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Fisish Restoration

2944 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Serg
This DIY project was finish restoration on a 19 year old Porsche 911 but my Range Rover was a victim in the process. Read & Learn.

1991 Range Rover SUV – White, no clear coat with lots of black trim, 174K miles, parked outside for last 8 years, minimal surface maintenance.

911 Porsche Cabriolet, 1985 – Platinum clear-coat, owned 13 years put on 133K miles, driven daily as commuter, garaged in San Jose, CA, no surface maintenance except rare wash, paint generally good except 100’s of nicks; Air dam, areas behind front/rear wheels severely damaged by stones

1997 Chevy Tahoe SUV – Black with clear coat, long scratches from bushes, swirl marks from Turtle Wax rubbing compound, 114K miles purchased with 36K in excellent surface condition, garaged, used daily.

1) orbital polisher with foam pad
2) dual head flood light with stand (optional unless painting, Sears $20)
3) garage
4) white terry towel (piles from health club)
5) old T-shirts for polish rags

1) Start reasonably clean with no bugs, tar, or wax
2) Wash / Clay in sections
3) Clean Paint
4) Touch-up paint (optional)
5) Wash / Clay again (optional if no touch-up)
6) Polish - shine
7) Glaze - shine
8) Wax - protect

Wash / Clay
Use automotive soap, not dish soap. I used two pans; one soapy, one clean each with their own sponge. Put Clay in soapy water and leave it there unless using. When water gets dirty renew it. Do one section at a time.

Sequence; soapy wash, clay while wet, soapy wash, clean water wipe, towel dry.

The Clay was amazing process, removing all surface contaminants. I got mine from but Mother’s off the shelf ($15) would get you started. Lubricant spray can be soapy water. See and

Clean Paint
First determine whether your paint is single stage or clear coat. Although not absolutely required, it is a good idea even if just doing the detail portion of this process. Finding the paint number is important if getting touch-up or spray paint. Consult owner’s manual or dealer. Most polishes are probably clear coat safe but check. See or

If you’re planning to paint, you need to know what is surface scuff in clear coat vs. paint nick. I used Meguiar’s #38 Dual Action Cleaner Polisher (DACP, $19 for 32oz, ordered through NAPA) with a rating of 6 (range 0-10). It is paintable, no silicon. It is not recommended for hand application.

Afterwards, do spot prep by hand use a rubbing compound such as 3M but make sure it is paintable (if painting) and intended for hand application & not machine. Turtle Wax rubbing compound was too abrasive. I used Mequair’s ScratchX ($9, bad idea not paint safe) which is really good stuff if let dry/buff but may have caused touch-up problems for paint.


I got small bottles of base paint/clear coat at Porsche ($15 for both) assuming it would be my reference. Also I ordered spray can from ($20 + shipping). Surprisingly the Porsche paint& clear coat did not match at all and the Levine spray was nearly perfect after SUV clear coat (DupliColor from Kragen). These are both lacquers, so automotive thinner was used, as was the primer as needed. Other items used were tooth picks, cotton swabs, 3M multi-pack of fine wet sand paper, tack cloth. Rubber eraser used as sanding block, as was, pencils with sandpaper dots glued to eraser. Swab nick with thinner before paint.

The metallic Porsche touch up never really worked right, I could cut it down with thinner/swab after five minutes or use rubbing compound after drying but both seemed to pull the gold out. Metallic is generally a pain anyhow. The shade matching was the REAL problem for Porsche paint. I am considering to re-do the touch up with the Levine spray. I found I could blend the Levine using the DACP compound after clear coat.

Interesting thing was the Porsche and Levine base looked similar (light gold), but the Porsche stayed the same while Levine darken under clear coat.

I removed panels from the 911 for spray paint; air dam, front bumper, behind rear wheels, under rocker panels, headlight rims, and driver side mirror. I consumed two cans of primer, one can Levine base coat, and 3.5 cans of clear coat. Of course sanding, washing, and wipe with thinner were done on all surfaces to be painted. I even used clay for surface cleaning before/after spray. Wipe base coat with tack cloth before clear coat. Two coats primer, two coats base, 3+ clear coat.

Spray painting; only two things. Paint edges or hard to get surfaces first then fill in. Light coat first, then heavier but must “flow” without dripping on final coat.

I set up mini paint shop using large cardboard box and the floodlights. Monitored temperature to be 70-90F, warmed spray can in 100F+ microwaved water. Avoid rainy days.

I waited 48 hours to polish (per instructions), and in case of painted bumper I sanded with 1000 grit to level. I’m curing large areas for 30 days before wax.

Orbital Polisher

I got a Porter& Cable (PC) 333 buffer from Sears ($60 + pads $7; one foam, one wool). This is orbital as opposed to rotary. It’s ‘almost’ fail safe. Rotaries can be quite dangerous to paint but also quite effective at leveling the paint. I decided to repeat the process rather than take risk. This tool has anti-spin control, I don’t know about others allowing to start/stop off the surface.

The 333VS has variable speed but I used the 333 with light dimmer to adjust speed. Sears also had branded ones with variable speed at same price as the PC but the dust collection compartment was a bag and the PC was hard plastic & useful as handle (had to put two screws in). Pep Boys may have some other low cost orbitals.

See: for tutorials on using 7424 pro tool ($130 +accessories). See for pads.

Cleaner/Polish Application

I worked in sections, starting at rear quarter panel behind driver and worked around the vehicles counter clockwise. This has you finishing at the drivers door.

I used terry, foam-filled pads to apply the polish to the complete section that I was working. I did not put it on the buffer pad but rather as an even coat directly on the surface. I was going for consistency. Store all pads in plastic baggies once dry. I marked one as CC (clear coat) and one RR (white, single stage paint) to prevent cross contamination.


Start with heavier abrasiveness and move lighter as you move through the process. I tried to limit my chemicals to specific purpose and avoid multi-step items (such as clean/wax).

The DACP looked like a fairly heavy abrasive for a beginner but isn’t as I am using orbital buffer. I used the DACP for the Paint Clean and Polish since these vehicles really needed it. Always read instructions; work wet then remove ( I allowed some setting time but not let dry).

Probably will try the wool pad as a heavy cut process with the DACP next time I re-wax.


Glaze is a finer polish with perhaps a filler. I read it is waste of time by hand. I used Mequiar’s Show Car Glaze (paintable, $9) since I had to fix swirls on Tahoe’s black clear coat (worst combo). This is probably not the ‘best’ glaze to use here but it’s what I got. Always read instructions; work wet then remove (I allowed some setting time but not sufficient to dry).

I did overlay sections; polish section then glaze previous, remove polish then glaze, remove previous glaze…did same with waxing process (except final coats on Porsche dried overnight). I would not overlay clean/polish with wax process when using single foam pad.


I did a two step process. First step was a liquid Carnauba wax with orbital buffer, foam pad. I could use the same foam pad for all steps other than final wax. Applied it, buffed it with orbital, let dry completely, remove with terry cloth. Use one towel for each process (clean/polish and wax). This step was intended to really bond the Carnauba wax to the clear coat (or paint). I selected Kit Carnauba Car Wax ($4) and found it had “micropolishing agents” after reading back label carefully. I never reconciled this with the use of the Glaze but the result were very good.

The second step was paste wax. I looked for a pure Carnauba wax and selected Meguiar’s Gold Class Paste Wax($10). It has a nice foam applicator in the can. This is good since it is greasy and I did not want to gum up my only orbital foam pad. This wax was applied by hand and removed with terry cloth. I suspect this is not 100% ‘pure’ wax and would consider Meq. #16 or Mothers wax (there are many others…S100 looks good).


These vehicles were neglected but in reasonable shape. My intent was NOT to make my process perfect or get perfect results; 80% would do. Apparently wax lasts no more than 90 days so I will re-do process then.

I am considering replacing the Polish with Menzerna Intensive Polish (IP, 6/10) and Final Polish (FP, 3/10 rating) and incorporating Klasse All-In-One (AIO). See and Klasse is a chemical, light cleaner/polish as opposed to abrasive and leaves acrylic finish (not good for painting). I’m considering this sequence for next time; DACP, IP, FP, AIO, and paste wax. I’ll also research more on foam pads before doing this.

Longer term I would consider a polymer sealant, like Klasse Selant Glaze (SG) or Four Star Ultimate Paint Protection (UPP) in up to three layers but want to go through the clean/polish sequence more frequently using wax first.

Convertible Top
I used RaggTop Cleaner/Protector combo from as it is the only recommended by HAARTZ Corp., the producer of most canvas tops. Washed twice with cleaner then once over with carpet vacuum using water. Don’t dry with terry, too much lint.

Mequiar PlastiX to polish rear vinyl window and dash instruments, followed by Aerospace 303 UV protection (SPF40) on window which was also used on top of dash.

I used Blue Magic Wheel/Mag Cleaner spray (had it, $5). Add toothbrush and brake dust melts away. For lasting shine I used Meguiar’s ‘High Gloss’ Endurance Tire Gel ($7) but was too shiny on tires so I wiped down to dull. Removed wheels to do touch-up and clean/polish (StrachX) paint around lug nuts. Turtle’s red Rubbing Compound worked well on brushed aluminum portion of rims.

Exterior Trim
I used Blue Magic Wheel/Mag. spray (onto toothbrush) to clean out cracks filled with dirt or wax and on all trim. Toothbrush in, wipe off with damp sponge, and towel dry … has no effect on wax surface. I hate wax residue in black trim.

Protect rubber trim after cleaning with Tire Gel, liked it shiny.

Tip: by a bag of foam cosmetic wedges ($3) for trim work.

Sun faded black plastic (not smooth finish) was stained with Kiwi Black Leather Dye (glass bottle, $4) and finished with tire gel. This process won’t likely have good effect on flat plastic. Black Again and Poorboy trim restorers look good for this, but I’ve not tried.

Plan to use Klasse AIO on black painted trim such as around windows and bumper on Range Rover.

Black mirrors housings: TBD

AIO can be used as window polish. Stoner’s Invisible Glass looks like the best spray cleaner.

See , will try this on Tahoe as it is BAD.

Range Rover paint clean was Turtle Swirl Remover, not DACP, then touch up with BMW white paint (had it). I didn’t cut back the touch-up since it is single stage paint and polishing would level it over time. Results; Very shiny but could see random ripples (normal crinkles) in paint which need leveling next time with DACP.

Black Tahoe had major swirls from previous scratch removal with Turtle Rubbing Compound. Removed swirls with ScratchX and used Turtle Swirl Remover over it. Again, very shiny but paint could use leveling. Paint looked good under shop light but fine spider webbing under sun light.

Porsche paint was nearly leveled but needs either heavier cutting pad or compound or possible rotary buffing. I could see level areas where I wet sanded with 1000grit. It was fairly close though and maybe next time around it would be really good. Nice, deep glossy appearance achieved and met expectation. Some Porsche touch-up paint will be redone in critical areas with spray next round.

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HOLY COW!! That's some write up! I second, they are great.

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