Sunday, October 30, 2005

Popping Unlimited

I'm not too good in capturing macro photos, but I managed to capture the look of solvent popping on the paintwork of the Accord. Notice the tiny shiny spots...

Also, from Sherwin William's website, I managed to find a good image which depicts how the pinholes/bubbles are formed.

Best thing to do is to wait for a certain period so that the solvent is completely evaporated. At the same time, practice more on rotary polishing. what I need.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Dare to Buff

Weather had been quite bad lately and yesterday was the worst. After a thorough wash I proceed with clay on the bonnet. Unfortunately, I guess the clay picked up some dirt and it scratched the surface. Without waiting any further, I pulled out the rotary buffer and applied M80 with W-8006. Within seconds, those scratches are gone but some paint defects were still there. By going more aggressive, I applied M83 with W-8006 for a few passes and most of the paint defects were gone. To remove some buffer swirls, I applied M80 with W-8006 using a DA, 90% were gone. To make the finish clearer, I applied M82 with W-9006. Lastly, I topped it up with M21 using DA. Left for 20 minutes, I buffed away with UW. It took me about 3 hours just on the bonnet. However, this is just a practice session and I spend alot of time to observe the finish after each pass of product using my Inova T2.


Reflection of the light

The 3 brothers involved

Detailing toolbox

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rotary Buffer Practice

It's one of the worst rain I've ever encountered on ELITE highway today. Barely I could see cars which are beyond 50m in front of me. As a compact car owner, I wouldn't dare to even drive above 60km/h at that time. Ran over a puddle of water, whole car get aqua-planned. It still happens eventhough I'm running on 195/50R15 Falken Azenis ST-115 rubbers. By considering the two 'monsoon drain' groove on the threads, it should have provided sufficient water dispersion capability. Anyhow...I just found out that there are more wiper scratches on the glass during the rainy season. No matter how careful I am (Wipe clean daily), I still get it.

I'm considered lucky that the rain paused a while, long enough for me to wash down the Iswara. Once I rinsed down the shampoo, it started to drizzle again. Here comes the good part about the newly installed awning. I get full coverage! Slowly I take my own sweet time to dry up the car...Haha. After dinner, I proceed to clay up the bonnet prior to polish it up with M83 Dual Action Cleaner/Polish using rotary buffer and W-8006 Polishing Pad. Guess what? Under 10 seconds, I managed to produce a much clearer paint. Lots of bumps, pimples are gone! Reflection increased tremendously with undistorted object reflection. Another 2-3 passes further improved the smoothness. It took me almost an hour to finish up the whole bonnet including sealing it up with M21 Synthetic Sealant.

Now I feel much more confident in handling a rotary buffer. It's easy once you get the hang of it, and practice makes perfect. I don't get anymore product splatters, premature product dry-up, excessive dust residue, very little holograms and buffer burn. Really a good session!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More Poppings

From just the boot and roof, now it spreads to the bonnet. More poppings on the clearcoat layer on the Accord now. By talking to a few automotive paint industrial professionals, it's confirmed that it's considered as solvent popping problem. How did this happen? Most likely due to hardener or reducer problem. As mentioned before, local mass production cars do not really adhere to strict quality control. Layers of paint being sprayed over each other without waiting for a proper flash off time. These tiny pimples are the result of solvent being pushed to the clearcoat surface. Don't be surprised, I saw the same problem on CKD Mercedes too. Quite a number of S-Class, E-Class and C-Class in Daimler Chrysler have this problem. CKD Mercedes has PPG coatings. How about Honda? Yes, if I'm not wrong, could be using PPG as well. The 5 year old Iswara at home also has PPG coatings, and there are countless of poppings on the surface too. If you're as particular as I am, and face the same problem, I would suggest you to either:

1) Live with it, continue to perform regular paintwork maintenance and accept a certain level of surface imperfections.

2) Repaint the car with good quality paint by skilled painters.

3) Sell the car and get a car with BASF (Glasurit) paintwork. (e.g. CKD Ford, CBU Mercedes, CBU BMW, etc...)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Wheel Well Maintenance

Keeping the wheel wells maintained from the first day of ownership of your brand new car isn't that hard. This will result in having a showroom condition wheel wells all the time, just like new. Products which I use:

Meguiar's Safe-Degreaser (3:1), Meguiar's Hyper Dressing (3:1) and IKEA Dish Washing Brush

45 Days of ownership, wheel wells still look clean and dark.

p.s. Tyres are dressed with Meguiar's Hot Shine.

Solvent Popping

More than 50% of the Honda/Hyundai cars I've noticed on the road have micro raised spots all over the paintwork. Whether it's assembled locally, or fully imported (CBU) from Japan, there are batches of cars which are prone to have this problem. For example, I've seen a few CBU black Odyssey and many of the CBU Jazz with such problem. I suspect this kind of OEM paint defect is called solvent popping. From what Glasurit mentioned, solvent popping is...

"Blister-like surface defects due to solvent entrapment in the surface of the paint film."

Also, I found this quote from the net...

"... More often, the root cause of blisters is solvent popping caused by the paint sprayer who did not observe the correct flash-off time during the paint spraying stage. Flash-off simply means the allowance of time as specified by the paint manufacturer for the solvent or thinner to evaporate during the paint spraying stage. In the painting process, a car is sprayed over with basecoat (color) and clearcoat (topcoat) a number of times. If the sprayer fails to observe the flash-off time in between coats, trapped solvents under the succeeding coats will find a way out creating microscopic bubbles.

These tiny holes become very evident during the rainy season when moisture enters the holes and manifests as blisters only to disappear when the sun shines and the moisture evaporates. The long-term effect of blistering is more damaging - as a result paint chipping and lifting will take place."

No, I haven't seen such problem on Toyota or even Perodua paint before, no matter how the owner neglect his/her car. Definitely it's due to flaws in paint finishing procedure which Honda/Hyundai have to look into it.

Fully Covered

Finally the most practical stuff has arrived my house today - polycarbonate awning. The original car porch roof length just isn't sufficient to cover the new Accord. The boot always suffer from rain water, causing lots of water spots.




Nicely covered...

It was such a hassle for this installation. It took 4 hours to complete the job. Metal cutting and grinding causes lots of metal dust to fly around and land onto the car. Even the concrete drilling also made all the cars at home covered in thick dust. I'm not too sure whether the metal dust or concrete dust caused any damage to the paintwork, but after the car wash, I started to notice common solvent popping problem on the boot and the roof. It wasn't there last Friday night after car wash. It looks as if tiny raised spots like pimples on the clearcoat surface, randomly. And yeah, it's finally on my dad's car. It could be also due to several hours of exposure to the sun, causing the trapped solvent to pop out from the surface.

Not only that frustrating thing, but also after washing up my car, I noticed a new deep door dent! Really have no idea where I got it. Anyway, it's the 3rd dent on my car after almost 2 years. Not that bad, maybe after 6 years, I have only 9 dents on the car. Haha...

It's time to practice more on rotary machine and get myself to compound down the Accord to remove orange peel and irritating solvent popping. Lousy Honda paintjob!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Honda - The Powerless of Dreams

Getting more and more frustrated with the quality of Honda cars. Today, I found out the paint on the rear number plate holder flaked! Upon closer inspection, it's due to the friction between the uneven edged number plate and the painted number plate holder. This is how it looks like:

Note the rough edge of the number plate:

My Honda salesman agreed to redo a new set of number plates (flat surface type) for replacement. So I took some time to remove the existing number plate and get rid of the adhesive. It was quite PITA to remove'em. Mainly, I use Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover and Meguiar's Scratch-X to get the job done.

It takes about 20 mins to accomplish. After that, I carefully peel away the paint flake. To my surprise, beneath the paint, it is actually chromed plastic surface! This explains why paint can't adhere to the surface strong enough. Slight impact will peel off the paint. I touched up the chip using some spare paint and toothpick, it doesn't look good, but at least it covers the chrome surface.

Had ordered the new set of number plates this afternoon, will get it tomorrow. Conclusion is DO NOT buy a Honda if quality is your concern.

Passion of Helping

Where this post isn't really related to detailing, but just for sharing. Encountered a blind man at KTM station today and guided him into the train. A nice young guy offered the seat to him. Upon arrival to KL Sentral KTM station, I opened up a way knowing that most people are blocking the train door. Slowly, patiently, and with some passion, I guided the blind man up to the ground floor using escalator. He was heading towards Brickfields. Quite a pity guy, really hope some other people will help him along the way. Should thank God that we have a pair of eyes, not only to see, but also to enjoy the beauty of detailing. Be kind to your eyes, shine up your ride. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Short Rain

Being unlucky just now, my luck changed after my dinner. The rain stopped. Repeated the whole process of applying shampoo, rinsing down and wiping dry the whole car. It's rainy season. I just clayed the bonnet and roof last week, and it's getting rough again. This car is subjected to outdoor parking, can't help it. Perhaps it's wiser to clay the whole car after this season. I finished up my weekly wash by putting up the latest Meguiar's windscreen sticker - Only available in Malaysia. Guess I should give Meguiar's HQ a few...shouldn't I?


Around 6pm, the sun was still shining, seemed to be a very nice weather for washing car - not too hot. Happily, I started to wash mom's car after I came back from work. Right after I applied the shampoo and rinsed off, the sky started to turn dark and it rained in a sudden! I was forced to stop washing and go back to the house.'s half-done...water mark might present if I don't dry up certain parts by tomorrow.

W5W LED Bulbs

Had been playing around with W5W LEDs and recently I came across 5-LED Refractor style LEDs. Got myself both colors - Amber & White. I've replaced my position lamp with the amber LEDs for a more 5-series look, haha. The photo below shows the earlier cone-type of single LED (which is not bright enough) and the 5-LED Refractor type on the left side and right side respectively.

Before this pair of amber LEDs, I had been using the PIAA H-327 single white LED which is shown at below.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Detailing Torches

To detail a car nicely, we require good light source to spot for surface imperfection problems. You won't face such problem if you have sufficient lighting in your detailing bay. However, it's costly to install and use metal halide lamps, halogen lamps and an array of fluorescent lamps in our own car porch. So over here, what I want to show is my detailing torches, which are handy enough to bring around the car. It's good enough to spot surface swirls/holograms. By referring to the picture below, the top most is the Lucido Lightwave2000, followed by Inova T2 and lastly Mini MAGLITE. Inova T2 produces 40 lumens of LED white light output using 2 Lithium Ion 123A batteries. It can last for 5 hours with constant light output, thanks to the regulating circuit. I love carrying this torch along with me as a self-defense weapon or as a swirl-finder tool. Lucido Lightwave2000 is used for short-range and it uses 3 AA batteries. It can light up for 2 weeks, 24 hours a day, in the water. Finally, Mini MAGLITE is the most inefficient torches among these 3. Utilizes 2 AA batteries and the light output drops to less than 50% within an hour. The only good thing about it is the candlelight-mode.

For more information, please refer to,,

Spark Plug Replacement

Well, just get to service my car last Friday, odometer reading 19,700km. First time using Castrol Magnatec and it feels much smoother now. I bought a set of original Hyundai spark plug yesterday at PH Auto and I faced some difficulties in loosening the stock spark plug. So today I headed to my mechanic for spark plug replacement. Mechanic found out one of the new spark plugs has error in gap (It's supposed to be 1.1mm). He corrected the gap and proceed with loosening the spark plug, with ease, using 1/2" drive ratchet wrench and 5/8" spark plug socket. Engine feels much smoother and less vibration now. Here's how my stock spark plug looks like after being used for almost 20,000km.