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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to the site, no ISF yet, but regardless, I've browsed through the forum and didn't see any detailing threads, so I figured I will start one.

I do realize that most people are busy, and take their ISF to either the local car wash or get it washed at the dealer.

From detailing cars for the past 5 years, I can tell you that most car washes are just a big no no to your ISF, because of all the swirls they put into the clearcoat. Very few car washes are decent enough, that I would trust them with a car like an ISF or any other high end car.

This thread is designed for those who wish to start keeping their ISF clean on their own.

Detailing your car isn't that hard, it is a combination of the right materials, techniques and TIME.

Feel free to ask me any questions. I figured I can start with the washing, drying basics and then move onto more advanced detailing.

Just for glimps, here is an STi that got too close to some bushes while "offroading". The owner didn't want to pay for a full detail, so I helped him out with a basic wash and some paint correction. Luckily, the scratches weren't deep, just into the clearcoat, and that allowed us to get rid of them.

BEFORE:








AFTER::









 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Basic Washing:

When: Early morning, later afternoon. Avoid the sun as much as possible.

What I'm going to show here is my own method based on 5 years of improvement and advancing my own skills.

Basic washing materials:

  • Any quality car shampoo, Do NOT use dish soap!
  • A 5 gallon bucket, with gritt guard
  • Wolfgang foam gun.
  • A quality wash mitt. (this will be used ONLY on body panels, not wheels!)
  • Pressure washer or hose attachment for car washing
  • California Gelly Blade
  • An electric leaf blower
  • Dish washing gloves
  • Microfiber drying towels, 24 x 16

Method:

Best time to do this when the car is cold, Do NOT do this after track event, cold water and hot brake rotors isn't a good combination.

Before you begin doing anything, remember that prep work makes all the difference in the world, that means having things ready.

Start with 16 oz of soap, put that into the foam gun, fill up the foam gun with water until 3/4's full, shake it a bit, set it aside.

Fill up your bucket with just water, set that aside.

Hose the car off with water, don't worry about the sun and drying right now, we will get to that later. Hose the entire car, don't forget the wheels, wheel wells, roof, trunk, etc.

Once the car got soaked with water, hook up the foam gun to your hose. This is when the fun begins:



You're giving the car a nice bubble bath. I like the DP car foaming shampoo, Meguiar's would do the trick as well. Just stay away from dish soap.

Get the car covered with foamy soap, that will start dissolving the dirt, grime and whatever else hit your paint while you were dusting that M3 or Audi RS4. :D

Gloves on!

Now, take the bucket (grit guard should be at the bottom) and your microfiber wash mitt and work from the roof down to the doors, then hood, front bumper and go back to the rear. No need to scrub hard, 2-3 times per panel and move on.

Every 2-3 minutes, take the wash mit and dip it all the way to the bottom of the bucket until it rubs against the grit guard. This is how you prevent swirls, any microscopic materials that got caught in the mitt will be taken away and sink to the bottom of the bucket, the guard will block them from contaminating your mitt again.

Done scrubbing?

Hose the car off.

At this point, I would get into clay bar, polish, wax etc. but that's for another chapter.

Time to dry this car off. Gloves off!

If the sun is out and is pretty strong, Drive the car into the garage as it is. It won't make a big mess, and your drying will go much smoother and easier. Avoid the sun at this point is important, because it will prevent those nasty waterspots from forming on the paint. The waterspots can be removed, but that's done by polishing. (which we haven't covered yet)

The California Gelly blade is a great product. You can start with the roof and work your way down the doors and other panels. This product will not scratch the paint and will speed up your drying time.

I then like to use the electrical leaf blower on the door jams, front bumper and any hard to reach places to get water out of them.

Any remaining water can be wiped with the microfiber drying towel.

That's it for washing, let the car cool.



* Squeeze the wash mitt, throw it in the laundry if it's dirty, then to the dryer on delicate, keep it in a ziplock bag.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wheel cleaning:

Materials needed:


[*] P21S Gel cleaner, I like the 1 liter bottle.
[*] A seperate spray bottle for mixing.
[*] OXO or any other good brand teflon brushes for wheel cleaning.
[*] A pressure washer will improve the results dramatically.
[*] An electric leaf blower. (from the last chapter)

I'm really anal about my car, especially the wheels.

I take off my wheels once a year for this 2.5 hour ritual:



I clean them by hand, dry them and use wheel sealant on them before putting them back on the car.

You don't have to go that far, plus with the following method, you can get your wheels to look great.


Prep:: Fill up the spray bottle with 1/3 P21S, fill the rest with warm water.

Method:

This step takes place after you soak the car with water, before the soap.

Hose the wheels off, if you have a pressure washer, it will clean about 95% of the brake dust. From what I read, the ISF brakes were designed by Brembo, so I'm assuming they use brembo pads, and those create a ton of dust.

Spray the wheels with the P21S spray bottle. P21S is made in Germany, Ph balanced and is a very high quality wheel cleaner. Unfortunately, it's not sold locally.

Let the cleaner do the work for about 2-3 minutes, you can use a wheel brush to scrub the wheels a bit.

Move onto the foam gun and wash the car itself, do not hose off the wheels yet. Reason is, if you hose them off now, when you hose the body/soap the wheels will get dirty again.

This way, you can hose the car from the roof down, the soap from the body will get on the wheels and enhance the cleaning even more.

Once the body is hosed off, hose the wheels and get ready to dry the car.
 

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Nice write up Peleg! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, there are a few things in here I'm going to start doing now. You use a lot of products I've never heard before, where do you get them if you don't mind me asking?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If anyone has any further questions, feel free to post them or PM me.

Next chapter: Clay bar
 

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Peleg, if you don't mind, I will stick this thread. Thank you!
 

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You say car washes are a no-no because of swirls. But why would a no-touch car wash cause swirls? I would never go to anything other than a no-touch car wash, but I usually do like to take them through one before I do my detailing, unless I am doing a hand wash and dry myself, which I only really have time for every 2-3 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You say car washes are a no-no because of swirls. But why would a no-touch car wash cause swirls? I would never go to anything other than a no-touch car wash, but I usually do like to take them through one before I do my detailing, unless I am doing a hand wash and dry myself, which I only really have time for every 2-3 weeks.
If it's not the car wash, it's either:

- The dealer.

- The owner using something that wasn't mean to wash a car with, I see it all the time.

If you use a good microfiber mitt, gritt guard and keep your mitt clean, you will not get swirls.
 

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Thanks, Peleg. Along with a carbon fiber license plate frame/cover, I just ordered the 5-gallon bucket with gritt guard from AutoGeeks.

I have only owned my Obsidian IS-F for 2 months, but there are some minor, minor swirls (probably from dealer washes). If I give it a good treatment with clay bar, wax, etc., will it get rid of those??
 

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From a fellow STI owner, thanks!!! I think at least for me, the lack of quality time and laziness is a big factor. I used to wash my cars religiously weekly but I think getting older takes its toll! Washing the car is one thing but when the paint needs buffing, harsh compounds, etc...I'm lost.
 

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Thanks for the thread. Keep it coming. I want to see about claybar techniques and other products you might suggest.

What type of wheel sealer do you use? I have never heard of such a thing.
 

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i seem to have a problem.....the soap and foam just slides right off the car.......it has been freshly waxed a few times....
 

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Discussion Starter #17
i seem to have a problem.....the soap and foam just slides right off the car.......it has been freshly waxed a few times....
It will do that if you use the foam gun, but that's normal.

The soap will start eating away all the dirt and grime. I usually take a few passes and then let the stuff glide before I rinse.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sorry, haven't been around for a while

Guys/Gals,

Sorry, I've been busy with house hunting and work. This thread will start getting more updates.

The story is that the place I might buying won't have a garage.

I'm also considering getting rid of the STi and waiting for a year for prices to come down.

I might then pick up an UltraSonic Blue ISF.
 

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Hey, this thread hasn't seen a lot of activity of late, but I thought I would pipe in and ask -- how are people cleaning the area behind the backseats? It is very tight back there and I am not sure about getting a vacuum back there. Any ideas?
 
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