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I tried a clay bar and didn't really like it. Now I have a nanoskin to try. Lol.

I have some Lake Country pads of various levels, and some McKee's AIO I want to try when I tackle it next.

2016 2.7 4x4 screw
Nanoskin was too slippery. It didn't get any contamination and I was using the medium. I used a light clay bar and got a lot off it was weird.


I saw they had a 6 pad that is like clay bar but haven't looked into it enough to tell lol I feel like I can feel the paint burn from here
 

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No, DO IT NOW! I'll bet you a nickel to a dollar after a year, there WILL be swirls to correct.

I'm considering 2 or 3 steps being just that. Each successive step being a finer and less aggressive polishing pad and polish. Pad choice is just as important as polishing compound.


I forget his actual terminology, but Mike Phillips at AG teaches to use the least aggressive pad/polish that will get the job done. Try test spots first to see which pads are necessary that are aggressive enough to do the job, but not more.


2016 2.7 4x4 screw
Meh I'll just pay the difference for the added paint correction.
This cilajet is working fabulous for now.
I'm going to do the same thing for katzkins, enjoy my OEM seats until they get a little worn then get them.

Who knows though I may do ceramic coat a little sooner than planned, after I get my injen intercooler.


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Speaking of clay, I’ve tried most of the clays. the newer pads, mitts, etc. Some of the “Nanoskin-esque” products work quite well. That said, I always end up back with a clay bar (more often than not a Griots product) and a pair of scissors to cut off a small section. I find that for the most part I only spot clay these days and subsequently often only spot polish. My mindset is to not only make the least amount of work for myself but more importantly to leave as much of the finish as possible on the vehicle.

In my experience even very mild clays leave slight, if almost imperceptible marring but with the proper lighting you can always see it. I usually follow up with a light cut pad and a mild polish. I typically use Lake Country pads and Griot’s Boss polishes (I’ve grown to really like this polish line).

As someone who takes great pride in their vehicle and it’s finish but who has ended up with two shoulders that aren’t God given, this simplified process simply makes sense to me these days. It hasn’t always been that way. If I had the polisher out, the whole vehicle was getting a two or three step polish. It took me 13 hours to do a spring clean up on my Edge over a few days this past week (yeah a fair amount of time was spent on the undercarriage and wheel wells) and it wasn’t dirty by most standards. Should I had followed my old routine it would have taken me twice that long. I know that this is a coating specific thread but I ended up using two coats of a sealant (BlackFire Crystal Seal, now discontinued). It looks great. Will it last a year? No! I’m the guy that will add a booster product like McKee’s Blue Hydro at each wash to keep it up until I do it again a six months from now. I’ve used quite a few coatings but they’re just not my thing. I find them to be finicky, often costly and in some ways as much work as using a sealant more frequently.

I’ve found a modified process that works very well for ME. At the end of the day I think everyone should find something that works for THEM. Doing this factors in the cost of products and equipment, time, availability of products and overall expectations. Don’t focus too much on all the written processes from which you can choose. If you search the web long enough you can find documentation or a YouTube that will support most any detailing procedure, product or piece of equipment. These Docs and Vids more often than not only benefit the maker of distributor of product or machine but that certainly doesn’t make the implementation best for everyone. Only you know when you’ve got it right and you’re the only one you need to please. ;)

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Kinda like this last pic. If you zoom in on the paint it almost looks like it’s Silver instead of Platinum White. ;)
 

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This is good enough right now. Lol


2016 2.7 4x4 screw
Lol.
I find myself trapped exactly between you and GearHead.

When it's time to apply TLC, I'm dedicated to getting what I'm convinced is the best available. And when it's time to use the truck as a truck (mud and 4WD required) I do that too without hesitation.

Both experiences tickle me equally.

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Lol.
...And when it's time to use the truck as a truck (mud and 4WD required) I do that too without hesitation...
Hey Snake, just so we’re clear, I use my truck too. I hauled (5) 3 gallon jugs of fuel in it yesterday. Then I came home and promptly wiped that area of the bed down. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t spill any fuel but I wiped it down anyway. :) ;) :)
 

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Hey Snake, just so we’re clear, I use my truck too. I hauled (5) 3 gallon jugs of fuel in it yesterday. Then I came home and promptly wiped that area of the bed down. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t spill any fuel but I wiped it down anyway. :) ;) :)
You brute

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Personally I use a clay mitt for 95% of the panels and big stuff (after chemical decontamination). I think its a Griots, probably a medium grade. I like to do a quick follow up on those panels with a normal clay bar, then use the bar to get all the cracks and small areas. I've tried a few clays but I like the Meguiars yellow fine grade. Haven't tried the DA nanoskin pads, probably won't.
 

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Hey Snake, just so we’re clear, I use my truck too. I hauled (5) 3 gallon jugs of fuel in it yesterday. Then I came home and promptly wiped that area of the bed down. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t spill any fuel but I wiped it down anyway. :) ;) :)
Just a wipe down?! Your beds gonna rot away!
 

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Discussion Starter #71
My dad has a spray in in his new super duty, and is now contemplating putting a drop in over that . Lol. He has refused to put anything in it yet. He's piling all sorts of things on his gooseneck. He's even going so far to strap his drill boxes and whatnot down on the trailer .

2016 2.7 4x4 screw
 

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I approve of your dad's behavior completely!

Lol

Nothing like a SuperDuty honeymoon.

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Wow great thread guys. I'm preparing to do 3 trucks this summer, maybe a 4th. My truck desperately needs a full correction and then I want to DIY ceramic. I was thinking of TopCoat F11 but after reading many mixed reviews of it's longevity, I think I'll go for something else.

The others would be a 2019 Ranger (Black) and 2019 Cummins (Red) for SEMA - after I finish building them. Thankfully they are both new and will have only a few miles on them when we get them prepped for SEMA. Hoping to learn from you guys what the best DIY product is. All wax and such will be cleaned off, light polish on it to get the surface as perfect as I can, and then ceramic and maybe a top coat of wax to help with depth.

I'm a DIY guy when it comes to detailing. I have a good DA and products from Chemical Guys and I did an amazing job (I think so) on my truck about 2 years ago.

Looking forward to seeing results and finding the right products for these vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #74
I'm not aware of many true ceramics that you can even purchase as a diy customer. However, my Crystal Serum light is one of them, and is a little more forgiving on the newbie (as I understand it) than some of the bigger name ceramic coatings.

2016 2.7 4x4 screw
 

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Hey folks. I recently treated myself as an early Christmas present to a complete paint correction and ceramic coating to the tune of $475 on my '16 XLT.

I've come under quite a bit of fire for spending "so much money" on this, so I'd like to explain the benefits to everyone, track its performance over time, and get some opinions on it from others. I got a lot of, "Can't you just wax it?" Well, yeah, but that would just seal up over the existing swirl marks, and need to be done again and again and again constantly.

A lot of people don't know what I mean when I say swirls. I don't mean what you get when someone does a poor buff job. You ever catch a vehicle in the bright sunlight and see what looks like a spider web effect where the light gathers? This is caused by thousands of tiny, light, random scratches in the clear coat. It is so common I think it's just accepted as normal. But if you polish the clear coat to perfection, you get so much more depth of color and beauty it's not even funny. Even when the light isn't shining on it directly. Below is a picture of swirls on the right side, and one pass with polish and a polisher on the left.



Even though my truck was new, it already has swirling like this when I bought it. It's very easy to do just from washing. Even if you are super careful. This is why proper washing techniques and products are so important, and a good coating.

I got a lot of, "It's just a truck man."

Well, yeah. If you don't care about it I guess that's a fine way to look at it. Why even wash it or care about what sort of wheels are on it, level it, tint, or anything aesthetic, if you don't care about maintaining the paint. It's just a truck. Right?

The way I see it, I pay $500 a month on my truck. It's brand new. I want it to look brand new. If it was 5 years old, it might not bother me so much. I've done my best to properly care for the paint, but it has still sustained a little more swirling, and water spotting. Real water spots don't come off without an abrasive measure of repair. They actually form a crater in the clear coat that has to be polished out.

Cost. A full paint correction is very involved, and no simple task. It requires a degreasing wash, a chemical decontamination to removed metal particles embedded in the paint, a mechanical decontamination (clay bar), and usually several steps of polish with an orbital polisher. Then, once the imperfections are polished out, the coating can be applied. At least an 8 hour job.

Ceramic coating. What is is? A ceramic coating is a 3-5 year coating. Or 5-7. Depending on what one you go with. I chose crystal serum. It's a bit cheaper than the more popular opticoat coatings. It's a very hard clear layer that bonds to your paint. Waxes are very soft. They don't last long, and don't protect from all that much.

As I said, the ceramic coating is hard. Harder than your clear coat. It resists scratching better. But it isn't impervious to scratches, of course. The nice thing, however, is that any water spots or scratches it may incur, are in the ceramic coating now, not your irreplaceable clear coat.

A ceramic coating makes washing MUCH easier. Stuff doesn't stick to it like it did the paint, so things just come off easier. It's extremely hydrophobic, so water just runs off of it. This makes drying easier. Drying has been the hardest part of maintaining my black paint, and no doubt where I've probably gotten the majority of marring that I've caused. Now I should be able to hit it with the blower and take care of the majority of it after a wash.

Can you do it yourself? Sure you can. If you have the stuff and the knowledge you can do it yourself and save a good bit of money. I don't have any experience using a d/a polisher, so there would inevitably be a learning curve. I really didn't wanna get that curve in on my brand new truck. Most prices around here were $1000. When that was what I was gonna pay, I was going to learn and do it myself. When I stumbled across someone who would do it for $475, I decided it was worth it to me to have a better job and not fool with it myself. I hate doing stuff like this.

Is it worth it? I'd like to hear some thoughts. In my opinion, if you care about your high dollar vehicle, and like it to look good, and want to be able to maintain a perfect finish with less time invested, it is. It's a truck, sure. I use it. And it won't be showroom condition. I know that. But I want it to look as good as I can keep it.

Going forward, over the course of at least a year I'm going to report my experiences with washing and maintaining, and how the paint looks over time. How well it resists water spots, and light scratches, etc.



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Where did you get it done?
 

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Agree with OP. My truck gets a lot of miles and needs a wash once a week. I save about 40-50% each wash with ceramic. Just throw some soap on and rinse off. Don’t have to cover every single square inch with high pressure hot soap it just falls off. Don’t have to worry about waxing each season. Came with warranty. I’ll never go back.


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