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Retset

CQuartz 3.0 UK ceramic coating on my F11

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Recently, I decontaminated the car and treated it to HydrO2. There is a thread in the detailing section about this. I wasn't happy with HydrO2 getting on the windscreen and I have always wanted to have a go at a ceramic coating so I decided to remove the HydrO2 and go ceramic.
 
I ordered the stuff to arrive by the weekend as I could see a 'weather window' was due: I needed a cloudy day followed by a dry night & next day.
 
My procedure and experiences, starting at 10am:
 
1) Clean wheels with a squirt of Megs Wheel Brightener and use of MF mitt and wheel brush.
 
2) Foam car with BH Autofoam then two bucket wash with BH Autowash.
 
3) As it was only recently decontaminated and clayed, I just sprayed TRIX (=IronX and TarX) round the bottom half of the car and pressure washed off.
 
4) Scrubbed the tyres and treated them to a coat of CarPro Perl, diluted 1:1. It worked really well but they are a bit too shiny for my liking. I'm sure that effect will soon wear off.
 
5) I now machine polished the car with CarPro Essence on a CarPro Gloss pad. The idea of Essence is two-fold: Firstly it gives a light cut and swirl fill. I also hope it removed the HydrO2 OK! Secondly, it lays down a SiO2 coating which 'primes' the paint to accept either a ceramic coating or CarPro Reload ... a SiO2 based spray sealant. Like any machine polishing, it took hours but went well. Comparing just polished panels to clean panels with HydrO2 on, it seemed the polished ones had a fraction more clarity and depth to the reflections. This may be placebo effect ... Pictures show Essence instructions and a view down the side of some just polished panels.
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6) By now it was 6pm and time to apply the coating, CQuartz 3.0 UK Edition. This is their latest version and is supposed to be easier to apply and drag the cloth less. As per the videos I have watched, wrap cloth round block, apply a line of CQuartz and work it in a cross-hatch pattern over 50cm square areas and wait for it to flash, evident by a slight rainbow effect. This was simple enough and, after 3 or 4 passes, there is significant drag and it is obvious the product is flashing.
The buffing off is not easy because the microfibre is dragging on the product and I was paranoid that I should not leave anything behind, including on the edges of adjoining panels. This time spent buffing madly meant the whole process took longer than I thought it would. Before starting, I was worried that the small suede applicators would be crystalising, need changing frequently and that the microfibre (which must be discarded) would also be getting crusty. Well, I used 3 of the applicators and even the first one was soft and pliable by the end. I regularly turned the supplied microfibre and used one of my own at the end but they remained soft so this is probably not a big issue.  Darkness was imminent! 
 
7) By 9pm (!), all the coating was on the car. Running a MF cloth over panels done a while ago, showed a lot less drag as the product was partly cured. It is critical not to just leave the coating unless the car is in a garage because any water spots etc. will wreck it before it cures so CarPro advise a coat of Reload to protect it. I am pleased to say that this is a wonderful product which goes on and off super quickly using one MF cloth to apply and another to buff. It can be used as a standalone (it will be on my wife's car) or to top up a ceramic coating. As I was using Reload, I was thinking "where have you been all my life?". By now, it was dark and bits of me ached (lots!) but the job was done! Pictures next day of the finished car plus how much CQuartz was left (note, I still have the front bumper to do. Left for the moment as it needs some minor paintwork doing)
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Mulling over, my main thoughts are:
 
1) Super luck is needed to get the right conditions to be able to do this job without a garage. I was super lucky ... even more so as the car is baking in the sun as I type this so the curing process is being accelerated.
 
2) Essence is a great product to bring out maximum gloss and prepare the car for CQuartz or Reload
 
3) Putting on a ceramic coating is a bit of a pain. Whether it is worth it will depend on the individual but I am not rushing to do another!
 
4) Reload is fantastic. Given that it has 3-6 months protection with great gloss, I would be very tempted to machine a car with Essence then move straight to Reload. Or, if the paint is clean with no traces of wax/sealant on, just go straight with Reload.
 
Where does this leave my bottle of HydrO2? I'll use it to coat and protect wheels as it is ridiculously easy to do.
Edited by Retset

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Lovely. Nice result.

 

I was fortunate to receive a DA and machine polish 10 years ago, but now having a littl'un charging around I don't get much use out of it now and I think things must have changed in those 10 years.

 

Ceramic coating certainly sounds like it should offer excellent protection.

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Topped up the Reload yesterday as the previous application was done in the dark! Not that it mattered as the unseasonable sun meant the coating cured nicely and the car wasn't rained upon. Such fun washing it and watching the water bead and sheet off the car. Feels silky smooth as well.  I also did my wife's car with Reload over the previous Hydro2 coating (which was already failing after a month). Stupidly easy to apply and looks fantastic. I give full marks to both CQuartz 3.0 UK and Reload.

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