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Cosmetic Maintenance: Washing, Waxing, Detailing, Bodywork, Protection Anything related to keeping your Camaro clean and in good cosmetic condition.

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Old 04-07-2012, 09:05 AM   #1
Todd@Autopia
 
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Mercedes Benz S550 using the new BLACKFIRE

Much of the new and revamped BLACKFIRE was tested (and continues to be tested) in the real world by testers of all skill levles from around the world. The detail I performed on this Mercedes Benz was no exception. I personally enjoy pushing the limits of these products to see what can be expected. For example the paint correction was carried out using enthusiast tools (the excellent Flex DA) and only BLACKFIRE SCR Finishing Polish.

Getting stated...

The first step in any detail for me is to wash the paint and exterior thoroughly. When using a two bucket method I prefer to start with the wheels. They can be extremely time consuming. Once the paint is wet you are in a race against time to prevent water spots.

I started by applying BLACKFIRE's All N One All Purpose Cleaner (non-diluted) to the face of the wheels, the tires, the wheel arches, and the barrels.




The five spoke wheels on the Mercedes have the tiny holes (which are inevitably contaminated with stubborn and old brake dust).




BLACKIRE APC has no problem releasing the caked on grime; a q-tip and a little agitation...






The face of the front wheels had a lot of stubborn "German" brake dust.




An ultra soft, non scratching Montana Boar's Hair Wheel Brush (incombination with BLACKFIRE All N One APC) made quick work of it. The Montana Boar's Hair Wheel Brush uses slightly older (more mature) hair which results in a stiffer, more effective bristle. However the ends are feathered, which makes this the softest wheel brush I have ever used.




A Wheel Woolie was used to clean the barrels behind the spokes.




The tires were fairly clean and a light cleaning with a Cobra Tire Scrubber took care of the minimal amount of brake dust. The wheel wells where washed with the Wheel Woolie and then the wheels were rinsed. I should note that I worked one wheel at a time to prevent BLACKFIRE All N One APC from drying.

Normally I would move onto washing the exterior of the automobile, but I wanted to give the engine a quick clean up. It's best to clean the engine first (if you are doing this) so that any spray or cleaner is washes away when you wash the paint afterwards. The last thing you want to is cover your freshly washed paint in engine grease and cleaner splatter. While its hard to see in this photo, the engine was fairly dusty and some oil and grease had accumulated in the some cracks and crevices.




With the engine cool to the touch I sprayed a liberal amount of BLACKFIRE ALL N One APC over the entire engine bay.




After allowing the APC to dwell for about 1 minute I began to clean the difficult to access areas with various sized Wheel Woolies.




The Montana Boar's Hair Brush once again served duty by cleaning the top sides with out scratching. I keep a bucket of fresh water near by to constantly rinse out the Boar's Hair brush and washed it very carefully after cleaning the wheels.




Finally I carefully rinsed the grease and solution from the engine by spraying around the perimeter, then over the engine. Caution was taken to avoid direct spray into or onto sensitive electronics.




Finally I armed my versatile Metro Vac N' Blow with a venturi and made work off any standing water.




Any remaining water spray was absorbed using an old Big Blue Microfiber Drying Towel. This particular towel has long been regulated to wheel, engine, and door jamb duty. You don't want to use the same towel you use on your paint in case you missed any spots.




After pictures of the engine will follow at the end of the thread. I closed the hood and started the V8. It is a good idea to allow the engine to idle to near operating temperature in order to burn off any water that is below.

With the wheels and engine taken care of it was time to wash the paint.

I mixed about 2 ounces of BLACKFIRE Wet Diamond Conditioning Shampoo into a BLACKFIRE Wash Bucket and used a firm jet of water to activate the suds. I then added 1/2 an ounce of BLACKFIRE All N One APC to help strip the paint of any existing wax, sealant, or oil glaze.






Tar and bug remains were treated to a couple blasts of All N One APC.






The Mercedes was washed, a section at a time, using the two bucket method. BLACKFIRE Wet Diamond Conditioning Shampoo will not produce the huge volume of suds other shampoo's may. This because the concentrate is so packed with Wet Diamond polymers. It is similar to a rinseless wash in how it lays on the paint, yet dirt and grease floats away with the ease of a traditional soap.




After washing and rinsing the exterior I cleaned all the cracks, seems, door shuts, and trunk shut and rinsed them thoroughly. I removed the nozzle and 'flooded' the paint to sheet away any water droplets, then used a Cobra Jumbo Guzzler to make quick work any remaining water.




After washing the next step is to clay the finish and remove any bonded contaminates that reduce reflected gloss or could interfere with the paint correction (polishing) process. BLACKFIRE PolyClay II was used in conjunction with BLACKFIRE Clay Lubricant. The paint was fairly clean, with only the back of the roof, trunk, and rear bumper showing any real contamination. The hood and side panels felt gritty but quickly came clean.




As I was drying the Mercedes I noticed that the wheels were stained with calcium and water spots. I figured this would be a great opportunity to give the new BLACKFIRE Total Polish & Seal a work out by hand. Total Polish & Seal is BLACKFIRE's all-in-one cleaner/polish/and sealant. This formula took a considerable amount of time to formulate as the Wet Diamond polymers make formulating a product with abrasives 'tricky'.

With just a little "passion" behind the foam applicator, Total Polish & Seal made quick work of the water spotting and painted wheels looking great. To get the best result from BLACKFIRE Total Polish & Seal use a small amount and work into the surface until it has nearly disappeared. Remove any remaining residue with a soft microfiber towel.



The weather outside was perfect (it was a little chilly in the morning, which is why I had the black hat on in the wash pictures), a typical Florida winter day. The temperature was 75 with a light breeze.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:06 AM   #2
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Mercedes Benz is famous for their hard clear coat and the finish on this paint was in okay condition. There were some deeper marks and a lot of surface swirling. I wanted to push the limits of BLACKFIRE SRC Finishing Polish. SRC stands for Scratch Resistant Clear, which the PPG Cerami-Clear certainly qualifes as. Not only does this paint correction finishing polish create a mirror finish but it is has really strong polishing ability when paired to the right pad. The hard finish on this Mercedes was certainly going to test that.

I armed a Flex XC 3401 Dual Action Orbital Polisher with a 6.5 inch Lake Country Foamed Wool (Purple) pad. The BLACKFIRE SRC Finishing Polish proved powerful enough to cut through 85-90 percent of the deep defects while restoring a level shine to the paint. There was only a hint of micro-marring (from the wool fiber) on the deep black finish. Speed 6 with moderate pressure was used, and I worked in smooth overlapping passes until the polish began to clear. I cleaned the pad after each section, and switched to a fresh pad after each 1/4 of the car, using 4 pads in total.




Then I switched to an 6.5 inch orange CCS 'Light Cutting' pad for the final polishing step. I misted the fresh pad with BLACKFIRE Advanced Pad Conditioner and added 3 small dots of SRC Finishing Polish to the foam. Again I worked on speed 6, using firm pressure and smooth overlapping passes until the polish became clear, then wiped away with a Cobra Supreme 530 Microfiber Towel.




The day was overcast and cool, although in most cases polishing should be done out of direct sunlight, and to a cool surface; BLACKFIRE SRC Finishing Polish performed flawlessly and left a jaw dropping finish. We where well on our way to whiplash.

I was able to capture a before and after of the trunk before the sun peaked away.






And a before and after of the hood.






In total it took 6 hours to correct the paint, and with the day fading fast (short winter days) I got to work cleaning the paint and getting it ready for the sealing.

BLACKFIRE All N One APC is excellent at removing wax, polish, and sealant residues from rubber and textured trim. This Mercedes, likely because of previous detailing efforts had a lot of staining on the trim, in body seams, and in the crevices around the head lights, taillights, and under the door handles.




First mist BLACKFIRE APC onto a nylon brush or microfiber towel.




Then brush or wipe until the residue is removed.






With the details cleaned I gave the S550 a bath to remove any dusting and oil/polish residue. BLACKFIRE's new Wet Diamond Rinseless Wash was the logical choice as it blankets the paint with Wet Diamond Polymers which ensure the final sealant will work with zero interference.

2 ounces per 4 gallons is perfect (official dilution is 1.5 ounces per 3 gallons). Each cap full is about 1/4 of an ounce, so eight cap fulls and I am ready to go.




After polishing I really like using a microfiber towel to wash the automobile. The only things one the surface are light polishing dust and oil residue (from the polish) so a microfiber towels gives me the scrubbing action needed to remove the polish residue with out any harm of damaging the freshly polished surface.

I let a Cobra Gold Plush Jr. Microfiber Towel soak in the BLACKFIRE Rinseless Wash solution for 5 minutes, then got to work, washing a section at a time.




I dried the Mercedes using a Cobra Guzzler to soak up the wash solution, then blew out all of the seems, jambs, cracks and crevices using the blow function on my Metro Vac. You can see the considerable gloss added to the paint from the Wet Diamond Rinseless Wash.




Next it was time to add BLACKFIRE Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection to the paint. I applied 3 drops to a Red Finishing Pad.




I applied the sealant using a Porter Cable 7424.




While I let Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection cure on the paint for 30 minutes I tended to other details. The door shuts (jambs) and wheels were treated with BLACKFIRE Crystal Mist. Crystal Mist features the same BLACKFIRE Wet Diamond polymers but in an easy-to-use, wipe-on and walk-away application. Simply mist on to a microfiber applicator, wipe an even coat over the surface and walk away. Best of all it will not stain trim (in fact it makes trim look great!).






To finish up the exterior details I dressed the tires. BLACKFIRE's new Total Eclipse Tire Shine Spray is amazing. Very little goes a long way and it lays down a semi-gloss, black finish with surprising uniformity. A Cobra Tire Applicator was used to mask these tires in a cloak of darkness.




Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection had cured to a light haze at this point. A plush Cobra Deluxe Jr. 600 Microfiber Towel was used to remove the haze (with typical BLACKFIRE ease).




Finally the paint was wiped down with BLACKFIRE Wet Diamond Polymer Spray to add even more pop to the liquid black Mercedes and increase the whiplash factor even more.



Some final pictures before the sun went away, I packed up my bags, and returned the keys to the ecstatic owner.





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Old 04-07-2012, 10:00 AM   #3
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great pics!
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:48 PM   #4
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great pics!
Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:58 PM   #5
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Looks awesome, great writeup !!!
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:01 PM   #6
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That's a serious detail job right there. Nice job!
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:46 PM   #7
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That's a remarkable improvement, but you can't fix that they should've bought a CTS-V instead.
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:55 PM   #8
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Omg, you did an awesome job. That finish looks incredible!!!!!
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by The_Blur View Post
That's a remarkable improvement, but you can't fix that they should've bought a CTS-V instead.
Bargin based Caddy (with a big engine and s/c) compared to an S class Benz. I'd take the S Class any day. Sorry. Of course that S550 cost considerably more than a CTS-V.


OP. car looks stunning! Great job.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:33 PM   #10
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great write-up
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