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AlabamaDan

Paint Restoration on 1998 QX4

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As you may know, I've owned my 1998 QX4 for about 18 years, I'm the 2nd owner.  It was a daily driver hauling kids around, driving all over the SouthEast and basically we just ran it through automated car washes.  I drove it to hunting camp sometimes.  Then it became the 3rd vehicle with some problems and then it started being neglected.  Now I've decided to keep it and I've been working on it.  It's running well and I've cleaned it throughly and fixed a few things here and there.  I wonder how the 20 year old OE paint will shine?  I washed it well today and I'm bringing it inside to run the full paint detail job on it - starting with a clay bar, the a sealant, and finally a high quality wax.  We'll see how it goes.  It's hard to adequately see how dull the paint is right now and it feels awful.  The pics below show some dullness.  As for how it feels, find some sheet rock in your house and run your hand across it - that's about the same.4C1FACE1-44FF-4CBB-9A8B-4B180FCB7A79_zps

 

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Edited by AlabamaDan
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I might not be the best at lifts, welding and custom bumpers, but I'm good with detailing.  My plan is:

 

1. Clay with Meguiars G1016 Smooth Surface Clay Kit
2. Wash with blue Optimum No Rinse
3. Seal with Jescar Power Lock Blue - wait a day
4. Wax with Collinite 845 - Wait a day

5. Wax with Collinite 845 - Wait a day

 

 

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Okay, let me hijack a little as I’m in a similar situation. I’m particularly wanting to fix & detail the roof before I mount a full length Rola V-Tech Rack over it. 2 problems I’ve encountered:

1) Clear coat is flaking away on roof around rear rain gutter/roof rack rails on one side. Any way to protect that better? I don’t want to spend a bunch & I don’t really care if it looks great as you can barely see it when standing on the ground. I do plan to run this truck another 10+ years & it has to sit outside in the Pacific NW so I’m mainly just thinking about protection.

2) just behind the sunroof is a small area 1-2cm x 1cm where something must have hit it & it went through to the metal-it’s rusted a little. I’ve thought about steel wooling the rust off, using a converter & then factory touch up paint. Any recommendations?

Once I fix those things I was going to use a Meguirs clay bar detailer & then simply apply NuFinish Paste wax as it’s supposed to be the longest lasting. Then the rack goes on & I doubt I’ll ever do it again.

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I'm not sure what can be done about flaking clear coat.  I think the best that can be done is to put a good coat of wax on it.  As for the small rusty spot, I had some on my hood from rock chips and the clay bar removed the surface rust.  I've used white rubbing compound before and it worked too.  Once the rust is gone, touch up paint, and a good coat of wax will protect the metal from future rusting.

 

Have you used NuFinish before?  I used that about a year ago on one of my vehicles and my results were just terrible.  Just terrible.  :P

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I haven’t used NuFinish before but Consumer Reports tested it & the paste form was the longest lasting (~1year) though they agreed it was a bit plasticky in finish-not their favorite appearance. I don’t care about the appearance as much as the longevity when it comes to my roof - which is what I’m focusing on. I had thought the new synthetics might be the way to go but they apparently look great but go away quickly (less than 3mo). Honestly, I haven’t waxed a car in 18years, possibly 28. This might be the last. I did store your regimen as I might use it on my G.

 

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I was a car nut in high school but wrecked all my favorites and then cars became basic transportation for 20 years.  But recently I purchased a Q70 and in got me  back into doing more than just keeping them running.  The NuFinish may last longer, but I really didn't like it.  You mentioned your G...  My routine for my Q is a little more than what I put down for my QX but I'm thinking of showing it in some local shows.  So the steps for paint detailing it are are:

1. Wash with blue Optimum No Rinse
2. Clay with Meguiars G1016 Smooth Surface Clay Kit
3. Wash with blue Optimum No Rinse
4. Treat with McKee's 37 Hydro Blue
5. Seal with Jescar Power Lock Blue
6.  Wax with Collinite 845 twice

 

I just did this in the last couple of weeks and absolutely love the finish.  Previously I was using some basic wal-mart wash for 1 and 2 and then just a Meguiars wax in place of steps 4-6.  I was pleased with the results from that until I used the above.  Purchasing all those products will set you back quite a bit, but you use such a small amount they should last a long time and the results are so good!  I figure I'll get about six months out of it.

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I thought I saw that Q70 in the background of one of your shots (Thanks to Infiniti’s mad Q scheme I had to google to confirm that was the old M). Funny how many of us are former Z & current G/Q owners. My first car, 34 years ago was a Z. Not counting my wife’s cars, it’s one of only 4 I’ve ever owned & I still have 2 (& just stopped driving my ‘93 Maxima SE MT a handfull of years ago). Excepting the GTR (& the 350/370Zs, which I’ve never driven but find attractive), I can’t say I’m a fan of current Nissan. I used to consider them 3rd in reliability (behind Honda & Toyota but with the best engines & handling of the 3. Reliability has apparently tanked & I was disappointed with the JX vs our 2nd Gen MDX. I think the Q’s are pretty but I was also disappointed with the Q50s usability & driveability so I went back & got a used G for a ridiculously good deal. Thanks for the detailing tips.

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I didn’t like the Q50 either, but love my Q70. I also looked at the various QX models and didn’t like them either. The engine power, body style and everything seems to fit the Q70 size perfectly. It looks like the stretched or shrank it down to fit all the other models.


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I've clay bar'd everything except the roof over the last two weeks.  There are lots of little nooks and crannies on a QX4, :/  It takes so much time.   I've also started  sealing it with the Jescar Power Lock Blue.  Waiting 30 mins to buff it off.  Then I'm going to wait until tomorrow to apply some wax. 

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So much rubbing...  a decade of neglect builds up.  I'm telling you guys....  6 months ago this baby looked worse than things in a JY.  My wife was all over me to get rid of it.  Two clay bars later and two weeks of rubbing and I'm almost done.  Putting a coat of wax on it tonight.

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When do we get to see before & after pics?

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Finally finished.  I can't wait to back her out of the garage into the sun, but for now here are after pictures.

 

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It’s really hard to photograph how slick and smooth she is now. Better than new.


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Looks nice! Funny, the inly thing I’ve clay bared so far is the roof (I’ve got a full length rack about to go up).

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15 hours ago, RainGoat said:

Looks nice! Funny, the inly thing I’ve clay bared so far is the roof (I’ve got a full length rack about to go up).

I did the roof last because I had being on the little ladder.  I fell once and almost killed myself!  

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I hear you. I used a project ladder but my neighbor & my wife forbade me climbing around on the roof of the house with the blower. Too many stories of bad falls.

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I was using one of those little wooden two step ladders, standing on the very top. It would wobble as I rubbed and finally slipped out from under me at one point. Nothing to grab as I fell backwards into bushes and driveway. Things we do for cars.


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