Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Polishes and Waxes

Several years ago we encountered some LD'ers at a campground, whose rig was about 10 years old and it looked like it was right out of the factory - the finish was superb. I asked the owner what he did to maintain such a great-looking exterior. His reply: "Nothing." He said that all he did was wash it often but he had never polished or waxed it.
That being said, most folks want to apply something to their rig's finish to make it really shine and repel those bugs. There are certainly plenty of products from which to choose. This article will not make any recommendations, but rather will merely present some of the options.
Before you start polishing or waxing, however, you really need to ensure the rig is nice and clean. Refer to the Cleaning FAQ for some good cleaning tips.
Polish vs Wax
Traditionally, POLISHING is the process of smoothing down a surface. WAX is a preservative for the surface. They are two separate processes.
However, that isn't true for polymer type polishes. There is a big difference in the two products and good polymer types are much easier to use and last much longer than wax in most cases. Many also eliminate the need for a "polishing" (fine grit) or "rubbing" (coarser grit) compound even with oxidized paint.
To polish your rig in the traditional sense, to remove swirls or restore luster to faded areas, you need an ultra-fine polish. You may have to start with coarser one, but you will need ultra-fibe to finish if you want a nice shiney surface. I used to use Malm's ultrafine, but alas, they no longer provide it. They have mized it with a wax and I have tried it, but it is not as good as the old kind. I have therefore purchased Griot's Garage Machine Polish 3 and have used it. It seems OK but my usage has not been enough to say it is as good as Malm's old formula.

Some tips - while any orbital polisher will do, their bonnets will catch the grit you polish off and may make worse swirls. You need to find smooth pads. I bought the Cyclo Polisher - about the best but frightfully expensive - about $250, but then I am a perfectionist when it comes to shiny vehicles. But that has available all sorts of pads from rough polishing to ultra smooth polishing to wax application.

Whatever you use, make a cross hatch pattern, first one way then another. Wipe the haze off with COTTON cloth (or microfiber cloth - again very expensive). Any polyester, even on a label tag, and you scratch your newly polished paint.
Once the rig is polished (and plan to spend a few days on this), you then apply preservative. I have found in four years with a new Lazy Daze that Poly Wipe is best for the sides. Lazy Daze no longer carries Poly Wipe but I would trust that the new glaze they sell is as good as Poly Wipe.
On the fhe front and rear, Poly Wipe doesn't seem to work as well, so I use Carnuaba wax. I think the rapid deterioration of the wax is due to the air flow in these areas. Just make sure the can says "NO ABRASIVES" or you wil put swirls back into the finish. I have used many good brands, am currently using Maguirs Yellow.
I have used this two-step (polish then wax) for maybe 20 years.
Here are some comments from fellow LD'ers about various polishes and waxes they have used.
Finish First: I've tried many different polishes though and nothing impressed me like Finish First has. All of the products in the detailing kit worked great and were the best I've tried. I really HATE spending all the time for detailing and polishing so anything that's easy to use and lasts is just right for me! You apply to the entire vehicle and let it sit a minimum of 90 minutes, not a problem with a motorhome! They say the longer the better and it just wipes off, slick and shiny even without buffing. Buffing does make it better though. It also cleans road film, tar, etc. But if you have a lot of that use the Finish Prep first, it's full strength product so works quicker. You don't need to use a lot of pressure, just rub.
Klasse: Lazy Daze used to recommend Poly Wipe (don't know if it is still available). For good looks and durability, I decided on a polymer (went with Klasse). Others in this category include Zaino and Blackfire. Certainly there are others. The ones I have mentioned are fairly easy to get via internet. A high quality polymer and sealant may last 6 months or more, depending on how you store your LD, etc.
Poly Wipe: I have found in four years with a new Lazy Daze that Poly Wipe is best for the sides. Lazy Daze no longer carries Poly Wipe but I would trust that the new glaze they sell is as good as Poly Wipe. Poly-wipe can be obtained from Crest Net Sales. They carry it in pint and gallon size.
Ace It! Earl liked it so much, we ordered a larger bottle and will use it for our car until the Finish First we ordered is gone...then we'll probably use the Ace It! on our Lazy Daze.
Ace It!: Ace It! does not require that you come back later to buff or wipe it off...just wipe it on. Our car is black and after using this product, you can't see any swirl marks like you can with the other products we've used (even the Finish First).
NXT Tech Wax: I just started using a Mequiar's product (at the recommendation of someone on this board) called NXT Tech Wax. I'll kiss your backside on Main Street at noon if it isn't the best darned wax I've ever used. The company's advertisements say they'll give you your money back if it isn't the easiest car wax you've ever used and as far as I'm concerned, they are spot on. The product does not dry to a white film and requires no rubbing to remove. Put your buffer in a garage sale and enjoy the leisure time you'll have when you're done.
Mother's Reflection: Larry Wade uses this.
Nu-Finish: Bumper uses this.
2180 A.S. Ultra Polymer Sealant: The Mothership has been selling this since at least 2007. It is made by Finish Kare in El Monte, CA. It sells for $23.50 for 31oz. It goes on easy and wipes off even eaiser.

Contributors: Gus Weber, Mike Richmond, Madonna Hoecker, Dick, Linda Hylton, Steve S
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