: Wax comparo (Sorta)



bpitas
10-13-07, 12:27 AM
I think "what's the best wax" is one of the classic internet-Jihad subjects that can be found on every car-based forum - everybody has their favorite, and it's hard to convince some people to change their minds.

I'm pretty open minded though, and wanted to try some of the waxes that I've heard people mention on here that I haven't tried yet.

I used to have a car with color-shifting paint ('96 Mystic Cobra), which they only made 2000 of (1999 really - one was taking to be a Saleen demonstrator) and to make the most of the paint you had to have really good polish and wax. So Mystic owners were even more anal about this stuff than V owners, and pretty much EVERYONE eventually settled on Zaino as being the best. This was > 10 years ago though. I couldn't imagine something better didn't come up in all that time!

So I decided to buy some of the stuff I'd heard about on this forum and try it out.

Then I realized that it wasn't a particularly useful exercise if I didn't have some way of measuring the waxes against each other. I thought about it for a while, and what I came up with was that how clear and deep a paint looks is based on a few factors:

Transparency of the wax
Ability of the wax to fill swirl marks
Ability of the wax to smooth out the surface of the paint (e.g. "orange peel")

What I'd always noticed was that some kinds of light really brought out any issues with the paint (swirl marks, etc) and the harshest, least complimentary was that mercury vapor light that you get in some parking lots. I don't have a mercury lamp, but I DO have one of those really bright xenon work lights. I took a look, and it was definitely more harsh-looking than the flourescent light I have in my garage, or an incandescent drop-light, so I figured that would be the best way to go.
Then I thought through how I could capture an image of the quality of the wax using the work light. My camera has a mode to set the exposure using the equivalent of "spot focus", so I can get pretty much the same exposure every time even with the super-bright work light.

For the actual test, I polished the whole car a few times with Griott's #2 (twice I think), and then I did three vertical stripes on the car. The first was just Pinnacle, the second stripe was Griotts Garage "Best of Show Wax", and the third stripe was Pinnacle over the top of Griott's, just to see if two coats was better. I let all three stripes dry, and then started taking pictures. I lined up the brackets of the "spot focus" exposure box with the bottom of the image of the work light, so the exposure was as close as possible between the pictures.

The results can be seen below. I ended up liking the Griotts the best between that and Pinnacle, since the Pinnacle seemed a bit cloudy. I had loaned someone my Zaino, so I didn't do a stripe for that, and in retrospect, I should have, because I think the Zaino was the best out of the three. The Griott's seems highly transparent (clear) and did a decent job of filling in the smaller swirl marks, but it didn't create as flat a surface as the Zaino did, so you could see a bit of orange peel that wasn't there on the Zaino side.

I also did some not-so-disciplined testing with Maguires, Mothers, and 3M dark-paint swirl remover. All of them were worse than the Pinnacle.

I'll try and do a side by side of Griott's and Zaino at some point when I get a chance.

Hope this is helpful!

-B

http://home.comcast.net/~bpitas/wax_comparo.jpg

rheagrimm
10-13-07, 01:31 AM
I too had a 1996 Mystic Cobra but I can't remember what kind of wax I was using on it. It was a nice car until someone busted the driver side window and the glass messed-up the paint on the door. Oh well, life goes on!!

SLPR 6.0L
10-13-07, 02:32 AM
I had a 96 lazer red, always liked the mystics, one of the better exhaust notes from the nighties I have to say! I prefer Maguire's NXT. It performs very well and is easy to apply.

WheelHop
10-13-07, 10:36 AM
Ahh the Black car! Gotta love 'em! :D Nice comparison!

capt. dan
10-13-07, 10:58 AM
Great write up. If you remove the scratches and swirls and not try to fill them in it will look much better. Once you get a nice finish to work on I dont think you will see much difference between the waxes or sealants. Over the years I have tried just about every over the counter wax along with Zaino Z2 and Z5 pro, and Meguiar's pro line. If you put the best most expensive wax over a crappy finish it wont look as good as a cheap wax over a well prepped finish. I do prefer a Carnauba wax over a syntetic sealant. I have used the Zaino and it looks good and lasts a super long time with 3 applications. It gives great reflection but does not seem to have the depth of a carnauba wax. That just my opinion on what I see and I prefer to wax more often to get that look than use a sealant which seems to last longer. Here is a shot after I had removed about 99% of the swirls and scratches and topped with Meguiar's yellow wax.

I dont have any shots under a xeon light but can take some next time I clean it up.

http://www.dansiebe.com/Pictures/Details/2007-09%20CTS-V/images/20070924-_MG_7622_jpg.jpg

riverrat
10-13-07, 09:07 PM
I think I've used just about everything with all the black cars and trucks I own (five at this time) and I now use Adam's polishes. If you check his web site you can watch his step by step detailing system on black cars or trucks. I like it so much I've added his products at one of my shops ( not trying to sell anything and I wish Adam was a supporting vendor here I could link this thread). The videos got me to try his system check it out for yourself. As I get to know him better I'll try to get him to come over to the Caddy side!!:highfive:

lunarx
10-14-07, 02:39 AM
.. Here is a shot after I had removed about 99% of the swirls and scratches and topped with Meguiar's yellow wax.

I dont have any shots under a xeon light but can take some next time I clean it up.

http://www.dansiebe.com/Pictures/Details/2007-09%20CTS-V/images/20070924-_MG_7622_jpg.jpg

Looks Great :yup:
So you going to tell us how you removed the swirls?

capt. dan
10-14-07, 06:25 PM
Looks Great :yup:
So you going to tell us how you removed the swirls?

I spent three days with a porter cable dual action polisher buffing out all the scratches swirls. Used three different paint cleaners going down in aggresivness each time and then finally a coat of wax. I did that on Memorial weekend and then just few weekends ago used the mildest of the three and a coat of wax. Once you get the swirls out the secret is keeping them out. Stay away from the automatic car washes that beat your car to death and the teenagers who dry it. I used Meguiar's profesional Mirror Glaze but there are several brands out there that work good. There is a video on ShowCarGarage.com that goes through the use of the polisher and step by step what to do. It is "HOW-TO use the PC for showcar results".

lunarx
10-14-07, 09:48 PM
Wow, 3 days of polishing.
I guess there is no easy way around that.
It sure looks good though. :yup:

bpitas
11-08-07, 08:23 AM
Three days of polishing holy crap. I felt like I was neglecting my kids when I spent 4 *hours* with the orbital and Griott's #2. I guess i don't qualify as "car anal" anymore, cuz I've never spent *that* much time polishing! LOL
Did you fear wearing all the way through the clearcoat with that much polishing? There's no removing swirlmarks without removing clearcoat, which is why I've always been afraid of over-polishing. Eventually you WILL get through the clearcoat and hit paint, but I guess I've never really had a feel for how far you have to go before you get there.
And yeah, it looks like the image quality on your hood is nearly perfect. I had that on the Cobra, but haven't spent enough time on the V to get that. Damned kids need to eat THREE TIMES A DAY! what an inconvenience. :-)
What orbital did you use? I've had the same 9" Craftsman for like 15 years, and I got it because I figured a wider polishing platform would be better at evening out things like orange peel, but it seems like everyone else in the world uses the Porter Cable sold by Griott's...

Naf
11-10-07, 10:49 AM
I had my wax done at LLUMAR, and i love it on the black. Only problem is they didnt do a good job on the pastic trim...

I have tried everything, just cant get the white stuff off... :(

no swirls, nuttin, even after a butcherin at the hand wash place...

capt. dan
11-10-07, 04:17 PM
Three days of polishing holy crap. I felt like I was neglecting my kids when I spent 4 *hours* with the orbital and Griott's #2. I guess i don't qualify as "car anal" anymore, cuz I've never spent *that* much time polishing! LOL
Did you fear wearing all the way through the clearcoat with that much polishing? There's no removing swirlmarks without removing clearcoat, which is why I've always been afraid of over-polishing. Eventually you WILL get through the clearcoat and hit paint, but I guess I've never really had a feel for how far you have to go before you get there.
And yeah, it looks like the image quality on your hood is nearly perfect. I had that on the Cobra, but haven't spent enough time on the V to get that. Damned kids need to eat THREE TIMES A DAY! what an inconvenience. :-)
What orbital did you use? I've had the same 9" Craftsman for like 15 years, and I got it because I figured a wider polishing platform would be better at evening out things like orange peel, but it seems like everyone else in the world uses the Porter Cable sold by Griott's...

My four year old girl loves to help me when I wax the car. She actually does her bike while I do the car. I also had a few things to do over the weekend so it was not a heavy full three days, I just spread it out a little and took my time. Still might be a little car anal though.

If I remove enough paint that I see the orange peel going away then I will worry but I dont see that happening. Until then I am carefull around the edges and high spots. Its not like using a rotary and a heavy compound. Its the porter cable dual action polisher that I used. Just used it this morning to put a coat a wax on. Makes it easy and quick once you get the paint in good condition.

bpitas
11-11-07, 11:39 AM
Where are you from? I think I met every Mystic owner in New England, and I actually *married* one of them. (we're divorced now LOL) Definitely a cool looking car - too bad Ford locked up that paint with BASF so nobody can use it... It would look good on some other cars. (not the V though...)

-B


I too had a 1996 Mystic Cobra but I can't remember what kind of wax I was using on it. It was a nice car until someone busted the driver side window and the glass messed-up the paint on the door. Oh well, life goes on!!