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Old 05-04-1999, 10:39 PM
Chris Ecklund
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Okay, thanks for all the tips guys, but what about my black 98 300?

Is there different levels of this mequires to use?

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Old 05-04-1999, 11:26 PM
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Black is a real tough one. Last year at the Cleveland German Auto Show, I saw the most perfect wax job on a black car ever...I should have asked what he used!

Swirl marks are the biggest problem with black cars...If your looking for maximum shine I would try Meguiars Gold Class Clear Coat Prep and Swirl Reducer as the polish-prep first step.....then use the Gold Class Wax. Make sure to apply both with a back and forth motion(not swirl motion) if your doing it by hand.

Like I've said in a previous post...the Boyd's products seem to work outstanding too on newer cars.

I'm going to sit back and let the dark color car experts chime in....I'll learn something!

Good Luck,

1986 300E 138k
Board Member
Western Reserve MBCA
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Old 05-05-1999, 01:16 AM
Lee Scheeler
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Keeping a black car and showing a black car are two different things. Yup, black is the worst for swirls, streaks, and just about any other vice I can think of. Luckily its looks usually justify the effort.

When I was talking to many of the people showing their cars at Amelia Island one of the common questions was "what do you use on that finish?" As I have said before, Meguiar's seems to be the most popular, with 3M second. When I asked "what wax do you use?" they gave me an odd look and replied "wax is for cars that go outdoors" as if I had just sneezed in his soup. The logic behind this is that after you polish the finish it is actually at its best then. The wax just goes over that and to SOME degree lessens the shine. This logic only applies to the most highly pampered and polished finishes. In 99% of the other cars in the world waxing usually helps the shine. I will address the two schools of thought, use, and swirl strategy separately.

For your daily driver that you want to keep looking showroom: use the methods I have outlined in previous posts on this site. The 3-step method of Meguiar's Swirl Remover, Show Car Glaze, and Yellow Wax seems to be the best combo. The 1-2 punch of the swirl and multiple going-overs of polish(until removing the excess polish gives NO black residue on the rag) will produce a shine you can shave in. A orbital buffer can give your shoulders a break on the big flat surfaces (during application not removal) but I can't really say it does a better job than a patient and knowing hand. After you have the finish has that "wow" look it is time to protect your work with a coat of wax as you are likely "going outdoors" sooner or later. Apply the wax, remove the wax, enjoy the good looks that will last for awhile.

For a finish of a trailer queen: I am assuming that any show car is free of any significant swirls or other surface defects. Pretty much just polish, polish, polish, then polish some more. Many of the people at the Concours I have been to are polishing their cars up until the final moments before judging. Some polishes respond well to a "spit shine". This is where you polish, then spray a bit of water over the surface, then buff off. (3M or Zymol) Obviously this increases the elbow grease quotient exponentially but can yield impressive results. Remember to use linear strokes whenever possible.

Swirl strategy: At present there are two ways to get rid of visible swirls. They are usually used on conjunction with one another. First, there is removing paint down to the level of the swirl. Not something you can do often, but a necessary step with a bad case of swirls. Second, there is using a product with "fillers" in it. These fillers work their way into the scratch and make them less visible. 3M makes different polishes and swirl removers for light and dark finishes. Usually if you use something seldom (twice a year perhaps) that takes a very small amount of paint you are okay. Given good detailing habits you shouldn't incur any deep or significant swirls to warrant doing it any more often than that. Using something with fillers can be done before every waxing (usually no more often than every 3 weeks to a month unless your car lives outdoors)

The best way to deal with swirl marks is keep fastidious car care habits that minimize the possibility of getting them to begin with. I have noticed a slight benefit to using a orbital buffer with swirl removers/fillers Vs the traditional manual method. The dark finish give you zero margin for sloppiness but they also force you to work towards perfection. Given a careful car care program, prescribed use of the products mentioned, and plenty of time from a caring owner any color can look amazing. These are the methods I have found work best on the finish of the cars I have seen and worked on. Many people swear by one thing or another. If you have something that you can work well with then by all means enjoy. BTW, Meguiar's is playing a dangerous game. The stuff in the brown bottles is more for pros seeking professional results. The newer products in the dark red bottles are aimed more at the "quick-n-dirty" crowd. Use the product that matches your desire and commitment level. Note: the paint on different cars seems to have different hardness. The paint on the MB seems to be a bit "harder" than the stuff on BMW's or GM cars. I have not done extensive research on that so if anyone has any hard facts on paint formulation of different make/models I would be curious...

Hope this helps...Lee
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Old 05-14-1999, 11:53 PM
Chris Ecklund
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Thanks for taking the time for such a lengthy reply, I feel like I am learning how to wash and wax all over again!!

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