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      08-24-2011, 10:16 AM   #1
Templar
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Beginner's Project

Hey all,

So I have very little knowledge with complete detailing, but due to a complete lack of reliable detailers in my area, I decided I was going to take it upon myself to learn and try my hand at detailing my M3. Plus, it's definitely more fun working hard yourself and seeing the great results!

So, in order to prevent myself from screwing up my new car and making it look worse, I'm going to try my hand on my second car. It's a 2007 Mazda CX-7. I bought it used, it's great for carrying the dog around when I need to, and also great for carrying any bigger items around when I fold the seats down. When I bought it, it did have some minor scratches into the paint, but for the deal I got it at, there's no way I could have passed it up!

Anyway, I wanted to kind of keep a thread going here, since we always see some of the GREAT detailers here post their amazing projects, but we don't see very many regular joes post their first attempts. I'll keep it complete with mistakes, stupidity, and all other funny things that happen along the way. I think it would be a good journal to see what happens when a newbie takes some initiative and posts all of their attempts here!

As I said, I am starting with my Mazda because I really just want to test out my new equipment and find out what I need to do the RIGHT WAY on my M3. Before I start on the M3, I want to be more comfortable with what I am doing (and also get a better idea of what additional materials I'll need for the M3). My M3 is in pretty decent shape, I should add. It has some minor swirling on the hood, some rock chips on the bumper, but that is about it. I did see some orange peel starting to develop in a few areas. It seems that this might be something I want to get rid of, obviously, as soon as possible. This will obviously take some time, but it is a work in progress!

Here is the list of equipment I am starting out with (mostly from Chemical Guys):
- Gilmour Foamaster II Foam
- Heavy duty water hose trigger gun manufactured by Gilmore
- 1-Gallon citrus wash & gloss synthetic citrus based hyper-Wash+GLOSS
- 16oz - Citrus Wash Daily- citrus based pH balanced hyper concentrated shampoo with EXTREME SUDS II
- Miracle Dryer extremely plush dryer towel
- Chenille microfiber wash mitt
- Premium wash mitt 3 inches thick
- Porter Cable 7424 XP Dual Action -Random orbital polisher
- Porter Cable Manufactured self backing White polishing pad
- 5.5" (ORANGE PAD)-Cutting Pad
- 5.5" (WHITE PAD)-Polishing Pad
- 5.5" (BLACK PAD)-Finishing Pad
- Extra-Flex 5" BACKING PLATE
- 16oz P40 Polish
- 16oz Hybrid Sealant Detailer
- 16oz EZ CREME GLAZE
- SCRATCH & SWIRL BUFF-SCRATCH & SWIRL REMOVER
- Vac N' Go 500 Handheld Vacuum & POWER BLOWER
- Various microfiber towels for drying, etc
- Mother's Chrome polish
- Buckets with grit guards
- Various microfiber applicator pads for hand-cleaning/detailing
- Jetseal sealant
- P20s wax
- Meguiar's leather cleaner/conditioner
- Chemical guys water spot remover
- SONAX Full Effect wheel cleaner
- Extra wash mitt for the wheels

Huge list of stuff, and I am certain I am missing some things. If anyone wants to chime in on something that would be great to add, let me know and I'll snag it! Like I said, I am learning and want to try this first before I go to town on my M3 and mess something up!

I'll edit this post later to include pics! I'll start with the before pics of my Mazda, and go from there. Oh, and because of the Hurricane coming this weekend, I might not be able to get to it until next week, but I'll make sure to update as things go along.

Thanks guys!
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      08-24-2011, 11:56 AM   #2
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Not sure where in NC you're at, but you should really consider contacting Mike: http://cmcdetailing.yolasite.com/

He's a really awesome guy and knows his stuff. Best thing is that he's a car guy; even if you don't do business with him, he can probably give you a lot of tips and knowledge. It's always useful to have a detailer local that can at least gie you fair honest advice with car care!
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      08-24-2011, 01:16 PM   #3
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I'm definitely going to follow your thread.

I'm in a very similar situation. I also have cars to "practice" on, and need to buy everything from scratch in order to get ready for my new M3.

Templar, please keep your list updated with stuff you actually use regularly, extra stuff you didn't think of, and any other tips. I can't offer any advice, but absolutely want to learn from your experience.
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      08-24-2011, 03:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuttGrunt View Post
Not sure where in NC you're at, but you should really consider contacting Mike: http://cmcdetailing.yolasite.com/

He's a really awesome guy and knows his stuff. Best thing is that he's a car guy; even if you don't do business with him, he can probably give you a lot of tips and knowledge. It's always useful to have a detailer local that can at least gie you fair honest advice with car care!
Thanks for the heads up! I might give him a call to ask questions, but I am in Fayetteville and it's a little over an hour to that location in Cary. I've had the same problem in other places I've been stationed, the closest place is usually an hour or so away and it's pointless to drive the car that far, have it detailed, then have it dirtied on an hour long road trip back. The bugs are the biggest culprits on the interstates down here it seems
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      08-24-2011, 03:51 PM   #5
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Fayettenam???? NNNNNOOOOOOOO!!!!


I was stationed at Fort Bragg for 4 years (hooah hooah airborne infantry hooah). I'm glad to be out of the crazy pollen storms and not around all those love bugs and other critters that love getting splattered across your bumper, hood, windshield, and mirrors.

You're a smart owner to look into learning how to do a lot yourself, and you'll get a lot of satisfaction out of it as well. Keep in mind that the number one thing a contact like Mike is going to give you is knowledge - having a local guy to call means a lot. Depending on your job, it could also be nice to potentially have him take custody of the car while you're gone / doing police calls on Sicily DZ

What you don't want, is to go out and buy $800 worth of stuff just to find out you didn't get everything you needed, didn't get the right stuff, or got too much of something you won't use. Right now, you need to concentrate on the basics. Get your two-bucket wash method down pat. Learn what shampoo you like, what towels you like, etc. A polished out M3 is a beautiful thing, but it'll be a waste of time if you can't maintain her finish.
If you're a rookie to this stuff, I'd recommend just worrying about Grit Guards, a good maintenance shampoo, drying towels, extra microfibers, quick detailer, wheel cleaner, and wheel cleaning brushes.
When it comes to good investments, think of something like wheel cleaner. What do you currently use / what have you used in the past? Sonax is very good stuff, and I see you have it listed, but things change once you talk about long term car care. Purchasing a 5L jug of Sonax will save you 20%+ let alone if you purchase during a sale, you could easily save 40% on wheel cleaner in total. It's the small things like this that truly add up over time as long as you're purchasing what you know is effective and is what you like.
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      08-24-2011, 05:38 PM   #6
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MUTT speaks the truth!!!!!
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      08-25-2011, 08:39 AM   #7
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Awesome, thanks again!

I already had some of the basic materials, such as the buckets and grit guards. I also have the SONAX and some good brushes (I've used them a lot in the past and I stick with what works).

As far as a good maintenance shampoo, what do you recommend? I've seen so many out there that it's hard to choose. I've gone through a couple different kinds so far with varying results but they appeared relatively similar.

Luckily the car is currently GARAGE kept! Makes me so happy to be able to put it away when the weather gets nasty or the pollen gets out of control. I am renting a nice house outside of Fayetteville and it has a nice two car garage, so it's perfect for having room to work on the car and baby her! That is really why I want to get cracking on making her look good. Especially with the summer coming to a close, I want to get a nice detail in before she starts spending most of her time in the garage. I mean I know winter down here isn't brutal, but it will still be nice to put her up and not worry about salt stains (especially since I brought her here from Germany, yuck)...
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      08-25-2011, 03:21 PM   #8
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Good list. I recommend Meguiar's 105/205 polish...easy two step process and works great.

1 to whatever Mutt said too

I recently upgraded from the PC to the Flex and while the PC is good, the Flex is just awesome.
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      08-25-2011, 08:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuttGrunt View Post
Not sure where in NC you're at, but you should really consider contacting Mike: http://cmcdetailing.yolasite.com/

He's a really awesome guy and knows his stuff. Best thing is that he's a car guy; even if you don't do business with him, he can probably give you a lot of tips and knowledge. It's always useful to have a detailer local that can at least gie you fair honest advice with car care!
Thanks for the nod, Marc! And also for putting me on to this site. I'm going to poke around and see what I can see, I just wish they didn't put all us E46 M3 guys into such a small sub-forum!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Envious Eric View Post
MUTT speaks the truth!!!!!
Hey Eric, good to see you here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Templar View Post
Thanks for the heads up! I might give him a call to ask questions, but I am in Fayetteville and it's a little over an hour to that location in Cary. I've had the same problem in other places I've been stationed, the closest place is usually an hour or so away and it's pointless to drive the car that far, have it detailed, then have it dirtied on an hour long road trip back. The bugs are the biggest culprits on the interstates down here it seems
Hey Templar, I'm always up for detailing chit-chat or any car talk, especially of the M3 kind. Give a call if you ever need anything!
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      08-26-2011, 12:07 PM   #10
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Sounds great Mike. Will definitely give you a call.

Seems the hurricane is throwing a bit of a wrench into my plan for this weekend, but Sunday might be a good day to get some work done!
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