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  #1  
Old 04-07-1999, 03:02 PM
PThiringer
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Lee, what product(s) would you use to get rid of or hide swirl marks on a metallic paint/clear coat finish? My pearl black 300E's got plenty of them from the previous owner.

While you're at it, care to set the record straight on wax/polish products in general? There seems to me to be a simply ridiculous number of them on the market, even from the same maufacturer. There are endless debates out there about Zymol vs. Meguiars vs. 3M, etc. What's your opinion?
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  #2  
Old 04-07-1999, 03:48 PM
Lee Scheeler
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Ah, the eternal battle with swirl marks! j/k I am taking delivery of a 92 500E that is pearl black that has its share of swirl marks(for now, just wait till I get my hands on it!) so I can deeply sympathize. *Be looking for a detailing article with pics covering that project soon* As for as products go...the three you mentioned 3M, Zymol, and Meguirs are all top quality products. I would have to give the nod to 3M or especially Meguiars. Zymol looks great but is a colossal pain in the butt to use. You can get comparable results with the others with alot less effort. Unless you detail for exercise I think the other two are a better bet all around. Assuming you have washed and dried the finish For this take I would go with the Meguiars professional line known as "Mirror Glaze" that comes in a tan bottle. Of course, all these steps should be done in the shade or indoors under BRIGHT lighting. (I have a set of 500w Halogen spotlights) I would start with say...Meguirs #9 Swirl Remover. You can do it by hand but an orbital buffer with 100% cotton pad can speed things up if you are careful. Apply the #9 to the finish and buff vigoriously. Then remove with linear strokes of a 100%(including threads/seams) terrycloth. Following that I would examine the paint visually and under sunlight or intense light to see if you have eliminated the swirls. Remember, swirls are scratches in the paint. Therefore to remove them completely they have to be buffed out by removing paint. If you have not removed the marks or not removed them to a satisfacotry degree you can repeat the previous steps with the #9 again. I always prefer to make multiple steps of something less harsh than one step of something harsher. Assuming you have buffed the swirls out to your satisfaction the next step would be to polish. Using Meguiars #7 "show car glaze", apply and buff with a clean 100%cotton covered foam applicator pad or 100% cotton orbital buffer pad. Then remove with a separate, clean, 100% cotton terry. For ease of removal it may be helpful to work one section at a time. (hood, half the roof, trunklid, etc) If the paint feels "baby's butt smooth" go ahead and wax. If you feel a bit of "pebble" on it you can try a high quality paint cleaning clay. For clay use spray the area being cleaned with a surface lubricant like Meguiars #34 "Final Inspection" then rub the clay back and forth over the lubed area. Keep plenty of lube on the finish and turn/knead the clay periodically. The clay is great for cleaning things ON your paint. The polish and swirl removers clean things IN your paint. To protect your hard work you then apply either Meguiars #26 wax or you can also try the new Meguiars "gold class" wax for clearcoats. I have not had as much experience with the new wax but I have used it with good results thus far. Beware, it is for clearcoats only. Simply apply the wax with a cotton covered foam applicator then remove with 100% cotton terry. If you have completed the above steps you should have one helluva shine going. If the finish of your car didn't respond to the above steps you are in need of heavy duty refinishing. As always, if you drop a rag or applicator during ANY phase of this discard it immedately and replace with a clean one. I hope this helps out with the swirl and paint cleaning issue.

Lee
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  #3  
Old 04-07-1999, 04:18 PM
Lee Scheeler
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The last few concours I have been to including the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance everyone there used either Meguiars or 3M. Mostly Meguiars. Draw your own conclusions....Lee
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  #4  
Old 04-08-1999, 09:58 AM
Eddie
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I have a very stupid newbie question, please forgive me. I have a black (non-metallic) 1999 ML320 and after only 2 months it seems to have swirl marks. I have not waxed it yet. Should I be doing an attempt at removing swirl marks already? And the really dumb one, is my paint consindered to have a clear-coat? I assume it does and wuold like to use the Maguires gold-class this weekend to wax the car. Also, if I get any Maguires wax on the bumbers is it going to wipe off easily or really take muscle to get out? Any suggestions on shining the bumpers (which are not painted, but the grey composite material on the ML)? I used to use armor all on my Nissans. Thanks for the help.
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  #5  
Old 04-08-1999, 12:28 PM
C Smith
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Lee,

Really appreciate your advice. However, can you please break your long message into smaller paragraphs? One long message is very difficult to read.

Thanks.
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  #6  
Old 04-21-1999, 10:12 PM
allenjdmb
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Great new board guys. Just happened to find it recently. Re: "swirl" marks. These are high and low spots in your clear. You can't "remove " them, but you can satisfactorliy hide them with some of the quality products mentioned in the previous posts. Remember that what works for one color may not be the absolute best solution for aother color. ALWAYS remember to: use the cleanest rags/cleaning tool or buffing pad, virgin is best. Never try these operations in high temps/humidity or direct sunlight. Use the least invasive method first. Meguiars does have an excellent web site, and as a 20 year veterean of concours in MB, Porsche, and BMW, their products are excellent. Most 3m products are designed for the industry, not consumer use. There is seldom a "pat" answere on these problems and anyone who gives you an absolute answer probably doesn't have the necessary experience to help you. Good luck.
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  #7  
Old 04-21-1999, 11:39 PM
Lee Scheeler
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Most visible swirl marks are microscratches in the clearcoat of your paint. Depending on the depth, hence severity, they can be removed to a greater or lesser degree. The other thing that helps with swirls is using a product designed with "fillers" in it. These fillers work their way into the microscratches making them less visible. Wavy or "high and low" looking areas in your paint are differences in the "orange peel".

As for the different color/different method thing... I believe 3M makes separate polishes and swirl removers for light and dark finishes. Note these are bottled in their somewhat newer consumer lineup.

Re the ML: Dot' sweat the questions! I'm glad you want to learn or at least protect the finish of your truck. 040 black (non metallic black) is perhaps the most beautiful color when clean. Unfortunately it shows virtually every little bit of dirt, sap, scratch, or chip with the same clarity. Your factory finish on your ML is clearcoat. You will not harm anything if you get wax on the bumpers. I advocate using a clean 100% cotton (seams, stitching, etc) terrycloth to remove wax on areas like bumpers. The nap is able to get down in the grain of the bumper and remove any excess wax. For trim dressing I would recommend either the old-stand-by VinylX" by Lexol or that new stuff from Meguiars that is supposed to last a long time. I believe "Endurance" is what they are calling it. You should definitely wax your ML. However since it has gone this long without any it would likely be a good idea to go over it with a polish first. Once you have either anti-swirled and polished or just polished you can then wax it. Just keep an eye for how long the wax lasts on the finish. If the ML spends allot of time outdoors then you will want to wax more often, paying special attention to horizontal surfaces. If there is anything else we can help you with feel free to ask.

Enjoy....Lee
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  #8  
Old 04-22-1999, 02:48 PM
Chris Haney
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I've had grat success with 'Liquid Glass'. Very easy to use. In fact it's recommended to apply in straight strokes rather than circular. Can be touched up if you don't get a spot quite enough.
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  #9  
Old 04-22-1999, 04:43 PM
Eddie
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Thanks for the great response on my ML. I just got a new CLK320 (black again) and it has no swirl marks. I intend to keep it that way! (No "free" car wash for me anymore, they cost too much) I will go to town with the wax this weekend and the Lexol leather conditioner. After all, this is my car, the ML is the wife's!!!
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