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Old 09-09-2008, 09:27 PM   #1
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New Audi TTS preparation...

Righto then – here we go again! (I say again because of this:

The new TTS was brought steadily home to Devon from Manchester after a Dealer PDI which included only the removal of the transport film and no valet - a few horror stories and the fact that I love this aspect of ownership means I’d rather handle the prep and protection myself. Lifeshine sir? Not for me thanks

The Motorways were awash with water and a half mile stretch one of my favourite roads nearer home was plastered in clay / mud The following morning revealed this then:

First up, I blasted the heaviest of the mud and sh1t off the lower half of the car and arches with a pressure washer and then did a pre-wash soak using the Glimour Foamaster gun with a Poorboys Slick n Suds / Snow Foam mix. This was left to dwell over a cup of tea and was then rinsed off with the Karcher

There was some gluey residue left from the edges of the transport coverings:

and a film of grime on the rear quarter area which remains uncovered by the protective covering:

so the whole car was sprayed with a 4:1 dilution of Meguiars All Purpose Cleaner – that’s weak enough yet firm enough for new car prep but wouldn’t be used for regular washing. The arches and wheels were also liberally sprayed with the same solution:

There then followed a hand wash using Chemical Guys Citrus Wash / Poorboys Slick n Suds shampoo via Lambswool Wash Mitt / Microfibre Mitt / EZ Detail Wheel Brush utilising the ‘Two Bucket Method’:

Explanation of that approach: Working from the roof down, load a mitt with lots of suds, wash in straight lines front to back and then rinse the mitt off in the clean water bucket which has a grit guard the bottom. This method removes the dirt from your car, traps it in the rinse bucket and you then start afresh with a clean mitt back into the suds bucket which prevents you constantly dragging grit particles back over your paintwork

All was rinsed again with the Karcher before turning to the Clay Bar to remove contaminants from all surfaces – including the glass. This would also finish off any remaining gluey residue. As is the golden rule, this was very well lubed but it did leave some micro marring (very fine scratches in the surface). These will be easily polished out, but if you’ve not got or don’t ever want to get an orbital polishing machine, then I’d be inclined to substitute the Clay Bar for a specific cleaning fluid (such as a heavy duty Traffic Film Remover) applied and removed with microfibre cloths, followed by the specific paint cleansing stage (more on this later)

Another wash, rinse and microfibre towel dry followed to leave:

With the day running out and weather turning bad, I turned my attention to the wheel arches. I like to prep these with a product as this should help make subsequent cleaning a little easier with a well aimed pressure washer

Each wheel was removed and the backs of the alloys washed (the EZ Detail Brush is so good that there was hardly anything left to clean!). A scrub around the arches, wings and suspension etc was done with the old microfibre mitt (always save your good mitt for exclusive use on the top two thirds of your bodywork!) before being dried off with a drying towel. I liberally sprayed Autoglym Vinyl and Rubber Care all around the arches, linings and parts and wiped off with an old microfibre cloth to leave everything nicely covered (but not the brake discs of course!):

As evening came, the sun broke through. The car was looking great, but when catching the light just right (or wrong depending on your point of view!), it became clear that the clay bar stage had left considerable marring… I was not best pleased I’d followed the prceedure to the letter – soft Poly Clay, loads of lube, plenty of folding and no dropping it on the floor. Seeing this has really left mixed feelings about that stage…

For sure it would have cleaned the surface, drawn out contaminants and looked great as you can see from above, but when catching the sunlight, the paint was looking well beaten up My only conclusion here is that if you’re claying, you will need to do some corrective work with a machine polisher afterwards

I’d been toying with getting a Meguiars G220 Polishing Machine for a while, this forced my hand and the order was placed that night… along with a few other goodies!

Day two brought rain, but it cleared mid-afternoon so it was off with the wheels again to get them protected. First up was an acrylic base coat of Klasse All In One – good stuff this as it cleaned off any remaining glue residue as well preparing the surface for a designated wax / sealant

Following that came three layers of Chemical Guys Wheel Guard – it smells almost good enough to eat! This gets applied with a microfibre covered sponge to all areas of the wheel front and back – nothing is left uncovered (except the tyre of course!) and then buffed with a microfibre cloth when dry. I worked on two wheels at a time as this gives chance for one to cure whilst applying the wax to the other. Even the funky centres / wheel nut covers got three coats!

This is a pretty laborious process in truth… but recalling how easily my Turbines were to clean after the same prep made it worthwhile persevering. Those alloys were indeed a simpler shape, but I was always taken aback just how easily brake dust etc was washed away every time. After 7 months and 4.5k miles, those wheels were still absolutely spotless – not a baked on mark in sight

The tyres were finished off with an application of Chemical Guys New Look Trim Gel via a specially shaped foam pad

Day three started with the arrival of the Megs 220 and assorted bits and pieces so with overcast but dry conditions, I gave the car another wash to remove dust and bits before cracking into the machine polishing stage. I’d literally just finished drying off the final door shut when the heavens opened With my garage barely big enough for the car, I needed workspace under cover and quickly, as this would take forever otherwise. A quick call later…

…sorted The last time I was in there was a month ago on a stage at the far end rocking 750 people at a big Charity Ball – great night that one!

I loaded the kit in the van and headed over after tea to start correcting the paintwork. Under the inspection lights, the level of marring was made clearer:

The Megs G220 is an easy machine to use and well recommended. It’s safer than a rotary machine for non-experts (trust me, I don't count myself as one of them yet!), but it will consequently require more work to get the same level of results. I tried a mix of cutting pads and compounds on the rear wing, working up from softer pads and lighter compound, but even the strongest pairing I had available (Sonus SFX-1 pad and Menzerna RD3.02) wasn’t making a massive impression. This will be the difference in action between a pro rotary machine and Megs G220… oh, that and the hard VAG paint!

Still, I worked it a few times and eventually got this:

Better! There were admittedly a few deeper marks which remained, but with this being my first proper attempt at correction and obviously somewhat cautious about my new pride and joy, I decided to remain at that level for now. The hardest part in this polishing lark is buffing off the polish as you go to check progress – it’s just a ***** and I suspect the cool night and moist atmosphere wasn’t making this any easier

I went round the whole car (including the lights) and the difference was amazing and of course, relieving! At 12:30am I had another burst of enthusiasm so I went over it all again to refine the finish with a Sonus SFX-2 pad and Menzerna 85RD. Lovely

At 2:30am and with the car corrected, I headed home

The fourth day commenced at around 11.00am but I was somewhat disappointed that an order of Zaino kit hadn’t shown up. With this now being the weekend, there was no chance of it now either but I wasn’t going to let this drag on and on as the car wouldn’t be going anywhere without decent protection, so I stuck with the Chemical Guys gear I got for my 2.0T 11 months ago

First job was a full wipe down with 50/50 IPA / distilled water solution sprayed on and taken off with a microfibre pad – this cleaned the surface of any remaining polish residue before I turned to the Chemical Guys EZ Crème Acrylic Glaze to add some extra depth and prepare the surface for a decent wax. I did all the intricate parts and tricky places with a German Foam Applicator Pad (including all the door / boot shuts and under the spoiler!) and then applied Glaze to the rest of the car with a Sonus SFX-3 Glazing pad on the Megs G220 at slow speed. This doesn’t need working like a polish and is an absolute joy to use and so simple to take off with microfibre cloth – very rewarding! Only one layer needed

Chemical Guys 5050 wax paste was the last stage protection used and like the Glaze before it, was a pleasure to work with – just as well because three layers will be going on. I applied this sparingly but thoroughly by hand using the red side of a German Foam Applicator Pad (again, including all the door shuts, the mirror housings and even all the paintwork under the bonnet!) and then allowed it to cure whilst beginning work on the inside

Aerospace 303 Protectant is always my choice for the interior as it cleans and protects very nicely without leaving any sticky or sickly gloss gunk on everything. This was applied to all the plastics and rubbers by using a microfibre cloth with the 303 sprayed on to it. This approach saves it squirting all it over the leather and glass where you really don’t want it. The cloth then becomes nice and damp over a little time and you can easily get the stuff wherever you want it I did every bit of black plastic in sight… yep, even the vanity mirror covers and the inner surround of the back window

The wax was then buffed off with a plush microfibre cloth and a second layer applied (main body only this time, not the shuts or under the bonnet… what do you think I am, daft or something..? ). Whilst this was curing the engine bay, front grille and rear diffuser were dressed with 303 Protectant

With the need to head off to work rapidly approaching, the second layer of wax was buffed off followed by a quick tidy up

The final day brought the third layer of 5050 wax which was applied as normal and then left to cure whilst I set about removing the masking tape from the window seal and started on the glass. I’ve used Autoglym Glass Polish in the past and that does a nice job, but I wanted to try the Carlack Glass Sealing kit. This is a two stage process with two different bottles of product. The cleaner was easy to apply with a small Meguiars Foam Applicator worked in circles and left to haze before removing with yet another microfibre cloth. All the mirrors were treated too… even the ones in the sun visors!

The Sealant is rather more fussy requiring a dry paper towel for application and removal by a dampened cloth (I used distilled water as it was there for the IPA wipe down). This seemed to be somewhat patchy on removal - i.e. some areas appeared well sealed and others not, but not that you can tell when done - so we’ll see how this pans out. The glass was certainly shiny though!

Had to stop at 1:15pm to take the lad to footy, but I did get all the glass done and the final coat of wax buffed off before disappearing

Returning later, all that was left was to treat the leather and the exhaust tips. Being new, the leather didn’t need any cleaning, but Gliptone Liquid Leather Conditioner was applied to all the leather including the gear stick boot, instrument housing and steering wheel. The tips weren’t in need of a polish, but I stuck a few coats of wheel guard on them to see if this does anything! That stuff will withstand higher temperatures than a normal wax, whether it’s man enough to last on exhaust tips is another matter of course, but we’ll see

All that remained then was a final wipe around with the 303 dampened cloth on all plastics and door rubbers, a small detailing brush was used to remove dust from crevices and another application of Trim Gel to the tyres before buffing dust and any polish splatter off the wheels

And that, as they say, is that

It looks stunning. There is genuine depth to the paint and the end result has rewarded my efforts by the bucket load! I always loved the metallic Ice Silver on my 2.0T, but as with most light colours, you can spend hours on the finish and it only ever looks clean – really sparkly clean granted, but not the pool of colour you feel you can almost reach into with deeper colours. That was one aspect I was looking forward to when speccing Red as the colour… it’s definitely working!

A few shots showing the LED Interior Lighting Pack - it's not quite as bright as the photos suggest, but is damned cool

Yes it will get ****e all over in no time at all, but that’s not the point of all of this. The point is that my car has had the start in life at a level to which no Dealership prep will deliver in a couple hours. It's done properly with no defects thrown in for free and it will make subsequent maintenance so much easier

Indeed anyone could wash a car in an hour and say ‘there, it’s clean’. It may well be clean, but not stunningly so. The fact is that with decent kit and good technique, that high level of finish can be returned well inside two hours with consummate ease. It’s a lot of effort to begin with granted, but it pays off in the long run

Fire up the quattro!
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:35 PM   #2
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Love the pictures, looks stunning mate
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:37 PM   #3
Mark M
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Great work and pics sir, enjoy
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:41 PM   #4
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a very nice effort there, nice car the red looks bright and full of depth
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:44 PM   #5
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Cracking job, car looks ace. Really good picks.
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:55 PM   #6
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Well worth all the time and effort

That red just glows, beautifully.
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:00 PM   #7
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Looks stuning, excellent pics and write up well done sir.
Red and Black you cant beat them for showing the results of your efforts
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:03 PM   #8
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your hard work has paid off, nice one

I like the new TT but the TTS is just lush !!
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:09 PM   #9
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Awesome job there fella

Great shots, cracking work and stunning car. Got to drive a TTS around Goodwood racing circuit a couple of months ago and I really liked it, might even look at changing to one oneday when I get bored of life in the vtec
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:15 PM   #10
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Fantastic work. The colour looks so deep & lush. Nice detailing bay as well.
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