Mercedes SL63 AMG Returning To Former Glory – Part II
Welcome to the second part of our Mercedes SL63 AMG detailing blog where we pick up the story to focus on the polishing and protection phase. Following significant decontamination in ‘Mercedes SL63 AMG Returning To Former Glory – Part I‘, the black convertible was now ready for assessment ahead of being worked on with a machine polisher.
Now that the SL63 was under the scrutiny of our high intensity studio lighting, our professional detailer could carefully analyse the paintwork and note down potential areas of concern.
Preparing The SL63 For Machine Polishing
The assessment includes recording several paint depth readings, an important part of machine polishing. It provides confidence that there is enough paint to work with, it highlights where defects or previous re-sprays may have been carried out and perhaps most importantly, it provides a guide to the kind of pad and compound you might want to begin working with. After all, start polishing with the wrong combination and you could end up with more work than you started with!
The SL63’s appraisal revealed multiple defects in the black paint. They included lots of fine scratches, swirls (likely inflicted during washing) and smears underneath the clear coat.
Beginning With The Correction
Taking into account the depth and overall hardness of the paintwork on the Mercedes, Menzerna’s 400 Green Line was selected for the correction phase. It’s a specially designed compound that is specifically suitable for clear coats just like the one on this SL63. Combined with a RUPES Coarse Blue Foam Pad, it provides a fast, efficient solution to removing the imperfections prior to refining later on.
The larger, flatter surface area of the bonnet is worked on using a RUPES LHR15 machine where more aggressive swirling and imperfections could be found.
The adjoining wings on the SL63 were showing less signs of damage though, so with that in mind a less abrasive RUPES Medium Green Foam Pad was called upon together with the smaller RUPES LHR 75E Mini Machine Polisher.
The advantage of being able to call upon a number of different sized machines and pads makes working on all the variable panel sizes and contours encountered when detailing a much easier proposition – put simply, it is highly recommended if you’re looking to maximise your efficiency and overall finish.
Switching to the smaller machine on the Mercedes SL’s wing’s ensures our pro-detailer has more control here as the face of the pad can comfortably glide along the surface in a much more stable fashion compared to attempting to polish with a bigger faced machine or pad.
Refining The Surface Ahead Of Protection
With the correction on the SL63 complete, it was now time to refine the surfaces using Menzerna Super Finish Plus 3800 on RUPES Yellow Fine Foam Polishing Pads. Repeating the same processes as before, a combination of the different sized RUPES machines work the finishing compound around the paintwork progressively with any remaining dust or debris wiped away with a UF Microfibre Buffing Fleece. Things were starting to come together!
Considering the vehicle is relatively young (registered 2016) and a low mileage example to boot, we wouldn’t expect to find too much damage on the headlamps at this stage in its life. On closer inspection though, there are the early signs of some light oxidisation, so we also treat the lights to a dose of machine polishing using the same yellow pad and finishing compound as used previously – further highlighting the versatility of the RUPES machines and where they can be put to good use.
Coating The Mercedes With Japan’s Finest
The Mercedes SL was now sitting ready and waiting for a fresh coat of protectant to be laid on top of its sparkly black paintwork, fresh from machine polishing. Our customer had chosen Kamikaze Collection’s Zipang Coat – a single layer coating providing the finest protection and shine.
Zipang remains a ‘service’ only treatment available for purchase through the Certified Kamikaze Dealer Network – the exclusivity attached to Zipang is linked to the strict product application and environment in which it needs to be applied. There’s good reason for this too, as the best results achieved from Zipang can only be gained when applied following the correct procedure.
With the surface given a final wipe over using Gtechniq Panel Wipe Residue Remover and a microfibre cloth, we can now be sure that there is no unwanted molecules of dust or debris remaining – this is imperative to ensure the tightest bond can be created with the Zipang solution and the Mercedes SL’s surfaces.
Small droplets of Zipang are dripped onto the special applicator cloth which is wrapped around the applicator block, then in a uniformed straight line fashion, each panel is treated with the product which is left to set for the designated time before being buffed to a high shine with a fresh Russian Blue Microfibre Cloth.
Zipang Coat is fully cured after 12 hours and with it comes a whole host of benefits. The Mercedes SL will now repel dirt, oils and grime that come into contact thanks to the extremely high hydrophobic properties that have been laid down. Future maintenance washes should now be carried out with pH neutral shampoos not containing any gloss enhancers or waxes in order to maximise Zipang Coat’s longevity and with it the incredible gloss finish the Mercedes now wore.
Windows & Wheels, Coatings To Last
Part of the Mercedes SL’s detailing service also included Glass Clearvision Treatment – a sophisticated highly concentrated nanotechnology coating would be applied to all glass surfaces to provide our Mercedes owner with better visibility in the rain, sleet and snow, reducing driver fatigue and overall, improving safety. One treatment of Gtechniq’s G1 will last up to 30,000 miles or 2 years once applied – check out a taster here.
Once the glass has been sufficiently cleaned and prepared, G1 can be applied to the surface using the applicator pads provided before being buffed off. Once buffed, an impressive level of clarity and gleam is left behind.
Additionally, the SL63 was also booked in for an Alloy Wheel Protection service in order to ensure they too would be protected just like the paintwork and glass. We would be raiding the Kamikaze Collection locker again for this, this time using Stance Rim Coat, a state-of-the-art sealant that once cured, delivers a slick, heat resistant barrier that repels water, dirt, oils and grime as well as inhibiting the build-up of brake dust. Cosmetically, the wheels will also be extremely glossy and much easier to keep clean in future maintenance washes.
Just like before with the paintwork and glass, the importance of preparation before applying the protective coating is paramount in achieving the absolute best bond. The preparation for this all started right at the beginning of Part I of this blog, with degreasing, iron fallout treatment and wheel cleaner to ensure all surfaces of the wheels (front and back) were as clean as could be.
With the Mercedes SL suspended in the air courtesy of our hydraulic ramp, all the wheels were removed to allow ease of application of the wheel sealant. Removing the wheels would also give us the room to focus on the brake components a little later on too. Stance Rim is applied to one wheel at a time all over the alloy surfaces before being buffed off with a microfibre buffing fleece to reveal a terrifically glossy high shine finish.
Brakes – The Finishing Touches
We covered the maintenance of brake components in greater detail in another recent UF blog, ‘Brakes & Calipers – The Forgotten Components of Cosmetic Restoration’ and so often, that is exactly what they are when it comes to car care, forgotten. Hiding away behind your freshly detailed wheel, a mucky caliper can so often be the difference – after all, detailing is all in the detail isn’t it?
This SL63 wore some rather striking red calipers, they had already taken a blast to a certain degree in Part I, but once we had the car in the air and could really get a good look at them, it provided the opportunity to extensively revive their appearance to the same level as the rest of the car. Making another appearance, Bilt-Hamber’s Surfex HD is put in to action along with a soft bristle detailing brush. Using a non-toxic cleaner on sensitive components like this is essential (similarly to the engine bay), so after a quick spray of the solution and some gentle agitation with the brush, the grime which had built up over time is soon lifted safely.
Owed perhaps to the excellent before, during and after appearance of the calipers, this is another one of those ‘quick win’ areas of detailing we think, with much satisfaction to be gained as the process unfolds. As the Surfex HD is sufficiently worked around the components and the solution becomes very dirty in appearance, it is then wiped away with a fresh microfibre to reveal an as-new gloss red finish. Stance Rim is then applied to the calipers too, which will ensure they will repel all those future contaminants that are thrown at them.
With the wheels and brake components now up to scratch, they can be fastened back onto the Mercedes before a tyre dressing is applied to the rubber to provide the sprinkles on this deliciously iced cake!
Ready & Prepared For Summer Fun
It had been quite the journey for this Mercedes SL, but the resulting sight was a sleek and shiny convertible ready just in time for summer. Well that isn’t quite true actually. The SL63 was ready for all the seasons which lay ahead, with each surface protected, ready for whatever the elements have to throw at them and looking at its peerless best whilst it does so.
Featured Products Used
RUPES Bigfoot LHR15 £380
- Improved ergonomics for exceptional user comfort
- Best in class in-house custom wound motor
- Further enhanced polishing efficiency
- Reduced vibration – less fatiguing when working for longer time periods
- Higher RPMs reduces polishing times
RUPES Coarse Foam Blue Polishing Pads From £5.95
- Removes heavy to moderate swirls & scratches
- Suitable for all types of automotive paintwork
- Open cell structure
- Bevelled edge
Menzerna Heavy Cut Compound 400 Green Line £17.00
- Aggressive cutting compound removes severe paint defects
- Diminishing abrasives refine to a high gloss
- Cost effective & time-saving polishing compound
- Safe for the user & the environment
Gtechniq G1 Clearvision Smart Glass From £10.95
- Excellent durability & low smearing
- Wiper blade proof
- Makes wet weather driving safer & less tiring
- Keeps windshields cleaner longer & makes bugs & ice easy to remove
UF Microfibre Buffing Fleece £2.40
- Removes polishes
- Buffs waxes & sealants
- Buffs quick detailers
- Cleans Glass
- Can be used for drying
Want your vehicle’s appearance cosmetically enhanced or protected? To discuss the most appropriate detailing treatment call 01474 360 360 or complete the online enquiry form here. We provide a bespoke, no-obligation quote via email.
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