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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 05-07-2011, 06:53 PM   #1
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Just wet sanded my Camaro.

Well, I did my research. I read numerous threads and watched numerous videos from across the web on wet sanding. I armed myself with the confidence and knowledge to do it.

Of course I also knew that it is dangerous and unwise to undertake such a task without any experience. But I ask you this: How the hell do you get experience without trying!? Plus it's my car and I can do whatever I want to it.

The scratch I was intending to tackle was very small, about a half inch long. It was horizontal and broken into three parts.

Looked like this: - - -

It was light and could only be seen up close, but it was there and it irritated me. The middle piece would catch on my fingernail. Getting it done professionally was at least $100. And I wanted to do this myself anyway.

So I visited amazon.com and purchased the 3M Scratch Removal System for $15. For those curious, here's the link:

http://www.amazon.com/3M-39071-Scrat...4811251&sr=8-2

It came with a 3000 grit square. This grit is extremely fine and made me feel at ease for using it as my first wet sanding experience.

I also purchased full sizes of the 3M Rubbing Compound and the 3M Scratch Remover.

I actually tackled a different scratch first. This one was vertical and about five inches long but it was light. The rubbing compound followed by the scratch remover made quick work of this scratch and I came away extremely impressed. No wet sanding was needed here.

I then took on the scratch that would require wet sanding. I tried just rubbing compound and scratch remover first but it didn't get 'er done. I grabbed the 3000 grit square. It is quite small and the instructions said to just use your fingers. No sanding block required. I felt comfortable doing this because of how small the scratch was.

I saturated the scratch and square with water. I then lightly rubbed it with the square for 10 seconds. I wiped the water off and the scratch was still there. I hit it for 10 more seconds and it was gone. I was quite surprised at how quick the white slurry forms. The paint was now quite dull. Normally this would scare the hell out of me but I knew this was how it was supposed to look. I then followed up with the rubbing compound and then the scratch remover.

And wow! Good as new. I was very impressed. The scratch is gone and the paint shines!

Thought I'd share that with everyone. I know it's a very long post, but it's very necessary. I only got into auto detailing in September 2010 when I got my Camaro but I've amassed quite a collection of high quality supplies from both Zaino and Adams. I have over $1000 worth of stuff. I absolutely love doing this and it's both fun and satisfying. I've gotten quite good and it's one of my passions.

I'm not encouraging everyone to wet sand their pride and joy but if you have a small scratch, you can feel confident taking it on yourself if you do your research and use quality products like the ones I used from 3M. A very fine grit like 3000 won't take a lot of clear anyway so it's good for newbies. But be careful.

This wet sanding first timer enjoyed great success. Thanks for reading.
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:11 PM   #2
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Congrats.. I've sanded on mine several times and it helps to have access to a paint thickness gauge.
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:31 PM   #3
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Yeah I'd love a PTG but damn are they ever expensive. $600-$700 for a good one. It doesn't help that this GM paint is so brittle and the clear so thin. But I was able to achieve success and did not take off all the clear.
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:11 PM   #4
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Wow, I commend you for wet sanding without a PTG. I know I wouldn't be able to do that. Just going to stick to the PC and Adam's
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:13 PM   #5
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Wow, I commend you for wet sanding without a PTG. I know I wouldn't be able to do that. Just going to stick to the PC and Adam's
It was ballsy but I thought long and hard and made up my mind. I was prepared to live with/pay for the consequences.

It was a small scratch and 3000 grit is very fine. Glad I did it. I feel much much now that the scratch is gone.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lets_go_bills View Post
It was ballsy but I thought long and hard and made up my mind. I was prepared to live with/pay for the consequences.

It was a small scratch and 3000 grit is very fine. Glad I did it. I feel much much now that the scratch is gone.
And here's where the learning curve begins. You've had success although you have no clue how much clear you've removed. Thus, you have the confidence to try it again... and again. But that's where the hook is set. You'll try it again one of these times and BAM! Right through the clear coat and into the paint. Then your confidence teaches you a hard to swallow lesson.

A paint thickness gauge is a lot cheaper than a paint job.

Now I will say this. That 3000 grit ain't gonna go through your clear very fast but with the lousy amount of clear that they put on these cars, you don't want to get to confident. If your fingernail catches on the scratch, 3000 grit ain't gonna remove it and the next thing you know, you'll be looking at more aggressive grits. Take it from someone who learned the hard way, to the tune of a $2000.00 repair:

Get a paint thickness gauge, and not a cheap one if you are going to be doing this.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:30 PM   #7
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And here's where the learning curve begins. You've had success although you have no clue how much clear you've removed. Thus, you have the confidence to try it again... and again. But that's where the hook is set. You'll try it again one of these times and BAM! Right through the clear coat and into the paint. Then your confidence teaches you a hard to swallow lesson.

A paint thickness gauge is a lot cheaper than a paint job.

Now I will say this. That 3000 grit ain't gonna go through your clear very fast but with the lousy amount of clear that they put on these cars, you don't want to get to confident. If your fingernail catches on the scratch, 3000 grit ain't gonna remove it and the next thing you know, you'll be looking at more aggressive grits. Take it from someone who learned the hard way, to the tune of a $2000.00 repair:

Get a paint thickness gauge, and not a cheap one if you are going to be doing this.
Thanks dude.

I only went at it due to how small the scratch was. Anything big and I'd get it taken care of by a pro.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:42 PM   #8
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Go to a salvage yard and ask if you can practice on one of their cars... or stop by a body shop and ask if you can have a damaged hood to play with.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:26 PM   #9
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Go to a salvage yard and ask if you can practice on one of their cars... or stop by a body shop and ask if you can have a damaged hood to play with.
Excellent suggestion.

At the junk yard, you want to work on something similar to what you have. Paint on a 98 Cadillac will probably have way more clear than you have on your newer cars. You want to work on something close to the year you have as you will get a real idea as to how fast strike through can happen. Take some 1000 grit paper with you and watch how fast you go through the clear.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:35 PM   #10
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I must say it was a lot of fun to do. New experience. I learned something. Glad I did it.
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:03 PM   #11
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I must say it was a lot of fun to do. New experience. I learned something. Glad I did it.
It is a good thing to be able to fix something yourself. Hell, I was tickled the first time I did an oil change. Then I started the car without any oil in it.

Luckily, someone was there to turn the key off before I damaged the motor.
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:45 AM   #12
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It is a good thing to be able to fix something yourself. Hell, I was tickled the first time I did an oil change. Then I started the car without any oil in it.

Luckily, someone was there to turn the key off before I damaged the motor.
WOW junkman tell me it aint so....
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Old 05-08-2011, 02:00 AM   #13
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WOW junkman tell me it aint so....
Yep, 1983. Did my first oil change. Been a while since the first one.
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