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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 05-08-2012, 11:19 AM   #1
Nick@Adams



 
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My 3-Bucket Wash Process - Uncut.

Last week I setup a camera to film my entire wash process from start to finish, mainly at the request of a customer who had seen how my black Avalanche had looked thru most of its life. He has been struggling to keep his black truck swirl free and wanted to know how I did it. What better way than to just show the process, start to finish? Obviously I've sped this up so you don't have to watch me wash a truck for an hour+, but it is uncut... every part... how I wash my rides every time to minimize swirling.

Please... any questions feel free to ask. Also, this is an ever evolving process as anyones wash routine should be. When you see an area for improvement GO FOR IT!



So why 3 buckets?

I started to notice that in some of my washes the 2nd bucket was still getting a fair amount of grit in the bottom. Wanting to eliminate the chances it made it back to the paint I added a 3rd bucket with another grit guard. My goal is to have ZERO contamination by the time I make it to that last bucket.

Bucket 1:
Pure water. this is used to scrub loose the majority of the debris. The wash media is scrubbed against the insert, combed thru with my fingers and given a quick visual inspection.

Bucket 2:
Pure water. This bucket gets much the same process as the first, once again scrubbing against the grit guard, pulling out of the water and inspecting for debris.

Bucket 3:
Water with soap. When your wash mitt reaches this bucket it should be clean and free of debris minimizing your chances of swirling. Make sure the mixture is heavy and a thick later of soap is created at setup.

You'll also notice the addition of a foam gun to the process. I'd like to stress this is NOT a requirement, but more a thing of convenience. Using solid technique you can perform a proper swirl free wash without a foam gun... it just makes it faster/easier. Also, before anyone says anything - the gun I'm using is actually from the pre-china gilmour days... I've had it for awhile.

The process itself is pretty basic.
  • Start with the wheels as always.
  • Rinse really well before introducing soap.
  • Foam the vehicle completely.
  • Merino Wash Mitt for the upper 2/3rds working 1 panel with each side of the mitt.
  • Rinse. Inspect. Rinse. Inspect. Prime and repeat.
  • Switch over to 2nd wash mitt or pad for lower 1/3rd following same process.
  • Optional - Foam the vehicle again anywhere the soap may have started to dry.
  • Power rinse with a strong stream from the hose.
  • Sheet rinse to reduce standing water.
  • Blaster Sidekick to knock loose bulk of remaining water.
  • Great White Drying Towel + Detail Spray to dry
  • Hit again with Blaster Sidekick to get water out of cracks.
  • Touchup with Great White + Detail Spray
  • Waterless Wash + Waterless Wash Towel for door jambs, engine bay, and wheels.

Total time start to finish for this wash was 1h 17m
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:21 AM   #2
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DYLAN FOR PRES 2012!!!
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:57 AM   #3
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wow! It's unbelievable that you can wash your car in 9 minutes with such great detail! But seriously, thanks for the video and the process. I have used two buckets but not three... I need to upgrade
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:02 PM   #4
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Three bucket wash!! Oh shhhhhhhhhoot! Another bucket and grit guard...Dylan are you long on these? Just kidding, but a daily special @ Adams seems in order...Even in real time you are quick at 1 hour +...I have the GMC of that truck and I'm at 2 hrs or so getting stuff out, wash/dry and put stuff up..makes one look forward to the car...

I did not think about the second foam rinse for the dried soap. The great whites, wash mitts and super VRT(not to mention detail and WW) are some of my Adams favorites...Thanks for the vid...
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indy Bumble Bee View Post
wow! It's unbelievable that you can wash your car in 9 minutes with such great detail!
LOL... if only that were the reality... I'd have so much spare time

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Originally Posted by Indy Bumble Bee View Post
But seriously, thanks for the video and the process. I have used two buckets but not three... I need to upgrade
Don't feel like you have to... thats not really want I want to scare people into doing. My suggestion is the next time you complete your 2 bucket wash let the water settle out for a few hours, then take a look. If theres a reasonable amount of grit at the bottom of your 'clean' bucket then it might be worth adding a 3rd. Hell, I know guys who have gone 6 buckets deep in a wash - 3 for each half.

As I always say - Detailing is just varying levels of crazy.... you're either a little crazy or a lot crazy, but we're all crazy!

Quote:
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Three bucket wash!! Oh shhhhhhhhhoot! Another bucket and grit guard...Dylan are you long on these? Just kidding, but a daily special @ Adams seems in order...Even in real time you are quick at 1 hour +...I have the GMC of that truck and I'm at 2 hrs or so getting stuff out, wash/dry and put stuff up..makes one look forward to the car...

I did not think about the second foam rinse for the dried soap. The great whites, wash mitts and super VRT are some of my Adams favorites...Thanks for the vid...
I've been at this as a job for 14-15 years now... I've had some time to work on getting quick with my processes. When I stopped the camera on the process it was 1h 17m... that didn't include setup time either (drag hose out, prep buckets, gather supplies, etc.) and break down time (cleanup hose, clean brushes and mitts, etc) so it was probably closer to 2h so you're about right.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:32 PM   #6
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Thanks for the video, Dylan! Looks like I'm going to need to get another bucket and grit guard!
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:52 PM   #7
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I like the video, but had to turn down the music in less than the first minute. Just couldn't listen to that any longer. What horrible mix. Made me wish the video was over within the first 15 seconds.... I think I'm getting old.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:02 PM   #8
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nice vid!
imma try and get another bucket and grit guard
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:17 PM   #9
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Awesome video Dylan! I'm motivated to make one of my process and post it up now!
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:21 PM   #10
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Kind of strange to see the whole process from another POV... also cool to watch how the soap and water run off the paint with a fresh coat of sealant on there.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:26 PM   #11
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Sweatshirt in California??? Lol jk nice video.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:37 PM   #12
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Sweatshirt in California??? Lol jk nice video.
LOL... had to dig it out of the deepest recesses of my closet
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:48 PM   #13
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Sweatshirt in California??? Lol jk nice video.
There was a slight breeze towards the end of the video! Like winter for SoCal folks!
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:49 PM   #14
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Nice video dylan. See you this weekend buddy.

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Old 05-08-2012, 01:51 PM   #15
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Nice video dylan. See you this weekend buddy.

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Yup Yup! Philly here I come!!!
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:52 PM   #16
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Now that you're done, you can come by and wash my car.


j/k. Great instruction!!
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:12 PM   #17
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Excellent video!!!

Will definitely help me!!!
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:36 PM   #18
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DYLAN FOR PRES 2012!!!
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:06 PM   #19
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[*]Optional - Foam the vehicle again anywhere the soap may have started to dry.
DOH

It is a real challenge for me to finish washing before the soap starts to dry. (gotta love black cars in Houston). I have to spray the car with water after every section to try to keep it wet and still have times where I can see soap drying or water spots forming. For some reason I can't even figure out right now, I was afraid to use the foam gun after the pad.... I just used water.

Does foaming the car rather than just using water do a better job of removing dried soap?



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Old 05-08-2012, 10:09 PM   #20
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Awesome
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:30 PM   #21
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Man I hate to say anything about my favorite detailing wiz's washing methods ,but why would you use the same brush on the wheel wells as the wheels themselves? I also noticed that you would do a wheel then a wheel well and then a wheel again with the same brush without rinsing it. I think this could be hard on the wheels finish because you can pick up loads of bad stuff in the wheel wells. I always rinse out the wheel wells and the wheels first when I rinse the entire vehicle to start ,but I always wash the wheels and then the wheel wells lasts. I also use a separate, brush for the wheel wells and separate wash mitt for the wheels. I was always taught to start at the top and work your way down for the best results at keeping swirls at bay.

Thanks for the video. Just an observation I made.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:37 PM   #22
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He used two different brushes. One was for the rims and the other was for the tires/wheel well. He rinsed the brushes as he went. IMO you always want to clean the wheels/tires/wheel wells before you wash the vehicle. I personally go back over the rims with a mf towel after the vehicle is wash and dried. That's just my preference.

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Old 05-08-2012, 11:53 PM   #23
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WoW... good stuff...
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:20 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camtx45 View Post
DOH

It is a real challenge for me to finish washing before the soap starts to dry. (gotta love black cars in Houston). I have to spray the car with water after every section to try to keep it wet and still have times where I can see soap drying or water spots forming. For some reason I can't even figure out right now, I was afraid to use the foam gun after the pad.... I just used water.

Does foaming the car rather than just using water do a better job of removing dried soap?



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I find that soap losens up a little easier if you add more soap... might just be in my head, but with only a little left of my mix in the canister anyways no harm.

The best way to fight spots is work when the light is less intense... start at sunrise, or work around sunset.

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Man I hate to say anything about my favorite detailing wiz's washing methods ,but why would you use the same brush on the wheel wells as the wheels themselves? I also noticed that you would do a wheel then a wheel well and then a wheel again with the same brush without rinsing it. I think this could be hard on the wheels finish because you can pick up loads of bad stuff in the wheel wells. I always rinse out the wheel wells and the wheels first when I rinse the entire vehicle to start ,but I always wash the wheels and then the wheel wells lasts. I also use a separate, brush for the wheel wells and separate wash mitt for the wheels. I was always taught to start at the top and work your way down for the best results at keeping swirls at bay.

Thanks for the video. Just an observation I made.
You might need to watch the video again.

I used 2 separate brushes - one for fenders and tires, one for wheels. The brushes were rinsed as well.

0:15-0:34 boars hair wheel brush with green wheel cleaner on wheel faces... rinsed in between.
0:37-1:01 fender and tire brush with APC on tires and fender liners... rinsed in between.


As far as starting with the wheels, why introduce water to your paint, and let it sit while you clean your wheels? Just increases the chances of water spotting. Thats why wheels always get cleaned first.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:23 AM   #25
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Dylan, you need a bed liner for that nice truck!
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