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Mercedes C320 CDI Detail - Updated


Scotland - South
ClioSport Area Rep
Firstly bear with me here. Due to a frosty morning and short days, I only got halfway through and just started to get polishing, but will be finishing this next weekend (weather permitting) and get this thread updated. Also, all photos have been taken from my phone unfortunately as I never really planned on doing a write-up on this.

So, what started today as me giving my own car a going over with snowfoam, quickly turned into (the first half of) a full detail on my mum's Mercedes C320, because I couldn't bear with the contamination that was left on it after giving it a quick clean!

Couple of before pictures. The car was only washed last weekend, so the majority of the dirt on it is salt from the dry roads at the moment.





First things first, gave it a nice thick coating with Autobrite Magifoam. Makes such a mess but it's still the best snowfoam I've tried so far with regards to cleaning power. Never had it strip an LSP either (not that there's actually any wax/sealant on this lol!)




Pulling the dirt off well!

And rinsed





Now. All you detailing guys may want to skip this bit...I washed it with, wait for it, ONE bucket (Autobrite Banana Gloss shampoo) and a sponge!!! :fearscream: I personally didn't want to, but my wash mitt was at my mates house and the car has been washed its whole life with a sponge anyway, and there's hardly a swirl on it (I'm assuming it's down to Mercedes' having hard paint).

Wheels were then given a final clean up with @Auto Finesse Imperial. Ideally should have done this before washing the car but I completely forgot.


With the car clean, I started on the decontamination. First, an all over hit of CarPro Iron X, followed by a quick rinse. Fairly heavy iron deposits in certain areas, others not so much.





Front wheels had a fair bit of bleeding

Rear wheels not as much

Rinsed all that off, which left me with the tar. There was a ridiculous amount of tar on the lower half of the car. Couldn't get photos of it all, but round the wheel arches were particularly bad as to be expected.



Autobrite's Just The Tonic was my weapon of choice for this. Made short work of most of the spots, only a few of them needed a couple more hits and a bit of agitation to remove.




Once I'd rinsed all the tar and glue remover off, I went over it with a clay mitt. I know not everyone agrees with these, but knew it certainly wasn't soft paint on the car so was happy it wasn't about to destroy it with marring. Used the remainder of my bucket of shampoo as lube for the claying process, then gave the car a final rinse and dried it off, leaving a lovely smooth, rather shiny looking decontaminated base to start polishing with.


Wheel arches completely clean again!


This is where the photos started to go a bit pear shaped. They just wouldn't pick up marks in the paint. Anyway...
I grabbed my trusty eBay special LED torch to have a look at the paint condition. As I mentioned above, the lack of swirl marks in it was surprising considering it spent the first 4 or 5 years of it's life never being washed, and since then it's only ever been washed with a sponge. What I could see though, was a slightly dull looking finish, with just very small swirls around the torch beam reflection.

To begin with, I masked an area off, then got polishing, using a DAS6-Pro, white Hex pad, and Menzerna 203s (PF2400). Used this combo twice, as I felt I went a bit quick with it first time and probably didn't give enough time to break the polish down. Second time round I went with about 4 or 5 passes which seemed to do the trick. Following this, I grabbed a black Hex finishing pad and some Dodo Juice Lime Prime to fill in any remaining imperfections, as well as a couple of larger scratches that had come from a cat deciding to use the car as a stepping stone up to our garage roof a while back!

Now, to the few photos I got. They don't show the marks too well but they're still sort of visible.

This was the paint before hand

And after my passes with the Menz polish and Lime Prime, I was left with this

That's all the paint polishing I dared attempt today as I was running out of light quickly, but I managed to squeeze in a bit of exhaust tip polishing with steel wool and Autosol. Not quite perfect, but sadly they've never been polished in their life so I think it's about as good as they'll get.



So that's as far as I got today with it. Quite pleased with the improvements so far, but there's a long way to go with polishing. My plan for next week is:
Give the whole car a quick one stage correction
Go over with Lime Prime, and maybe a Glaze (although I only have CG Black Hole so not ideal for a silver car)
Considered using Auto Finesse Tripple too, would I need to if I've used Lime Prime?
A coating of Auto Finesse Tough Coat, or GTechniq C2V3
Fully clean up the wheels, ideally want them off to clean the backs of them
Clean and seal the glass
Go round the plastics with Auto Finesse Dressle
Blacken tyres
Wipe down engine bay
Admire results!

First time I've done anything as in depth as this, so comments, advice, questions, criticisms all welcome! Just go easy on the criticisms :wink:

Cheers for looking!
  Cayman S Edition 1
Lovely job mate:)

I'd be interested to know what GTechniq is like as I'd like to try something new on my C30.


Scotland - South
ClioSport Area Rep
Lovely job mate:smile:

I'd be interested to know what GTechniq is like as I'd like to try something new on my C30.
Cheers mate!

From what I've heard it's very easy to apply, and I've only heard good things about how well it holds up. Will definitely try some of it next week, but probably not be doing the whole car with it as it's only a sample I've got!


Scotland - South
ClioSport Area Rep
Managed to grab a couple of better 50/50 photos this morning when leaving for work. Looks like my assumption of there not being many swirls on the car was a bit of an underestimation!



Still some deeper marks left there but its not bad for a quick pass with a fairly light cutting combination. Can't wait to crack on with the rest of it now!


Scotland - South
ClioSport Area Rep
Part 2! The actual hard work, polishing!

Continuing on from last week, I finished off the work yesterday. Started off again giving the car a covering of snow foam. User a much more diluted mix of Magifoam this time and to my supruise it seemed to cling a lot better when it was thinner! Washed that off, and to be honest it pretty much pulled all the dirt off the car. Only leaving the rear bumper needing touch washed.

I went over the whole car again anyway with Autobrite Banana Gloss shampoo (probably one of the best smelling shampoos I've used so far!), then left it to drip dry and went for some lunch. Came back out, pat dried the rest with a drying towel, and planned on starting polishing. The state of the wheels was annoying me though, even though I decon'd them last weekend. So I gave them another decent coating of Iron X, and it started to pull a huge amount of ingrained marks off the wheels. Gave every wheel 2 shots of this, then rinsed them, and went round again with Tar remover and a microfibre. Again, this pulled a lot of marks off the wheels I had initially thought were never going to come out (I thought the wheels would have needed a refurb to remove most of the marks if I'm honest. They look like new now though).

Finally, got onto the polishing. Started this about half 1 in the afternoon, and as soon as I started I knew I'd be pushed to finish before it got dark. Most of the car got given a going over with a white Hex pad and Menzerna 203s (PF2400), which took out enough marks to leave a decent finish without going to extremes and going through different pad/polish combo's on every panel. I only went at the roof and a couple of bits with deeper scratches using both an orange Hex cutting pad with Menz 203s as well as finishing down with the white Hex pad and 106fa (SF4000).

Some photos now. Without any form of decent torch for swirl spotting, I just tried to focus on removing any actual visible marks, and treated any subsequent swirl removal as an added bonus. The worst areas (to be expected) were around the door handles, and a couple of big scuffs along the drivers side that looked like it'd been done by a trolley in a car park or something.

Passenger's door handle, couple of scratches with smaller marks not really picked up in the photos:


Driver's door handle:


The amount of marks behind the handle including coloured nail varnish scuffs I couldn't get to REALLY annoyed me! The results around the handle though were fairly impressive considering how deep the scratches looked to the eye.

The scuff along the drivers side door strips:

Bit closer up

And after:

Not perfect, but it's certainly a lot harder to see now.

There was also a fairly long scratch going up the bit above the driver's side rear passenger door. Not got a clue how a mark like this could even get in places like that!

And after:

Once the paint was done, I went very quickly over the B pillars and trims around the windows and up the edges of the roof with the white pad, using any residual polish on the pad. The B pillars are a very glossy looking plastic (I think) almost glass-like, and the trims are also pretty glossy. You can see in some of the above photos they were showing an almost rainbow effect, as if they were oily. Going over them with the polisher quickly brought them back up glossy and black and made a huge difference.

After the polishing, I went round with a black Hex finishing pad and Dodo Juice Lime Prime. Not entirely sure if I applied this right as I went pretty quickly (it was past 4pm by this point!) but I was pleasantly surprised at the filling abilities of it. Seemed to dull down all the deep marks I couldn't get out with polishing very very well. Following this, a single application of Auto Finesse Tough Coat was laid down and wiped off, leaving me with the finished product!

(These photos are absolutely shocking due to being taken on a phone as it was getting dark, where the phone decides ISO settings of almost zero are acceptable! Lol)






One very dirty DCi and an almost as dirty 172 creeping into those pics there!

So that's about it really. There's various steps I missed out due to not having time again. If I had had the time, I really wanted the wheels off to clean behind them and seal them, dress the arches, seal the glass, blacken the tyres etc. but the light fades so fast this time of year that I was pretty much running out of time while still polishing!

Anyway... Again, comments, criticisms, questions, advice all welcome. Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed my first proper detail (although I am knackered today!!)


Scotland - South
ClioSport Area Rep
The lack of rust is a pleasant surprise for that era of Benz.

Wouldn't speak too soon. I found a little bit on the rear nearside wheel arch. Nothing serious though, it's a very clean car. Are they known for rusting?

Well as discussed title edited.

IronX ehh, wonder how much would be needed to improve my blue clio.

Good job on the cleaning, looks lovely that merc.

Cheers Adam!

Truth be told I wouldn't have been polishing it if I didn't have my eye on it in a couple of years lol! Once I can afford to insure a 3L V6 with enough torque to move the moon...
  Listerine & Poledo
Wouldn't speak too soon. I found a little bit on the rear nearside wheel arch. Nothing serious though, it's a very clean car. Are they known for rusting?

Yep, this was the Benz glory days of using offcuts of Mazda metal. Same as the SLKs, any stone chip will erupt in brown and the arches corrode violently. Which is the only downside to the awesomeness of the vehicle :(