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      11-06-2012, 03:40 PM   #1
1fastdoc
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Not a good idea to wetsand M3 clear coat?

Dropped my '11 E92 off with a detailer today. Apparently he's very meticulous and only works on higher end cars out of a residential garage. He's the guy who details all the Ferraris around here and came highly recommended as the only person they take their cars to.

One thing I wanted done was to have all the orange peel wet sanded down. Outside the car looks great but under fluorescent lights the Space gray paint is far from smooth.

He measured the paint and it was about 88-92 microns all the way around. Apparently he likes to see at least 120. Given it's a daily driver and it will see the track he told me he couldn't in good conscience recommend taking it down at all. 2 tiny rock chips had already hit the front and nicked it through the paint so I can understand his comment. But, I've also seen pics of other BMW's that have been sanded to a mirror smooth finish.

It's not about the money although not sanding it will save me a grand. I just want the best appearance without risking the integrity of the paint and causing more problems down the road. FWIW, it's getting an Avery Dennison clear bra after the detail.

Anyone have their M3 sanded? Was the paint as thin to start with? Anyone agree it's a bad idea?

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      11-06-2012, 03:47 PM   #2
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Safest bet would be to reclear the panels and then wet sand, but that will be a big expense. I think your detailer is doing the responsible thing and doesnt want to chance burning through the clear

Removing orange peel is a huge expense typically done for concurs or show quality cars..not street driven cars
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      11-06-2012, 04:27 PM   #3
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88-92 microns is really low to begin with; I've actually never seen an E9* M3 w/ that low of a clear coat depth. Every single M3 I've worked on is around 120-130 microns across the entire car, w/ 100 being the lowest in some spots. What type of paint depth gauge was he using and was it calibrated properly?

Removing orange peel is worth it if done properly. My previous car after wet sanding:

http://www.eclipsisna.com/?ena=eclipsism3-page5
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      11-06-2012, 05:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipsisNA View Post
88-92 microns is really low to begin with; I've actually never seen an E9* M3 w/ that low of a clear coat depth. Every single M3 I've worked on is around 120-130 microns across the entire car, w/ 100 being the lowest in some spots. What type of paint depth gauge was he using and was it calibrated properly?

Removing orange peel is worth it if done properly. My previous car after wet sanding:

http://www.eclipsisna.com/?ena=eclipsism3-page5
It was a small meter that would only work on metal. He has another meter that he said was being recalibrated and he would check the CF roof when he had it back.

I've seen those pics before, beautiful car. I also like the plate. I must be a better driver because I'm averaging 10 mpg, lol.

At present the plan is to buff it and get the swirls out and then seal it and wax it. His guess to wet sand the entire car was at least $1000 extra. While I do okay financially, there are other things I could spend that money on and if it wouldn't make a huge difference once a person is 10 ft away then I can let it go, for now. I should probably add that I have every intent of tracking this car.

I will say, outside it's not that noticeable unless the sun hits it just right. In his shop it made an actual orange rind look smooth and he said it's one of the worst he's seen (bearing in mind most of his work is on Ferraris).
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      11-06-2012, 05:11 PM   #5
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Brand new m3 yesterday and today: 85-92 microns on the c-pillar(both!). Until then, I had never seen a new one with paint that "thin". I would not ws at that point either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipsisNA View Post
88-92 microns is really low to begin with; I've actually never seen an E9* M3 w/ that low of a clear coat depth. Every single M3 I've worked on is around 120-130 microns across the entire car, w/ 100 being the lowest in some spots. What type of paint depth gauge was he using and was it calibrated properly?

Removing orange peel is worth it if done properly. My previous car after wet sanding:

http://www.eclipsisna.com/?ena=eclipsism3-page5
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      11-10-2012, 12:15 AM   #6
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I have seen several brand new M3s sub 90 Microns. Listen to him. He knows what he is talking about as you will realistically not be able to ever buff the car safely again. I'd rather spend it on corrections down the road because defects are going to be present later. Orange peel is orange peel. Every car has it to an extent and these cars are particularly known for it. Its an understanding to knows who know cars. And like you said, you could use that money much more well spent. I know of the guy ur talking about and ur in good hands.
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      11-10-2012, 01:25 PM   #7
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I had mine done, and while the end result was pretty good I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. The initial cost + higher maintenance isn't worth it.

My advice would be to use the money towards and Akra Evo and just enjoy the car for the few years you have it.
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      11-13-2012, 02:12 PM   #8
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i wanted to do this as well...but i was advised against it. im not doing it anymore just to be safe....
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      11-13-2012, 03:48 PM   #9
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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Orange Peel
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      11-14-2012, 12:18 AM   #10
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Got it back today and it looks great. His used a different meter, which he told me was top of the line and will display the depth of each layer of pain and it confirmed the initial findings.

He did experiment on a few small areas with some 3000 grit and couldn't make much of a difference without significantly thinning the clear so he stopped.

So the orange peel is still there but man, the paint looks incredible. Now for the clear bra for the entire front end. Also need to figure out which tint to go with.
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      11-16-2012, 05:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatoneguy View Post
general rule of thumb, dont sand factory orange peel out if you drive the car! or have a very good wash routine and dont plan on polishing anymore after that...or if you want to reclear (think 15k paint job...paint, sand, paint, sand, etc)
I appreciate the comment. As I was gassing it up today (having a hard time getting more than 10 mph, lol) I caught the reflection off of the area just below the windows. Shiny but it looks like a reflective golf ball. I've come to think of it as you would distressed furniture. Especially with gray, it's not too noticeable from afar but it bugs me.

It's nice to have people agree with the detailer that it's not a good idea. Makes it easier for me to accept.
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      11-16-2012, 07:30 PM   #12
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i've been always fine with orange peel. lucky me i guess
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      11-16-2012, 07:45 PM   #13
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Removing orange peel also makes future repairs harder. If you ever have a body shop respray a panel, they will leave orange peel and then you will have to wet sand it again and have it match the other panels.

99% of cars on the road have orange peel.. the only exceptions being cars that cost more than most houses. It isn't worth the cost of both time and money to do. Enjoy the car and drive it.
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      11-16-2012, 07:57 PM   #14
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Agree, orange peel doesnt bother me at all, you always wanna leave more clear for correction later on.
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      11-20-2012, 06:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzbm3 View Post
I had mine done, and while the end result was pretty good I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. The initial cost + higher maintenance isn't worth it.

My advice would be to use the money towards and Akra Evo and just enjoy the car for the few years you have it.
There isn't any "higher maintenance" associated w/ maintaining your paint after orange peel removal.
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      11-20-2012, 06:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipsisNA View Post
There isn't any "higher maintenance" associated w/ maintaining your paint after orange peel removal.
Of course there is.

Orange peel, while not desirable, does help mask many of the minor swirl marks that appear on most daily drivers.

Removing the orange peel makes these scratches much more easily detectable.
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      11-20-2012, 06:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzbm3 View Post
Of course there is.

Orange peel, while not desirable, does help mask many of the minor swirl marks that appear on most daily drivers.

Removing the orange peel makes these scratches much more easily detectable.
Sorry, that's just not true. Orange peel has no effect on whether swirls are more or less visible. If swirls are present, it doesn't matter whether there's orange peel or no orange peel; they'll still be visible to the same degree.

There are negatives to removing orange peel that have already been mentioned in this thread, and I agree with them, but higher maintenance or making scratches more visible is incorrect.
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      11-20-2012, 07:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipsisNA View Post
Sorry, that's just not true. Orange peel has no effect on whether swirls are more or less visible. If swirls are present, it doesn't matter whether there's orange peel or no orange peel; they'll still be visible to the same degree.
Well I've had it both ways on the same car, and my experience differs from what you are saying.

It's likely a trained eye will see the scratches no matter what the condition of the paint, but for the average enthusiast they will appear less visible when orange peel is present.
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      11-20-2012, 07:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzbm3 View Post
Well I've had it both ways on the same car, and my experience differs from what you are saying.

It's likely a trained eye will see the scratches no matter what the condition of the paint, but for the average enthusiast they will appear less visible when orange peel is present.
Trained eye or not, there's no technical explanation for what you're saying. Orange peel texture is like the picture below. With orange peel, swirls follow the curvature of the ridge lines, but there's no masking effect in this instance. Miniscule variances in height of the clear coat have no effect on the appearance of surface defects. If the surface was flat (no orange peel), the scratches would still follow the same pattern, only without the slight variances in height. Either way, there's no masking effect like what you're suggesting.

On the other hand, orange peel DOES have an effect on the way light is refracted against the surface. That's a whole other topic though. The image reflected by the orange peel-laden surface is distorted by the variances in the paint's height, whereas a flat surface evenly reflects light and thus no distortion. Think of a mirror's reflection vs. the reflection of rippling water.
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Last edited by eclipsisNA; 11-20-2012 at 07:16 PM.
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      11-21-2012, 02:12 PM   #20
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Right. It could be to due to the way light refracts off the paint, but I think it's also simply due to the fact that a panel that has orange peel has a much busier paint finish, and minor flaws are less likely to catch your eye.

This doesn't mean the paint on a wet sanded car is any less durable, I'm just saying scratches are a bit more noticeable and as a result make you want to maintain the car a bit more frequently than you would otherwise.

That said, a wet sanded M3 is a beautiful thing...just be ready for an enhanced case of OCD if you decide to pull the trigger.
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