Custom Hummer H6 SUVT – Protected With Swissvax Shield
When it comes to making a statement, the Hummer is out there with the leaders! A large SUV with an industrial, rugged exterior, the interior carries many of the luxuries we’ve come to expect of modern SUVs, including air conditioning with tri-zone climate controls, tilt leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, cruise control, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, 8-way power front seats, and a BOSE premium sound system. The H2 retains much of the characteristic military styling of its big brother, the Humvee. It even has hoops bolted onto the framework, just in case it gets dropped from a cargo plane! Short of running a Top Gear-inspired test, these hoops are now simply there for aesthetic purposes and to remind viewers of its concept origin.
The owner of this custom H6 started his automotive love affair with a classic Italian Job Limited Edition Mini. After moving on to a basic Golf and finding it uninspiring, he purchased a BMW 840. Then, the Hummer caught his eye. After acquiring an original H2 in 2012 and having had some fun driving around the south-east in it for a few years, he took the decision to customise it. So in 2017, the rear was extended and two additional wheels were added and ‘Project FrankenHummer’ was born! Keen to make it unique, the owner specified an open bed to give it the combined practicality of a pickup truck as well as an estate car, albeit it a rather large one! The custom chassis fabrication work was carried out by Lust For Rust in Maidstone and completed towards the end of 2017. Of course, for a 6-wheel SUVT, an additional two-wheels were required to complete the project. The 22″ Bazo B8 wheels were eventually sourced from a specialist in Japan!
The 22″ Bazo B8 wheels are getting very hard to find. Eventually, I sourced a complete set of four in Japan. I had the tyres removed and two of the four wheels shipped over – shipping the extra two seemed an unnecessary expense. I had the wheels chemically de-chromed before being powder-coated to match the original four, then fitted the 37-inch Comforser tyres. With the chassis extension, the Hummer, now measures around nineteen feet long! – Niall S, Hummer H6 Owner
The H6 is registered with a media agency and is available for photo shoots, television adverts, and movies, so with the extension work completed, the owner wanted the paintwork restored and looking its best. Therefore, the Hummer was booked into UF’s Brands Hatch Detailing Studio for a number of cosmetic restorative services.
I think I can safely say, this is the largest vehicle we’ve worked on – it was a big job! Apart from the sheer size, the H6 is made up of large, fairly flat panels so there is a lot of real-estate to cover. Additionally, the solid black paintwork was quite soft, so although the enhancement stage would be relatively easy, I knew refining it would take much longer. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
The detailing work began with thorough decontamination. The wheels and wheel arches were treated with Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD to loosen dirt and act as a degreasing agent on diesel splatters and road grime. Using a Kwazar Orion Super Pro+ Pump-Up Sprayer, the variable nozzle allows the product to be directed precisely where it’s needed, the fibreglass wand reaching easily into the gap between the large tyres and the arches.
Gtechniq W6 Iron and General Fallout Remover was applied to the wheels to eliminate potentially corrosive iron particles. These are released by brake pads which shred when the brakes applied. Hot, these tiny particles bond to the first substrate they come into contact with and immediately begin to oxidise, a reaction with the oxygen in the air that causes the particles to swell. Left in situ for long enough, these particles will cause pitting in the substrate. W7 contains an active ingredient that changes colour on contact with ferrous contamination and causes the particle to shrink, thus forcing it to break its bond with the substrate and allowing it to be freely rinsed away.
When the colour change had reached its peak, the solution was rinsed away with a jet of clean water from a pressure washer.
The rest of the Hummer was also treated for iron particles and for greasy residues before the car was pre-cleaned with Ultimate Snow Foam applied through a foam lance attached to a pressure washer. The thick lather is created by the soapy formulation and the high-pressure water and clings, even to vertical surfaces, the bubbles lifting the dirt and grit away from the panels and encapsulating them within the foam. This can then be rinsed away before the main wash, avoiding these particles being caught in a wash mitt and dragged back and forth across the panels. The Hummer was washed using the Two Bucket Method, keeping wash water and rinse water in separate buckets, both with Grit Guards in the bottom, to avoid dirt removed from the car being transferred back to the panels from the dirty wash water. The wash mitt is loaded with soapy water from the Wash Bucket, a section of the car is washed before the mitt is rinsed in the Rinse Bucket. The mitt is brushed across the Grit Guard, loosening the dirt trapped in the long pile. The dirt falls to the bottom of the bucket and the Grit Guard helps keep it there. The wash mitt is then wrung out before being dunked back into the soapy water and the process repeated until the car is completely clean.
Once the car was clean, it was rinsed free of suds.
The panels felt rough to the touch as a result of remaining contamination, so Ultimate Snow Foam was applied again and used as a lubricant for a clay mitt. This mitt shears stubbornly bonded contamination away from the surface and leaves it feeling as smooth as glass to the touch.
It’s essential to ensure all nubby contamination is removed as the texture interferes with the way light reflects off the surface. A smooth surface will provide better reflectivity and with the large flat black panels on the Hummer, this is more important than ever! – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
After another rinse, an Aqua Gleam De-ionising Water Filter was attached in-line with the water supply to deliver a final, pure rinse. The Hummer was then brought into the studio where a BigBoi BlowR Pro was used to dry the car, the high power jet of air quickly chasing water from the panels and out from the grilles, badges, etc. The paintwork was inspected using SCANGRIP high-intensity lighting so the true condition of the paintwork could be evaluated. The damage was both severe and extensive, with wash swirls, scratches and marring plus deeper scratches possibly caused by hedge branches.
Inspection revealed the paintwork to be quite badly damaged with random deep scratches, a myriad of swirls and areas of overspray. This damage combined with extensive orange peel was making the paintwork look completely flat. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
Multiple paint depth readings were taken over each panel to ensure sufficient thickness of paint before machine polishing commenced. The areas sensitive to polish were then protected using detailing tape.
To enhance the paintwork, a Kamikaze Collection Banzai Dynamics Red Polishing Pad was used with a RUPES LHR 15ES Dual Action Polisher to cover more ground on the large, flat panels. Menzerna Heavy Cut 400 compound cut through the damage. For more stubborn areas, Koch-Chemie H8 Heavy Cut Compound was used, the increased lubricity giving longer working times on the soft paintwork.
Soft paintwork can be quite sticky, or grabby, so using a compound with higher lubricity helps correct the damage without causing micro marring through an over-generation of heat. Certain areas of the paint demanded more machine polishing than others, so H8 worked well in these areas. The Banzai Dynamics pad has a nippled surface allowing for maximum air circulation – in fact, Kamikaze Collection designed the pad with soft paintwork in mind, so it was perfect for this type of work. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
The narrower areas such as around the doors and along the shuts were polished using a RUPES LHR 12E Duetto Dual Action Polisher, the smaller head concentrating the polishing action over a focused area for better results, faster.
Refining soft paintwork can be trickier as it’s more prone to marring so even jeweling compounds can cause small marks that detract from the finish. In this instance, a 3M PERFECT-IT III Black Polishing Pad with Menzerna Super Finish Plus 3800 delivered a perfectly high gloss shine.
The Hummer was now ready to be protected and initially, given the soft nature of the paintwork, the plan was to apply a nano-ceramic coating. These cure exceptionally hard, providing protection from swirls and scratches. However, the finish on the Hummer was so soft, that even the most careful buffing of the coating inflicted marring on the finish. In these instances a natural high-carnauba content wax is the perfect alternative. Swissvax Shield is a carnauba-based wax with added PTFE, providing not only exceptional levels of gloss and reflectivity but also creating a non-stick barrier, repelling dirt and contamination.
When protecting very soft paint finishes, a carnauba wax can be the most suitable option as it is softer to buff out, reducing the opportunity for marking the paintwork. Carnauba waxes still offer hydrophobic protection and given the correct maintenance procedure, will last many months through the worst of the British winter. Swissvax describes it as the ultimate wax for hardworking SUVs so it was the perfect choice for this military-derived monster. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
Plastic trim makes up a significant portion of the exterior of the Hummer and this is susceptible to damage, from UV fade to industrial and environmental attack. To restore the deep black colour and protect from the elements, Gtechniq T1 Tyre ‘n’ Trim Dressing was applied. Although designed for natural rubber, T1 is a nanotechnology-based coating that works well on exterior plastics providing a durable finish. As well as protecting from bleaching, T1 is hydrophobic, encouraging contamination to bead away from the treated surface, so will not wash away at the first sign of rain.
The owner arrived to collect his Hummer and was impressed with the results. As well as being the largest vehicle in his local superstore car park, it will now also be the shiniest!
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