: Restoring the appearance of the Brougham.



My_favorite_Brougham
09-01-11, 02:31 PM
Usually Spring is the season to detail your pride and joy, but I didn't have the time or the money then. I have a small budget set aside to make my car sparkle again. Here's a refresher: She's a 1989 Brougham d'Elegance white/white/burugndy. The interior is very nice with no signigicant wear. The plastic chrome and the headliner are finicky but that's about it. 73k original miles.

The exterior is a different story and I have 3 main issues: Bumper fillers. Door molding. And paint. The good news is the vinyl top is a 10 out of 10, no work needed there! :D

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00323.jpg

Bumper fillers
I have the bumper filler issue under control, as I'm scouting out new fillers on eBay and craigslist. So far I need 8 fillers. 2 rear fillers, two front fillers, two beneath-headlight fillers, beneath-gas cap filler, and center rear bumper filler. So far I've seen sets including all but the beneath-headlight fillers for about $250. In total I think I can get all unfinished fillers for the '89 at about $350. Is this about average?

Door molding
The "anti door ding" strip is supposed to match the white paint of the car. Right now it is badly burnt yellow and looks terrible. I'm thinking I could sand away the oxidized plastic to reveal unburned white plastic beneath. Has anyone tried this? What I don't want to do is paint it, because then the door ding strip will get door dings. I've seen these repainted and look terrible after a few months.

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00633.jpg

Paint
Now here's the big one, obviously. My paint is the original single stage plain white paint. This car is also a Texas car, but fortunately it has not spent too much time outside. But this is still Texas and this car is almost 22 years old. However, the white paint does have moderate oxidization. On the side of the car I can still make out a reflection, but on the hood and trunk lid it has a very fine matte finish. There's not heavy crow-footing yet, but there may be in the future I suspect.

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00634.jpg

I would like to buff this paint to shine as much as possible without repainting. (I plan to paint the unfinished bumper fillers myself, too.) Right now, the white is not just dull but dirty. There's grime and sap on the hood and fenders. I understand I should use a clay bar for this. Any recommendations?

Then I understand that I need to get a cutting compound to remove oxidization. I know Meguiar's has several from "fine-cut" to "ultra-cut" - which should I get? Remember this is GM single-stage, and the white paint seems thin. (Remember white Chevy trucks from the 80s/90s?) I certainly don't want to burn down to primer.

Then I understand I need a polishing compound to bring back a mirror shine. From what I hear, a "glaze" is best for restoring older paint. Meguiar's again has several: show car glaze, new car glaze, machine glaze, etc. Any experience on which would be best for me?

It seems I could stop at that point if I wanted, but there's also waxes to evoke an even deeper shine. Personally, I don't see a difference when my dad put's Turtle Wax on his Chevy Malibu, but maybe there's a Meguiar's product that will keep my will-be-newly-polished Brougham shiny. I'm rather clueless on waxes, but I'm also fairly clueless on the other products too.

Tell me if this is right:
1. Clay bar
2. Cutting compound
3. Polish/glaze
4. Wax

Also, there's different pads for the power buffer. I have an electric buffer, but I don't know what pads to get. I certainly don't want the Brougham worse-looking than before.

I'm pretty good at polishing chrome and detailing other exterior parts, so I can't wait for her to look like this!
http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/fsbo13120-1290959569-8959.jpg

I'd like to take before and after pics of the Brougham and post my progress as the Brougham gets her facelift. Perhaps that will inspire other Broughamsters to do the same! :D

-Greg

jayoldschool
09-01-11, 02:55 PM
What buffer do you have? If it is an orbital 10", they are useless for compounding. All they are good for is putting on and taking off wax. They won't do any correction of the paint. You need at least something like the Porter Cable 7424XP. Use Meguiar's Ultimate Compound on an orange pad, followed by Ultimate Polish on a white pad, then a blue pad (slow speed) for wax. Lots of good choices for wax, but you may as well stick with Megs Ultimate. They make a liquid and a paste. Wash and clay first.

I know you said you don't want to paint the strips, but that is the way to get them nice. On mom's 84, I degreased, scuffed, masked, and sprayed. They look great. If you are getting door dings, park farther away ;)

My_favorite_Brougham
09-01-11, 02:58 PM
What paint did you use on the strips, Jay? I need to buy the same paint for the bumper fillers, too. I think your mum's car is the same color as mine.

MoistCabbage
09-01-11, 03:18 PM
the white paint does have moderate oxidization. On the side of the car I can still make out a reflection, but on the hood and trunk lid it has a very fine matte finish. There's not heavy crow-footing yet, but there may be in the future I suspect.


I would like to buff this paint to shine as much as possible without repainting. (I plan to paint the unfinished bumper fillers myself, too.) Right now, the white is not just dull but dirty. There's grime and sap on the hood and fenders. I understand I should use a clay bar for this. Any recommendations?

Then I understand that I need to get a cutting compound to remove oxidization. I know Meguiar's has several from "fine-cut" to "ultra-cut" - which should I get? Remember this is GM single-stage, and the white paint seems thin. (Remember white Chevy trucks from the 80s/90s?) I certainly don't want to burn down to primer.

Then I understand I need a polishing compound to bring back a mirror shine. From what I hear, a "glaze" is best for restoring older paint. Meguiar's again has several: show car glaze, new car glaze, machine glaze, etc. Any experience on which would be best for me?

It seems I could stop at that point if I wanted, but there's also waxes to evoke an even deeper shine. Personally, I don't see a difference when my dad put's Turtle Wax on his Chevy Malibu, but maybe there's a Meguiar's product that will keep my will-be-newly-polished Brougham shiny. I'm rather clueless on waxes, but I'm also fairly clueless on the other products too.

Tell me if this is right:
1. Clay bar
2. Cutting compound
3. Polish/glaze
4. Wax

Also, there's different pads for the power buffer. I have an electric buffer, but I don't know what pads to get. I certainly don't want the Brougham worse-looking than before.



Nothing is going to remove the crow footing (checking), you can make the paint shine in those areas, but the cracks will still be there. As for the rest of the car:

Clay bar is the first step, it will get rid of any surface contaminates stuck on/in the paint. On single stage paint however, you may find that even after claying, there are still contaminates that are left behind.

Buffing oxidized paint is a multi stage process. It begins with a cutting compound (if the oxidation is bad enough, a heavy cutting compound followed by a lighter compound may be required). The cutting compounds make quick work of oxidation and fine scratches, but if you don't know what you're doing, you can burn through the paint REAL fast. After the cutting compound, the paint won't look extremely shiny, and there will be heavy swirl marks everywhere. A polishing compound is used to smooth the paint further, and give a very glossy finish. The polishing process leaves behind very light swirl marks, these can be removed by a swirl remover compound. On lighter colors, this step is usually not necessary.

Each of these steps/compounds requires a separate, dedicated pad, you can't use one pad for every step. It is also important that you use only one product line designed to work with each other. Brand A's pads with brand B's cutting compound and brand C's polish will give you poor results. You also have to use a rotary buffing tool, an orbital buffer is the wrong tool, and will not work for compounding, they are really only suitable for waxing. Buying all the pads, compounds and even a cheap rotary buffer can be pricey, and like I said before, it's really easy to burn through the paint. Be warned. If you don't plan on doing this more than once, it would be cheaper/safer to pay a body or detail shop to do it. Also, I cannot speak for Meguiars buffing products, as I use professional grade products from a body shop supply store (Presta), but I do notice when I see their products at the pasts store, there are like 10+ stages. That is unnecessary and a waste of time and money.

Once all the compounding stages are done, you need to apply a couple of coats of a good carnauba wax. This will protect the paint, and further increase the shine. (this is the only part of the process that actually leaves anything on the paint to increase shine, the compounding stages actually remove paint, and make the surface progressively smoother.

sven914
09-01-11, 04:39 PM
I have some related questions. I have a jar of Turtle Wax rubbing compound, and I don't own an electric buffer. I was going to apply the rubbing compound with a wet cotton cloth (as suggested on the jar) to the entire car, in small sections, but am now wondering if that is advisable. Can I use rubbing compound like that, or do I need the electric buffer?

outsider
09-01-11, 04:59 PM
if it says to do that on the jar...I don't see why not. then again, I've never used that stuff so maybe not. I usually try to follow the directions on the jar :)

MoistCabbage
09-01-11, 05:19 PM
I have some related questions. I have a jar of Turtle Wax rubbing compound, and I don't own an electric buffer. I was going to apply the rubbing compound with a wet cotton cloth (as suggested on the jar) to the entire car, in small sections, but am now wondering if that is advisable. Can I use rubbing compound like that, or do I need the electric buffer?

Using RUBBING compound out of a jar, by hand, is more of a do it yourself tiny scratch remover. You can use POLISHING compound on the whole car, but it isn't going to give you the same results as actually machine buffing the car.

RUBBING compound is very abrasive, and not recommended to be used on the entire car.

My_favorite_Brougham
09-01-11, 05:46 PM
These daunting steps are what have kept me away from paint detailing in the past. If I were to take it to a professional, would a reputable body shop be willing to do it? Or do I go to these so-called detail shops that just wash and vacuum your car?

What is the ballpark cost for a professional paint restoration?

Greg

MoistCabbage
09-01-11, 05:55 PM
Some body shops will do detailing (buffing), some won't. A car wash detail shop, or any other "quickie" detail shops, will just use an orbital buffer and apply a wax/polish. That won't do you any good. There are detail shops that have professional trained employees that can properly buff your car, some dealer ships can do it as well. Google for shops in your area, and call around

Prices can vary wildly, expect around $100 on the low end. Your car is large, but the roof and bumpers don't need to be buffed.

Remember that anywhere you have paint checking will need to be repainted. Shops usually won't even try to buff those areas.

jayoldschool
09-01-11, 06:20 PM
Sven, don't use the Turtle Wax rubbing compound. Horrible stuff. Get some Ultimate Compound. You will be amazed. You can use it by hand and get great results.

sven914
09-01-11, 07:29 PM
Thanks... I guess I'll just use it as a spot treatment, if I use it, otherwise I'll donate it to the homeless as a tax write off.

My_favorite_Brougham
09-02-11, 02:59 PM
After some thinking, I would rather do this myself. I'll borrow or purchase a quality buffer if I need to. But at this point, I'd would rather do the work myself. I may still be learning but I know I can be as detailed as I want to be. And I get a certain satisfaction from it all.

I'm going to purchase most or all of the items ahead of time, the first of which is a clay bar.

This one by Mother's seems to be very popular. I've never used a clay bar so are the two in this package sufficient for a Cadillac?

79822
http://www.amazon.com/Mothers-07240-California-Saving-System/dp/B0002U2V1Y

Greg

outsider
09-02-11, 03:14 PM
Seems to me that a clay bar can be used and reused (to an extent) until it is completely dirty. You can stretch it and fold it over into it's self to expose new clean areas of the clay...atleast from what I've seen.

brougham
09-02-11, 03:56 PM
The door moulding strips can be painted and look good. That's the only thing you can do with the old ones anyway unless you want to leave them looking yellowed and discolored.
You can use rubbing or polishing compound to get some of the shine back. Even by hand would be better then nothing. Try one area and see how it looks. If it is clear coat it'll be a job for a professional or might be too dead to bring back at all.

My_favorite_Brougham
09-14-11, 07:12 PM
Today I used some denatured alcohol on a lint-free cotton cloth to remove some tree sap from my fender. Unfortunately there's a lot of muck on this car, particularly around the wheels.

When I wiped the sap away, however, the paint became instantly dull (though significantly whiter), and I noticed that my cloth had white powder on it - presumably paint! :eek: I tend to think I shouldn't be worried because my paint is oxidized. Should I be? I also noticed that the minor paint checking disappeared in that area. Yay!

Next I plan to clay the car using Mother's clay bar and lubricant.

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/89Brougham_detailing/DSC00886.jpg

And has anyone removed their pinstripe before? Mine looks terrible, and it doesn't appear to be the "painted-on" pinstripe.

Happy Wednesday,
Greg

Bro-Ham
09-14-11, 07:17 PM
Good luck with the project! If the stripe is not painted then it should come off with a heat gun and some Goof-Off. Be careful not to melt the paint... You have a very nice car and it's nice that you're putting some loving into it. :)

My_favorite_Brougham
11-01-11, 10:38 PM
I've been slowly but surely gathering all I need. I ordered a full set of ABS fillers from eBay but the seller sent fiberglass. That wasn't going to work, so I took a different route: all original parts. They're already white and ready to go. I couldn't pass them up at the price. Can't wait to install them when they arrive!

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/b8b50763.jpg

Still waiting for a good license plate door filler to pop up soon. Then I'll be set!

Greg

outsider
11-02-11, 10:57 AM
nice, good finds!

My_favorite_Brougham
12-22-11, 01:27 PM
I know it's been a while since I've updated, but here goes. I collected all the fillers I needed for the Brougham over the last couple months, and yesterday I finally did the rear ones. Only 1 was not factory GM white, so I picked up a perfect match (WA3967) from O'Reilly and made it look brand new!

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00945.jpg

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00946-1.jpg

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00948-1.jpg

I scuffed it first with some 150 grit sand paper to get the gunk old paint free. Then I went over again with 320 grit. Some denatured alcohol to prep it for paint, and voila!

While that dried, and took to removing my cracked and faded pinstripe that you see in earlier pics in this thread. My two options were to use a heat gun and scraper, or a decal remover wheel. Turns out I had to use both. I found out that the 3M Stripe-Off Wheel will grind grind in dried decals into the paint, something I didn't want! So I took a heat gun and razor blade to the vinyl, and removed all but the glue. But then the 3M wheel would just smear the glue! The solution was to somewhat dry the glue before wheel-ing it. I went over the length of the former pinstripe with denatured alcohol, and then it came right off with the wheel.

The wheel left a lot of grime behind, but a shot of degreaser later, and it's fine. Be warned however, take breaks if you ever use a decal wheel, because they get hot. And that makes for burning your paint! Once I removed the eraser residue, I found a few spots where the wheel slightly "smeared" my paint. Grrr! Fortunately, it's not enough that some 1500 grit sandpaper, compound and polish can't fix.

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00951-1.jpg

There is still quite a bit of residue visible, where the vinyl had long since fallen off, exposing glue. It seems that locked in dirt to the surface of the paint, that can only be removed through cutting and buffing. But that's for a later day.

----------

After that, I tackled the big task of removing the bumper and replacing the rear fillers. Fortunately it was a straightforward task. Tail lights and 8 bolts later, the bumper was off!

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00953.jpg

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00954-1.jpg


The first thing I did was replace the "silver" plate in the bumper itself, which as you can see was completely gone.

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00957-1.jpg


You have to completely remove the rear of the bumper in order to get to the screws beneath, but an impact wrench made easy work of that!

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00958-1.jpg


5 minutes later, she's all back together with a factory original filler, courtesy of eBay. :D

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00959.jpg

----------

Next, I replaced the license plate filler with my newly painted filler, which I found you have to remove all fillers to do! After that I went to work on the big rear fillers, which are factory originals from another car, and very supple! They're actually quite easy to line up. Just hold in place and screw in!

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00962.jpg

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00963.jpg


There's the whole rear, right before the bumper went back on. I took the opportunity to to clean all the dirt that had collected on the rest of the fillers, and got it shiny again! :D

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00961.jpg


I also removed some nasty overspray from a ghetto-fix that the previous owner tried with spray paint and cardboard. Steel wool makes these plastic chrome back-up light bezels shine!

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00955-1.jpg

My_favorite_Brougham
12-22-11, 01:32 PM
Next is the rewarding part - putting it all back together. As you can see the middle looks great!

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00970.jpg


And here's the whole assembly:

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00967.jpg


Looking good from this side:

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00968.jpg


But for some reason, I have a nasty gap on this side...

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00969.jpg

Any idea how to fix that?

Anyway, in all I got a lot of work done. I rubbed a little compound on the new fillers, and they are going brighten up A LOT! There's just a lot of dirt in old GM single stage paint. Once I compound and buff the car, I hope she'll look nearly new again! I just need to fix that bumper.

Anyway, Merry Christmas!

Enjoy,
Greg

83 Fleetwood
12-22-11, 01:35 PM
to remove the rest of the pinstripe and left over adhesive, I recomend 3m decal remover, works very well and will need a good wash and way after though. If you have access to a heat gun that can be used as well but be careful not to over heat the area (not good for the paint) and use a plastic putty knife or scraper to make it easier for removal

My_favorite_Brougham
12-22-11, 01:52 PM
to remove the rest of the pinstripe and left over adhesive, I recomend 3m decal remover, works very well and will need a good wash and way after though. If you have access to a heat gun that can be used as well but be careful not to over heat the area (not good for the paint) and use a plastic putty knife or scraper to make it easier for removal

I actually have the 3M wheel, and it's nice, but it couldn't "grab" the hardened vinyl when I first used it. So I used a head gun and scraper to remove the vinyl, and the 3M wheel for the rest. I still have a "ghost" pinstripe though. There was new paint under there!

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x141/Shutterbug668/DSC00952-1.jpg?t=1324579871

cadillac kevin
12-22-11, 03:01 PM
the left rear taillight housing needs to be adjusted. from looking at the gap on it, you will need to bent the bracket it sits on so it is a a steeper angle. you will also need to shove it all the way forward when you bolt it down. you also might have to shim the bottom left bumper mount (if the main bumper itself is twisted, which is semi common)

My_favorite_Brougham
12-22-11, 05:16 PM
When I bolted in, I first tried using shims. But that, caused the other tail light to push on it's filler. Then I put shims on the bottom bolts of the left side, and shims on the top of the right side - in hope that would "pull" the bumper into position. It did not.

After removing the bumper again, I attempted to push the tail light back somewhat to match the other. so I unbolted it and pushed it forward some before retightening it, the results were little to none. Should I re-drill the tail light holes further into the bumper?

Also, I was wondering if the order in which I retightened the bumper bumper back plate bolts somehow twisted the bumper. Is there a specific order I should do that? It would be the same idea as systematically tightening valve cover or intake manifold bolts - to avoid warping.

Then again, I may just try to twist it in place with a buddy.

CADforce69
12-22-11, 05:55 PM
Congrats, Greg. Good detailing job :thumbsup:. Hope you can finally align left rear bumper. Merry Christmas!:xsmile:

Robin Banx
12-22-11, 11:28 PM
If I were you Greg, I'd look to replace at least the left tail light housing. It appears to have been hooked on the top and pulled backwards. That would have deformed the mounting plate which is welded inside the housing. The earlier (80-81) cars had separate and adjustable mounts between the housing and the bumper (making the housings much easier to line up with the fender extensions) which were done away with by the time the 83 cars came out. Your housings both appear to have been damaged sometime in the past hence my suggestion that you replace them both.
Cheers............R.

SafariOne
12-23-11, 01:25 AM
As far as the pinstripping goes if it is the vinyl kind just use a heat gun to warm it up and pull it off with the other hand. You can get a new roll and bam your back in business. You can get the rolls that have two parallel stripes and they look better than one .I think.Good luck.

Cadillacboy
12-25-11, 11:47 AM
This is a good progress
:highfive: