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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking about getting a buffer because I have carpal tunnel. As a newbie, sure is confusing with all the types of buffers, mounts, pads, compounds etc. :confused:

Got most of my questions answered by searching, but I can't figure out what's the difference between a single sided and double sided pad is.

Anyone knows? Any suggestions/pointers for someone who never used a buffer will be greatly appreciated?
 

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If you're talking about a wool buffing pad, it just means that the pad can be turned inside-out and used that way after one side gets dirty or loaded up with product.

I wouldn't recommend a wool pad anymore though; there's way better technology out there these days, especially for a newbie. Get yourself a good dual-action polisher and a set of foam and microfiber pads.
 

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As Thom mentioned DA polisher is the way to go, you can get it on Amazon with sample pads. Then all you need is compounds (I've a soft spot for Menzerna products), time an patience - its all about prep, washing the car, claying, etc. Very satysfying 😁
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for all the comments everyone.

Well..........I ended up buying a Dewalt DWP849X single action buffer and some 3M foam pads. Unbelievable what a piece of foam can cost :eek Three pieces was like 1/3 the cost of the buffer!

I know the single action buffer is usually not recommended for beginners, but I got it anyway. I used it on my 16 year old car and didn't seem to do any damage to the paint (not that it would be noticeable :)). My car is silver. Guess it's more forgiving than a darker color.

Like everything, there is a learning curve to using it properly. I did make one rookie mistake. I didn't cleaned the foam as often as I should of.

So far, happy with what I got and the result. Just need more experience/practice with it.
 

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Fair play to you crusier - straight into deep water :) The single actions polishers are great, they only challenge is that they're nowhere near as forgiving - i.e. you can damage the paint by accident, whereas with DA it would take conscious effort to actually burn it. Looking forward to some pics when you get a chance :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I bought this wagon about a month and a half ago. It was a daily driver/hauler. The clear coat felt very rough when I got it. Obviously the car hasn't been waxed in years.

My goal was to smooth out the finish and apply a good coat of wax to extend the life of the paint. No way I could of done it by hand without killing my wrist.

I heard there was a higher chance of burning the paint with a single action buffer for a beginner. I bought the Dewalt because it has a very high review rating. It also has a slow start, so that helped. I also kept the surface well lubricated with a spray bottle when necessary.

In retrospect, I should of cleaned the polishing pad more often. The job would of gone faster. I think it was harder for a first time user to know that the pad was loading up especially when I was using the spray bottle.

Here is an "after" picture. I didn't take a "before" one. The finish looks better in the picture than when looking up close in person. Still......not too shabby for a 16 year old car.
 

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The estate looks very nice, silver cars are very difficult to get right - I know, I have one :D That said the paint looks very glossy so as far as I can tell it's a mission success. Buffing it's like riding a bike, takes practice but once you get the hang of it you're flying it forever.
 

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You're a brave man to jump in the deep end with an orbital polisher for your first go. But you definitely did a good job, the car looks like it's putting off nice reflections.

Did you do a clay bar beforehand also?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You're a brave man to jump in the deep end with an orbital polisher for your first go. But you definitely did a good job, the car looks like it's putting off nice reflections.

Did you do a clay bar beforehand also?
I skipped the clay bar step..........got lazy. Maybe next time.
 

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That 320 wagon looks great ....!

Claying is a first step procedure (after a thorough wash!). It is used to remove any stuck on debris, trash, rail dust, overspray,etc. It provides a MUCH cleaner surface to work with even before the polishing.
 

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The OP came here and asked for advise. Members gave him great advice. He bought the wrong tool and obviously didn't spend much time reading detailing information that is all over the internet or watched youtube videos. Then he states the finished product (his car) looks better in the photos than in person. Also admitted he skipped an important preparation function (clay bar) as he was lazy. When I got serious about detailing I read and watched everything I could find. Been doing this the correct way for 15+ years and when I finish a car it will be right. Just an observation on my part.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The OP came here and asked for advice. Members gave him great advice. He bought the wrong tool and obviously didn't spend much time reading detailing information that is all over the internet or watched youtube videos. Then he states the finished product (his car) looks better in the photos than in person. Also admitted he skipped an important preparation function (clay bar) as he was lazy. When I got serious about detailing I read and watched everything I could find. Been doing this the correct way for 15+ years and when I finish a car it will be right. Just an observation on my part.
You're absolutely correct. Nothing beats experience and I will clay bar next time! I just got tired of working on this car for the last month and a half since I got it. I fixed everything, changed all fluids and did preventative replacement of wear items.

I did considered all of the advices given (really appreciated!) and did watch a lot of Youtube videos. I got the Dewalt single action buffer because of the high reviews. It does have a slow start and you can always offset the pad to have a "modified" DA. I didn't want to buy a DA just to replace it later. I see this as a long time investment/commitment down the road.

Maybe I was lucky or careful....... I didn't damage the clear coat or paint with the buffer. The paint looks better in the picture than in person because you can not see all the rock chips, scratches and blemishes on the 16 years old paint. Things that cannot be removed with any amount of clay barring or buffing! I did accomplish my goal of smoothing out the neglected clear coat and I will step it up one notch by clay barring next time 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
UPDATE:

I clayed the wagon and was a little disappointed. There was no real noticeable improvement over the buffing and waxing except on the left side of the hood. For some reason there was a lot of small black specks imbedded in the clear coat on that side. Don't know if they were there before or after the buffing was done about a month ago.

That said.........I also clayed my 1999 E320 and 2005 C230K. WOW! Big improvement here. The finish really "POPPED" Nice shine with really deep depth.

Claying will be a routine for me now when I wash my cars!

Thanks again for all the advice and comments.
 
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