly and finish the paint down flawlessly with out the use of glazing oils.

    Here are some pictures to prove my point.

    Picture one is what the surface of a black Range Rover looks like under halogen lighting. No matter how nice the wax used is, it will never look great because of the damage to the paint.

    Picture two is what the surface of the black Range Rover looks like after being machine polished to perfection (it took about 90 minutes on the door alone). I should note that the area has also been wiped with a solvent to remove any oils that "could" make the paint look nicer.

    Picture three is the Range Rover outside, after being waxed.

    Picture four is an F430 that has been polishes and wiped with prep-sol (a solvent). What you see is bare paint, perfected. Any wax or sealant is going to look great because the canvas is perfect!
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  5. Superior Shine

    Superior Shine Karting

    Jul 4, 2006
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    Todd.......


    I was so proud of my post before it got SQUISHED by yours. LOL!
     
  6. Todd Helme

    Todd Helme Formula Junior

    Apr 2, 2007
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    Actually, I think you said what I said, you just did a much better job of getting to the point. I have a bit of a motor mouth (and probably bore half these guys to death).

    Joe, shoot me an email so we can get together when you are in Orlando!
     
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  8. 1ual777

    1ual777 Formula 3

    Mar 21, 2006
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    Orange County, CA
    Great post, you said it all and made absolute sense doing it.
     
  9. ASK328

    ASK328 Formula 3
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    Question: How do you avoid this, and when you buy expensive micro fiber towels how do you wash them? Also what about when you car is dirty and you spray (in my case) speed shine from Griots (I think that’s the name) on the paint and wipe all the dust dirt off. They say that will not cause scratches?
     
  10. BT

    BT F1 World Champ
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    Mar 21, 2005
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    #8 BT, Apr 4, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    My answer to the question is no. I have not tried the Griot's system. I have used the Zaino system, and it is excellent. Last week I tried Meguire's #26 Hi Tech Glaze for the first time, and I was really impressed with the depth of shine. I am not sure of the durability, but I think I will use it again. The best proven system for paint in good condition is Zaino in my opinion. Photo 1 is a few years ago after the initial Zaino treatment. Photos 2 & 3 are last week after the Meguire's. Photo 1 probably loos better due to the better daylight and reflections of the clouds. The shine on the car now is superior IMHO.
    :)
    BT
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  11. Todd Helme

    Todd Helme Formula Junior

    Apr 2, 2007
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    If the car is "dirty" then you need to wash it. No matter how slick that detail spray is, dirt will grind into the paint and cause marring. Quick detailers are okay for lightly dusted cars, but if you drive it on the road, then you pick up road grime, and realistically should wash the car. One product you might want to consider is Optimum No Rinse, which is a rinsless wash that is say of light to moderate amounts of dirt. I usually only use microfibers to assit in drying the car, as they provide a little lubrication when removing the water (which aids in avoiding marring to the paint). Quick detailers "boost" the protection on the car, so they renew that freshly waxed look. Drying the car is one of those steps that put a lot of marring into the paint because you are removing the lubrication from the surface.

    As far as microfibers, here are a couple rules of thumb...

    Keep your best microfibers together (use these for removing wax). Never use chemicals on the microfibers that will touch your paint. When you wash them, use Woolite Orginal or Tide Original (never use a powedered detergent, nor anything with scent or bleach). Use hot water in the wash. Set the machine for a two rinse cycle, and on the second rinse, add a couple cap fulls of Distilled Vineager to the rinse. The distilled vineager will act to realease the minerals and grime that is inherent to the water used during the wash (unless your house is one a filtered system).

    To dry them, hang them up and let them air dry. One more thing to consider is that you never want to contaminate the towels with any fabric softner. Most fabric softeners are animal fat, and the fibers on the towel are often 100's of times finer then human hair. The animal fat acts to clog these fibers which not only reduces their effectiveness but will cause steaking on the paint. Also, I inspect all my towels under a microscope to ensure no grit has been picked up in the fibers that might cause marring later.
     
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  13. Todd Helme

    Todd Helme Formula Junior

    Apr 2, 2007
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    I would say that Bill's car looks great because of the guy who polished it (ahem, ahem....) ;)
     
  14. ASK328

    ASK328 Formula 3
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    Man I wish you lived in Mass, you would be over at my house at least twice a year.

    Thanks,

    Andrew
     
  15. Todd Helme

    Todd Helme Formula Junior

    Apr 2, 2007
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    Ryan Blanchette is from Mass and a personal mentor of mine. IMO, there are very few in the world that approach his level of paint correction and understanding. He is one of the the most talented "detailers" in the world and would do an amazing job with your car :D

    Thank you for compliment though. The truth is I have invested so much into being the best in the world that I have researched every possible tangent as it could realate to car care. It is kind of borning actually, and nobody in my personal life really cares (its all wax to them, esp my wife) so when I have a chance to speak on something I am passionate about (and nobody, not even most "high end" detailers care about) I get excited. LOL, thats why always apologize for my long winded answers!
     
  16. KENCO

    KENCO Formula 3

    Nov 1, 2006
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    Todd likes to go on and on about the technical and chemical breakdown of paint and polish........." dull, dull, dull"

    But let me tell you....... When Todd polished two of my cars, it was the best they ever looked, and I am very particular and anal about clean and shine.

    Todd, after you did my cars, everyone took notice that they looked even better then they usually did. Gotta get you back again.......I will admit, I am hooked!
     
  17. ASK328

    ASK328 Formula 3
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    Any info on Ryan Blanchette, where does he work?
     
  18. zippyslug31

    zippyslug31 Formula 3

    Sep 28, 2007
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    Too late. :(

    Like anything worth doing, there are experts out there in the world that make the topic so freaking complicated that it overwhelms simpletons like me. I don't mind washing/waxing my own cars, but it's always got to be made so involved. "If it's worth doing, it's worth over-doing".
     
  19. cavallino33

    cavallino33 Formula Junior

    Jul 10, 2005
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    Campbell, CA
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    Jeff
    I don't have an F-car but I do use all Griots products, best of show wax,fine hand polish, carnuba wax, and clay bar (among other products and it works great. They are also a very nice company to deal with so I feel slightly better about spending so much money on detailing supplies.

    Looks shiny enough to me.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Todd Helme

    Todd Helme Formula Junior

    Apr 2, 2007
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    Haha....

    There are so many levels of DIY that it is hard to gauge an answer.

    If you are just a guy who likes to keep a good coat of wax on her and make her shine, look at an OTC wax such as Meguiars #26 Hi Tech Yellow Wax. If you want to add a little more to the look use a glaze such as Meguiars #7 Show Car Glaze.

    So wash, clay, glaze, wax.... To maintain it, wash it properly and reply the wax every two-three months (or if you notice the water start loose its beading). Once you notice that rewaxing doesn't bring the paint back up to freshly detailed level, then start over (wash, clay, glaze, wax).
     
  21. curtisc63

    curtisc63 Formula 3
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    Dec 13, 2005
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    A 3AM post followed by 9:30AM!

    I will take you up on your offer of requesting help by telling what we have and the level to which we are willing to go - remember making this offer from 3AM?

    I have a white TR. The paint is original except the front bumper cover. The paint "feels smooth" - no real surface roughness. There are some slight surface scratches but generally it looks pretty good. I bought the car in 06 and have not done any major detailing on it. I have the usual basic supplies but am willing to purchase the appropriate tools if needed. On my other cars I use a Craftsman 9" single speed random orbital with Terrycoth pads. I won't say I am a fanatic (though others would) but I like keeping my cars nice and having people notice them - even the everyday grocery getter SUV. I have never clayed a car but feel it is time to learn - not on the TR though.

    I have seen (and printed for reference) your other posts about washing techniques and have adapted some into my routine.

    What would you suggest for my situation? Thanks.
     
  22. Todd Helme

    Todd Helme Formula Junior

    Apr 2, 2007
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    Curtis, it depends on what your goals are.

    If your goals are perfection, I would recommend finding a very high quality detailer in your area who can polish paint (with out using glazes or fillers) and restore the paint to like new condition. Given that TR's that I have worked on have been single stage paint, there is a chance you have some oxidation.

    If your goals are to do it yourself (and still aim for paint correction) you are going to need something more aggresive then a Craftsman orbital. It simply doesn't have enough power to truely re-level paint. Infact, the only thing those are really good for are applying and removing wax, and even then I would recommend doing that by hand. You will need several polishes (meduim and mild) and several polishing pads (meduim and mild). You will also need a machine like a Porter Cable 7242 with a backing plate. Used correctly, you can remove defects and polish the paint to a near professional level.

    If you don't want to dabble with machine polishing, but still want to make the TR look as nice as possible (while doing it yourself), I would do the following.

    Wash the car throughly and inspect the paint in every lighting possible. Place your hand in a plastic sandwich baggy and LIGHTLY drag your finger tips over the paint. If you feel any roughness in the paint then you don't need to clay. If you feel any bumps or grits, then you need to clay the paint. It is honestly very easy to do, and nothing to be fearful of.

    If/After you clay the paint inspect for swirl marks. With out using a machine, you are not going to remove them, but you should be able to reduce the appearance of them by using a "glaze". One area I would focus on is the possiblity of oxidation which will limit maximum gloss, so the first step is going to be to chemically clean the paint.

    A good over the counter product (that can be used by hand) is Meguiars Deep Crystal Step One. It is very light chemical cleaner that is designed to be worked into the paint with a foam applicator pad and wiped away. It will prep the paint by deep cleaning it and prepparing the paint for the glaze/wax.

    So work one section at a time, wiping and working the product into the paint with a foam applicator then wiping clean (with a microfiber towel).

    Now its time to "hide" the swirls and increase the gloss of the paint. A product like 3M Impieral Hand Glaze, Meguiars #7 ShowCar Glaze, or Ardnex Stereo Glaze2 can all be used to temporarly fill in the swirl marks and increae the appearance.

    Now its time to follow with a carnauba wax. A great choice for white would be Collonite #845 or P21s/S100. A carnauba wax will lock in the oils of the glaze and help protect the look for longer.
     
  23. Todd Helme

    Todd Helme Formula Junior

    Apr 2, 2007
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    Ken,

    Thanks for the kind words. I think we proved that you can make white look stunning (on your Diablo). I would love to get my hands (and polisher) on your beauties!
     
  24. jpohl402

    jpohl402 Formula Junior

    Very good info tropicaldetail!
     
  25. furmano

    furmano Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Since this thread has turned into the "Ask Todd" thread, are there any other things to consider with single stage paint you find on 80's era (red) Ferraris?

    Thanks,

    -F
     
  26. gumballf355

    gumballf355 Karting

    Apr 7, 2008
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  27. Todd Helme

    Todd Helme Formula Junior

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    In general the single stage paints used by Ferrari in the '80s where enamel (instead of lacquer) and thus don't oxidize as quicker as some of the earlier paints. One thing to consider is that these paints are extremely soft and will mar or scratch easy (it is very easy to get swirl marks in the paint) so you need to be very careful when you wash them and, IMO, you should never wipe them off (dry) or use a califorina duster on them. The surface is just too soft and it will make you pay over time.

    Because single stage will oxidize (or pinken) I would recommend using a cleaner/wax on them once a year. Something similar to Meguiars ColorX or Zymol Cleaner-Wax. Both of these feature chemical cleaners and light abrasives to remove any oxidation that will dull the appearance. Both of these products need to be worked into the paint (with a little passion and a foam applicator) to fully clean the surface of the paint. Then you can apply whatever wax of your choice on top.

    So the paint is soft which requires delicate hands when washing and cleaning.

    The paint will oxidize (though garage kept cars tend to oxidize much slower) so it will need to be exfoliated on occasion.

    The paint on '80s Ferraris tends to be thin in spots (and thick in others) so care is the name of the game.

    If I didn't answer any specifics feel free to ask :D
     
  28. ducowti

    ducowti Formula 3

    Jan 27, 2008
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    Todd, thank you for entertaining these questions and enlightening us - this is all tremendously educational and helpful!
     

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