I am looking for a good car buffer/polisher. Is there any brand in specific I should go with? Design? Power? I went to Kragen today, they had 3 different models ranging from $39 to $59 (I can't recall the brand).
I really don't want to use all my energy doing everything manually. I have two cars to work on:
1st car has major oxidation
2nd car hasn't been waxed for 2 years
Note: My GS is done by hand only
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If it is in your budget, there is a Porter Cable random orbital that is really the best thing out there but it is the better part of $200. If you do a search, you will find several discussions on polishers and the Porter Cable and some lower cost places to purchase on line. I got mine, like Mean Gene, at Griot but the complete kit is a little over $200 from Griot. This is really the best tool out there. It will do virtually anything on the car and is benevolent enough for us amateurs to use and not damage things unless you really get carried and away and don't watch what you are doing. Like I said, there are quite a few threads where this was discussed in detail that should be turned up without too much difficulty.
Fast - The Velcro just makes changing the pads faster ( U'll want to get different ones for each of the polishing or wax products ( to keep from contaminating the previous one - U wouldn't want to polish with an abrasive polish & then apply wax with the same pad ). Some of the Members found the same polisher at Home Depot for less than Griot wants so look there or at your local do-it-yourself home superstore. BTW - it's the Porter Cable model #7336. If U've never buffed/polished a car then consider using Griot's products ( even if ya don't get the polisher from them ). They're EZ & relatively foolproof ( even Gene-proof!! :eek: ). www.griotsgarage.com
Hope you don't mind me butting in here guys, but seeing as how I do it for a living I thought I'd throw in a couple things.
The Porter cable D/A IS a great tool. It's regarded as the best random orbit polisher. Just remember, it's best used as a wax applier, or to apply swirl remover type polishes . For serious oxidation and compounding, it just dosen't generate enough focused heat in one spot to effectively "cut' paint very well. You would need a rotary buffer for that, as the cutting type compounds made by 3M etc. are engineered for the heat/friction of a rotary, and that can be a dangerous tool for the uninitiated. A rotary is the choce for a pro, and there's not much you can't do with it if you're skilled and have a working knowledge of the correct pads and compounds. DeWalt , Black& Decker, Makita among others make very good ones with variable speed.
You really can't hurt your paint too easily with the orbital, but just remember it won't work well for EVERYTHING, but for the weekend polisher that wants a faster way to do basic stuff it's super. Just wanted you to know as you may be disappointed in an orbital if you've got to really de-oxidize paint well. It's more for finishing type work. Cheers.
Guitarman - The pros I have seen have the rotary polishers but a weekend warrior would be ill advised to get one of those things. I have seen guys starting out in the detailing business ruin paint jobs until they get the skill. It is an expensive and time consuming process which is why the guys that are good are worth what they charge. I understand your comment about the PC possibly not generating as much action as a pro rotary but I think the biggest thing you are affecting is time. A pro needs to go fast for billable hours. I am the other way around with the PC. In all honesty, I haven't found many detailers that are very good and I feel better using the PC if I have to myself. The gentleman who taught me more than I will ever appreciate about detailing passed away a few years ago and I haven't found anyone else around here that came up to his caliber. Years ago, got to meet Ronnie Lott, my wife loved the wheels on his black Rabbit at that time and even Joe Montana (having his Testarossa detailed) at this guys shop and he was a pro. For me, one of the attractive features of the PC is that it is difficult, but not impossible, to screw up your paint job. It might be a little slower but I haven't found anything it won't do, even heavy oxidation. It might just take longer and like Mean Gene says, the Griot polishes seem to be specifically formulated for use with the PC, are very good and reasonably safe. So, while I respect the pros, I am comfortable not using their equipment, I don't have the skills and think the PC is a great alternative for the DIYer.
fasthuh - If you have something you can practice on, it would be worth it. I never got points for speed, slower is better. The Griot polishes are pretty good, if you get them they come in three grades, I always start with the finest grade. The PC is a very good unit although hanging on to it gets a little tough the older you get. I also tape up things like sprayer nozzles and trim just to keep from buggering them up with compound. Doesn't seem like I do a section larger than a foot and a half square or so, at a time. Have a good time.
I did it! PC works great, you guys were right about it being idiot-proof. I worked on a black 91 Camry which hasn't been waxed for over 5 years, wow, it's black again! Thanks!
The job is not done however, I just used the one pad that came with kit, I started it off with the 3M Swirl Mark Remover, it worked great on the sides of the car, but I can't get the hood, roof, and trunk to smooth out right, there are tiny bumps (But looks shinny).
Do you have any suggestions on what and where (better locally) to purchase a more abrasive pad? and how many pads should I get?
fasthuh - Pads aren't abrasive, the compound you put on them is. Griot sells a couple of different pads with different thickness and stiffness in the foam but it is the compound that does the cutting. I am not sure what the bumps are but my experience is that a polisher doesn't help around bumps. In fact, it can make it worse generating a "halo" around the bump as the pad lifts over it and leaves a small unpolished area. If it is something that has to be sanded off, then it has to be sanded off, and possibly resprayed. Hard to say without seeing it but polishing really works on things that are smooth to begin with. That's why you sand before you polish if it is a fresh paint job. Griot has three grades of compounds for use with the PC. Don't know how they compare to the 3M material but chances are that a swirl remover is a fairly fine compound. Good luck.
Hey, one of the best investments I have made . I got it at Lowes for $109, it came with 1 sander backing plate and 1 polishing pad. You will need to get different pads for sure, after working on 2 cars, the polishing pad is starting to shed. I have loooooked all over shops around but it looks like I will need to order it from Griots or Classic, they sell those cool velcro backing pads, trust me you'll need it.