[concours] Detailing

Funny enough, just when I was thinking about posting a question on concours@
I return to a mailbox with the latest digest! Well, let’s keep the momentum
going here - I have some comments on the previous discussion and then some
questions.
First, I too have used both Lexol and Hide Food. Lexol is the best for regular
maintenance, but when starting with an old piece that needs to be thouroughly
clean and treeated (after a PO that did not know the difference btw. leather
and vinyl) I have used the following with good results. First use Lexol
cleaner (this is a separate product from their conditioner) to clean it, and
wipe off with moist cheesecloth or eqv. Then apply Hide Food in fairly liberal
amounts and work it in with cheesecloth. I did 2…3 rounds of this (with a
few days in between each) and after the final buffing the leather came out
as new. I then finished off with a thin coat of Lexol and use that for regular
maintenance now. My leather guy did warn me though that sometimes Hide Food
can cause leather to dry out (has not happened to me) and he recommended to
use Lexol only.

OK, then to the issue of paint maintenance. You guys were talking about
Carnauba a lot - Now I have been following Thomas Nast’s guide (he preaches
Meguiar’s Medallion and other products) and have been fairly happy with that.
On my Ser. 1 Jag this with their #7 polish does a good job (once the paint is
clean). However, Nast says that Carnauba is something one should not have too
much of in a wax, and of course all abrasives (as well as silicones
incidentally) should be avoided (unless one talks about cleaners of course).
Does anyone have comments on this? How about Mr. Nast’s guidelines in general?
(They are available on the main page of the xjlovers website, at
http://www.jag-lovers.org/xjlovers/ ).

Then I am curious about clear coat & metallic paints. All the Meguiar’s stuff
is clear coat safe, but I have a new car (just got it 2 months back) with a
metallic paint+clear coat. The manual says I do not need polish, but that an
occasional wax treatment is to be recommended. Now, I try to wash my car very
gently, and use 100% cotton to wipe it dry. The wax I use is Meguiar’s
Medallion. However, I am worried about hairline scratches (and concours
people know what I am talking about - these are VERY tough to avoid since
they seem to appear by the mere washing of a car). You know, these thin
scratches that you can’t see or feel unless you look at your car from a
specific angle in direct sunlight. So, what is the correct procedure for
clear coat, and especially on a new car? How long does one have to wait before
the paint has hardened 100%? Is there any way to avoid/treat hairline
scratches/swirls?–


Per Stenius @Per_Stenius http://www.ece.ucsb.edu/SQO/Per/

Per Stenius (per@quantum.ece.ucsb.edu) writes:

How long does one have to wait before
the paint has hardened 100%?

I bought a new car about 3 months ago with metalic paint, and the
manual says it takes 6 months. The local paint shop that did my XJ6
said to wait “at least 6 weeks, preferrably 3 months” before waxing.
Probably depends to some extent on the paint manufacturer and application
method.

Is there any way to avoid/treat hairline
scratches/swirls?

The only way to avoid them is to put the car in a sealed dust-free
room and never touch it. A large part of most dust is actually
sand, so any wiping of the surface is like using sandpaper. Driving
the car is analogous to sandblasting. It’s a rough world our there!
Of course, you can do things to reduce the amount of abbrasion that
you inflict on the car. Washing with lots of water and little wiping pressure,
frequent changing and cleaning of towels/sponges/chamois/etc.

Detailing books recommend all wiping be in parallel strokes lengthwise
along the car, rather than in a circular motion. They also suggest that
it is much better to clean off any dirt/grime/tar/bugs/droppings as soon
as possible, rather than let it accumulate on the car. For simple dust
they recommend those wax-impregnated dusting wands. For stuff that’s
water soluble they recommend sponging with no rubbing until the stuff
lifts off. For things that need tar remover, they suggest cotton swabs
and gentle rolling/lifting action instead of rubbing. Of course, they
also recommend avoiding driving show cars in bad weather.

All this stuff works if you are willing to dilligently invest the
time in it – I only washed my XJ6 twice in the three years that I
owned it, and once was right after I got it. But I spent many hours
cleaning it on a regular basis. It still got scratches, but no where
near as many as my wife’s Volvo that we bought at about the same time
and washed and waxed in the usual once-every-couple-of-months manner.

Treatment requires some form of polishing and then waxing. Of course,
polishing removes paint a little at a time, so you don’t want it to be
a regular process.

When I’m judging a car, by the way, I rarely notice minor scratches
in the paint (a fresh wax job hides an awful lot). I’m usually looking
for rust bubbles, fading, peeling, dents, chips, bad repairs, orange peel,
mismatching of colors between sections, worn-through areas, etc. There are
typically more than enough of these to distinguish any two cars. Comparing
levels of minor scratches is very difficult because it depends on factors
like the lighting, the angle of the car with respect to the sun, other
surfaces that are being reflected by the car, and the color of the paint
itself. I would only feel comfortable making a deduction for scratches
if they were clear and obvious.

Chip

a reply to Per Stenius: I mostly agree with your posting about leather
treatment and waxes, with the following comments: I have used both HIDE
FOOD and LEXOL (as well as other products, and I strongly advise AGAINST
using Mother’s Leather Conditioner: it gives a shiny, plastic look to the
leather). Hide Food is water based. Water and Leather? No thanks. It is
more difficult to use than LEXOL, and I have found LEXOL to do a remarkable
job of softening old leather. My car now has new, original Jaguar (not
aftermarket) leather. Before installing these I treated them with Hide Food.
But since installation they have received regular Lexol treatment. When I
recently removed my rear seat, I found to my amazement, that the portion of
the seat bottom which sits UNDER the seat back, in other words, the portion of
the leather which had not had the benefit of the regular LEXOL treatments, was
NOTICEABLY stiffer and harder (now, since the leather is new, this is relative)
than the rest of the seat, which HAD the LEXOL treatment.This was proof enough
for me. This means that my leather is in fact softer and more pliant
than it was when shipped from the the factory two years ago! In any case,
I know that people always comment on the beauty and the feel of the leather,
so I am sticking with this product. WAXES: I have used Carnauba waxes for at
least 25 years. They are non abrasive (if you get the right kind), easy
to use, and give the most brilliant shine. This wax is also wonderful for
the chrome, the rubber parts and the WOOD inside the Jaguar. I am presently
using EAGLE brand but have used others including CLASSIC. There does not
seem to be any noticeable difference between them, but I would never use any
other type. Clear coat or not, this is best in my opinion. Clear coats
should NOT be subjected to regular abrasive cleaners because if you cut through
the clear coat, you have only a flat coloured surface. Clear coating is
literally a clear shiny coat on a flat colour coat. Those spider marks, the
fine scratches that Per refers to, are almost impossible to avoid and are most
noticeable on dark colours. My 82 has a clear coat white finish so these
scratches are only rarely noticeable. The best thing for dealing with them is
to use a GLOSS coat (made by several different manufacturers, including
MOTHER’s, and theirs is good. They are in the business of SHINING, so
naturally, or unnaturally their leather treatment gives an undesirable
shine!) and to follow the GLOSS coat with a coat of Carnauba wax. This
procedure gives a brilliant, hard shine which eliminates the appearance
of those scratches (they are still there of course, but the GLOSS coat
is designed to “fill” them. The GLOSS coat is left to dry before buffing).
I found that in the last concours my car was so shiny (and white) that
the judge remarked that it was blinding. He seemed to spend more time
than necessary looking for imperfections!

                                     Gregory Andrachuk
                                     Victoria, Canada
                                     late 82 xj6