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  #1  
Old 05-16-2010, 09:32 PM
euroticcustoms euroticcustoms is offline
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Default Step by Step - A complete detail

I've been detailing professionally for about 10 years and anybody who sees my work says "Paul, you're the best!", so I'll share my methods with you guys.

What you'll need:

pressure washer (or take it to a car wash that's not busy and/or allows bucket washing)
large bucket
smaller bucket
soft wash brush and/or microfiber sponge (if it's new black paint, use the microfiber sponge. If it's an older vehicle, the soft wash brush will save you A TON of time)
3 or more microfiber cloths
spray bottles
a pack of cheap paint brushes
toothbrush style nylon bristled brush
A stiff tire brush with a handle...the rounded ones work pretty well

Now for the chemicals. If you have access to professional chemicals, I highly recommend using them. If not, you can get some decent stuff from retail outlets and parts stores.

A good car wash soap, the thicker the better. There are a lot of them out there, I'd stay away from the "wash & wax" ones, but that's just me. Cherry Bomb is a good professional soap.
whitewall cleaner (Westley's Bleeche White or Whammo)
aerosol window cleaner
aerosol tire shine (Meguiar's Hot Shine or Nxt Generation tire coating)
liquid tire shine (Blue Dressing, Dress Blue are a couple. Most professional companies offer a dressing that's BLUE in gallon or 5 gallon containers. It's awesome. you can use it on tires, wheel wells, engine, interior etc.)
interior dressing (NO ARMOR ALL, Meguiars has a few good products)
wax of your choice, depending on the condition of the paint. A good cleaner wax works well on older vehicles...you might want to use something a little better if the paint is in better condition such as RejeX or Collinite)
flat black spray paint (optional)

Here's step by step how I clean a car.

Soap in bucket, add water til thick and sudsy.
Pop the hood, wrap the alternator with a plastic bag (I never do, but it's a precautionary measure).
SOAK the underside of the hood and everything in the engine bay with whitewall cleaner. Use your wash brush and scrub the underside of the hood...then clean your strut towers, radiator support, where the fenders bolt on and anything else you can readily get to. Use pressurized water and clean the underside of the hood, then everything else in the engine bay...make sure to spray from each side of the car and the front so you can get at it from all angles. Once the engine is rinsed, start the car and put the hood down to the first latch (where you can still open it without popping it again).

rinse any of the whitewall cleaner off of the paint. fill up the smaller bucket with water. Now, 1 tire at a time, soak the tires, wheels and fender wells with whitewall cleaner. Use your tire brush to scrub the tires...use a microfiber cloth to clean the wheels, if they're really bad you might need to use a wheel brush to get the brake dust off.

Use pressurized water to clean off the tire, wheel and fender wells. When cleaning the front fender wells, you can cut the tires to each extreme and pressure wash....the whitewall cleaner will loosen most of the brown crap up there...the pressure will remove it. spray the frame with whitewall cleaner and pressure wash it also.

After you get the tires and frame clean, open the door and soak the door jambs with whitewall cleaner (1 door at a time). depending on how dirty the door panel is, I'll sometimes even soak the door panel with the whitewall cleaner too. I've never had any problems with power window switches and power locks, but you can leave this step out if you're not comfortable with it. Pressure wash the door jambs (and the door panel if you soaked it). Close the door and move to the other side.

Once the door jambs are clean, spray enough water in your wash bucket so that the suds come back to the top....soak the car down with water and start washing from the top down. Try to wash in the shade. Depending on the temperature, you may have to rinse several times throughout the washing process, but you may also be able to wash the entire vehicle; I usually get the whole thing washed. Then use pressure to rinse. Wash the wheels again with the wash brush, rinse them off.

Now use a microfiber cloth to dry the vehicle starting from the top down and wring frequently. After all the exterior has been dried, dry/wipe the wheels with the same cloth you used to dry the vehicle. Once the wheels are dry, dry/wipe out the door jambs.

Vacuum the carpet. If it needs "cleaned" you don't have to be too concerned with getting ALL the dirt the first go around.

Get a fresh bucket of water and use a pressure washer to clean the microfiber cloth you used to dry the vehicle (or use a new one). Use a small paint brush to dust out the vents and any other crevices. Dillute some whitewall cleaner 50/50 with water or you can even mix it with an all purpose cleaner and some water in a spray bottle.

I usually start from the driver's seat...spray a little cleaner on the dash and console area...use a wet microfiber cloth to wipe everything...soak the door panel, clean it, make sure you get all the dirt, but you don't have to worry about lint, fuzz, etc that might be left behind. Work your way around cleaning all the plastic. If the headliner is dirty, you can use this same solution to lightly mist it, and use the microfiber cloth to wipe it back off. Once all the plastic is clean you can start on the seats. Use the same cleaner solution and liberally wet down the driver's seat first...wipe it with your wet microfiber cloth. I usually do the seat back, then the bottom. Do the other seats.

Now to the carpet...use the same solution and wet the carpet PRETTY well...use the wet microfiber cloth to wipe the carpet. I usually start on the passenger side and work back to the driver's side, because the driver's side is usually the dirtiest. You may have to repeat the process a few times. Use your wheel brush and the cleaning solution to clean your pedals.

Now, it's time to start dressing. Roll the windows down. Use a new/dry microfiber cloth and spray some liquid dressing onto it...about 10 squirts. Now, spray a decent amound onto the door panel. Wipe it back off with the cloth. Spray the center console, and some other trim before you do the dash. The trick is to kinda get the cloth to retain a little bit of the dressing so you won't have to spray as much onto the dash. The only reason for this is that if you get dressing on the windshield it's A LITTLE bit of a pain to get back off...it'll save you some headache down the road. Use the aerosol dressing to spray your vents, radio, center console, speaker grilles, windows/lock switches, interior door handles and any place there's a crack. This isn't NECESSARY, but makes it go a little quicker. Just make sure you wipe off any excess. A lot of detailers don't spray the steering wheel or brake/gas/clutch pedals. I do...just wipe them off really well...don't leave them greasy and slick. Actually, you don't want to leave any of the plastic greasy and slick. Wipe it off until it has a uniform shine. Use the aerosol dressing to spray the door jambs and rubbers. You can use liquid here, but it takes more time and it's messier. Wipe the door jambs out with the same cloth you were using for dressing the interior.

Once you get the inside dressed, open the hood and mop up any water that's laying in any low spots. If the engine is still running, turn it off. Spray liquid dressing on the underside of the hood and everything in the engine bay. Aerosol actually works better and quicker, but it's more expensive, so it's your call. Spray aerosol onto the black cowl panel under the windshield and the wiper arms. Use your dressing cloth to wipe everything down. and remove any excess dressing.

Now, you can take some flat black spray paint and paint the fender wells, a arms, frame, etc. Another thing that works GREAT, but it's expensive, is Duplicolor Truck Bed Coating in an aerosol can. It will make your frame look new. It can also be used on fender flares, tube-style running boards and a lot of other things. It leaves a nice textured surface, it's rubberized and it's a helluva lot better than undercoat.

Once the wheel wells/frame are blacked, go around the entire vehicle and spray all the tires/wheels/and fender wheels with dressing. Go back around and wipe the wheels with the microfiber cloth you used for dressing the inside. Now go back around and wipe the tires. Spraying dressing on the wheels WILL attract a little brake dust, but the next time you clean them, all you'll have to do is spray some whitewall cleaner on them and hose them off...no scrubbing.

I'd recommend a thicker gel-like dressing for any of the exterior trim. Mother's makes a good product called Back to Black...Car Brite has Bumper Coat....and dress any plastic on the bumpers, mirrors, door handles, etc.

Now, wax. Wax on, wax off.

Finally do the windows. Use a new microfiber cloth, aerosol glass cleaner and start with the inside windshield. A good detailer can can reach the entire windshield from either side, so try to get it all in one shot. Clean your rear-view mirror as well. Turn the switch on (if you've got power windows) roll them up/down until they're about 3 inches from being all the way up. Clean the top 3 inches of the glass inside and out and then roll them up and clean the entire window inside, then out. Repeat all the way around the car.

You can use the aerosol window cleaner and your the same cloth you used to clean the windows to remove any smudges you might have gotten on the paint after waxing. If you didn't wax, the window cleaner will remove tire dressing from the paint.

I always vacuum and put paper mats in as the final step. Look everything over and make sure it's good. And you've got a clean ride.

I'm sure I missed a few things, but it's getting late and I'm tired.
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  #2  
Old 05-17-2010, 02:53 PM
FX4 FX4 is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

Quote:
Originally Posted by euroticcustoms View Post
Now, you can take some flat black spray paint and paint the fender wells, a arms, frame, etc. Another thing that works GREAT, but it's expensive, is Duplicolor Truck Bed Coating in an aerosol can. It will make your frame look new. It can also be used on fender flares, tube-style running boards and a lot of other things. It leaves a nice textured surface, it's rubberized and it's a helluva lot better than undercoat.
I'm sorry, but personally I would never do this on my or any of my customer's cars, without taping/masking of the entire vehicle including wheels. Paint over-spray will happen otherwise, not matter how careful or controlled your sprays are. They make water based products that do the same thing.... not here to argue with you as everyone prefers and does different things using different methods, just putting a word of caution to any one going to try this.

Rafal
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  #3  
Old 05-17-2010, 04:03 PM
dan24 dan24 is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

wow wicked post, thanks a lot dude!!
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  #4  
Old 05-17-2010, 06:18 PM
downs8 downs8 is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

Nice post man glad to see someone who appreciates the detail of flat black spray paint or the spray on truck bed liner a rusted or faded out wheel well and frame looks awfull on a clean truck
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  #5  
Old 05-18-2010, 12:51 AM
Chris Chris is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

My boss owns a dealership. A product we call WoW there is best used on the engine, and tire shine can be horrible. Its silicon based, and it will show up on the vehicle later, and its a pain the ass to get off.
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White 2004 Ford Ranger XL, Auto, 4.0 SOHC, 4x4 Base Model, 16" Explorer Rims. 3.73 Gears, No muffler(Sold)
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  #6  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:53 AM
mickblock mickblock is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

Thanks for the post. A for effort. But if I took my truck in to get detailed and found out that someone spray painted inside my wheel wells I'd be pissed.
Cleaning the splash sheilds and spray waxing will black them out plenty so they don't stick out as a missed detail.
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  #7  
Old 05-18-2010, 06:07 AM
euroticcustoms euroticcustoms is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

Well, I detail mostly for dealers, and they prefer blacked out wheel wells. I wouldn't black out frames or wheel wells on personal vehicles without prior approval or unless they specifically ask for it. As for masking first, I've never oversprayed on a wheel and any overspray on the paint can be removed quickly.

And the DupliColor truck bed coating usually consists of taking a wire wheel to the frame...I'm getting ready to do a Jeep within the next couple days. I'll take some before and afters. It's going to be DRASTIC
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  #8  
Old 05-18-2010, 10:21 AM
Chris Chris is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

Detailer paint the inside of the hitch, and outside, as well as the frames...
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2004 Ford F150 Automatic FX4 SuperCrew 5.4L 3V Triton V8, No Muffler, true dual straight pipes, 3.73 Gears, 18" rims with Wrangler A/T's
White 2004 Ford Ranger XL, Auto, 4.0 SOHC, 4x4 Base Model, 16" Explorer Rims. 3.73 Gears, No muffler(Sold)
White 1997 Ford Expedition XLT 3inch Suspension lift, 38 Firestone M/T's 98 4.6L Police Interceptor high flow injectors, Super 44, brand new rebuilt transmission, with 3.73 gears(Not mine no more)
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  #9  
Old 05-21-2010, 08:53 AM
01DangerRanger 01DangerRanger is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

this sould be a sticky
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  #10  
Old 05-24-2010, 03:51 PM
paintballer4758 paintballer4758 is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

awesome thread man
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  #11  
Old 05-25-2010, 05:00 PM
euroticcustoms euroticcustoms is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

Quote:
Originally Posted by downs8 View Post
Nice post man glad to see someone who appreciates the detail of flat black spray paint or the spray on truck bed liner a rusted or faded out wheel well and frame looks awfull on a clean truck
I totally agree man. For no longer than it takes, it's well worth it!
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  #12  
Old 05-26-2010, 07:45 PM
stephen stephen is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

Quote:
Originally Posted by euroticcustoms View Post
...I'm getting ready to do a Jeep within the next couple days. I'll take some before and afters. It's going to be DRASTIC
so where they at?
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  #13  
Old 05-29-2010, 07:57 PM
euroticcustoms euroticcustoms is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen View Post
so where they at?
eh, the car lot sold it before I got a chance to re-work it. Ah well, it was a 98 Wrangler with 98K miles...it was a light metallic blue...covered in mildew from sitting under a tree. The fender flares were grayed, the frame was covered in surface rust, the wheels were rusted and the carpet was gone. I was going to strip all the black trim and flares off and paint them and the bumpers with Dupli-Color spray-in bedliner, take a wire wheel to the frame and do the same, pull the seats and use Hercu-Liner on the tub, paint the wheels, put a set of rough 33x12.50's on it, and cut and buff it. It had aftermarket bumpers on it and a new top and it would have been freakin sweet. But, they took a good bit less for it than they would have. I've got a few pics to post of a trailblazer I did...just frame pics basically, but it shows what a little flat black can do.
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:39 AM
euroticcustoms euroticcustoms is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

here are some b4 and after pics of an 02 Trailblazer. I took them with my cell phone and it was dark by the time I took the "after" pics, but you'll get the idea...













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Old 07-26-2010, 08:07 PM
06ranger 06ranger is offline
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Default Re: Step by Step - A complete detail

hey euroticcustoms, good work on the trailblazer it seems like you know exactly what you're talking about... I have an 06 ranger w/ some pretty bad scratches and tar build up on it and i've tried everything short of wet sanding the truck and taking it to a pro due to shortage of funds... and i still can't seem to get them out, do you have any budget friendly suggestions that could help me out... and if anyone else has any ideas feel free to chime in because i hate when my truck looks like crap and this is just getting too aggrivating to deal with...
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