S2000 Paint Correction

I finally got around to doing the paint correction on the S2000. Ive wanted to do this ever since I got the car, as there is a lot of particulate on the paint that needs to be removed. The paint is probably overall in about 7/10 condition, but needs a little attention to really shine once again. I doubt the previous owner ever clay barred the car in the 17 years of ownership.

In total, I put about 20 hours worth of work into the paint… yes, 20 hours… working pretty much every evening for 2-4 hours once my daughter was down for bed.

I started off by washing the entire painted exterior with dish soap and water.

In this picture, you can see how the water no longer beads up on the fender (left) compared to the door (right). This is how you want the surface prior to clay bar.

I am using Adam’s Polishes Visco Clay Bar. This is my first time using it. And i liked it. It was soft and maleable once it heated up, and seemed to make a quick job of removing the surface buildup. It also comes with a geoimpression tool that makes it easier to hold. Of course, you do not want to drop the bar on the ground for the risk of picking up rocks or other hard dirt.

Once the clay bar was done, I took some “before” pictures of the surface.

The paint finish is already so much smoother, and it already has really good reflection. So some swirl correction should do nicely.

I used 3 compounds and 3 different foam pads for the swirl correction. Some areas and scratches probably could use a wool or microfiber pad, but being that Im a beginner, I needed something that was a little more forgiving.

At the start, i separately masked off and ran through all 3 compounds for the hood, fenders, and front bumper. That took forever, and I didnt feel that it really helped all that much. So for the rest of the car, I moved panel by panel one compound at a time. Heavy compound, then the correcting polish, then the finishing polish. It went a little faster this way, but it was still grueling and my back is totally shot.

So after I *thought* that I was done polishing, my friend told me that I had holograms and needed to re-polish the car to get rid of them. FML. In my haste to wrap things up, i rushed the polishing stage and left myself with a problem and additional work. Lesson learned.

These blue streaks that reflect off of the light are holograms.

This is what it should look like. This is a panel after I fixed it.

Life lesson: if you dont have time to do it right the first time… when are you going to find time to do it again? – Coach Colucci

I made several mistakes that led to the holograms.

  • Polisher speed set too high
  • Not enough polish
  • Moving too fast

So I adjusted the polisher down to speed 4, moved slowly, and made sure to keep the pad and the paint surface wet (and worked in tighter 2×2 sections).

Right side before re-polishing.

Left side after re-polishing.

I also corrected the windshield surround with my 3″ pads.

Once the entire car was re-polished. I moved on to the protection. For this, I chose the Ceramic Spray System from Adams Polishes.

This is, I suppose, a poor man’s ceramic coating. Its extremely easy to apply and yields about 8 months worth of protection.

First you wipe down the entire car with the prep spray, which is an isopropyl alcohol mixture.

Then you apply the spray coating to a microfiber sponge or cloth, and wipe down the entire car. You let it set for 1-2 minutes, then buff it off with a soft microfiber towel. The coating turns rainbow colored once its ready to be removed.

After about 20 hours worth of work to get to this point, I am EXTREMELY happy with the results.

Wheels washed and rotated. The tire wear looks perfectly even on all tires. Great sign!

Used some Adam’s VRT for coating the plastic/rubber trim, and some Aerospace 303 Protectant for the softtop.

First pic is before.

for the final step of protection on the paint, I chose Adams liquid ceramic wax. It contains 30% sio2, should protect the coating and give the paint even more depth and reflection than it has now.

More to come on the ceramic wax. Its too humid to do it now.

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