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huggy bear said:
Nick,

1) Do you recommend that I clay my new Elise before I apply my wax coats? Is it really necessary? You said in the earlier post that even new cars have contaminants from the factory.

2) With the size of the Elise being so small and curvaceous, do you even recommend using a porter cable to buff/polish?

3) What's the best way to remove wax from the black fins?
1--I would...I'm not positive, but there's a good chance the cars go by rail in England at some point.

2--I'd guess probably not

3--Peanut Butter
 

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FYI,
I used the clay on my car, the paint felt pretty smooth before I started but some areas did drag.

I'm a bit ambivalent about clay, tho, now, as I did put some fine scratches in the paint when doing it, so it's definately something to be careful with. Also, one of the detailing companies specifically advise against using clay bars, he states these have been used for years to remove overspray on cars and it's not a good idea to use on regular paint as it ostenisbly removes the top layer of paint/clear coat. I can't see the clay being abrasive enough, but I don't think I'll use it on a regular basis, scares me too much.

Chris
 

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zvezdah1,

Larry at Car Care Online is taking a very conservative approach to his explanation. He has been in the business for a long time and his style is to offer the "safest" technique while emphasizing the worst consequences. I think the most reasonable answer is somewhere in the middle.

Your paint should be pretty smooth. If it is not, then what is not smooth can be removed. If you were abusing the surface of your paint with clay, you would see severe scratches where you clayed. If clay is so abrasive that it is removing paint or clear, then you should be able to remove swirls, but you can't. Correct use of the lube ensures you don't scuff and scratch the paint, while only taking the raised particle from the surface. If you rub any hard object across your paint, it will scratch. It is important you use enough lube so you don't scratch your paint with clay.

So, the answer is "used properly," clay will not eliminate swirls, scratch your paint or remove your clear coat. However, there is a fine line between too much lube spray and not enough. I have scuffed my paint with clay before. That's way I always polish after a clay step.
 

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FWIW, I believe the cars are loaded into containers at the factory. They stay sealed in the containers until they are unloaded at the distribution center. They are then loaded into enclosed car transporters for delivery to the dealers. There shouldn't be much in the way of contaminants due to the transporting of the Elises...
 

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Additionally because the cars for the US market are shipped containerized, they are stored INSIDE at Lotus UK because if they were damp when put into containers, they'd have issues with mold/mildew.
Chris
 

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Some light prep can enhance the shine and smoothness of the paint, IMO.

I believe there are other grades of clay that are more aggressive for removing paint overspray and heavy contamination. The Zaino stuff is fairly mild. It seems to have less bite than Clay Magic's blue clay. It's also awfully similar to Mother's brand. :)
 

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zvezdah1 said:
Just be sure not to drag the clay across the clear bra, that's a nono according to starshield instructions, it really grabs if you touch the bra with the clay>
Chris
chris--when you clayed did you use lots and lots of lubricant? from this response it sounds like you didn't

that would explain your scratches
 

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NIck et al,
Got a nice parcel from Detailers Paradise, a 3 pak of the buffing microfibers and a large waffle micro fibre for drying. Happy to support businesses who sponsor and participate on elisetalk and have lots of helpful things to say,

Thanks again
Chris
 

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For a new surface to need clay is odd. At the most I see light swirls and maybe light scratches but embedded material, wow.
The most I have ever needed to use on a new surface is a paint cleaner or prep. such as Pinnacle Paint Cleansing Lotion.
 

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PS: The toughest problem for Elise owners will be finding the time to detail the car instead of driving it. :D
Well, except for YELOTUS. :D Just ribbing him here, you know .. ;)

Seriously, I just never could catch on to the whole Zaino thing with all the layering and different steps. I'm a Zymol (the good stuff) user from way back, and just have no reason to switch. We use a quality detailer between waxes and the cars always look like they're fresh off the showroom floor. Oh, and we've got lots of concours trophies to show for it. :D

Ellen
 

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James A said:
For a new surface to need clay is odd.
We've clayed our new cars for the last 5 years or so (probably 6 cars or so, total) and have always picked up lots of debris with the clay. I found it very surprising at first, but then realized that the day you take the car home is not the day it is the cleanest. ;) The first thing we do with a new car is take it home and detail it. (And no, what the dealers do cannot be considered 'detailing', as I'm sure you know.)
 

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HI Ellen,
I used to be a diehard zymol creme fan, but the wax just doesn't hold up well on a daily driver, I found I was waxing once a month on my elan.

Touch wood so far the zaino has held up well through weekly washing, sun exposure, rain, etc.
Chris
 

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zvezdah1 said:
Touch wood so far the zaino has held up well through weekly washing, sun exposure, rain, etc.
Chris
Sun exposure, rain, etc.? You think I'd subject the Elise to that???:eek:

Just joshing you. ;) We did try some of the Zaino products as well as Finish First. Just didn't seem to get a look that was as rich as with Zymol.
 

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My C32 needed clay when I first took delivery. I had ordered silver and bought this black example off the lot, so it may have been sitting outside for a few days. Still, the surface was not what I expected for a brand new car. In the two or so months it takes for the car to arrive from Germany, a lot can happen.

Zaino is just not going to give you the same look as a well prepped vehicle with perhaps several layers of different products, or even a fresh carnauba. That's not where its advantage lies. The look can be characterized as highly reflective, very sharp, somewhat sterile look. The best qualities are shine, durability, and slickness. Worst quality is lack of depth. I don't think this is a great product for someone who likes to work on their paint very often.

For me, I can apply 3-5 layers of Zaino and leave it for 9 months with nothing more than regular washes/quick detailing for that duration. Those who add a new layer every 2-3 weeks perhaps could use something else, but don't due to peace of mind. Am I required to reapply every 3 weeks, like I am with my favorite looking products (on black paint)? No, but I can add a layer anytime if I feel like it. Usually go 3 months or longer before wanting to do anything to it.

There are hybrid approaches. For example, you could use the Klasse Twins and then top with your Zymol. May or may not be worth the effort depending on your priorities. [email protected] likes to use Einszett Glanz, a synthetic wax which is very pleasing to use, as his base. He then tops with his favorite carnauba.

For the Elise, I may try Menzerna FMJ, a polymer, oil in water emulsion product. Not sure how durable it is, but otherwise it gives a look somewhere between Zaino and a carnauba wax like P21S. Durability may be between as well.

Why doesn't anyone ever mention Meguiars #16 anymore? One of the longest lasting carnaubas, but lacks popularity due to ease of use and packaging.

Anyway, the final product isn't what wins you a concours. It's the entire process and prep! Underneath my Zaino'd car, most of the surface quality comes from a series of defect removing polishes and a final burnishing with Menzerna Final Polish, which is the same product Mercedes uses on the production line.

Luckily, with a new or like new vehicle, excellent results are easy to achieve with even demanding products. Most people would not be able to distinguish between products.
 

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Genjuro said:
What about Klasse AIL? I have heard soooo many good things about this product.
Klasse AIO (All-in-One)? This is a very good product for chemical cleaning the paint (mild cleaning) and leaves a bit of acrylic protection behind. Most will agree that it does not leave enough protection behind to render a pure protection unnecessary. Klasse makes a pure protectant called Sealant Glaze. Takes some carefull usage to avoid frustration when buffing it off (true of many products). Recommended usage right over AIO, but not required.

You can also use many other products over Klasse AIO, like Zaino (even though directions say bare paint), many synthetic and polymer waxes, and carnauba waxes.
 

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Vantage said:
Anyway, the final product isn't what wins you a concours. It's the entire process and prep! Underneath my Zaino'd car, most of the surface quality comes from a series of defect removing polishes and a final burnishing with Menzerna Final Polish, which is the same product Mercedes uses on the production line.

Luckily, with a new or like new vehicle, excellent results are easy to achieve with even demanding products. Most people would not be able to distinguish between products.
Justin -

Lots of good stuff throughout your whole post, and I agree that the bottom line when you're dealing with concours is with the entire process and how it's applie/achieved. And yes, for the most part, except for the pickiest among us, most people will not be able to tell the difference among the many product lines available. (And even then, it's not like one brand always brings home the trophies.) ;)
 
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