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Focus ST170 Complete detail

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This is a car I have been meaning to do for some time now. The owner and I finally managed agree a date and time we could fully detail the car. So yesterday Andy brought his lovely black Ford Focus ST170 over to the unit for a complete wash, clay, correction, polish, seal and wax.

Since we have just merged with CARSparkle it seemed an ideal time to try out some of their products whilst using some of ours.

Before:

Here's the car after a quick hose down ready to be cleaned and pampered.

Wash:

The car was pre-treated with Carlack special cleaner, a citrus based degreaser, safe for use on just about everything you can think of. The Special Cleaner was used to pre wash the wheels, arches, plastics and the entire lower half of the car. This alone made washing so much easier.

The car was then rinsed before being washed using the two bucket method with lamswool washmits and Carlack Shampoo. This gave lots of lubrication as made for a very satisfying wash. Dried using Sonus Ultimate Drying Towles.

 

Clay:

The car hadn't been clayed in it's life and this was obvious from running our fingers over the paint. It felt noticably gritty and as it was in for a machine polish we used the most aggressive clay I had, the Sonus Grey to make sure all the contamination was fully removed. We split the bar in two and worked round the car keeping one half in a bucket of hot water swapping frequently to keep it soft and easy to work with.

Once complete the car was silky smooth and free of contamination.

Much of the reason for Andy coming was because he had mentioned that in full sun the car suffered badly from hologramming and swrils marks. As we were were moving the car into the unit the sun came out so we moved the car into full sun so I could see what he meant. I've seen worse, but to be fair it was pretty bad and hologrammed and marred all over, probably a combination of dealer polishing and poor wash technique.

 

Polishing:

Once we had moved the car inside we then taped up all the plastics with 3M's 3434 masking tape before taking some paintwork thickness readings. All the panels were tested and the good news was all the paint was original showing consitant readings across every panel with no more than about 10 microns separating the highest and lowest readings. On average the car had 150 microns so plenty to play with if it was needed.

We then turned on the halogens to inspect the paintwork under artifical lighting which did it even less favours

To start with I tried Menzerna Final Finish PO106FF on a white SFX-2 polishing pad. This alone probably removed 90% of defects. So to speed things up I used Menzerna Intensive Polish PO85RD 3.01 and Andy followed round with PO85RD on a SFX-3 pad.

Using the 'RD Twins' meant we could remove 99% of the defects and leave amazing levels of gloss and clarity.

  

Too much product on the pad above, but I got away with it being Final Finish PO106FF...lovely product.


(Last two taken after one layer of Carlack Systematic Care and Carlack Acrylic Wax....more to come)

Whilst we were doing this richard who was helping with some electrics kindly offered to polish a panel by hand to see what levels of correction were possible.

Since the aim of the day was to try some new products he used the Carlack Scratch Remover Paste followed by Carlack Polishing Paste applied with the Sonus Professional applicator. By hand there is only so much you can normally do to improve paint, so I think we were all amazed by what he managed to do after just three passes. He even commented he could have done a even better job if he had had more patience and repeated the application! This for me was probably the biggest plus of the day as it meant I had a chance to see in action a pair of products that had been overlooked with astonishing results.

Before:

After:

 

Before we cracked on PC'ing the rest of the car I decided to try out my new Makita 9227CB rotary I had bought. Based on some of the stories I'd heard I was a little worried about using it. Overall though I quickly learnt it wasn't quite the fire breating monster everyone makes out and was able to produce some nice test results on both the roof and bonnet.

These photos were taken after using the Makita 9227CB, menzerna Intensive Polish PO85RD3.01 and a Meguiars Cutting Pad.

  

Anyway as time was already pressing on we finished the car with the 'RD twins' before sealing and waxing.

Sealing and Waxing:

In order to keep as much of the gloss and sharpness that had been achieved from the machine polishing we decided to use an Acrylic Sealant to lock in the finish. For this I tried out the Carlack Systematic Car care against the Klasse All-In-One. We did a panel each applied using a SFX-2 pad. The Carlack seemed to have the edge slightly both in ease of use and reflection whether this was because of the Nano tech formula against I belive the order version of Klasse I had we weren't sure. Both looked amazing, but we stuck with the Carlack and completed the car.

After that we applied two layers of Carlack Acrylic Long Life Sealant (Klasse Sealant Glaze) by hand using a slightly damp Blue Pearl microfibre applicator, allowing it to haze before buffing off with a Sonus Der Wunder Buffing towel.

  

And the results!!

So we used the same process for the whole of the car, applying a couple of layers of Carlack's acrylic Long Life Sealant to the whole car.

With it being winter Andy really wanted to try a wax on the car and again this gave me chance to test another couple of products so I was happy to do it.

First up was 3M's Perfect-It™ Show Car Paste Wax. As with all pro sized waxes this was applied using a Sonus Handi-Grip applicator. Designed to fit perfectly in the tub, it's just a case of dipping and twisting to perfectly load the pad.

  

I was really impressed with the wax. It's very very hard but went on the applicator with ease and easy on and easy off. Smells just like Souveran also! Very easy on, even easier off and if durability is anything like what it is claimed this wax could be a real winner.

We did the left side of the car with this and the right hand side of the car we went with Swissol Saphir, I've been using this on a few cars now and it gives a lovely depth to the paint.

Any bits of dust were then removed with Victoria Waxes Quick Detailing Spritz another newbie and another cracker. After testing it today it's definately a product I'll be looking to stock in the future.

Anyway here are some artistic afters:

That just about wraps things up, overall I was absolutely well chuffed with all the product I used today. Thanks to a little help I also managed to find the best hand polish products by far and managed to do lots of testing which made a nice change from sitting in front of a computer.