So I chose CQuartz UK 3.0 and Gliss despite still being dubious of coatings: 2 years of protection...IF you have a sacrificial layer for what's supposed
to be your 'super durable' sacrificial layer plus
other bespoke maintenance products. Anyway it still seemed like a good choice for my car as a daily driver that lives outside. Plus I really wanted the experience of applying a 'big boy' coating under my belt (my previous coating experience was Polish Angel Cosmic V2 which was very simple to use). After reading good reviews of many CarPro products, I decided to stay in the family for other things used on this project.
My Portimao Blue M340i xDrive was a special order that I picked up at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, SC (one of the best experiences of my life, do it if you're getting a new BMW). I got the car in December and used the winter to decide what to use for my LSP in the spring. I maintained it with regular washes only during winter. My first and main goal of this process was to remove some factory-installed marring and micro scratches. That was accomplished with CarPro Essense and my Rupes LHR15 Mk III polisher with yellow Rupes pad. One of the best things I did for this project was convert my old PC 7424XP to a 3" setup to allow me to get into the primary area the micro scratches were bothering me (angled upper portion of the door panels). With the PC I used a 3" URO-Fiber pad which is the best pad I've ever used.
The COVID-19 situation played right into this project (silver lining I guess) allowing me to take as much time as I wanted without having to drive the car. I used my old barn/garage which usually only holds one car, my 2006 Honda S2000 track car. The lighting in there isn't great which is one of the biggest lessons learned through this process: do everything you can to bring as much light to the process as possible. Where I thought things went off the rails in a major way was when I noticed that my microfiber towels were leaving fibers/lint behind as I buffed off the CQ UK 3.0. I thought I ruined the car (at least temporarily until the coating could be polished off). Luckily that wasn't the case. The fibers were mobile and the application of Gliss collected them at the end of each stroke and my new emergency-buy Costco microfibers then helped me get them off.
Not that some folks reading this don't know already, but it was no joke when it came to high spots. I'd put the high spots into three classifications: 1. legit high spots where you could feel and see the coating sticking up from the clear, 2. rainbow spots where the product wasn't wiped off fully, and 3. slight dark spots where the coating was wiped off but just a tiny bit more was there. I had one of the first kind at the base of my driver side A-pillar, two of the second kind on each side where the fender meets the bumper, and probably half a dozen of the slightly dark spots. The slight dark spots, were only noticeable after I thought I was done and pulled the car out into daylight. A couple of the slight dark spots I was able rub CQ UK 3.0 over them enough to get the solvents to reactivate the initial coating and remove the dark spot. The others were handled with Essence and my PC since the areas were small and the URO-Fiber pad was more effective (then re-coat and re-top with Gliss).
The end result is good and I'm happy with the finish. Looking perpendicular to the finish, the gloss doesn't look too remarkable; however, when looking at oblique angles there's a noticeable increase in reflectivity. The car hasn't seen rain yet but the majority of the car has had CQ UK 3.0 and Gliss on it for a week while in the garage. The touch up spots are currently at 24h post Gliss (48h post CQ UK 3.0). At this point am I glad I did it? Absolutely. I wish I had more product and another car to do it better.
Key lessons learned for newbies using Essence and applying CQ UK 3.0 and Gliss:
- The URO-Fiber pad was awesome, corrected and finished down effortlessly
- Having a 3" setup helped tremendously with tighter areas
- Do everything you can to throw as much light at the work as possible, diffuse light works even better for the coating part
- Use new microfibers with low pile/weight for coating removal, even if you've got a great cleaning process, don't assume they're clean
- You've heard it before but wipe well beyond the area you're working
- If correcting high spots don't tape off with painter's tape, the coating darkens the finish and you will then see a line where the tape was that's hard to blend back in
:Wash and decon:
Two bucket method with grit guards
MTM Hydro: hose, gun, PF-22 foam cannon
Ryobi 1600/1.2 pressure washer
Merino wool wash mitt - flats
Detailer's Domain microfiber mitt - sides and lowers
Pinnacle Poly Clay
Metrovac Master BlasterPolish/correction:
Rupes LHR15 Mk III
Rupes yellow pad
Chemical Guys 3" backing plate
URO-Fiber 3" pad
Cobra Gunmetal Elite 360gsm microfiberCoating/LSP:
CarPro CQuartz UK 3.0
Cobra Gunmetal Elite 360gsm microfiber (not new)
Supreme 530 600gsm (secondary buff) (not new)
Costco microfiber towels, low pile (NEW)Wheels/calipers:
Tuff shine tire cleaner
Sonax Full Effect wheel cleaner
Meguiar's wheel brush
Kitchen sponge (for stubborn dirt on barrels)
(Same wash gear as above)
CarPro Multi-X (for calipers and wheel well liners)
CarPro CQuartz UK 3.0
Tuff Shine Tire ClearcoatMisc:
Torin Big Red Creeper Seat
Here's what you're all waiting for, although it's not a super exciting transformation because it's already a new car...
These first couple shots were the primary goal of this mission...remove these defects!
A photo of the polishing process. I gained new respect for Brian from Apex Detail, Miranda Detail, Forensic Detailing, etc.. Not only is it not easy to take pics or video by yourself, it's even harder not to charge ahead and make progress instead of having the discipline to capture everything you want folks to see. I guess tripods and big memory cards help a lot.
Now on to the coating steps. Unfortunately I did not get a good shot of what the fibers looked like on the finish before Gliss. Imagine super fine lint/fibers stretched out straight going in the direction of how you buffed off the coating. What I'm going to show you here is how Gliss collected the fibers I was worried were cured onto the finish with the CQ UK 3.0. Then the new Costco microfibers removed them all when buffing Gliss off.
Random shot of the caliper after the first wheel removal. This was pre-clean and coat.
Here is one of the high spots that manifested as a rainbow. This had to be polished off, re-coated, and re-topped. Ironically, the same thing happened at the same spot on the other side.
Now for the end result!