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My first 4 hour detail

28 February 2010
Nova Scotia, Canada
The paint on my '91 was covered with small scratches and swirl marks making it look more charcoal-grey than black in places. I searched Prime (what a great resource!), watched youtube videos and read what's available on the Auto-geek website (and others) to get ideas about how to clean it up, but what inspired me most and set the standard was lunchman's "Detailing my 91" post.

The problem is, I live in a condo and don't have access to water or power where I park so my options are limited. I tried a few polishes, but wasn't happy with the results applied by hand. I also noticed they wash off quickly. Somebody on Prime mentioned Finish First products so I gave them a try. I was very pleased with the results applied by hand and the shine really lasted, but it didn't do much to help the scratches and swirl marks. Researching some more, I realized I'd have to buy a polisher to get the results I hoped for.

Having no experience detailing cars I wanted to be careful to do no harm. Everything I read suggested an orbital polisher was the way to go so I bought a Porter Cable 7424 XP with a Lake Country Tri-Density Backing Plate and some Lake Country pads. The next problem was water and power, fortunately my father-in-law offered the use of his place (thanks Ken). With that I had almost everything I needed.

Selecting the right products for the job seemed really important. Lunchman's results set the standard I'd like to achieve, but I didn't have his experience and I didn't have the time he put into the job, so I looked for shortcuts. In the end I decided to claybar the car, use Zaino Z-PC to the remove swirl marks and scratches, Finish First Prep to remove any old wax residue and Finish First polish to bring out the shine. Because I was new at this and concerned about removing too much paint (Z-PC is abrasive) I only used enough Z-PC to remove 90% of the scratches - I didn't totally correct the paint. Now that I have a better idea what I'm doing I'll go back when the weather is nicer and get the rest of the scratches out.

Here are the steps I followed:

- wash
- rinse
- clay bar with touch-up spay for lubricant
- wash
- rinse (pics below start here)
- Zaino Z-PC applied with Porter Cable (5 on tool, orange pad)
- Wipe down
- Finish First Prep applied with the Porter Cable (5 on tool, white pad)
- Finish First Polish applied with the Porter Cable (4 on tool, black pad)

Below are pics of the detail. I didn't do as good a job of documenting the steps as I hoped because I really got into it and forgot to take pictures, but I think you'll get the idea.

Pics 20 - 31 are the "before" pictures (but after clay baring).
Pics 32 - 34 are the "during" pics (note the hood in pic 32, the left side had been Zaino Z-PC'd, the right side hadn't been done yet).
Pics 35 - 45 are the "after" pics.

It was a somewhat overcast day so the lighting wasn't very good for taking pictures, but that made it comfortable to work outside and the paint didn't get too hot in the sun. I'm looking forward to finishing up when the weather is nicer. I didn't do anything with the black trim, or tires, so that's still on the list of things to do and I'll need to use some more Zaino Z-PC to get the rest of the scratches out (unfortunately that won't help the clear coat failure on the passenger-side B-pillar). My car is a daily driver so I don't think I'll be able to maintain the finish that lunchman has achieved, but I'm still pleased with the results.

I'm open to any and all suggestions to make this process better, faster and easier.


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Last edited:
looking great :biggrin:
Pic 12 you can really tell the difference. Great work, now go detail the interior.:tongue:
Nothing out there beats Finish First polish. It looks great!
Looks great! Those before and after pictures must make you feel a whole lot better about the whole process. As long as it may have been, it was so worth it!
This was just my first go at it. I can still see some fine scratches so I plan to do it again focusing only on those areas that need extra attention.

Most of the shine comes from Finish First Polish. I only had a single coat on the car when I took the pics, when I finally get all the scratches out I'll do two. The manufacturer says two coats are far better than one. I just washed it again last night and the shine's still there. I love the stuff!

Four hours was a good afternoon's work, but nothing compared to how much time some people put into their cars. I don't know if I should be happy the car turned they way it did considering it was just 4 hours, or feel lazy because I put so little time into it...
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I have the same color NSX. you need to try this stuff out.

first CLAY bar the car so you know its pure.

then use this stuff. I swear by it I will never use another WAX again on a black car.

this stuff has Black DYE in it and actually over time fills any crack or chip with black dye and hides the chips etc.

now on other car I use the Miguires First Class wax. but for black cars
the Black box is the shit.