Friday, March 27, 2015

MINI detailing - the supplies, starting stripe removal

Just wanted to create a post(s) covering some detailing of my MINI (I'll do my wife's Camry as well) that I have planned. I'm actually taking a couple days off work so I can take my time. Not real sure how extensive the detailing will be - I may not get to the interior too much. I'm mainly focused on paint correction. After seven years and over 175,000 miles, the paint is starting to show the stress of being a daily driver. Overall things are still in pretty good shape, but all the washing and regular wax jobs have left things looking swirly and in need of major polish and wax job. I'm also going to take the opportunity to lay down some new stripes as the current set are stained and cracking badly.

The Supplies

Since I have had my MINI, all of the waxing has been by hand or with some cheap orbiters. This did ok as I established a good base when I first got the MINI. To handle some paint correction though, I needed something a little more serious. So, I managed to snag a Porter Cable orbiter/polisher off of eBay. After spending quite a bit of time researching options, I ended up going with Poorboy's World products for this go round. In the past I've used Prima products and was pleased with them. The last time though I used Griot's and I did not like it. Hopefully this PW stuff will work out.


I will be starting with the SSR 2.5 which is a medium cut polish to handle the heavy lifting. That will be followed by SSR 1 which is a light polish for the finishing. I got some Black Hole which is a glaze that can be used as a filler. I haven't decided if I'll actually use that. Once all the polishing is done, I'll use the EX which is a sealant that also has some carnuba wax in it. You may also notice the PW soap for washing and some quick detailer - those are for maintenance.

For my black trim, I'll probably end up using Black Wow since I still have some even though I really don't like it. I also don't have any wheel wax for this go round. (Can you tell my budget got really tight?)

For pads, I picked up Lake Country pads. These are fairly cheap and seem to be the preferred budget pad sold by Detailed Image, which is where I ordered the supplies from. I would have liked to have gone with Hex Logic pads, but that would have introduced yet another vendor into the mix. I also picked up a 5-inch backing plate for the PC, so these are 5.5-inch pads. Went a shade smaller than standard to help work around the corners and curves a little easier and since the MINI is so small, I don't need to worry about trying to cover large areas.

Hopefully I can get some decent before and after pics to document everything and see if the PW stuff really works.

Stripe removal

The first step for all this work is to get the existing stripes off my MINI. I'm hoping to get them off before the actual detailing day arrives so I can get an early start. That will be a challenge finding the time for it though with my schedule.

I managed to get one of the boot stripes off the other night. To do so, I had to start with removing the Cooper S badging. That came off fairly easy and as you can see, I managed to keep it all together with some tape. That may end up being a moot point as I probably need to clean the badging and will need to take it off the tape to do that.

After that, it was a matter of getting the stripe itself off. Unfortunately, that was very slow going. The stripes are so old and brittle, that they just disintegrate as I start to pull them off. That is actually bad as I can't get them to just peel away - instead I have to sit there and just keep "scraping" at them. It took me about 1.5 hours to get this first stripe off.

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