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 Post subject: DIY Ceramic Coating Test
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 12:56 pm 
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Year and Trim: 2003 SSEi
I’ve been following a couple threads by 95naSTA and Mattstrike and feeling mighty low about my lame attempts at accomplishing things. In my defense I have a lot going on and several projects in various stages of progress (none are fun extracurricular projects like the 57 Chevy). Since my cobblestone patio got put on hold while the fire-rock is getting built, I decided to take Saturday off of yard construction and actually finish putting the ceramic coating on the SSEi.

I decided to test out a DIY ceramic coating to see if they are what the purveyors of said coatings they say they are. So I purchased a kit of Armor Shield IX from Avalon King. It was about $70 for a little bottle. I got a 25% discount from a youtuber and when I placed the order Avalon King offered me a second kit for $25. I couldn’t pass it up so I bit on the additional kit. I plan on doing all my cars if this stuff checks out legit.

I started the process just about the time the world went in to COVID lock-down. I didn’t need to drive the Bonneville so it became a hangar queen for a while. The paint was still glossy, but you could see micro “spider webs” when the light hit it just right. It needed paint correction, bad.

First thing to say about the DIY coating kit is that this is a coating or protectant, not a polish or wax. The sooner you understand this, the quicker things will make sense. I’ll get to that point later. While the ceramic coating will add some gloss to the car, it will not perk up sad paint. You have to make the paint shine before you put on the coating.

To that end the first thing I did was wash the car with dishwashing liquid. This strips off the old wax (not that his poor car had much on it) and helps remove any grease or oils from the surface. Professionals don’t recommend using dishwashing soap, but it’s alright for this purpose. If there is any tar, bug juice, or other contaminants on the paint, use a bug & tar remover to clean that stuff off. I was lucky enough that the Dawn cleaned my car well enough.

The second thing to do is hit the car with a clay bar (I used Meguiars D2000). If you’ve never used one it’s pretty easy to do, just takes a little time. The clay will pull contaminates out of the paint and leave a nice, smooth surface. It’s pretty cool stuff.

After I clayed the car, I proceeded with paint correction. To do this I broke out my 2-year old brand new never been used but I always intended to use some day Harbor Freight 6” Dual Action polisher. I used some Meguiars D300 compound and a 5” backing plate and a 5” microfiber cutting disc from a Meguiars DMCKIT5 paint correction kit ($74). The results were astounding. I’m a nincompoop and even I couldn’t mess this up. Even my wife couldn’t believe the difference. This step took the longest time and dragged out for a few weeks. I just did a little at a time as I had time to do it. If your paint is primo already you can skip this step. My wife’s Civic has good paint, but I’ll likely hit it with a polish disc and compound before I coat it.

After the paint correction was done, I could have got after it with a polish & disc, but I was satisfied enough with the cutting and this is a daily driver, and I wanted to get the ceramic on it. So Saturday morning while it was cool and the driveway was shaded, I pulled the car out and gave it a final wash with dish detergent using the “2 bucket method” and softened house water. (We have very hard water here with a lot of alkali and minerals). The 2 bucket method is just using one bucket for the soap, and one bucket to rinse the microfiber wash mitt in before dipping into the soap bucket. Then I dried it using a few Kirkland yellow microfiber towels. Make sure to rip the tags off the towels, they will scratch the paint.

I let the car dry for a couple hours, then mixed a solution of 50% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) with water and wiped every inch of the paint with a microfiber towel dipped in the alcohol and dried it with a fresh towel as I went along. (If you don’t happen to have any IPA on hand, good luck. The COVID hoarders, in addition to TP, bottled water, paper towels, eggs, and dried beans, have managed to clear the shelves of IPA as well). This ensures there is nothing left on the paint to prevent the ceramic coating from sticking.

Now to the fun part, applying the coating. This is where understanding it’s a coating comes into play. You don’t rub this stuff in like you would a wax. You merely wipe it on, as if you were wiping on a layer of very thin paint that has the viscosity of water. I did it just like they said in the instructions and several videos I watched. Wipe it on side to side then up & down to make sure you don’t miss a spot, let it dry for about a minute or so, then wipe it with a clean microfiber towel. This wiping is just to even out the coating, not to buff it. You have to look at the surface at an angle; if you see any “smudges” you lightly wipe them out. Ya just do a small section at a time, not the whole car at once. It maybe took me an hour or so to actually apply the coating. It was very easy. One coat on the Bonneville used up only about ½ a bottle of Armor Shield IX. I decided to only do one coat because I want to test its endurance. If it lasts through the summer I’ll be quite pleased, but it allegedly can last about 3 years.

After applying the coating I pulled the car out into the sun to help it cure. I have to tell you it literally hurt my eyes to look at it in the bright sunlight. The gloss in the paint is pretty impressive. Time will tell how long the ceramic coating lasts, but at this point I’m pretty impressed.

Pictures really don’t do the car justice.

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The gloss can really be seen on the deck lid in this pic. At the right angles the entire car looks like this.
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A shot at the driver’s door panel of me failing miserably at that Spock thing.
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 4:23 pm 
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That looks awesome. Especially the pics of the rear of the car where the sun doesn't have the right angle to distort the white balance.

I appreciate the detail on detail related stuff too since my knowledge and experience on that is pretty limited.

When you described the application process, I was like.. wait a minute.. That's familiar.. I actually used a ceramic coating (Optimum gloss coat) to seal the polished forks on my DS7 a couple years ago with good results. This is season #3 and they're still in good shape.

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97 BMW 528i
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 8:10 pm 
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None of my cars have nice enough paint to try this. Well, one does, but it's still hibernating in the garage. And my Sabre has nice enough paint that I could try it on that.

It looks really good from where I'm sitting.

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The Fleet:
'93 SSEi - Twincharged + manual Build thread
'97 Camaro - Top swap
'05 STS - V8, AWD, her DD
'92 Trofeo - Fair weather DD
'84 Sierra Classic - Twin turbo 3800
'97 LeSabre - Top swap
'99 Montana - top swap 3800

Current project:
upkeep on K2500 and 97 LeSabre

Upcoming projects:
'92 Bonneville SSE
'87 LeSabre T-type
'67 LeSabre

RIP:
'86 LeSabre - pictures
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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 10:20 am 
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I think Optimum was on the list of candidates for ceramic coatings. Armor Shield has a cool silver bottle, so I went with that. :) Your paint needs to be salvageable if you're going to put this kind of time and money into the project. (I wouldn't do this on the 88 Accord!). My Bonneville has chips, door nicks, scrapes - all the stuff a 17 year old daily driver with almost 200k on the clock has. But it's been garaged all it's life so the paint isn't faded, just full of micro scratches.

Interesting event occurred yesterday afternoon. I was in the basement when I heard the wind pick up and I saw dirt & dust flying around outside. I had windows open upstairs earlier so I ran up to check the windows - they were closed. I looked outside and visibility was about 10' and the air was solid brown. That's when I remembered the garage door behind the SSEi was wide open. Crap. By the time I got it closed, the damage was done. Pretty much the entire garage was coated in a layer of dirt. Cars, floor, workbench, toolbox, you name it. After the microburst passed, I opened the back door and two front garage doors to let the remaining wind blow through. Got out the leaf blower and was able to get the majority of dirt to exit. There were a few raindrops in the microburst and they found their way onto the Bonneville, so now it has some sweet brown spots on it. :banghead: I still have a few days before the coating is completely cured and I can wash it. We'll see how it looks after.

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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 3:32 pm 
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Ahhh. Man. That blows.

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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
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02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
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Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 5:12 pm 
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95naSTA wrote:
Ahhh. Man. That blows.
Proud of yourself on that one, eh? :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 5:28 pm 
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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy (RIP)
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 12:32 pm 
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So after 7 days of "curing" I finally washed the car. It had plenty of dust and dirt on it from the microburst, so I was dying to clean it. Got the hose out and set my phone to take a video of the hydrophobicity of the coating as I sprayed it off. After I was done hosing the car (that's all I did was hosing, no scrubbing or soap) I went to look at the 15 second video I took. Turns out I got zero washing footage and about 30 minutes of the inside of my pocket. #-o It wasn't very interesting so I elected not to post it here.

The car came out pretty clean with just hosing, so I was happy about that - keeping in mind it pretty much just sat there so it didn't have any bugs on it.

FYI, there's enough product in that little chrome bottle to put one coat on a 2003 Bonneville and 2 coats on a 2018 Civic, with a little left over. The coating itself is a breeze to apply, the preparation - wash, clay bar, polish/correct, IPA wipe - is a pain in the wahzoo, but if it lasts like they claim, it will be worth it. We'll see how the single coat on the SSEi holds up vs two coats on the Si.

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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 1:45 pm 
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That's cool. At least the dust came right off w/out issue. I would be curious if you could actually monitor the hydrophobicity by taking pics in one area over time.

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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy (RIP)
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 10:54 am 
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Hmmm. I shall ponder that suggestion. Next time I wash the SSEi I'll try to remember to take a picture of the water beading. The trick will be to take the same picture every time. Actually, the real trick will be me remembering to take the pic... :roll:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:37 am 
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I used the armor shield 9 on the gto about a month ago. This stuff is great, most of the time I just hose off the car and then dry it with the leaf blower

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:29 am 
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Agreed. The product application is actually a breeze. The prep work to get the paint to shine is what gets ya. Do that right, though, and the results are impressive.

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