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Old 04-19-2017, 08:41 PM   #1
pwdcougar
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Buffing clear coat

OK not sure if this should go in the detailing section or not so feel free to move it admins.

I've got 20 year old Sikkens paint on my 69 Cougar. It is the base/clear. After 20 years of using detailing spray wax before car shows and cruise nights the paint just doesn't pop like it used to. There are lots of really fine scratches in the clear. A friend just picked up a Snap On rechargeable 3' buffer with wool and foam pads. What product should I use to clean up the clear? I'm planning on going really slow and staying away from any edges so I don't burn through.

A couple years ago I went over it with a clay bar system and there really wasn't a lot of dirt or junk in the paint.

Thanks

Paul
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:47 AM   #2
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Re: Buffing clear coat

What color is it?

Let's start there because black won't be same process as white.
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:02 PM   #3
pwdcougar
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Re: Buffing clear coat

Footstomper it's a medium blue metallic.


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Old 04-21-2017, 09:12 AM   #4
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Re: Buffing clear coat

A 3" pad will be a lot of work to buff a whole car but I would start with a flat panel and see if it gives the result you are looking for. Make sure you have a fine clear coat compound. Wash the car and then run your hand over the paint if you feel any dirt go over it with the clay bar. Then you are ready to try buffing, I like the foam pads I believe the lighter the color the finer the pad I use a yellow pad. Throw a sheet over the convertable top as dried compound is tuff to remove. If you do one panel the polish with a micro fiber rag you should be able to tell if you are getting the result you want. On the sharp edges just use a rag and some compound
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Old 04-21-2017, 06:56 PM   #5
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Re: Buffing clear coat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cape Codder View Post
A 3" pad will be a lot of work to buff a whole car but I would start with a flat panel and see if it gives the result you are looking for. Make sure you have a fine clear coat compound. Wash the car and then run your hand over the paint if you feel any dirt go over it with the clay bar. Then you are ready to try buffing, I like the foam pads I believe the lighter the color the finer the pad I use a yellow pad. Throw a sheet over the convertable top as dried compound is tuff to remove. If you do one panel the polish with a micro fiber rag you should be able to tell if you are getting the result you want. On the sharp edges just use a rag and some compound

Thanks Cape Codder. Any tips on what brand or type of compound to get?

Paul
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1969 Mercury Cougar Standard 4 speed
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1970 4WD Chevrolet Suburban
1968 2WD GMC Suburban
1997 4WD Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab Short Bed (purchased new January 1997)
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:01 PM   #6
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Re: Buffing clear coat

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Originally Posted by pwdcougar View Post
Thanks Cape Codder. Any tips on what brand or type of compound to get?

Paul
I use the 3M perfect-it white compound. It comes in a purple container I buy by the gallon but it is sold in 16 oz. or qt. sizes too. Any auto body supply can help with that or similar product.
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Old 04-23-2017, 12:09 PM   #7
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Re: Buffing clear coat

3m perfect it is good. "finesse it" is good if you need a more aggressive bite. i own a porter cable dual action sander and use 3m foam pads on it. almost impossible to leave swirl marks. Harbor freight has a similar machine for around $30. they also sell foam pads.
you will want to use the finest compound that will do the job. finesse it is courser than perfect it.
mothers has a three step system that works well as does Meguires.
one panel (2'x2')section at a time.
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Old 04-23-2017, 01:56 PM   #8
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Re: Buffing clear coat

Thanks guys! I'll give this a try during the week. Also, does the 3M compound go bad? Years ago I buffed my convertible Cougar and have a couple bottles of it left. Not sure what type it is but it's been in the cabinet in my basement for the past 10 years. Is it safer to just buy new?

Paul
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1969 Mercury Cougar Standard 4 speed
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:32 PM   #9
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Re: Buffing clear coat

Shake it up if it is still liquid it should be fine. As far as the prefect -it I use it for cutting new paint and sand with 2000 grit before buffing and remove the sand scratches with it so it should be aggressive enough for polishing an older finish. I use orbitals for polishing not buffing, circular machines for compounding. If the orbital will do what you want fine but they don't cut like a buffer.
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:02 PM   #10
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Re: Buffing clear coat

Thanks again guys. A friend picked up a Craftsman buffer the other day. So maybe I'll try that instead of the small rechargeable Snap On tool. I'll post pictures of the machines and the compounds later this week.

Paul
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1969 Mercury Cougar Standard 4 speed
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1970 4WD Chevrolet Suburban
1968 2WD GMC Suburban
1997 4WD Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab Short Bed (purchased new January 1997)
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:06 PM   #11
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Re: Buffing clear coat

If you have never used a buffer I would spend some time practicing on a beater to get the feel of it.
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Old 04-23-2017, 10:49 PM   #12
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Re: Buffing clear coat

Heat is what burns thru clear-a wool pad generates heat-a foam one does not. I would use 3M micro polish/glaze with a yellow foam pad. Edges are fine if using a foam pad-wool pad is a no no near edges or small body lines-stick with big areas if using a wool pad. I prefer to use 3M Hook-it pads on a Makita buffer. The Makita I use has 6 speeds and each setting is variable on the trigger-and it's lightweight ta boot too!

Depending on how many coats of clear was sprayed you could do a show finish wet cut/buff to restore it like new (2000/3000 grit) IF there are fine scratches BUT....if you have no experience cutting/buffing, I'd stick to just trying various polishing compounds using a quality buffer/pads.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:46 PM   #13
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Re: Buffing clear coat

Wow thanks again for all the tips. I'll try things out on my 200K mile 97 CRV to start!

Paul
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1969 Mercury Cougar Standard 4 speed
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