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2,635 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys - I want to share a detail I did of my C250 today. The purpose was to strip off the existing protection in place, clean the paintwork of contaminants and see what kind of condition the paintwork was in, and apply Blackfire Crystal Seal as the primary layer of protection. I learned a few things which I'll share below; the process took about 4.5 hours. Hope you enjoy.

Products used:
Sonax Full Effect wheel cleaner
Adam's Car Shampoo
Adam's Glass Cleaner
Adam's Glass Sealant
Optimum No Rinse
Chemical Guys Gray (medium) Clay
Pinnacle Paintwork Cleaner
Blackfire Crystal Seal Sealant
Collinite 476s Wax
Optimum Opti Bond

Uber Wash Mitt
Waffle-Weave Microfiber Drying Towels (from Autopia store)
Uber Glass Towels
Uber Quick Detail Microfiber Towels
Kwazar Mercury Pro Spray Bottles

Quick shout out to Detailers Domain and Autogeek for the great online shopping assortment and service.

DSC_2689m by Lunitic, on Flickr

Well, I walked out to a beautiful morning in Chicago, about 50*F with intermittent clouds which is good for detailing. I started out by mixing my Adam's car shampoo while I let the Sonax Full Effect dwell, then wiped down the wheels, rinsed the whole car, and briefly looked it over. Water was beading reasonably well but the current Collinite 476s application was over two months old, though washes every week were followed by a coating of Finish Kare 425.

DSC_2690m by Lunitic, on Flickr

DSC_2691m by Lunitic, on Flickr

The C250 was washed, rinsed, and dryed. Using a diluted solution of ONR, I went over the entire car with a new half-bar of the medium-strength CG clay. Thing I learned #1: even a 10 month-old car I thought I washed and protected pretty well accumulated far more bonded contaminants than I had ever imagined. This is after only half the hood:

DSC_2692m by Lunitic, on Flickr

Dirty! The good news is I took all that garbage off the paintwork, and after claying the whole car looked and felt appreciably cleaner and smoother. The bad news is this step took far longer than I expected, having covered all the exterior surfaces as well as the interior sides of the rocker panels and the door jambs. But of course I found lots of deposits there as well, so it's not all bad. After claying, the car was rinsed again and dried.

DSC_2694m by Lunitic, on Flickr

I learned a paintwork cleaner is recommended prior to application of a sealant so I went with Pinnacle, a reputable brand with lots of good feedback specific to this product. It's not abrasive and seemed to do a good job cleaning the surfaces of any residual contaminants following the prior rinse without leaving anything behind or leaving the surfaces with static. On its own the car looked really good following my buffing off the lotion.

DSC_2696m by Lunitic, on Flickr

Ahh, Blackfire Crystal Seal! This was more difficult to apply than I anticipated, primarily because I had trouble seeing whether I was actually applying anything to my silver car. The result is I ended up applying two or three sprays per section over the recommended one. This went on all painted surfaces, the piano-black B-pillars and roof trim, the black plastic standoffs for the rear-view mirrors, all matte chrome trim, and the rubber moulding around the windows. When I was finished, I took a step back and saw the result - a deep, gloss finish I had never seen with this car. Satiny, silky smooth.

DSC_2705m by Lunitic, on Flickr

I completed the day by applying Optimum Opti Bond to the tires, cleaning the glass with Adam's Glass Cleaner, and applying a coating of Adam's Glass Sealant. The Opti Bond product is new to me, and I found I really like it - it doesn't go on thick or greasy, rather it's just very clean. Some time this week I'll wash the C250 again and top with a coat of my current favorite wax, Collinite 476s.

The coatings!

DSC_2708m by Lunitic, on Flickr

If anyone has process or product suggestions regarding how I can improve I would appreciate the feedback. Thanks for reading!

2,635 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
As I haven't done anything with her since my November post above, I took advantage of the nice weather here in Chicago to begin some light work. Below is after a wash, Auto Finesse Iron Out, and claying the exterior panels. Tomorrow will be claying door sills / interior rocker panels, trunk and door jambs, and application of Black Fire Crystal Seal and Collinite 476s. And Optimum tire dressing to tires and rubber trim.

I'm exceptionally disappointed to find a few small chips in the paint across the hood and front bumper, though they're small and everything else looks really good.


2,635 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
After 3 hours yesterday and another 4 today, I'm happy with my effort's results. Car looks really great, but I was pleased how little contamination was bonded, likely a testament to the quality of the first application of Crystal Seal and 476s from November. Auto Finesse Iron Out did pull some ferrous garbage off the paintwork but less than I expected. A good thing to note is the importance of applying it in the shade!

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