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View Full Version : ZOMG NSX! Here is my detailing process.



BabyBear
10-10-2013, 05:45 PM
So the opportunity came up to detail an NSX that had paint in pretty rough shape and I decided I'd do a write up on my process of correcting paint. This may not be the best way to do it, but its the way that I've found that works the best. I've learned this process through both trial and error, and quite a bit from Anthony at OCDetails. He also let me borrow some of his equipment to deal with that rough of paint which was awesome! Thanks Anthony! If you guys have any questions or want me to go more in detail on any part of this let me know and I'll do my best to answer them.

So here were the shots of it when I got there. These aren't really representitive of the car as the lighting conditions were perfect for making the car look a LOT better than it did when it was in direct sun light.

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxbefore1.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxbefore2.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxbefore3.jpg

Washing was pretty standard, I used the 2 bucket method with grit guards. You have a rinse bucket and a soap bucket. Instead of dipping the microfiber mitt back into the soapy water and putting all of the dirt in it, you put it in the rinse bucket first and get all of the dirt off of it before it goes back in the soap bucket. This keeps the soapy water clean from start to finish so when you get to the end of the wash you aren't slopping dirty water back onto the car. I don't reccomend using a sponge unless you like constantly putting dirty water back on your car you are trying to clean. We didn't get any pictures of the washing part but as with everything else I did, you want to stick to a certain process to make sure you don't miss anything. I always start on the fender and work my way around clockwise washing each panel individually. Doing it this way keeps you from confusing what has and hasn't been done, and usually ensures that each panel gets cleaned completely as it gets your full attention.

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxwash1.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxwash2.jpg

On to the claybar. Claymagic claybars are the ones I like because they tend to stick to your hand as you are claying. If you drop the clay you've basically ruined that piece of it. Claybaring your car is one of the most important steps in my opinion, it pulls all of the contaminates out of the paint and gives you a very clean surface to work with, as well as yeilding better results after the polish.

The process is pretty simple, I follow the same pattern I do when washing, starting with a fender and working clockwise hitting each panel individually. I use soapy water for the lubrication and the basics are spray lots of soapy water over the surface and rub a flat piece of claybar across it until it feels like there is no resistance. Make sure you knead the piece of claybar fairly often to keep the part of the claybar touching the paint clean. I don't use the whole claybar when I clay, that way in the event that I drop the clay(which happened a lot unfortunately when I used the mothers clay bars) you don't ruin the whole bar, just the piece you are working with.

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxclay1.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxclay2.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxclay3.jpg

Once that is done, I give the car a good rinse, then dry. DO NOT USE A BATH TOWEL TO DRY!! My drying towel of choice is one that has microfiber cloths on both sides with a sponge inbetween them, every bit worth the cost. This next step is usually the fun part, though in the case of this particular car it proved to be a royal pain. Polishing will remove most swirls and any oxidation in the paint and makes the car look really awesome when its done.

Find a test spot on the car that is representative of the paint on the car and find out what combination of pad/polish works. Start out with the the mild cutting power pads and polishes and work your way up till you find out what will give the right amount of cut without having to spend hours to achieve. This car I ended up having to use my most aggressive pad and polish I had on hand, then following that up with a milder pad and polish to remove the hazing the strong polish left behind. Once you find the combination of products needed, use the same process as the wash and clay, mine being starting at a fender and working clockwise doing each panel individually. Make sure you take your time on this step, and constantly check your work to make sure you are getting the right amount of cut as each part of the car will likely take different amounts of work to clean up depending on the condition and paint thickness. When you are cutting each panel try to find a good pattern that covers the entire thing that you can easily replicate to ensure each part of the panel is evenly cut. Wipe down each panel after the cut with a microfiber to remove the residue so you can check your work.

Here is what the paint looked like under a halogen light before the polish.
http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxpolish1.jpg

Polishing!
http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxpolish2.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxpolish3.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxpolish4.jpg

Here is what the paint looked like under a halogen light after the polish. Still swirled but MUUUCH improved. Spent probably a little over 3 hours polishing this thing. This picture is the same spot on the car as the first picture under the halogen lights.

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxpolish5.jpg

After getting the polishing done its time to move on to the final step for the paint. The final step used on this car was a carnuba/synthetic hybrid thats applied by hand. I again start with a fender and work clockwise to make sure I get every panel evenly. I also try to follow a similar pattern on each panel that I used when polishing to get a good, even coat on the paint. Don't wipe this stuff off just yet! Let it sit on there for the time being.

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxfinalstep1.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxfinalstep2.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxfinalstep3.jpg

While the final step is drying, now is the time to clean the windows, wheels, tire shine, trim sealant, and any other work you want to do to the exterior. Doing this with the final step drying will keep any of the overspray from any products you are using from actually getting on the paint. It'll just get on the extra residue that gets wiped off once you are done with that part of it.

While the final step was drying I did a real quick polish of the exhaust tips, trying to get enough grime and carbon build up off so the Comptech logo is actually visable.

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxexhaust1.jpg

Now comes the time to remove the final step wax. As always, I follow the same process I do with everything else. Start at a fender and work my way around. Once this is done its time to take a step back and admire your work! This one didn't turn out quite as good as I was hoping but it had deeper swirls than I've ever seen on a car without having clear coat failure. It looks 1000000000x better than it did when I started but its still not close to perfect.

Removing final step.
http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxremovefinal1.jpg

Without flash
http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxafter1.jpg

With flash
http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxafter2.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/nsxafter3.jpg

BabyBear
10-10-2013, 05:46 PM
Reserved for when I get pictures of it in the sun. It was late and raining when it was finished. All in all, just shy of 6 hours for this car which is about 3-3 1/2 hours longer than usual.

Luni
10-10-2013, 06:07 PM
Before it happens, just know I will delete any trolling/whoring posts in this thread. Dont take this shit off topic. Rob spent a lot of time detaling this car, resizing, uploading images and writing this up so dont derail the thread. Thanks.

4thgenceli
10-10-2013, 06:13 PM
Wanna come detail the Mazda? :P

I need to get this equipment. I really like the color of the Mazda and the shine it has in the sun. Great job.

david in germany
10-10-2013, 06:27 PM
Great job man! Red cars seem to have the worst time in life or they show which one has a non caring owner. I do the same with the clay bar with one exception, I make half dollar sized disks out of it maybe 1-1.5 mm thick. This way you still have a nice surface area on the clay and if you drop it, you normally still have a big chunk to make another one.

BabyBear
10-10-2013, 06:40 PM
Great job man! Red cars seem to have the worst time in life or they show which one has a non caring owner. I do the same with the clay bar with one exception, I make half dollar sized disks out of it maybe 1-1.5 mm thick. This way you still have a nice surface area on the clay and if you drop it, you normally still have a big chunk to make another one.

I briefly mentioned doing that somewhere in this post. I don't use the whole claybar at all when I do it. I rip a small chunk off and use it.

OCDetails
10-10-2013, 06:51 PM
Awesome work, Rob! Again, I'm so jealous that you got to work on that car. If I had a show car then it would absolutely be red simply because it looks so incredible when it is detailed properly. Acura definitely pulled out all the stops when they painted the NSX. That car was painted back when paint was hard and coats were thick. Paint is about as strong as fingernail polish these days, but those early 90s paint jobs are rock hard. This is shortly after they started clear coating cars as a standard and they definitely did it right. Getting all the damage out may be something you'll need a rotary for, but that is something you'll want to practice with before cutting on something like that. Even I'm still pretty timid around rotaries. The FLEX is a very capable dual action polisher for this kind of thing though. Either way, I can't say it enough how much work you put into that thing. That is not a project anyone should take lightly. It would probably take another two or three hours at least to get it perfect.


...so jealous!

david in germany
10-10-2013, 07:43 PM
I briefly mentioned doing that somewhere in this post. I don't use the whole claybar at all when I do it. I rip a small chunk off and use it.
Yep, read that. just mentioning what I do with the small chunk. You may do it the same. Bottom line. I would be very proud to drive that car when you finished it!

By the way, some people wash after clay and before first wax, do you? I have always clayed and then waxed strait away.

BabyBear
10-10-2013, 07:53 PM
Yep, read that. just mentioning what I do with the small chunk. You may do it the same. Bottom line. I would be very proud to drive that car when you finished it!

By the way, some people wash after clay and before first wax, do you? I have always clayed and then waxed strait away.

I wash, clay, rinse, then wax. I suppose on some really bad paint, which this one could have qualified since it completely destroyed the clay I was using with how much crap it took off, it might have some merit to wash after claying but just a rinse seems to be good enough to me.

Luni
10-10-2013, 07:56 PM
Wow. Anthony from OCDetails on here.

Good to have you abord sir. Too bad not much goes on in this forum at all, but its good to have you nonetheless.

david in germany
10-10-2013, 08:00 PM
I will definitely try it next time! After I did my 1series I stopped into BMW and the dealer commented, "oh you did the sealajet (spelling) on yours." I was like nope, that is a waste of money for people that actually maintain our cars properly. He showed me one with it bragging how smooth it was and it would be hard for me to do such a great job like they do.. I then had him run his hand on the side of mine afterwards and he shut up. :)

BabyBear
10-10-2013, 08:30 PM
I will definitely try it next time! After I did my 1series I stopped into BMW and the dealer commented, "oh you did the sealajet (spelling) on yours." I was like nope, that is a waste of money for people that actually maintain our cars properly. He showed me one with it bragging how smooth it was and it would be hard for me to do such a great job like they do.. I then had him run his hand on the side of mine afterwards and he shut up. :)

Thats my favorite part of a properly detailed car, the feel of the paint. Gotta make sure it passes the microfiber rag test. If it doesn't slide right off the hood, it ain't done right.

BabyBear
10-10-2013, 08:31 PM
Wanna come detail the Mazda? :P

I need to get this equipment. I really like the color of the Mazda and the shine it has in the sun. Great job.

Pay to fly me out there and I will!

Shadowlife25
10-11-2013, 02:15 AM
Great job Rob :)
I will be using this thread as reference when I finally attempt paint resto on my fathers '69 Rover TC.
I actually used a similar process years back when I did the resto on my friend Will's '69 Alfa Romeo GTV. I was not as methodical as you were with starting from the same point (Which I think is a good thing by the way) but the car anded up almost showroom quality when I was done. All in all it took me about 80 hours total to get matched paint samples made and applied and blended and then to get the tools and product applied. It was an absolute ton of work, but just like you see in what you did, the end result is well worth it. The GTV I worked on got very high marks and was shown multiple times at the Monterey Historics show. Made me smile every time just knowing that I had the opportunity to be a part of that.

Long winded story aside, you did an excellent job brother and you have every right to be proud. I am proud for you as well. It seems you have a passion for this and the skill to match.
Keep it up. :)

MCcelica
10-11-2013, 07:03 AM
Nice work, Rob. I'll buy you a plane ticket out here when it comes time to do my 6th gen.

OCDetails
10-11-2013, 03:49 PM
I will definitely try it next time! After I did my 1series I stopped into BMW and the dealer commented, "oh you did the sealajet (spelling) on yours." I was like nope, that is a waste of money for people that actually maintain our cars properly. He showed me one with it bragging how smooth it was and it would be hard for me to do such a great job like they do.. I then had him run his hand on the side of mine afterwards and he shut up. :)

LOL I've done that before. The best part of a well detailed car is how it feels. You can take a brand new car fresh off the truck and compare it to another fresh car that has been clayed and polished and the tactile difference is night and day. It is the most addictive part about detailing for people who have it done. Once they lose that smooth feeling they come running back as fast as they can. lol I love people who actually know the difference and can tell when something has been properly done by touch alone.

david in germany
10-11-2013, 04:06 PM
OCDetails, you need to start a thread with q&a for sealant, clays, polishes ect. This way we can talk to you without stealing BB's thunder. :) I hope you will stay around for a bit as well.

Luni
10-11-2013, 06:17 PM
Anthony is his name David.

Rob has a pretty good grasp on it, but Anthony is definitely like "the master" and Rob is yet but a padawan (albeit getting better and better)

Anything Anthony wants to post or link to his site would be appreciated.

celica9303
10-11-2013, 09:41 PM
Wow just wow

T-spoon
10-11-2013, 09:47 PM
See, I always start out WANTING to do such fine work, but lack the patience/skill for it. I really respect those that put the time and effort into it. The NSX looks great :)

allTRACway
10-12-2013, 05:54 AM
See, I always start out WANTING to do such fine work, but lack the patience/skill for it. I really respect those that put the time and effort into it. The NSX looks great :)

Same and when I finally get the whole thing done my friends are amazed at how long it takes and decide never to try it.

BabyBear
10-13-2013, 02:24 AM
Tried out a new sealant on one of Luni's roommates BMW today. Did the exact same process as this, only it took less than half of the time that NSX did and looks way better cause the paint wasn't all messed up before I started on it. Turned out pretty sweet!

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/bmw1.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/bmw2.jpg

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/7/8/8/8/bmw3.jpg

Luni
10-13-2013, 10:33 PM
Yeah, One of his BMWs. Fucking yuppie bastard.

Looks good.

Shadowlife25
10-14-2013, 06:33 AM
I would drive either of Jeremy's cars. They are both gorgeous. Jus sayin.

Facime
10-16-2013, 05:35 AM
Ive always considered Claybaring to be an almost useless step UNLESS there is obvious contamination that would benefit from its use (i.e. paint overspray, hard water spots, tree sap, organic growth). Even then, using a good cutting compound usually takes care of most of that as well. I keep clay on hand, but Im inherently lazy and generally just jump right into cleaning/compounding with my DA.

If the paint is decent enough to begin with and you just want to skip right to polish you can "prep" with claybar. Im rarely ever that lucky and most of what I work with is so far gone that I consider myself lucky if I DONT have to break out the rotary.

BabyBear
10-16-2013, 05:26 PM
Ive always considered Claybaring to be an almost useless step UNLESS there is obvious contamination that would benefit from its use (i.e. paint overspray, hard water spots, tree sap, organic growth). Even then, using a good cutting compound usually takes care of most of that as well. I keep clay on hand, but Im inherently lazy and generally just jump right into cleaning/compounding with my DA.

If the paint is decent enough to begin with and you just want to skip right to polish you can "prep" with claybar. Im rarely ever that lucky and most of what I work with is so far gone that I consider myself lucky if I DONT have to break out the rotary.

Polishing usually doesn't get rid of the rust spots from brake dust getting embedded in the paint, at least not from what I've usually seen. With my cars I generally clay them once, maybe twice a year. My Honda gets polished and I try new sealants on it a lot more than that though..

Do you only use rotary's or do you have a dual action polisher as well?

Facime
10-16-2013, 09:06 PM
You are correct, polish typically doesnt remove contaminants although that depends entirely on your definition of "polish"

In my world there are 1. cleaners/compounds (these take something away) and 2. polishes/waxes (these add something back). Some people use the term "polishing" to refer to the entire process of detailing a car. For me its only the second half of the job, the part where we are adding back in gloss and a sealant.






I only use a rotary and a diminishing abrasive compound for severe scratches/defects. Alot of what I see is brush scratches from vehicles used in the bush (lots of hunters around here) and we also have alot of organic growth (moss, lichen, mildew) that will burrow into the paint and leave pitting behind after cleaning. My cleaner/compound isnt designed to deal with that. Its designed to deal with swirls and light defects. If I really need to rip something down, there is no substitute for a wool on a rotary. Often times I break out the rotary only after Ive already tried to remove a defect with the DA and been less than satisfied with the result.


so to clarify, my process typically goes like this:

Wash (more like scrub) with quality detergent and a micrfiber mitt. Dry.

If it needs it, and sometimes only in certain spots - Correct severe isues with rotary/cutting wool/compound. I use a true old school diminishing abrasive compound in this case.

Otherwise skip to:
2-3 passes with my correction compound/cleaner on the DA. My cleaner is non-whitening so I dont have to mask trim. Its basically a hybrid compound that is both a cleaner and a paint "nourishment" treatment. It removes oxidation/swirls/holograms/contaminants and adds...something (I dont profess to know the chemistry here) that feeds the paint making it less fragile and restores gloss. Its applied with a special microfiber pad.

Hand touch door jams/creases/underhood with a cleaner wax/body scrub. My cleaner wax does a nice job of making the less crucial spots a one step process. Typically those places see alot of dirt, but not alot of sunlight so generally dont need more.

Final step - polish/seal in a single step with my favorite finishing compound. Its synthetic and also non-whitening and works great on trim/plastic and even glass. It adds gloss and leaves all surfaces butter smooth and anti-static.


----------


There are lots of opinions on this subject and just as many different ways of achieving results. Ask a dozen different detailers and probably all of them will tell you they use something different. Typically we start with one process and evolve as new things come out and we look for ways to reduce time and effort or just find processes/products that suit our styles. In the end what matters is the result and making the customer happy (allowing us to justify what we charge).

You've obviously done a nice job and achieved results you can be proud of! I just hate handwork and claybarring is tedious hand work. For the average Joe looking to do a nice job on his DD, claybarring before handwaxing is a useful added step that will grant better results than handwaxing alone. Those of us investing in power tools and professional products just have more options at our disposal.

BabyBear
10-17-2013, 04:09 AM
I always refer to using a compound/taking stuff away as the polish step, and sealing it as the sealant/adding stuff back step. My terminology could be wrong though. Sounds like you do about what I do aside from claying, which I can totally understand your hatred for. Claying is my least favorite part of it and my hands always cramp up afterwards but god does it make the paint feel nice. Also, screw not using power tools! Never going back to hand waxing, ever.

I need to invest in a rotary that's worth using sometime. That NSX needed something more than just a DA(even the badass one that Anthony let me borrow) and a foam cutting pad.

Facime
10-17-2013, 10:33 AM
I honestly dont know what the industry standard accepted terms are in this case. I just kind of based my definition from looking at how products are classified at most suppliers. Typically you see a separate catagory for cleaners/compounds and then Poilshes/waxes. Also when I buy products that specifically use the word "polish" in their name they are always on the extremely fine side of the agressiveness scale.



The right compound on the right pad for enough time and a DA will remove just about everything, but again, Im inherently lazy and dont like to work that hard. Sure its safer on the paint but screw that. My rotary tool is big and heavy but its been pretty reliable despite even being run over once. I started with rotary and added DA capability later. Ive done my share of screw ups with it too. Its definately less forgiving for the inexperienced but a good tool to have.