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Discussion Starter #1
First off here's what I'm working with:





As you guys can see the paint is pretty bad - swirls, scratches and some pretty bad paint chips on the hood I'll try to touch up later on. I'll be attempting my first time (slowly) to remove all those imperfections by washing, claying, cutting, finishing, sealing and finally using a spray on wax to give it a nice look.

What I have:



Plus this backing plate for the DA polisher



I'm planning on buying Meguiar's M105 and M205 compounds. As well as their Ultimate Quick Wax spray on wax. I'm not doing carnauba wax, because fall is coming here in the NW in a little bit and for my first time I'd rather just seal the paint with a long lasting sealant (Griot's Garage One Step Sealant pictured above). Oh and one last thing to add to the list is a good set of plushy microfiber towels, which I'm trying to decide on either Chemical Guys El Gordo or their "Premium Professional Microfiber Towels" - they'll be used to remove residue from each step in the cutting, finishing, sealing, waxing process. They're about the same price for a pack of 12, but I really don't know which is best. Just because of the name, I like the El Gordo ones, but if anyone can give me a decently priced pack of microfiber towels it would be greatly appreciated.

I just recently realized what were the steps needed for the restoration of my car's paint and I'm trying to finalize the list of items I'll need. After many hours of videos and reading I'm feeling confident, but still want some input on the choices I've made for detailing my vehicle. As some of you guys may see, the budget is not very big. I'm still needing a wool/microfiber pad to start with the cutting as well as the microfiber towels I mentioned above. The pads I have already, I got from Harbor Freight and as far as I can see, the orange and blue will be used for the M205 compound and the black pad will be used for the sealant. Right?

Anyways, the transformation is hopefully going to commence soon and that paint will be restored.
 

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in for results

I have a black zx3 that has some bad spots and picked up the HF buffer with the 105 and 205 compounds. Haven't had the time to do anything yet though.
 

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looks like you've got it under control, im jealous of that polisher!
 

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It was less than $50 at HF a couple weeks ago. Pretty sure you can grab one for the same price with the 20% off coupon right now.
Hell yeah I saw that two weeks ago when I was there, I nearly bought it but ended up with a new tattoo, so have you used it yet? I was curious of the quality before I bought it
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Not yet, it's been quite hot where I live since I got it. One thing though, you have to get a different banking plate as the one that comes with it eats away the pads like the cookie monster on a fresh set of cookies.
 

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I'm planning on buying Meguiar's M105 and M205 compounds. As well as their Ultimate Quick Wax spray on wax. I'm not doing carnauba wax, because fall is coming here in the NW in a little bit and for my first time I'd rather just seal the paint with a long lasting sealant (Griot's Garage One Step Sealant pictured above). Oh and one last thing to add to the list is a good set of plushy microfiber towels, which I'm trying to decide on either Chemical Guys El Gordo or their "Premium Professional Microfiber Towels" - they'll be used to remove residue from each step in the cutting, finishing, sealing, waxing process. They're about the same price for a pack of 12, but I really don't know which is best. Just because of the name, I like the El Gordo ones, but if anyone can give me a decently priced pack of microfiber towels it would be greatly appreciated.

I just recently realized what were the steps needed for the restoration of my car's paint and I'm trying to finalize the list of items I'll need. After many hours of videos and reading I'm feeling confident, but still want some input on the choices I've made for detailing my vehicle. As some of you guys may see, the budget is not very big. I'm still needing a wool/microfiber pad to start with the cutting as well as the microfiber towels I mentioned above. The pads I have already, I got from Harbor Freight and as far as I can see, the orange and blue will be used for the M205 compound and the black pad will be used for the sealant. Right?

Anyways, the transformation is hopefully going to commence soon and that paint will be restored.
Rodriguez, you're in for a real treat. Black is always very rewarding when you polish.

My thoughts: So as not to wear yourself out, plan on working one or two areas through both polishing steps (#105/#205) before you decide to tackle the entire car. Done right, you could easily spend two full days polishing in order to get the best result. So if you don't have that kind of time right away, it can easily be broken up into several different days or weekends.

I suggest Lake Country's blue wool or purple wool (synthetic) pads for your #105 correction. This is the most important step in my book, so don't rush. Go over an area a second time if you're not satisfied with the results after the initial pass. As a precaution, let one area cool before attempting the second pass. After you've done a complete panel, say the hood, use your less coarse foam pad with the #205 and finish that panel. If you're worn out after that you can put on your sealant, call it quits for the day, and resume the rest of the car another time. No harm done. Sealant will be the gray pad, as you said.

If you have tons of energy left, #105 another panel, #205, and repeat.

Take pictures with a halogen spotlight if you have one!

Good luck!
 

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I am looking forward to the results, since I also own a Focus [:D] Tape off a section to compare your work. I have seen this many times in car forums. I am tempted to get that polisher too but I don't have access to power.
 

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I am looking forward to the results, since I also own a Focus [:D] Tape off a section to compare your work. I have seen this many times in car forums. I am tempted to get that polisher too but I don't have access to power.
Griots Garage has a cordless one that'd work great for your needs.
 

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To the OP.

Please DO NOT use those pads you purchased from Harbor Freight. They will do more harm than good. I strongly suggest ordering a set of pads from a reputable brand. From personal endeavors, I've seen Harbor Freight pads ruin 20+ hours of work. They are not good pads and will only scratch the paint even further. I've used their finishing pad once, but I've since thrown it in the garbage. The Harbor Freight pad ended up ruining my swirl-free restoration by adding, guess what, swirls. So please, DO NOT use those pads!

I suggest going on Amazon or CarGeek and finding some good usable pads. I personally like Chemical Guys. They have great products and they won't break the bank. Please save yourself the trouble of the Harbor Freight pads.
 

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To the OP.

Please DO NOT use those pads you purchased from Harbor Freight. They will do more harm than good. I strongly suggest ordering a set of pads from a reputable brand. From personal endeavors, I've seen Harbor Freight pads ruin 20+ hours of work. They are not good pads and will only scratch the paint even further. I've used their finishing pad once, but I've since thrown it in the garbage. The Harbor Freight pad ended up ruining my swirl-free restoration by adding, guess what, swirls. So please, DO NOT use those pads!

I suggest going on Amazon or CarGeek and finding some good usable pads. I personally like Chemical Guys. They have great products and they won't break the bank. Please save yourself the trouble of the Harbor Freight pads.
This^^^^^^^^^^ Lake country CCS or flat pads or as said above CG's Hex-logic pads are the ones to get. AG= http://autogeek.com, CG'shttp://chemicalguys.com.
 

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To the OP.

Please DO NOT use those pads you purchased from Harbor Freight. They will do more harm than good. I strongly suggest ordering a set of pads from a reputable brand. From personal endeavors, I've seen Harbor Freight pads ruin 20+ hours of work. They are not good pads and will only scratch the paint even further. I've used their finishing pad once, but I've since thrown it in the garbage. The Harbor Freight pad ended up ruining my swirl-free restoration by adding, guess what, swirls. So please, DO NOT use those pads!

I suggest going on Amazon or CarGeek and finding some good usable pads. I personally like Chemical Guys. They have great products and they won't break the bank. Please save yourself the trouble of the Harbor Freight pads.

CORRECT!! It's all in the pad! Don't "cheap out" on your pads, they really make the difference! Using 105/205 is a great combo, however, being inexperienced… I wouldn't go this route. These products "dust" very badly, and you will have to tape off any and all plastic trim if you don't want them turning white from the compound. I know you're just starting out… and I started out using 105/205 like you… but there are far superior products out there for less the price and less the work.

I suggest going this route: http://www.chemicalguys.com/V_Line_Polish_Compound_Sample_Kit_4_oz_p/gap_vkit_04.htm

Pick up some chemical guys V-series… it's cheaper then the 105/205 compound and they work WONDERS with lake country or hexalogic pads…

The thing about detailing, is it's not about all the BIG money products you put into it, it's about getting the right products and taking the time to use them properly… it's all about patience. Black will be VERY rewarding when done properly, good luck and keep us all posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the great advice guys. I'll go ahead and post a small update.

I did used my DA with the pads I had already bought. Though I used the 4oz sample kit from chemical guys. Ended up choosing that over the Meguiar's, because I couldn't find a smaller 201 bottle than 32oz. Lucky me.

I sanded and polished my headlights, as well as one fender. The results were pretty good, but I need to get the microfiber cutting pad still to use the v32 and remove some deeper scratches.

In regards to swirl marks, I didn't get any with the harbor freight pads. Though I will buy the Chemical Guys pads eventually, as I did buy a pad for putting the sealant.

The weather and a combination of obligations plus some laziness is the reason as to why I'm not done. Sorry for everyone who's waiting to see an end result, but I promise I'll have something before fall truly gets under way in the PNW area.

Fender looking a bit better, compared to the entire car.

Headlights polished and clean

Fixing the chips
 

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Great job, looking great. Like you said, a few more pads & time & you'll get it down in no time.
 

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If I can make a suggestion, from experience. Use Menzerna FG400 in place of the Meg's 105. The work time is awesome, the results are incredible, wipes off easier. All the cool kids are doing it.
 

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If I can make a suggestion, from experience. Use Menzerna FG400 in place of the Meg's 105. The work time is awesome, the results are incredible, wipes off easier. All the cool kids are doing it.
That works wonders^^^^^^ fg400 & ff4000.
 
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