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Discussion Starter #1
OK, so a clean Mercedes may not be high on everybody's list of priorities. For some, cleaning their car just means occasionally gathering the moss which has formed around the window seals and using it to wipe the brake dust off their alloy wheels. For others it involves an entire day or several days and copious quantities of cotton wool buds to clean surfaces down to the molecular level. I'd never disrespect an owner by judging them on their actions.

I am the first to admit I can get a little obsessed with Red Ken's appearance but then I do find the continual fettling and preening in pursuit of that ultimate finish very relaxing. It is certainly not about maintaining secondhand values, it's more about that sense of satisfaction I get when somebody does a double take or stops for a closer inspection when I'm out and about. I am hoping others will add to this thread by either posting the results of their own efforts, sharing information on their favourite cleaning products/techniques or asking advice on solving particular cleaning problems.

To kick things off I've posted some pics of Red Ken after his first post-winter cleanup. Using a very fine nanotechnology-based boat polish, the accumulated paint sealant and carnauba wax layers from the previous 12 months were removed, minor scratches and imperfections corrected and fresh coatings applied. I think you'd have to agree, he doesn't scrub up too badly. I'll attack the trim and tyres next.







Ken is wearing 2 coats of Blackfire Wet Diamond All Paint Protection with 2 coats of Blackfire Midnight Sun ivory carnauba wax applied over the top.
 

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It is always such a pleasure to see someone really taking care of their paint, and properly. I for one appreciate it anytime I go out and admire the work people put in. There are various ways to achieve a desired finish, you just have to find what works for you and what doesn't. This also sums it all up for me like you said:

It is certainly not about maintaining secondhand values, it's more about that sense of satisfaction I get when somebody does a double take or stops for a closer inspection when I'm out and about.
What will you be using on the trim as there are a lot of products on the market?

Beautiful results btw!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Klass. As for the trim, I've found one of the most versatile products to be CarPro PERL. It is a water-based silicone oxide formulation which you can mix up in different concentrations depending on the degree of shininess you require. I use it on both the exterior and interior trim as well as in the engine bay. It is great for both Artico and genuine leather and I use it neat on the tyres if I want to gloss them up a little. I coated the alloy wheels with CarPro DLUX which is exactly the same stuff as the more popular Gtechniq C5 only it costs half the price for twice the amount.

CarPro P.E.R.L.
 
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Ken looks great after the winter Toobad but I won't be adding to the thread as my car is normally cleaned every 3 months and that is just a wash and dry (not by me).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Every 3 months is still a regular cleaning regime, Phil. And I bet you get it done whether Selenite Sam needs it or not :D Mind you, IIRC, you did take the precaution of having your Stealer apply their SupaGard paint protection treatment so I'd expect a simple wash 'n dry to yield better than average results. Our interests are many and varied. For some it is all about the driving experience whilst for others the less time spent on their car simply means more time available for pursuing other interests. I may think twice about taking Ken out when the roads are wet whilst you probably end up with mud on Sam's roof in an attempt to get to that ultimate fishing spot. If we were all the same life would be very boring indeed.
 

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Learned my lesson the hard way with letting dealers treat paint, unless they contract it out to a reputable detailer. Best decision I ever made was finding a good independent detailer.
 

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Quite right Toobad,

No problem with protection my dealer applied, certainly good enough for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Learned my lesson the hard way with letting dealers treat paint, unless they contract it out to a reputable detailer. Best decision I ever made was finding a good independent detailer.
Traditionally the Stealers' option of paint protection is a high margin add-on. It is sometimes also a psychological tactic used to seal a deal by throwing it in for free. The customer perceives it to be a high value option and consequently feels he is getting a good deal. The kit is usually attractively packaged to maintain the illusion of high value but in reality the products contained therein are available online under other brand names for less than £30. Unfortunately the workshop monkey is usually tasked with applying the treatment, the effectiveness of which is wholly dependent on the correct preparation of the paintwork, a process which would probably far exceed the time allocated.

For an equivalent outlay an independent detailer would offer a much more meticulous service, often applying products requiring supplier accreditation and comprehensive training not to mention an extensive product knowledge and a wealth of experience gained from specialising in this kind of work. On the other hand the Stealer is offering a one-stop solution for protecting your pride and joy and for many this is preferable as it serves to minimise and not overcomplicate the processes involved. Once again it just comes down to the level of OCD you suffer from when it comes to car care.
 
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Thanks, Klass. As for the trim, I've found one of the most versatile products to be CarPro PERL. It is a water-based silicone oxide formulation which you can mix up in different concentrations depending on the degree of shininess you require. I use it on both the exterior and interior trim as well as in the engine bay. It is great for both Artico and genuine leather and I use it neat on the tyres if I want to gloss them up a little. I coated the alloy wheels with CarPro DLUX which is exactly the same stuff as the more popular Gtechniq C5 only it costs half the price for twice the amount.

CarPro P.E.R.L.
What do you recommend for dashboard cleaning ? can CarPro PERL be used ?
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Hi KNP. Yes, CarPro PERL will be absolutely fine for your dashboard whether it is covered in Artico or you have specified the leather option. Be very careful when cleaning any piano gloss black areas as they tend to scratch just by giving them a hard stare! I also find it is perfect for my open pore black ash trim because you can set the degree of gloss finish you desire by adjusting the dilution rate. I find that 1 part PERL to 3 parts water produces a sheen in keeping with the interior trim. There are plenty of interior trim cleaners on the market but it seems the majority are biased to producing a glossier finish. An alternative product which is highly rated and produces a satin sheen finish is 303 Aerospace. Because I enjoy maintaining Red Ken at an "enthusiast" level I tend to opt for more specialist products not normally found in the High Street shops like Halfrauds. Have a look at the range of interior products available from this online retailer, the customer reviews against each product will indicate popularity amongst us OCD sufferers.

Interior cleaning products at Clean Your Car

Other online suppliers worth checking out would be Perfectly Cleaned (always try the promotion code 10DISC at Checkout for an immediate 10% off the contents of your Cart) and Polished Bliss (great FAQ section and everything is priced to include postage).
 

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Traditionally the Stealers' option of paint protection is a high margin add-on. It is sometimes also a psychological tactic used to seal a deal by throwing it in for free. The customer perceives it to be a high value option and consequently feels he is getting a good deal. The kit is usually attractively packaged to maintain the illusion of high value but in reality the products contained therein are available online under other brand names for less than £30. Unfortunately the workshop monkey is usually tasked with applying the treatment, the effectiveness of which is wholly dependent on the correct preparation of the paintwork, a process which would probably far exceed the time allocated.

For an equivalent outlay an independent detailer would offer a much more meticulous service, often applying products requiring supplier accreditation and comprehensive training not to mention an extensive product knowledge and a wealth of experience gained from specialising in this kind of work. On the other hand the Stealer is offering a one-stop solution for protecting your pride and joy and for many this is preferable as it serves to minimise and not overcomplicate the processes involved. Once again it just comes down to the level of OCD you suffer from when it comes to car care.
100% correct Toobad
 

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The dealer offered to apply "something" on the car when I purchased it, they claimed it would be done in house and offer a 5-year paint protection, yada yada, but they were unwilling to tell me what product they were applying and the technique they were using. So I decided to turn down their (costly) offer and look for a professional detailing shop. After reading quite a bit online about coating options and reviews, I decided to go with Opti-Coat Pro Plus. It came with a 7-year warranty.

I'm very satisfied with the results, but I suppose that I will know in a year or two if the $1,300 investment paid off. Although I already see the benefits of this ceramic coating. After a 400 km drive this weekend, the front end of the car was literally covered with bugs splatters. A quite rinse with ONR, the gunk came right off without having to scrub. This coating seems to be doing its magic already! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi Andre and welcome to the forum. That is certainly a high end treatment and works out at about 750 GBP. Of course the secret to correct application of ceramic coatings is all in the preparation. Many people assume cars arrive in showrooms with perfect paint but nothing is further from the truth. Dealer detailing can leave a lot to be desired with transport wax and residue from protection panels getting left behind when the car is being prepped for the customer. So some of the professional detailer's cost goes into correcting these defects along with tar spot and organic fallout decontamination prior to applying the coating. Over this side of the pond something like Gtechniq Crystal Serum Black would run out to about the same amount of money and that too comes with a 7-year warranty. I don't know how it would stand up to all the sap from your maple trees though. :D

I see you are an Optimum No Rinse convert. It is on my list of products to try as it seems incredibly versatile although I would still be extremely reticent to use it as a true waterless wash. My current go-to quick detailer is Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer. The ease of application, degree of hydrophobicity and the insane gloss levels it produces beats anything else I've tried.
 

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Hi Andre and welcome to the forum. That is certainly a high end treatment and works out at about 750 GBP. Of course the secret to correct application of ceramic coatings is all in the preparation. Many people assume cars arrive in showrooms with perfect paint but nothing is further from the truth. Dealer detailing can leave a lot to be desired with transport wax and residue from protection panels getting left behind when the car is being prepped for the customer. So some of the professional detailer's cost goes into correcting these defects along with tar spot and organic fallout decontamination prior to applying the coating. Over this side of the pond something like Gtechniq Crystal Serum Black would run out to about the same amount of money and that too comes with a 7-year warranty. I don't know how it would stand up to all the sap from your maple trees though. :D

I see you are an Optimum No Rinse convert. It is on my list of products to try as it seems incredibly versatile although I would still be extremely reticent to use it as a true waterless wash. My current go-to quick detailer is Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer. The ease of application, degree of hydrophobicity and the insane gloss levels it produces beats anything else I've tried.
Hello TooBad, thanks for welcoming me to the forum.

Not quite and ONR convert yet, only used it twice, but it seems to be really working out for me. The ceramic coating plays a big part in how easy it is to wash the car, obviously.

You are correct, preparation is key. The shop I went to did a great job. Preparation included:
• full decontamination wash, including iron removal and claying the surface for additional contaminants
• single-stage polish of all painted exterior surfaces, this corrects swirls and minor scratches and provides higher gloss before applying the coating

I am very satisfied with the results.

I do not go for a waterless wash, I start with a power wash, then use a special sponge that I soak in my ONR & water bucket (multi-use, no need to throw away the solution each time) to wash section by section. I suppose one could rince again before drying if they are worried about left over particles on the car. I also use Opti-Seal when drying, applying sparingly on the micro fiber or directly on the car. The results are quite nice :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thought this was the most appropriate thread to ask this question on the grounds most members visiting here may know where their bonnet (hood to our colonial cousins) release is located. For those who don't involve themselves in the technical intricacies of Mercedes ownership perhaps you could ask your butler or gardener to have a look for you ;)

I've noticed that apart from an area around the perimeter, most of the underside of Red Ken's bonnet has not been sprayed with clearcoat, it just has the matt Hyacinth Red basecoat. I can't believe this was a chance omission in the production process. I can only assume this area is deliberately not sprayed with clearcoat due to perhaps localised heat because of the proximity of the engine and the potential to cause blistering. Could someone please have a look and confirm this.

Secondly, I get pooled water in the drainage channel at the bottom of the windscreen on the passenger side when the car is standing on level ground. There are drainage holes in the centre and driver's side of the channel but quite a substantial amount of water collects on the passenger side. I'm not going to create my own hole because that would obviously put water where Mercedes didn't intend it to go. I guess the problem solves itself when the car is driven and the water finds its way to the other drainage holes due to lateral forces. Again, I wonder if anybody else has noticed this.

For those who don't need to concern themselves with such technical matters, here's a picture of a GLC with the bonnet open :D


[URL="[/URL]
 

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I've noticed that apart from an area around the perimeter, most of the underside of Red Ken's bonnet has not been sprayed with clearcoat, it just has the matt Hyacinth Red basecoat. I can't believe this was a chance omission in the production process. I can only assume this area is deliberately not sprayed with clearcoat due to perhaps localised heat because of the proximity of the engine and the potential to cause blistering. Could someone please have a look and confirm this.
same for me about the under-hood coating. i imagine that would be the reason.
 

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On majority of vehicles, the underside of the hood isn't clear coated as well as sometimes the inner most part of door skins. Kind of annoying but it doesn't bother me too much. The heat I think is the problem though. Can't think of any other reason.
 
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