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      04-15-2012, 10:26 PM   #1
SamS
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E92 M3 Jerez Black: My first attempt at paint correction

First off, special thanks to forum members MuttGrunt and Envious Eric for providing valuable guidance and insight into the paint correction process.

I picked up my 2012 M3 via ED in October, and redelivery via PCD in December. Throughout every step, I did my very best to ensure the paint on the car would remain pristine. Despite my best efforts, my car picked up swirling and other light defects somewhere between pick up in Munich, and re-delivery in Spartanburg, SC. Once I got home, I made sure to follow the proper two bucket procedure, etc. Since the car is not my daily, I'm able to keep the engine bay, interior, and wheels in pretty good shape. But, I knew it was time to tackle the minor scratches that made their way into my paint.

I basically had two days to do the job. I had previously ordered a Porter Cable 7424XP, pads and compound, and had done enough reading to know what I was getting into. My goal was only to get the paint back to something nice to look at. Interior is great (car only has 2200 miles), and I had removed the wheels and done a deep clean on them last month. I'll share some pictures from a sunny day a few months ago, when I first began to understand the extent of my problem.







Besides the hood, the worst part was the trunk lid, ughh:



So, I spent a couple of hours washing with Chemical Guys Citrus Wash, and drying. I had clayed a few weeks ago, there was not much embedded debris on the paint. I got to taping, armed with leftover 3M Scotch tape from my road trip back from PDC.




Tape and other prep-work took a long time! I decided to call it a day to get a fresh start with correction the following day.

My plan of attack was as follows:
  • Menzerna Power Finish on White LC pad
  • wipe down with micro fiber towel
  • Menzerna SF4000 (this is called 106??) on Black LC pad
  • wipe down with micro fiber towel
  • IPA wipe down (ended up with 60/40 alcohol to water mix)
  • Menzerna Power Lock Sealant on Blue LC pad
  • wipe down with micro fiber towel
  • Pete's 53' carnuba wax
  • wipe down with micro fiber towel

This was a lot more work than I was expecting! It took around 3-4 hours just for the first step with Power Finish. About 3/4 of the way through, I switched to a fresh White pad, as I could tell I was getting too much specks of compound, and not much cut. On a few problem areas, I had to switch to an Orange pad with Power Finish. If I couldn't get the small marks to disappear with the Orange, I just left them. Not comfortable enough to go any more aggressive on my first attempt.

After the White (and occasional Orange), I could tell I got 90-95% of all scratches. Yes, I could still spot a few per panel, if I looked very close with the halogen work lamps. And, I knew I only had about 8 hours to do this correction, so best not to drive myself batty or into serious fatigue. This stuff can kill your back! I moved on to the SF4000 with black, which I couldn't honestly tell gave me a lot of improvement. Although I realize I needed to go with this finer pad/compound before LSP. I proceeded to remove the painter's tape. The IPA wipe down was a total cinch. I moved on to the Power Lock with Blue pad. This too was easy, as Power Lock goes on with no problem. I just used a setting of 2 on the PC, to get coverage on the paint. No pressure. Finally, I applied the Pete's 53'. This is my first "boutique" wax in a long long time. It seemed to apply OK, and smelled nice. My only complaint was working with the occasional "crumbles". I guess this is common with carnubas? I had to make sure not to apply too much, as it was tougher to wipe out a thicker layer.

A couple of observations after it was all done:
  • The sealant + wax left the most slippery surface! Incredible. Of course it was not like these even picking up at BMW Welt.
  • The shadowline trim looks absolutely amazing now that it is virtually free of scratches.
  • The carbon fiber roof really pops with a coat of wax. It didn't have many defects on it before I started, but it sure stands out, now.
  • You could spend all day, just on the hood. I don't know if it's because it's a bigger area, or if you can catch the scratches in the light better. I got 95% of the defects, but damn if another won't crop up if a bug lands on my hood wrong.
  • For the few marks where even an Orange + Power Finish wouldn't take out... I could actually see the scratches were actually tiny "dents" in the clear coat, when you view at a certain angle. This is hard to describe. But I know if I wanted to get these out, I'd have to go pretty deep, based on what I see. These are all minor marks, that you can only spot if you know exactly where to look.

Sorry I don't have any sun pics. The weekend weather in Dallas was all clouds and rain, until late today. Even when the sun came out, it would have mean driving through some puddles to get any sun shots.

The first pic is a 50/50 after a single pass with the Power Finish + White pad. The rest of the "after" pics don't really tell you much, I know. But understand this... what you see on the hood are actual reflections from my garage ceiling. The attic door, imperfections in the ceiling drywall, etc. I thought something was wrong with my lens when I originally took the pictures! Nope, it really is that shiny





So, final thoughts.... this was about as difficult as I expected. I certainly wouldn't want to try to do this entire process in a single day. I would have actually rather spread out the compounding over two entire days, but hey, there is life to live after all. I can see why this would have cost ~$1000 for a pro to do. It is a lot of physical work, and takes a lot of patience. I'm sure I spent at least $500 just to get the supplies to allow me to give this a shot. The good thing is, I can tackle any minor problems that crop up in the future, myself.

Final question for the pros: Now that I've got a pristine car, how to maintain? Of course I do the two-bucket wash method, and car is always garaged, and would never be exposed to the elements. After a half-dozen washes, will I need another coat of wax, or sealant? Or, clay bar, IPA wipe-down and both sealant/wax?

Thanks for reading, I'll try to get some sun pics one day.

Last edited by SamS; 04-15-2012 at 10:39 PM.
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      04-16-2012, 07:56 AM   #2
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Wash regularly from top to bottom. Drying is just as important. Use an electric leaf blower. Ideally as hard as it sounds you want to touch the paint as little as possible to avoid marring.

Use a quality drying towel of course. Use a quick detailer that has protection abilities within, this will make the paint a tad bit glossier and slicker wash after wash.

I'd suggest waxing again hen you notice the protection wearing off.

Car looks great, good job.

-Martin
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      04-16-2012, 08:33 AM   #3
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Thanks Martin!

Yes, I have some quality drying towels, and will give the leaf blower a shot. I have used it in the past to dry my cars, but got away from it.

A few other notes:
  • I briefly mentioned the interior - I do give this serious attention! It keep it spotless (vacuum carpets after every trip), and gave the leather lots of love with Leather Master soft cleaner and protectant.
  • I also detailed much of the undercarriage last month when I had the tires off. Suspension components, wheel wells, etc. got a good dose of P21S TAW and brush/wipe down.
  • To really make the most of the paint correction process, I really think you needed a dedicated work space, with serious lighting, and maybe even a lift. Obviously, I did mine in an open garage, with just halogen work lamps. This means I was competing against bugs, dust, moving the lights, tripping over cords, etc. I am sure I could have been more effective in a more controlled environment.
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      04-16-2012, 02:50 PM   #4
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wash the car with the 2BM
sheet the water off (nozzle off the hose, free flowing)
leaf blower to get 95% of the water off without touching the car
spray QD or spray sealant (chemical guys V07) on panel and wipe off with MF towel to boost gloss and continue the drying process
stand back and enjoy!
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      04-16-2012, 02:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Envious Eric View Post
wash the car with the 2BM
sheet the water off (nozzle off the hose, free flowing)
leaf blower to get 95% of the water off without touching the car
spray QD or spray sealant (chemical guys V07) on panel and wipe off with MF towel to boost gloss and continue the drying process
stand back and enjoy!
Thanks again Eric!

I already have a bottle of this at home, will it do what I need?
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      04-16-2012, 07:56 PM   #6
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Nice job Sam!
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      04-16-2012, 08:11 PM   #7
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Nice job Sam!!

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      04-16-2012, 09:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuttGrunt View Post
Great write-up to follow for fellow DIYers and enthusiasts everywhere Sam!
Marc, thanks for all the kind words, and tips. Only after doing this can I fully appreciate all the work that a pro like you puts into a correction job. The more I think (and look at the car) the more I wish I had a third straight day to put into it. Oh well, there is always next time....

Quote:
Originally Posted by THE TECH View Post
Nice job Sam!
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokke View Post
Nice job Sam!!

Nice seeing you again today! When ya gonna let me come over and grind away on the Frozen Black E92?

I was really rushing tonight, trying to get some sun pics before it got dark. So, keep in mind the car was a bit dusty, and this was the first time I got to see it in good sunlight, i.e. it's not perfect. But.... it does show off how I was able to get rid of virtually all of the fine scratches.






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      04-17-2012, 12:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuttGrunt View Post
Great write-up to follow for fellow DIYers and enthusiasts everywhere Sam! Good to hear that things were positive and came out stellar. I'm also glad that it seems you didn't rush things and put the right amount of time into the project to make sure you got the right results. This isn't easy, but when you see your clean car, you'll smile that much harder now as she truly looks better than anything on the road!

To help with maintenance, keep in mind the goal isn't to keep her absolutely perfect as it is impossible. The goal is to make it so any damage you now put in will pretty much come out with your last polishing step. Now rather than going through the whole process again, you'll simply wash, clay, 106+black, and wax. You eliminate the first two steps and go right to the last one, saving massive amounts of time and headache.

I'm glad you've found some of my advise thus far to be beneficial, and I'm glad guys like you have stuck around to not only acknowledge some of the good guys like Eric, but are here giving back to fellow owners. Your experience will no doubt lead to others doing similar things to make sure there are more beautiful M3's driving around!

amen to all of that!!!!


Sam, I personally dont care for that product. It streaks like crazy if used on any sort of hot surface! Inside the garage, different story! It works well, but not with water! I would get something like meguiars last touch for using a QD while drying since its dilutable (used as a clay lube at 1:1).

I know marc likes dodo juice red tropical mist for his QD/wipe downs, I havent used it though
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      04-17-2012, 12:57 AM   #10
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Sam, looks awesome man! good job!
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      04-17-2012, 07:39 AM   #11
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Thanks guys!

One thing I'm completely clueless about is detailing products. I appreciate all the tips. This stuff gets expensive, fast! Gotta give my wallet a rest for a while ha.
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      04-18-2012, 03:33 PM   #12
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man, jzb is such an underrated color. great work!
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      04-18-2012, 03:37 PM   #13
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man, jzb is such an underrated color. great work!
Appreciate it! Yes, Jerez is hard to show in photos. Under halogen (and other) lights, it has a good amount of purple. In most sunlight, it can be a very rich blue.

I told myself I'd never have a black car again, but when Jerez is clean and scratch-free, it looks about a foot deep due to the flakes.
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      04-20-2012, 02:42 PM   #14
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JZB is so beautiful when it's clean and swirl free but, damn its hard work to keep that way. Detailing your own car saves you big bucks once you know what you're doing and have the products you like to work it.





Quote:
Originally Posted by SamS View Post
Appreciate it! Yes, Jerez is hard to show in photos. Under halogen (and other) lights, it has a good amount of purple. In most sunlight, it can be a very rich blue.

I told myself I'd never have a black car again, but when Jerez is clean and scratch-free, it looks about a foot deep due to the flakes.
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      04-20-2012, 02:49 PM   #15
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JZB is so beautiful when it's clean and swirl free but, damn its hard work to keep that way. Detailing your own car saves you big bucks once you know what you're doing and have the products you like to work it.
I am hoping that with proper washing and drying, the scratches stay gone for good. Ya, any kind of dark color will get dirty, but I'm OK with that.
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      05-20-2012, 01:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamS View Post
The shadowline trim looks absolutely amazing now that it is virtually free of scratches.
Do you have any before/after pictures of the shadowline? Also, I am noticing a considerable amount of rock chips in my front bumper; would following your instructions as well as some BMW touch-up paint help in my situation? Thanks in advance, fantastic job

Last edited by JesusMChrist; 05-20-2012 at 01:02 PM. Reason: Edit: quoted incorrectly, fixed formatting
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      05-20-2012, 02:04 PM   #17
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Do you have any before/after pictures of the shadowline? Also, I am noticing a considerable amount of rock chips in my front bumper; would following your instructions as well as some BMW touch-up paint help in my situation? Thanks in advance, fantastic job
Sorry, I did not take any pics of the shadow line. As you can imagine, there were plenty of fine scratches. The polishing took car of them all. I might be more happy about the results to the shadowline, because those were easy to notice in any light. Now it looks perfect.

Not sure about the chips. You'll probably get the best results with very careful application of the touch up paint. Then the compounding will smooth out the worst of the rough spots.

If you have a ton of chips and bug damage, a respray may be easier. Compounding seems best for swirls, maybe the pros can weigh in as well.
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      05-21-2012, 08:27 AM   #18
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Looks awesome!

When I did my first full detail it took me forever. Good thing I had a whole weekend to dedicate to it. I spent about 3-4 hours Friday after work, then maybe about 5 hours each Saturday and Sunday. In all, it seemed like it took forever, but the results I got were great! What I need to get now are some better lights, my LED flashlight wasn't quite cutting it to see how I was improving the swirls. Like you, I left some behind, but the overall improvement was awesome and I was happy.

On the topic of rock chips, there's not much you can do. Dr. Colorchip works pretty well (it's a touch up paint), but it won't be perfect. The only way to have it 100% like new is a full respray, but then we're talking $$. Plus, if you do a respray, you should put a clear bra on it or you'll be respraying again soon.
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      05-21-2012, 03:30 PM   #19
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car looks clean. good job buddy
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      05-21-2012, 06:31 PM   #20
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Great Job! Looks fantastic
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      05-21-2012, 09:11 PM   #21
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Thanks fellas!
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      05-24-2012, 12:37 PM   #22
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Wow, after reading this, I might just have a shop do it for me. They quoted $550 for full exterior paint correction on my Jet Black. I would love to tackle the project myself, but I don't have a good enough work space to get it done (especially if it takes a couple days).

Your car looks amazing! Great work. It always feel good putting some sweat into a project and getting the desired effect.
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