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Opti-Coat Exterior Protection and Detailing

Discussion in 'Australia & New Zealand' started by DansGarage, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. DansGarage

    DansGarage Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    Melbourne
    Dan's Garage Detailing introduction & Model S P85 Detail and Opti-Coat

    Hi All,

    For those of you who don't know me, my name is Dan and I run a detailing business in Melbourne called Dan's Garage Detailing. I was contacted by David (Higgy) back in

    early June and invited along to the Kelvin Club gathering and Q&A session with Cary. I got to meet a number of you and hopefully I was helpful with some of the

    information I imparted during my impromptu talk and also those I chatted with afterward.

    First things first, I'm not here to spruik or actively try to sell my detailing services. I am happy to answer questions on detailing and maintenance etc and I will

    always answer them to the best of my ability, however I have no interest in hard selling as I think it's tacky and a bit boorish. I will however, if people are

    amenable, post write-ups for work I do for members here, not only as a point of interest, but to also give people an idea of the sort of work I do.

    To that end, I thought you all might be interested in the detailing and Opti-Coat work I completed just this weekend gone on one of the Tesla Australia Melbourne demo

    cars.


    Here is the car as it was delivered. Being a demo car as you'd imagine it has been working extremely hard since it arrived on the truck from Sydney last week. It was

    dropped off the evening earlier having just come back from Bendigo on a test-drive.


    IMG_7949.jpg

    IMG_7951.jpg

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    Starting with a chemical decontamination of the wheels. This process finds and breaks down ferrous iron deposits that attach themselves to the wheels. Hot brake dust

    etc which effectively sinters onto the wheels, making it very difficult to completely shift without the use of purpose-designed products. This pics shows the normally

    clear chemical activating red when it finds deposits and breaks them down off the wheels.

    IMG_7952.jpg

    IMG_7953.jpg


    Then onto the same for the bodywork. Though you can't see it activating red here because of the colour of the car, you can see it's found a reasonable amount of

    contaminants by the way it is sitting on the panel.

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    After this the car is covered in a full foam pre-soak to start the process of breaking up the dirt and also starting to remove any pre-existing waxes and sealants on

    the car (these have to be removed as par for the course so the car's paint can be assessed without waxes, glazes, or sealants potentially hiding any swirls or

    scratches).

    IMG_7960.jpg

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    After this, the car is then washed with a traditional bucket and mitt method. It then goes through a physical decontamination of the paint with a clay prep towel. This

    process makes the paint smooth and removes any surface contaminants sitting on it.

    After that it's on to the paint inspection. Considering the very young age of the car there was a reasonable amount of swirling. Not helped either by the car being

    solid black. Being a demo car though it's to be expected. Not a day will go by when this car isn't clocking up serious kays and having people jumping in and out of it,

    so it will definitely have a hard life compared to most standard cars.

    The car was given a two stage paint correction (machine polish) over the space of about 12hrs for the paint correction alone. Here are some before and after photos

    Bonnet Before
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    After
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    Before
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    After
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    Some gnarly buffer trails/holograms across the car, indicating it had been subjected previously to a cheap detail.

    IMG_7973.jpg

    After. Much better
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    Before
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    After
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    More scratching
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    After
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    There were also a couple of circular marks at the front of the bonnet, roughly in the middle. My assumption is that this was most likely as a result of a journo's

    camera mount while reviewing the car

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    After
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    Mirrors
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    After
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    Some reasonably deep scratches near the recessed door handles.

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    After
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    Before
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    After
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    Before
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    After
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    Rear Quarters

    Before
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    After
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    Before
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    After
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    A Pillars - Before
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    After
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    Tops of the doors
    IMG_7981.jpg

    After
    IMG_8025.jpg

    The tail lights also got some correction to remove scratches - Before
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    After
    IMG_8027.jpg

    Some shots of the beautiful interior after it got a vac and wipedown

    IMG_7999.jpg

    IMG_8037.jpg

    Door sills cleaned and dressed with a plastic/vinyl dressing. Painted areas received wax protection

    IMG_8000.jpg


    The tablet screen was also wiped down to remove fingerprints

    IMG_8043.jpg


    I do love this display display.

    IMG_8041.jpg

    IMG_8045.jpg


    The seat backs were treated with plastic/vinyl dressing also

    IMG_8047.jpg
     
  2. Higgy

    Higgy Member

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    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    #2 Higgy, Jul 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
    Have a look at these photos:

    http://www.detailparadise.com.au/showthread.php?t=11873

    Dan has done an amazing job on one of the Melbourne demo cars - and something I will be booking in for my Tesla as soon as I have a delivery date.

    In the meantime I have booked him to perform a miracle on my 10 year old RX8 - to be shortly followed by my 20 year old Mercedes Cabriolet. (PS I think I need to rationalise my fleet).

    The photos are interesting - a lot of the marks would have been created by the pre delivery preparation and subsequent washes. I think I will ask the delivery team not to do any detailing.....

    Cheers
    David

     
  3. MangroveMike

    MangroveMike Member

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    Location:
    Newcastle, Australia
    Looks fantastic!

    Newbie questions follow: So is Opticoat a kind of spray-on paint protection or film? Lifetime? And approx cost?
     
  4. Dborn

    Dborn Confirmed

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    It is a nano ceramic coating. Allegedly lifetime. Cost mainly in the prep, about $800.00. Not too many applicators around. Check out opticoat Australia. I will probably use a guy in Parramatta. They need the car for 24hours, I believe. The coating takes at least a month to cure fully. No wash for at least a week, preferably longer.
     
  5. cynix

    cynix Member

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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Does anyone do Xpel Ultimate film in Sydney? Should I get this or Opticoat, or both?
     
  6. CHGolferJim

    CHGolferJim Member

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    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC

    Love seeing detailing shop photos. What kind of results are you expecting on your older cars, as you seem to have researched the idea? Will the prep and OptiCoating handle pin-prick paint marks from rocks that accumulate? Considering for my '02 Merc ragtop.
     
  7. MangroveMike

    MangroveMike Member

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    Thanks Dborn.
     
  8. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    Moderator's note: Merged in Dan's thread with some great pictures of the work done on the AU demo car.
     
  9. DansGarage

    DansGarage Member

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    Thanks Guys. I have included the final pics below. I needed to break the posts up due to pic limit per post.


    As David says it is a ceramic polymer coating which provides a high level of chemical resistance against clear coat etching via bird poo, tree sap, and other acid-based fallout etc.

    With regard to longevity it is highly dependent on how you look after the car. The coating doesn't dissipate over time like a wax or a sealant, however even though it is harder than your standard clear coat it can still swirl up and start to look average if you treat it badly enough. Eg guys in carwash cafes who wash cars in volume and use mitts that are dropped on the ground and then put directly onto a car's paintwork will still swirl up the coating. Nothing will protect against a wash mitt/sponge that's got stones and grit caught in it. So a modicum of common sense needs to be employed with regard to longevity. Yes the coating cannot be easily removed and will not dissipate over time, but it can still fall foul to mistreatment and start to look average if it's not maintained with proper wash/dry methods. What I say to people is that if you look after it, it will look after you.

    Just to correct you here David, that is my specific pricing. I prefer not to publish this online as price only without explanation of what work is involved doesn't give a true indicator of value etc.


    I have a number of clients who have both. Paint protection film like Xpel will protect you from stone chips etc. It is a thick vinyl type product which goes onto the front surfaces of the car. Opticoat is a liquid resin which is applied and gives a thin coating agains chemical attack. It won't stop stone chips or "strike impact".

    I've got David's RX8 in the Garage at the moment. I will do a write up on that also and publish if you're keen to see it. It's coming up quite well so far. Only into first correction stage but approx nine hrs into the correction with prob the same amount again to go.

    Thanks Mark. I appreciate it.



    Here are the final pics that follow on from the above write-up

    Final indoor garage pics - Post correction and Opti-Coat

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    Outdoor sunlight pics (yes we occasionally get sun here in Melbourne haha)

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    Total time approx 20hrs. Thanks for looking

    Dan
     
  10. heosat

    heosat Member

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    Dan, I love the work you've done on the car, Tesla must be really happy! As there won't be any way of getting my car down to Melbourne to have you perform the same miracles, do you have any recommendations for someone in Sydney?
     
  11. Dborn

    Dborn Confirmed

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    Dan, would you recommend the opticoat leather treatment? Specifically for Tesla, of course.
    Also, I understand there is a pro version. Is this the one being used here as no one seems to mention that fact. Thanks.
     
  12. DansGarage

    DansGarage Member

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    Thanks heostat. I appreciate the kind words. I very much love what I do :)

    Regarding recommendations I'm happy to do so but I'm also mindful of the forum rules. Don't want to upset the Tesla Mod Gods ;)

    Pm me and we can chat. I believe Dborn (David) is looking at getting work done at the same place

    Re leather, unless it's light coloured leather, or there are young kids involved (messy), I generally advise people not to worry. Most automotive leathers have some form of treatement nowadays which will give a basic protection. For light leather interiors it can sometimes be beneficial to coat the leather to make it more chemically resistant and thereby easier to clean. Particularly in terms of blue marks from denim transfer etc.

    The Pro Opticoat version is what all Authorised dealers on the Optimum website use. Opti-Coat 2.0 is the consumer version. It has less resins in it, thereby making it easier to apply for the novice but it takes significantly longer to properly cure. I normally recommend against using the consumer version as there's little point to applying it unless a quality paint correction has been done and the paint is looking as good as it can be. It's the same theory as painting a wall. It's fairly simple and quick to roll paint into a wall, but a freshly painted wall can still look bad if the wall itself hasn't been properly prepped.

    Unless the car's paintwork is properly prepped (wash, decontamination, paint correction), then the coating, in this case Opti-Coat, will serve only to lock in the defects and damage already in the paint.

    The quality of this prep can also vary between different detailers. My pricing is admittedly towards the higher end of the Opti-Coat dealer scale. However it is directly proportional to the time and effort I put into the work I do. Which is why I tend to shy away from people who shop only on price and don't take the quality of the work or additional processes into account. I don't have anything against those people (or the detailers who cater to them). They're just not my market.
     
  13. MangroveMike

    MangroveMike Member

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    Sensational work Dan on the Tesla and thanks for the pro tips.
     
  14. DansGarage

    DansGarage Member

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    Thanks Mike! Happy to provide advice where I can.

    I will post up Higgy's RX8 detail in a few days. I also have the other Melb demo car (multicoat red P85+) coming in late next week for the same treatment. I will document that also
     
  15. JOH

    JOH Member

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    Thanks Dan. Really impressive work, and interesting to see the process! I would find it informative if it's also possible to show some "after after" pictures as in longer term pictures of how the finish wears. Of course I know this is difficult due to the number of factors regarding treatment and care going forward, but do you have any examples you would be happy to share? Ideally an example of what happens when a car is looked after properly and what happens if the wrong approaches are used would be very informative!
     
  16. DansGarage

    DansGarage Member

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    Cheers Joh. :)

    Good question. I had to go looking to answer this one as most of my clientele tend to take very good care of their cars and rarely need to come back to see me. There is one example of mine which I will post up in a sec.

    First, on Autogeek (a US detailing forum), there is a thread from an owner documenting his Opti-Coat after 4.5 years:

    Review: 4.5 years of Opti Coat (Update) with videos - Auto Geek Online Auto Detailing Forum

    A couple of things to point out

    Obviously this car is washed often. He mentions that he does it once a week

    Although it isn't mentioned in this specific thread, the owner lightly clays his car once every year to get rid of light surface contamination. This is smart and it helps to refresh the coating. Realistically most people don't do this, but it's something that I highly recommend. It takes all of about 20 mins to do after washing the car and requires minimal expertise and cash outlay.

    He mentions claying his car in this thread: Question - opticoat after 2 Years - Auto Geek Online Auto Detailing Forum

    Some info on claying is here for those who haven't heard of it before: Detailing Library - Clay Bars

    If the car is coated it is something though I wouldn't bother doing for at least the first 12 months and then only once a year thereafter. It does need to be done lightly and carefully as clay can swirl paint or Opti-Coat if it is used in a heavy-handed manner.

    The final point is that there aren't any direct sunlight shots of his car, so we can't gauge whether there are swirls present. After 4.5 years it would be fair to say that even the most fastidiously maintained driven car will show some signs of swirling. It is impossible to claim otherwise even with the increased scratch/swirl resistance provided by Opti-Coat.

    Which brings me on to another point I'd like to raise. That is a coating's swirl/scratch resistance. Scratch resistance is a thing that coating manufacturers love to market and blather on about. Frankly I avoid the conversation as it can be a slippery slope and all too often marketing hype wins out over science and common sense. I will however talk about it here in the hope that you understand just how irrelevant many of these marketing claims are

    Let's start with paint. Different car manufacturers use different brands of paint, have different painting techniques, and have different environmental laws in their country which affect the chemical composition and manufacturing of paints etc etc. What this means is that there is no one level of paint hardness across all cars. All manufacturers are different. As a general rule of thumb, Japanese manufacturers tend to produce cars with softer paint than those in Europe. The US and Australia tend to sit roughly in the middle, maybe skewed slightly more towards the Europeans. So, a Honda or Nissan will generally have very soft, easy to swirl up paint, whereas a VW or Mercedes generally is extremely hard paint. Different manufacturers generally sit somewhere between those two extremes.

    When we talk about a coating's scratch/swirl resistance it is important to note that this resistance is directly related to the substrate the coating has been applied to. A coating (any coating), once applied, does not instantly bring the surface up to a universally defined super hard level. Instead it serves to proportionally increase the hardness of the paint is sitting on.

    Now you start to see why a coating's scratch resistance is such a difficult thing to quantify and why marketing tends to gloss over this sort of caveat. The tests can be skewed by increasing or decreasing the hardness of the substrate below the coating.

    In real terms this means that a coating sitting on a Honda Accord or a Nissan GTR will indeed provide an increased scratch resistance to an equivalent Accord or GTR without a coating, but it cannot hope to compete with a coated VW or Mercedes. It probably won't even be able to compete in terms of scratch resistance with a non-coated VW or Mercedes.

    As I said, it's a very slippery slope and the reason why, when talking of coatings, I tend to lean more towards their advantages with regards to chemical resistance as opposed to their ability to protect against swirls and scratches.

    The key thing to take away though is that it will increase the scratch resistance over the standard clear coat of your car, but it isn't bullet proof, nor is it an invisible force field and nor is it universally definable between different cars. I have seen coatings swirl up with a grit-embedded wash mitt or microfibre cloth. Conversely I've seen coatings successfully protect a car against a handbag being drawn down the length of the car as someone has walked past. It is largely dependent on the hardness of the underlying paint. Assuming of course correct application of the coating etc etc.

    As an example of Opti-Coat on an extremely soft paint, here are some pics from an R35 Nissan GTR that I Opti-Coated 15 months ago:

    2010 R35 Nissan GTR - Solid Black (Domino Part Deux)

    The owner of the GTR is fairly renowned in detailing circles as being extremely fastidious. He does admit though that since he had this car Opti-Coated his maintenance technique has gotten much more lax, mainly as a result of the coating making the car much easier to maintain and far less prone to swirling than it was before the coating went on.

    The bonnet photos show bad marring because the owner used a temporary vinyl wrap to try to protect the front end of the car one trip to Adelaide. There were marks put in it from improper use of the plastic scraper used to push out air bubbles in the wrap. This was made worse by the owner then trying to machine polish out the damage and generally making a hash of it (R35 GTR bonnets are aluminum, which, when combined with the extremely soft paint inherent to a GTR, make them incredibly difficult to machine polish correctly). The bumper was brand new and not Opti-coated, which is why it also looked so bad.

    Finally, here is a video taken by Hamish of Elite Finish over in Adelaide of his own car Opti-Coated two and a half years ago. He taped off an area and polished off the Opti-Coat to illustrate how the coating is still working well after two and a half years. Again as you'd imagine with him being a detailer, his car is very well maintained

    Opti coat paint protection 2.5 years after application - YouTube


    I hope this all makes sense and was useful :)

    Cheers

    Dan
     
  17. JOH

    JOH Member

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    Thanks Dan. Great reading and very interesting.
     
  18. Higgy

    Higgy Member

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    As promised here is a link to my almost 10 year old RX8 after Dan has worked his magic.

    http://www.detailparadise.com.au/showthread.php?11902-2005-Mazda-RX8-Dark-Blue

    Now I just need to decide what I sell….I was going to sell the Honda Accord.

    I really want to keep the RX8 however my wife won’t drive it. If I keep the RX8 I will be very much the second driver in the P85+ and I don’t think that will be good for domestic harmony!

    I guess (given the delivery schedule) that I have a month to decide.

    Cheers
    David
     
  19. timpoo

    timpoo Member

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    Thanks David - looks fantastic!

    Also quite excited to see the MC Red detailed...should come out beautifully.
     
  20. Gabz

    Gabz Member

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    don't worry about which one you'll end up selling them both and buying either another Tesla or if you can't afford it a Nissan LEAF. or never ever let your wife drive your EV. you'll never get i back again. this is well documented.
     

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