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The Vehicle – Vauxhall Astra Coupe Turbo

The Brief -

Chris made the long trek over from the East Coast to mine for a bit of a detail on his Turbo Coupe. Due to him living a distance away, this was one of the few details that I took on blind (i.e. not viewing the car first.) Chris wanted his Astra Coupe ‘deswirling’ along with seeing if we could do anything with some of the deeper wash blade induced scratching that was present on this car when he bought it. Chris was also interested in picking up some tips and tricks on how to keep his vehicle looking its best.

The car turned up like this –

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The wash process –

We gave the car a pre detail soak in a Snow Foam : Maxi Suds II mix from the Gilmour, allowing the suds chance to drag off any loose contaminant.
We then set about the wheels while the foam got chance to do it’s work. The Chemical Guys Maxi Blue wheel cleaner struggling on the ingrained brake dust to the rear of Chris rims. We gave them a double hit of the CG’s, and Tommy scrubbed for England with a Meguiar’s Spoke Brush. These one set of rims that would have really benefited from being removed and treated with a stronger product, such as Meguiar’s Wheel Brightener.
Tires treated with a foaming of Meguiar’s Super Degreaser cut 4:1
Inner Arches and trim treated with a foaming of Meguiars All Purpose Cleaner cut 4:1
The front end treated with Einszett Bug remover.

The whole car rinsed again, using high volume but low pressure.
We then washed carefully by hand using Eurow wash mitts, and Meguiar’s Shampoo Plus at 128:1. Special attention being paid to the channels etc that may have trapped grit in (gutters, around windows etc).
The car rinsed again, then out with the tar remover, to treat the lower sections before clay. Due to the amount of fallout on this car, we went with the Sonus grey clay, and Meguiar’s Last Touch as lube. We managed to pull off a load of brown diesel soot from the car with the clay, this must have been hiding just a little of the Astra’s shine.
The car rinsed one final time, then it was ready for its pre polish inspection.

The inspection-

We first dried using Meguiar’s Water Magnets and Last Touch, before inspecting the paint using our PTG. This Coupe proving to have a good genuine coat of paint. We were a little worried about some of the deep and long scratches that the car was covered in, these being evidence of a rather spurious wash technique by a previous owner?

The Polishing process –

Porter Cable, White Sonus SFX 2 polishing pad & Menzerna Final Finish PO106FF – This combo got rid of nearly 100% of the Astra’s swirls, but only served to highlight the rather harsh scratches to the rest of the panel.

Porter Cable, Orange LC pad and Menzerna Intensive Polish PO91L, using a slow cut technique. This had a slight impact on the scratches, but only through removal of a thickness of clearcoat.

Metabo rotary, Sonus White SFX 2 polishing pad and Meguiar’s #83 – I’d spent a bit of time learning and advancing my skills level with a one of the best UK car detailers the other week and one of the many products that we got a result with was the good old trusty Megs #83, by rotary. This had a result of lessening the scratches, and did a very good job at swirl removal to boot. This was the process used for the whole car.

We followed the Meguiar’s #83 stage with Meguiar’s #9 on a white SFX 2 polishing pad on his PC, knocking out any holograms that I might have been leaving.
The scratches on the horizontals causing me heartache though, I just couldn’t leave them starring out at me from an otherwise nice polish job. I’d already shaved 10+ microns of clear from the paint, so couldn’t really risk ‘cutting’ the scratches out with Menzerna S34A Power Gloss or the like. It’s then that I came up with a ‘cunning’ plan – to make the scratches less visible with multiple passes of a much lighter polish (Menzerna PO106FF Final Finish) only time was starting to be against us. Time for cunning plan no.2 – Using a Meguiar’s finishing pad on the rotary, and lots and lots of the PO106FF we polished the bonnet at high speed (speed 5 on the Metabo – 1500+ rpm?) with a lot of pressure. Careful not to cook the clearcoat (though I did cook the Menz at one point, sticking it to the Astra’s bonnet) we got a result, though at a price. I had managed to spatter up the shop-

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The scratches although still visible (if you looked) almost disappeared from view under most angles of view. A quick check with the PTG showed an immeasurable difference in paint thickness. The laser thermometer showed quite a difference though.

These 2 following pics were both taken 1 straight after the other, with the camera staying in the same position. The Brinkmann Xenon was moved about 5 degrees. Hopefully these show how difficult the scratches become to see from different angles.

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Applied Chemical Guy’s EZ Glaze on a Sonus Blue pad.
Applied a coat of Einszett Wax Polish soft by PC on Black LC pad
Applied a coat of Poorboys Natty’s Blue by hand.
Tyres dressed with a coat of Hyper Dressing cut 3:1
Trim cleaned with Einszett plastic cleaner, then dressed with Chemical Guy’s New Look trim gel.

The Coupe looked like this–

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