A Sickening Sound

This week has been a very stressful week for me as my pride and joy has had to go and get some serious repairs. During this Covid lockdown like many of us we are finding things to do and pamper our cars. I have been no exception to that of course, with a LED upgrades going on, carb spacer swap out all of which I have to post about and will be coming soon. But this update jumps the queue. I said when I was restoring my car I would post about the good, bad and everything else. This is one of those gone wrong posts. Mustang Maniac may cover my story this weekend as well, to help each other out we have swapped some photos between us. 👍

Background is that I had a mini project to replace a carburetor spacer from the old metal 1″ style to the new phenolic spacer. This meant that I ‘had’ to test drive the car t make sure all was OK, while on my way to take some exercise of course. During the shortish journey of ten miles round trip or so the car started to make a whine noise, almost like a super charger. This annoying noise was coming from the gearbox area. The car started to make a significant thud when selecting reverse or drive gears from park or neutral. I called Adam at Mustang Maniac to explain what was going on. He listened to my explanation and said that he would open a slot for me at their yard.

I drove down on the Monday morning very gently I might add and the whine was getting worse. I knew something was wrong and hoped it was an adjustment somewhere. When I arrived and was greeted by Adam and Yogi, both said to put it straight onto ramps when they heard it. Within a couple of minutes Yogi had listened, diagnosed the problem and said gearbox was trashing itself, and probably the torque converter too. This was bad, real bad. The decision was made to drop the gearbox out to investigate after the dipstick for the gearbox was checked and was covered in foam.

The oil was drained out and the proper dark red colour was a foaming mess of pink slop.

While the “liquid gold” as Adam calls it, was draining out the prop was removed, the speedo cable, handbrake cables, and the exhaust split from the headers.

A conversation was had with Adam and I was given the option of what gearbox I would like and he went of to get it from his secret stock. The sound of expensive parts arriving in the trolley was sad sound to hear. Adam returning with the parts.

Yogi and Stuart jacked up the gearbox lift up to the gearbox to support the weight while it was lowered out.

These C4 gearboxes were clever for their time in the fact that they had cooling pipes that ran from the gearbox, up to the front of the car, which were then in turn connected to the bottom of the radiator. The pipes in the bottom section of the radiator shares the cooling with the engine block’s coolant. The cooled oil returns back to the gearbox ready to reapeat the process. The cooling pipes have their own entry and exit fittings to the radiator. It was here that the problem was caused; the internal loop of pipe within the radiator had failed somewhere. The water pressure from the radiator had forced water into the oil cooler channels because the gearbox oil is under less pressure than the engine’s coolant.

With the gearbox down on the floor the investigation could begin. Yogi had an airline on the cooling pipes which were still on the car, with a jet of air the water was expelled at a high pressure, confirmed water (and anti-freeze) was in the gearbox.

The bottom of the C4 gearbox has a removable pan that allows access to a serviceable filter to protect the delicate interior. The filter had done its job and stopped all sorts of debris and was getting near to clogged. The gearbox tension bands, seals metal on metal parts had indeed started to disintegrate. By feeling the gunge on the filter there was some swarf or tiny metal particles. Yogi was right, the gearbox was starting to eat itself, and it was very hungry.

The torque converter was removed and checked, draining the contents more swarf was found inside. With the oil pan emptied more traces of fine swarf were found at the bottom. The expense was starting to ramp up.

The water had in effect contaminated the oil and strated to break the oil’s properties down and failed to lubricate the gearbox along with the torque converter, thus unable to keep it all cool. The end result was the bands were slipping in the gearbox and the engine coolant had caused the gearbox to overheat. I was told I was a lucky boy as it could of just let go, dumping the contents of the gearbox on the side of the road leaving me stranded. The radiator was low and topping it up gave us an idea of how much water had got unto the gearbox. The top up was almost one liter.

The new gearbox was a genuine 1966 date coded C4 green dot fully rebuilt gearbox. This was a rare part, let alone to have a choice of them straight out of stock.

The new torque converter was screwed into the bell housing and the careful alignment to refit back into place. The gearbox was lifted up into place and little magic the gearbox was roughly in place.

With the gearbox now bolted into place, the finely tuned machine that is Mustang Maniac had a gearbox out and back in place within a day. Yogi was pleased with the day’s work, it was time for me to go home and leave my very poorly car on ramps for the night.

The next day I was back at the yard in the afternoon. Yogi had completed the rest of the refit and and all was back in place.

The next problem was the radiator the proximate cause of the problem. Again Adam asked me what style, cooling performance and look that I wanted. I went for the upgraded three row (which I already had) from the standard factory two row, with the OEM stock look. The expenses were ramping up even more.

Yogi pressure tested the old radiator and it had indeed failed in the oil cooler loop. A rare failure by all accounts that had catastrophic consequences on the gearbox. Why it failed we can’t be sure, perhaps a failed weld, or rusted out or crack? Without cutting the radiator open we won’t know.

The engine block had to be drained and flushed before the new radiator could be fitted and more fluids replaced.

The rest of the plumbing was reconnected and filled up. The car fired up and the gearbox whine was gone. Selecting a gear; there was no thud and the engine didn’t stall out.

The engine idle on the carb had to be reset and a road test. The was a little more dark art of carburettor fettling going on after the road test, the tuned ear of Yogi jumping from one screw adjustment to another and back again.

My drive home was a different car altogether, it was again effortless and a joy to drive. The joy of owning a classic car can be bitter sweet. I have had some wonderful sweet treats, and then this week the very bitter pill of a transmission failure. There you have it, a very big downer for me with things not going to plan. I was lucky that I got to Mustang Maniac how and when I did. Keeping it quiet is not what it’s about for me, this blog shows the good with the bad.

A huge “Thank You” to all at Mustang Maniac.

I have some mini projects coming up and detailing product reviews too, I will be posting them soon. But, first I have an excuse to clean the car engine bay again as it got a bit grubby after all the work being done on it. Many wouldn’t notice anything to be honest, as it was cleaned up pretty well. But I’m just pleased my little lady is back home and I again can pamper her and give her a nice clean up. I’m lucky to own a classic Mustang so I can’t complain. I don’t thrash my car so perhaps that helped me in getting down to the yard without a breakdown. If you own a classic car these things can happen, but not to often I hope!

Posted in Car, Driving my car, Repairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Big Name Wax vs Luxury Hand Blended Wax

During this lockdown I have been asked a number of questions about car detailing, which surprised me a little as everything I know is self taught, trial and error, research with an empty wallet as a result. I love detailing the Mustang so the questions are a pleasure if i know the answer. These questions are probably being asked because like me they can’t get to car shows, so they clean their cherished vehicles instead. I had been working on a little something a while ago and decided to finish it off for todays little article.

So what is the question that is often asked, but never really answered; is there a difference between big name brands and the much more expensive luxury hand poured waxes?

Just quickly before I answer the questions; a little while ago I had done a comparison test of ten products from the top manufacturers to find out what is the best. The results were not quite what I expected to be honest. You can read my comparison test here.

https://onemanandhismustang.com/10-wax-side-by-side-showdown/

Or watch the full video review here.

This article will not be a repeat of that testing, but more of an explanation why some waxes cost more than others due to their ingredients, performance, processes and of course that all important name on the tin, bottle, spray pot or what ever you bought. There’s even an amount of snobbery if should be so bold to say that.

I must state that trying to find out exactly what’s inside the products from anybody is a closely guarded secret, for obvious reasons. Although I will not be mentioning brand names, as in who has what in which product, the following information is from various sources that I have managed to find out about and collate myself with phone calls and research. I may not be 100% accurate, but it all makes perfect sense in a bigger picture.

Firstly a little about the main product used for car waxes; Carnauba.

Most car products contain some sort of carnauba percentage within their products, unless it’s fully synthetic of course.

Carnauba is also known as Brazilian wax and palm wax. Carnauba is a wax from the leaves of the palm Copernicia prunifera, a plant native to and only grown in the north eastern Brazilian states of Piauí, Ceará, Maranhão, Bahia, and Rio Grande do Norte.

Carnauba is also known as the “queen of waxes” when in its pure state it usually comes in the form of hard yellow-brown flakes.

See the source image

The wax is obtained from the leaves of the carnauba palm by collecting and drying them, beating them to loosen the wax, then refining and bleaching the wax. It’s also used as a food additive, its ‘E’ number is E903.

Fact 1: Did you know that raw Carnauba can be harder than concreate.

Fact 2: Carnauba is used in many other products such as; candy (yes you can eat it, but the body can’t digest it), medication coatings to aid swallowing, dental floss, hair crème, leather to aid in waterproofness and is also used in explosives like TNT. For the ladies carnauba is used in many cosmetics formulas where it is used in eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow, foundation, deodorant, soap, to thicken lipstick, various skin care preparations, sun care preparations, etc. It is also used to make cutler’s resin and adhesive.

Fact 3: Carnauba wax is sold in several grades, labelled as; T1, T3, and T4, depending on the purity level. Purification is accomplished by filtration, centrifugation, and bleaching or not as the case may be.

Fact 4: It is practically insoluble in water, soluble by heating in ethyl acetate and in xylene, and practically insoluble in ethyl alcohol. (More on this as a percentage in the base carrier notes later.)

Fact 5: Carnauba’s Melting point is 82–86 °C (180–187 °F), among the highest of the natural waxes, considerably higher than beeswax which is 62–64 °C.

Fact 6: There is no synthetic equivalent for carnauba.

So to have a product based on say half carnauba, it would be incredibly hard to apply. Carnauba needs to be reapplied due to the natural product. The synthetic wax products have a longevity advantage and will adhere to the surface better, due to the chemicals designed just for that job. In fact it would be virtually impossible to have 100% carnauba product.

Big Brand Shop Wax.

Most of these products are price based and to keep the cost down there is one main ‘base’ ingredient. This carrier (base) is petroleum based usually Kerosene or paraffin or a combination of both. (I will just call it kerosene from now on). Other chemicals are added to the ‘base carrier’ in order to make it pliable, UV protecting agents, spreadable and even maintain a shelf life. Ever noticed that old wax tend to dry out and crack? The quickest way to tell the product is kerosene based is the smell. Some have that quite distinctive petroleum based smell, but most of the time that potent smell of paraffin, kerosene or aviation fuel or heating oils, an additive is used to disguise that base smell and make the fragrance much more appealing to the user, such as vanilla, apples, mint, roses, coffee or chocolate etc. What ever works best for various manufacturers. Often the fragrances are used to sell the product, but in actual fact the artificial fragrance is a disguise. How’s that for marketing?

Percentages of the product;

Most of the time base carrier tends to be around 70% (maybe more maybe less), and the rest made up with the actual performing ingredients for the product. For the majority of time the remaining 30% can be made up of Carnauba, beeswax, silicon, acrylic additives, cleaners etc. Now this is where things go a little bit fuzzy and grey areas appear should we say. The remaining 30% could be made up of 50% carnauba. Now that carnauba 50% is of the remaining 30% which will leave a remaining 15% for other additives which I will get to in a moment. The label stating that it has 50% or 54% Carnauba and so on for the carnauba content is not necessarily 50% of the total product by volume! In other words a 200g tin of product is not necessarily 100g of carnauba. But, this is open to interpretation should we say. What is the “50%” actually of within the product? Is that 50% of the total of waxes used with the other 50% being beeswax for example?

The remaining percentages can be beeswax, or silicon or microscopic aluminium particles for cleaner pastes, colourings, fragrances etc. Messing around with the mixture’s formula will obviously give different properties and products. The remaining percentage apart from the ‘base’ could then be made into a synthetic formula if no carnauba is used, replaced with the silicon content which could be increased, dyes for the wax, maybe fillers to hide minor swirl marks.

To make the liquid version of the product (see ‘Fact 4’ above), the base needs to be blended with other chemicals to make it pourable as you would expect. The original 70% may now be 40% / 30% mix of kerosene / ethyl acetate for example, or what ever the formula mixture requires. However, the carnauba content will still be the same as in the paste equivalent to keep the product performance the same. In fact Meguiar’s told me there is “no difference between their wax paste and liquid variation of the same product”. By pure definition there may not be a difference with the product ingredients formula as such, but the base carrier has to be different as one is a paste and the other is a liquid or crème as they prefer to call it.

Application;

The application from a tin is fine application to spread thinly. The main reason being the chance for the base to evaporate and leave the product behind on the paint to do its job. This evaporation is also known as the “flash point”. The flash point could be speeded up or slowed down depending on the requirements of the product. The haze or white misting of the product is what is left after the evaporation or flash point. In order to check the product has ‘cured’, or ready for buffing is the wipe of a finger across the product technique. If nothing is left behind then the product can be buffed to a shine removing the haze which in turn leaves the carnauba behind, which will leave behind the gloss shine you want.

Have you noticed that if you apply heavy layers of wax onto the paint it becomes a nightmare to remove it? This is due to the fact the base is unable to evaporate properly and you end up pushing around the base kerosene with the buffing cloth which will cause drag on the cloth. The principle is simple; the smoother and even layer the product can be applied, the better light will reflect from the paint surface, giving a better finish, impression of depth and overall clean look.

Synthetic blends.

These are predominantly more silicon based still using the carrier base which also gives a great shine and various additives to make the product bond to the paint. There is also a growing trend to use ceramic hybrids which provide exceptional hydrophobic properties and some nice gloss. The principles are the same for the base carrier, but obviously the formulas are heavily altered to make sure the ceramic, silicones and base carriers all stick together. Notice how you have to shake the product as they separate out when left standing?

Price;

The cost of the base carrier is much more affordable than the high end products (which I will get into later). The variations of the remaining product such as scent, carnauba content, colourings, fillers, cleaning agents, gloss enhancers, silicon etc. will all determine the cost of the raw materials. I am not including the marketing or the R & D in this, just the basic ingredient costs.

The better the quality of carnauba T1 or T3 etc. has the overall bearing on the costs.

Premium Waxes

These products can vary in costs wildly, from a reasonable £50 to £1,000 and more. The main difference here is that these products are naturally occurring oils base. The carrier base oil maybe something like melon oil or a coconut oil, maybe a mixture of both. Here is a view of natural Kalahari melon oil in the top picture and raw coconut oil in the picture below.

See the source image
Is Coconut Oil Good or Bad for You? - The New York Times

The remaining ingredients are then mixed into the base oil product for its desired results, gloss, filler, longevity etc. The most basic of base blend carrier of a premium ‘wax’ can be made from three base oils. The more complex blends having a formula of around twenty to thirty five ingredients.

To find out what’s in these products is very difficult due to the secrecy involved. However, I have it on good authority that these premium hand blended car waxes also have a lot in common with the beauty industry as well.

Carnauba has a naturally sweet smell, and it can be said that candy and carnauba smell similar.

Application:

You will notice immediately when you open these products that they feel very different. The wax feels greasy as you would expect from an oil and they smell very different. Very little fragrance is used unless a particular oil doesn’t smell to good, but could be great for reflection or a filler for example. Some oils when blended can thicken the formula and add shelf life or natural UV filters.

Again application is very much ‘little and often’, the more purest of waxes are almost clear on application and can only really be seen when the light catches the applied product on the surface of the panel. It’s sometimes recommended to use these waxes when they are warmed up slightly in the sun for a little while, which will allow softening of the wax and oils to aid in ease of application. These premium waxes can feel like spreading a soft butter with very little effort. The main difference between these natural products and petroleum based product is the ‘flash point’. The premium waxes and oils as such don’t tend to evaporate leaving the product behind in a haze. In fact the applied product is the majority of the product you buff to a shine. Again carnauba can be treated, reduced, added to or thinned out maybe, whatever the specification for the product needs to do in order to achieve the consistency and required formulas. I have been told (from my very reliable source), that there are better oil combinations for gloss than just carnauba alone. The down side is they are extremely difficult to harvest and cultivate and a single fluid ounce can be extremely expensive, much more than any precious metal comparison.

The flash point of the premium waxes could by design be a little carrier evaporation. So in theory, the longer these premium waxes are left on the car to ‘cure’ and bond to the paint, the more time they have to settle into the microscopic pits and troughs to form a smooth even barrier. It’s recommended to leave these premium waxes to cure for at least an hour. If you can apply in the morning and remove in the evening that would be ideal, or even overnight. However this may not be ideal depending on atmospheric conditions with dust and pollen flying around.

Percentages:

The carnauba used for the hand blended product tends to be the top percentage of the T1 classification for raw carnauba. filtering and decontamination is the highest priority as is the quality control. As I mentioned above the product you apply is the product that is applied to the paint, as there is very little if any flash point. So if for argument sake it is noted that the carnauba content is 30%, that is still potentially double that of the shop brands by volume in the example I gave above. Other ingredients could be added to make the oils last longer on the paintwork, hydrophobic properties, gloss, wetness, warmth of colour, or the other way around to make the exceptional gloss for car shows, but it may not last very long. So a balance is often dialled into the mix for the blend depending on the market it’s aimed at.

Some small fragrances like Jasmin can be used, just for the user’s experience or perhaps just to add a bespoke brand product fragrance.

For something extra during a hand blend there is the option to add some random ingredients such as gold or silver particles to give that glittery look. Some additives are used which can enhance the metallic fleck in paintwork.

Price:

The raw materials being a natural product, and only found or created in very small quantities drive the cost of these products. Some of the ingredients are very rare and sometimes unavailable for what ever reason maybe seasonal etc. The oils used tend to be super filtered and again the best of the best purest oils used.

Due to the availability and quantities of a number of the ingredients, some hand blenders make extremely limited batches or bespoke “pours” to order. In fact some of these top branded waxes are only made in a single 200g batch per year.

Additional points for waxes:

No mater what you choose the waxes are better when they are layered. This is especially true for the premium hand blended waxes, but the whole process of layering a premium wax and curing can take a long time for the reasons I mentioned above.

If you have a great quality paint job, and use the cheaper market brands the wax could in fact reduce the gloss refraction of your paint. Just as you can’t make rubbish paintwork glow with premium wax, but you will protect it.

So the fact of the matter is that most of the time, off the shelf or big name brand products are more than capable of doing their intended job. A great shine and longevity to protect the paint finish and there isn’t much to choose between them as I found out.

However, if you want to use the best of the best it’s all in the prep work. Cleaning, decontamination, correction, sealer and then the wax, then a couple more wax layers to get the very best results. Big name products tend to do most of the hard work for you, especially the cleaner waxes or the all in one products from multiple suppliers.

When paying big money for a top quality hand blended product, you may be disappointed if you don’t put in the prep work and blame the wax, it about the time and effort to get the rewards.

Is there a difference apart form the obvious price banding? Well yes, I have noticed the difference after a single application of a hand blend. The cost is the downside, but the results are visible and from my point of view, the money is worth it. I enjoy the whole car detailing thing so I want results from my products I use.

Conclusion:

For a daily run around, then big name products are perfectly acceptable. Even some hand blends made with predominantly silicon can be used for a daily. But if you have a show car, classic car or something you cherish, then perhaps treat yourself to some quality hand blended products. Work out what you want from your wax, gloss, beading, protection etc. before making your purchase.

I hope that answers some of the questions, and I learnt a bit from the research as well.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Another Lighting Upgrade

During this lockdown we can’t go out in our much loved and pampered cars to any car shows. We can start them up and clean them. Something which I have been doing a lot of recently as well. As time has gone on my love for my Mustang has never waned or faltered ever! Since the car has been on the road technology has moved along in respect of the lighting on cars. DRL or Daytime Running Lights have become the norm as has LED headlights. LED technology has taken over where the HID bulbs left off. The HID had to have a massive current draw have their own relays etc. LEDs don’t have that problem. So I had a word with Adam at Mustang Maniac and he has been researching for me and came up with a little prototype pack. This is the story of the pack which consisted of two lenses and two sets of LED bulbs. Both sets were similar in specifications, but different fitting styles.

My brief to Adam was that I wanted the replacement bulbs to be like the original standard ‘sealed beam’ style which I had refitted back on my car with correct Ford logo lenses.

These are the proposed replacements with optional side lights.

The side by side comparison of both bulbs, Ford on the left and the proposed replacements on the right. Not to bad at all and I certainly didn’t want the clear type lenses.

The replacement halogens looked great and provided a nice upgrade compared to the fillament ‘candle’ power of the originals.

All the lightbulbs on my car are LED, and I just wanted that super white look on the headlights and of course the increased night vision and visibility to other road users.

Adam always comes up with a solution and asked me if I wanted to trial them for him. Of course I jumped at the chance. So here is the walkthrough of that process.

Process:

Removing the headlight.

The headlight doors are held in place by four screws, one in each corner.

The headlight door is not attached to anything and can be lifted off cleanly.

With the door off the headlight retaining ring becomes visible which in turn is held in place by three screws. Removing the threee ring screws will release the glass and could fall out if you are not careful.

With the ring off it was an ideal time to give the brightwork another polish and clean up before being refitted. Metal polish applied and buffed to a shine. I was surprised just how dirty they had become.

Lift the bulb towards you to expose the wire loom fitting behind the bulbs. Disconnect the plug fitting and the sealed bulb unit will come free.

The main problem is that there is a clearance issue behind the bulb. With the sealed beam and fitting plug in place there is just a few millimetres at most.

The LED Bulb Sets:

There are many options of LED bulbs. Most of the high power LED bulbs will need to have some sort of cooling. That may be provided by the use of built in mini fans or heatsinks. The passive heatsinks are predominantly bigger and will definitely not fit behind the bulbs.

Active bulbs have a fan which will extract the heat produced from the LEDs over the cooling fins thus enabling the LEDs to operate properly and last as they are intended to do so, 30,000 hours or just under three and half years in this bulb set case.

Here you can see the comparison of bulbs. The standard length of the H4 bulbs on the left and the LED option on the right without any excessive heatsink. The blue LED much larger base contains a small fan built within it and is considerably shorter than some other LED fan options available. Even so, the additional 10mm longer, plus the loom fitting causes the problem of clearance at the back of the bulb when test fitted. It was worth the try and would have been a very neat option. This was the “it could fit” option, but these will not fit as they are. Yes you can cut the connector of and make individual blade fitting but that is a real pain and will still be very close the fender fronts and not recommended.

The other option of bulbs to try was the fan and heatsink. In order to make this fit a wire pigtail will plug into the loom fitting and not plugged in directly behind the bulb itself. Not as common, but a very nice alternative. Also with LEDs there is an option to customise the colour of light from the LEDs. These are the 6000k option which gives a very clean crisp white light, very much like the HID bulbs. Of course the 3000k or the 4000k options will give the more standard filament bulb warmer look. These are the “they should fit” option.

With the additional pigtail connection this means that the bulb body can be longer itself without being a problem. Below is the longer fitting bulbs compared to the other already too long option in blue. Although the bulb is even longer the net length is shorter as the fitting is held away from the bulb itself via the pigtail. The pigtail and loom connection will tuck neatly behind the bowl at the back. Comparison of the bulbs getting longer left to right., Halogen, all in one, and the pigtail variation.

Bulb Power:

The power of a bulb is rated on its output power known as Lumens or ‘lm’ suffix.

– Halogen standard bulbs are rated at 1000 – 1500lm. Although some bulbs can be tweaked to give more, but are much more expensive than their standard counterparts.

– The blue LED bulb has a rating of 12000lm total which is 6000lm each side.

– The pigtailed version is rated at 10800lm total which is 5400lm each side.

Thus the LED giving off considerably more light than the halogen, more on that at the end with comparison shots. Supposedly these LEDs are 300% brighter. I don’t think it’s near that, but they are certainly much, much brighter.

The pigtailed bulb has a clever fitting for the sprung loaded fitting or the normal H4 recess cut out. The LED bulb twists out via bayonets and allows the plate to be swapped over for both style of fittings as required. A nice touch by the makers.

Lenses.

The option I have here is the pattered type (as I wanted) lenses with the side light option. The lenses come with a dust cap, pre fitted H4 halogen bulb and sidelight.

Standard clip to remove the halogen bulb.

The sidelight option is removed by pulling from the snug fit grommet and is also a standard BS9s filament bulb.

As I have LED/indicator side lights at the front this additional sidelight isn’t required at the moment, so I removed the bulb and will be blanked. I may refit the bulb later if I get the urge, as long as it’s an LED alternative of course.

Measuring the height of these replacement lenses the standard 6″ depth with the longer bodied LED (blue) bulb is past the limit with the loom fitting plug in place. Verified by a test fitting.

Sidelight Options.

You can leave the sidelight in place and use it, leave it in place not used, or blank it off. I did the later using the original grommet and slightly smaller blank off grommet inside the other hole to fill.

In order to avoid the black plug which can be seen through the glass I decided to spray them with a little left over chrome car spray I had left over.

The results were good enough and can just bout see them. The pic on the left is the hole exposed and the right is blanked off.

Fitting The LED Bulbs:

Test fitting of the pigtailed LED bulbs showed that the dust cap will not allow the bulb to be fitted with the dust cap in place as the bayonet fittings are covered up.

The answer is to turn the dust cap inside out and cut back the additional internal collar with a sharp knife, I used a scalpel and a new blade. When the dust cap is reverted back to the correct orientation it clears the bayonets fine.

Note: Before cutting the dust cap I did confirm a test fit that the lens and the bulb fitted together back into the bulb bowl, there was enough clearance to allow the air flow at the back for adequate cooling.

Another reason the bulb plate is removable because the spring loaded clips will not bend around the motor and heatsink. Clip the plate in place first without the main body of the bulb. (Test fitting of the bulb without the dust cap in place is shown in the larger picture).

Now the clever bit; place the dust cap over the bulb and insert the LED main body into the base plate and twist the bulb until it clicks in place. You can see from the Picture here below that there is space around the bulb for the heat exhaust.

Important:

To align the beam pattern which is so much more visible now, the LEDs are to be facing 9 – 3 orientation, or the centre of the flat bulb vertical. You may need to adjust this angle once the bulb is fitted back in place and to then checking the aim of the lights as well.

Refitting the Headlight

Clip the loom connector to the pigtail.

Move the headlight back into the mounting bowl and thread the wiring to the back of the headlight bowl.

The headlight has three ridges which sit within the headlight bowl to stop it twisting and moving the headlight pattern. Seat the headlight in place and fit the retaining ring onto the lens and tighten up properly when all is held in place.

Check the headlight aim and all is working correctly.

With everything working and in its correct place refit the headlight door.

Time Taken:

In theory it should take around half an hour to replace a headlight bulb each side.

However as I was trialling different bulbs and to see what fitted it took me longer. Of course I won’t add that to the overall time as I have done the working out for you. The only non standard part is the trimming of the dust caps to allow the LEDs to locate in the holding plate. That only took a couple of minutes to do it neatly with a sharp knife. Alignment of the bulb within the lens is the only bit to remember before final screwing up.

Full time took around forty minutes all in for each side.

Results:

I pushed the car out of the garage a bit and shut the door to keep out much of the light as I could. I changed the driver’s side first in order to give the comparison. Left pic the original halogen, the right pic the LED bulb. I tried to keep the exposure the same to show the difference.

The results on the wall test looked very noticeable as well. The left side of the pic is the LED shows very white. The right side shows the warm light of the halogen and not much light pattern definition.

With both LED bulbs fitted.

I am well pleased as this is a great upgrade and will certainly help with the nigh time running and visibility to other road users, or in poor weather. A very modern upgrade that doesn’t look out of place. Less strain on the alternator regarding power draw is a major advantage as well.

With the engine of and the headlights on there is a very faint hum of a motor which comes from the back of the LED bulbs. With the engine on you will never hear it. In the open you can hardly hear it, but if you listen for it you can hear it – just. The motors are ball bearing based and designed for long. I would say that it’s kinda cool that I have cooling fans for my LED headlights on an old classic car if anybody asks!

I have to thank Adam and Mustang Maniac for his time into researching the possibilities and getting them sent out to me so I can have a play over the bank holiday. Will Mustang Maniac stock these along with his other LED kits I can’t say. But, to get LED headlight’s on a budget these are a great conversion you should really consider. The visual results speak for themselves. In fact anybody who uses the standard 7″ round headlights may be able to use this combination.

I will be posting some more car detailing reviews very soon so watch this space under the “Car Detailing Reviews”. I have found a new source of products from a great company and they are honestly amazing. No I’m not on commission and i buy all the stuff myself before you ask!

Stay safe and keep well.

Posted in Car Detailing, Projects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Most Revealing….

For a number of years since I started my blog I have keept my identity off the web. A little background as to why. My blog was intended to be a diary of the build progress of my Mustang and nothing much more. Somewhere to store my thoughts and photos if you like, my build diary. The posts back then had a little write up so I could read it through a number of years later. That little diary has evolved into something much more now, almost a website with lots to look at, obviously something I’m very pleased about. I now do reviews of car detailing, books, tools, memorabilia, collectables and articles. After a few early posts on the blog I started to get emails from people to say they enjoyed what I was doing. Thinking about what was happening I stepped up my game pretty quickly and started to create more how to guides, processes and instructions on what I had done or I was doing at the time. This of course was a view from a man on the street who had never done anything like restoring a classic car before. I made mistakes and they were corrected with the help of Mustang Maniac and all was well again. All of that hard work comes to a giddy height when I go to a car show. Late November 2019 I was invited to attend the “Lancaster insurance Pride of Ownership” at the Birmingham NEC. There was ten of us (finalists) there and I did a comprehensive write up of the show over the three days which it ran. The only downside was that it was marred by cheating of the winner which I proved and fully documented. All that aside there was some massive plus points about that show too; I meet some wonderful people, shared many laughs, got foot ache, back ache, lost my voice, I got a severe case of larringitus thrown in too, all in the name of a great time at a car show. And where is all this going you may ask?

Well, during the time at that show I was asked so many questions by many people. A few people recorded a conversation via mobiles etc. One notable instance was a nice guy who wanted to take a photo of me with the car and recorded what I was saying. I wasn’t sure what I was thinking at the time, but I agreed and so the photos were taken and his questions were answered. I thought no more of it. That was until a couple of weeks ago, when out of the blue I was contact by a weekly journal called “Classic Car Weekly” here in the UK. A link to their website is here. There was a couple of phone calls and emails to confirm a couple of points. I was asked if I had any photos of the original state, just a few maybe around 4,500 or so at last count. I had to pick a few out to send them of the car during that long build process over the four and a half years it took to complete.

The result is that I featured in this week’s edition of the paper released on the 8th April 2020. If you are quick you might even be able to get a copy. I even made the front cover;

The article is a full page interview and pictures.

The main heading refers to a reveal; where there it is, a picture of me.

To mark the occasion I bought a copy or four, one to read, one to keep prestine and the others just in case.

Now that you know what I look like, please come and say hello if you see me at a car show. That’s of course providing that Corona virus doesn’t keep us locked down and we can actually get to a show this year. I need to drive my car, it’s been five months now – FIVE MONTHS, just sayin’!

Until that next car show, keep safe and stay at home.

UPDATE: 13/4/2020

I have been asked by Richard if I can make a readable version of the article.

As requested here is a high res scan of the article converted to a PDF to download.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Lockdown

So here I am under government instructions to stay at home to stem the spread of the Covid19, as is the rest of the country. Some are taking this enforced lockdown more seriously than others I might add. All the car shows I had lined up to go to and have been looking forward to have been cancelled, I can accept that if it’s short term, as long as I can at least get a few in before the end of the year. But what can you do in the mean time? To while away the time I have just finished my mini project which I was going to make last when I have a little time over the weekends. Now I have more time than I actually planned for. So not only have I completed my project, I have written about it too. You will be pleased to know that it’s Mustang related of course, but in the form of Lego. So if you were wondering is it worth it and what’s involved let me explain;

The Sales Pitch from : Lego

Discover the magic of an iconic 1960s American muscle car with the LEGO® Creator Ford Mustang, featuring dark-blue bodywork with white racing stripes, bonnet scoop, printed mustang grille badge, GT emblems and 5-spoke rims with road-gripping tires. Developed with input from Ford, this authentic replica comes with optional add-ons for customization, including a selection of license plates, supercharger, rear ducktail spoiler, beefy exhaust pipes, front chin spoiler and a nitrous oxide tank. You can even adjust the lift of the rear axle for an extra-mean look! Remove the roof panel or open the doors and you have access to the detailed interior with handsome seats, radio, working steering and a mid-console gearshift. Store items in the trunk or lift the hood to reveal a detailed big block 390 V8 engine with battery, hoses and air filter detailing. This advanced building set has been designed to provide a challenging and rewarding building experience full of nostalgia and makes a great centerpiece for the home or office.

– Authentic replica of a 1960s Ford Mustang featuring dark-blue bodywork with white racing stripes, air scoop, 5-spoke rims with road-gripping tires, and a selection customization add-ons.

– Open the doors or remove the roof panel to access the detailed interior with handsome seats, radio, mid-console gearshift and working steering.

– Open the trunk to store items and lift the hood to reveal a detailed Ford Mustang V8 engine with battery, hoses and air filter.

– Includes a printed mustang grille badge and 2 GT emblems.

– Customize the Ford Mustang with the included supercharger, rear ducktail spoiler, beefy exhaust pipes, front chin spoiler and a nitrous oxide tank.

– Choose from a selection of license plates.

– Lift the hood to check out the realistic engine detailing.

– Adjust the lift of the rear axle for a real mean look!

– New-for-March-2019 special elements include 5-spoke rims, 2×8 brick with bow, 1×3 mustang logo tile, 2×4 bow with ‘GT’ Emblem.

Measures over 3” (10cm) high, 13” (34cm) long and 5” (14cm) wide.

Source:  https://www.lego.com/en-gb/product/ford-mustang-10265

What You Get:

You get a big box and a lot of smaller plastic bags inside, an instruction manual and a sticker sheet.

What’s In The Box?

You get eleven plastic bags of parts although they are labelled as one to six with all but bag five having a smaller bag with the same number. A total of 1471 parts for you to try and sort out.

TIP:

Don’t open all the bags at once, only open what you need!

Instructions:

The instruction book starts with a brief background to Ford and the Mustang with time lines. A nice little addition it must be said.

The start of the instructions tells you which packets to use for which section build.

The instructions are all diagram based with the parts you need counted out and shown to you before assembly. Where the similar looking parts and colours are used the instructions has a 1:1 check to make sure you get the correct part. Some of the differences are very subtle.

Building the Model

This is the first time I have touched Lego in about forty five years or so. Oh how it’s moved on. The tolerances are still perfect, things fit together and don’t fall apart. A huge leap forward to building cars and houses when I first played with it and stood on the bricks!

The hours just rush by when building this. I challenge anybody to spend only what they think is an hour doing a build without anything to tell you the time. When you think it’s been an hour it’s a lot more than that. I found it addictive to do a page, then think ‘I will quickly do that bit as well’, it draws you in.

You start at the back of the car building the suspension, lots of little cogs seem to be placed for no apparent reason, then a few pages later it suddenly comes together. The sense of achievement is well thought out and makes you want to come back for more.

I found it easier to get all the parts I would be using for that little build located into an area to save looking for the parts as I went along, which I found could delay my build of that little section. Find it, collate it, then build it and repeat. No matter how you do it, the whole process is enjoyable. It actually started to upset my OCD in the end and I had to line the bits up I was about to use and separate into little bub piles of parts.

Next you move to the middle of the car for the transmission tunnel, adding the gear shift, radio and dials to the bricks. Parts seem to be built modular style then applied to the overall model itself.

Steering and engine next, considering the level of detail in this model I found my first grump. The engine only has four spark plug leads. They could of made it eight and just gave it that little bit extra detail.

Nice detail touches on the engine due to the name and the oil cap etc.

Building the body work is interesting how it comes together.

The door hinges caught me out as I had a little bit round the wrong way. The supplied brick separating tool is great and saves digging your fingernails between the bricks.

The design of the model has taken a lot into account for the assembly. They get you to place some round white bricks under the front corners of the car. When you press the bricks onto the model, these corner blocks means that it doesn’t flex or come apart when you add the little sub sections of build. When the car is finished the round white bricks are then removed, fitted together to make the NOS bottle for the trunk, providing you want that of course. How cool is that to reuse bricks in order to make your build journey enjoyable?

Just like restoring a real car, seeing the seats go in and the rear ‘glass’ starts to show the model is nearing completion. The hood offers the option for the stock scoop look or the opening for the super charger. It doesn’t matter if you change your mind later, it only takes around five seconds to swap it over.

The roof is designed to be a single section so it’s easy to remove and see the detail inside the model.

The other options for the model are the side pipes, front spoiler, rear spoiler and NOS bottle.

The completed model looks just as mean as the real thing.

I mentioned earlier about the two engine options; the standard or the hot rod version. The super charger will poke out the opening in the hood, or use the stock pan and the scoop. I built both just because I could and can swap them as I want.

The Super charger option works well and looks in proportion to the rest of the car.

The underside of the model shows the level of detail you can’t see, it also allows access to the thumb adjustable wheel to raise up the back of the car’s stance.

The completed model looks quality and withstands being handled without falling apart.

There is a third party option to add LED lights to the model. It does involve some disassembly, but the instructions and video show you how to do that and only take fifteen minutes or so to upgrade. If you want your car to be on show with the lights then it could be worth fitting that kit at the same time to save a bit of hassle later.

Results:

An amazing model and sits nicely with my other model. I need to get a little case for this one as well I think

It was a joy to make, and is a pleasure to look at. The parts are real top quality as you expect from genuine Lego kits, everything just works together. I had no missing parts and everything was there.

Rating:  9 out 10

An excellent model as I said, but there was just the number of spark plug wires that let the detail aspect down a bit as a model for me.

The instructions are very good indeed and well paced, the printing was fine and clear. The colour definition between the lighter coloured parts could be confusing and I would liked to have seen a bit more colour definition. Those are the only two reasons I marked it down.

Ease of use – 8 out 10

Finish – 10 out 10

Conclusion:

A lot of money for a Lego kit, but I was impressed. On the other hand you do get a lot of good quality model for that money. The price may put this kit out of reach for many to buy and build. As with all things Lego the price seems to stay put and not vary much.

The age range to start this is suggested at 16+ which I personally think is a little harsh, perhaps a petrol headed 14 year old into cars would like it, 15 years old on should be fine. Sometimes the small fingers do help, rather than my big hands getting in the way. This build will keep you quiet for a good few hours either as a young adult or a middle aged man like me.

The instructions take you on a journey that you’re not aware of, and completing each little bit leads gives you a sense of achievement enough to make you want to complete the next section. The Lego look with the little bumps and strange lines works well on the model and certainly doesn’t detract from the over all look. You can see it’s Lego and will appreciate that somebody has gone to good lengths to complete it and enjoyed it at the same time.

When it was finished I was a bit gutted that I didn’t have any more to build to be honest.

Would I recommend it? Yes. But, it’s expensive.

So there you have it, a good many hours spent working on a Mustang, all be it a much smaller, modular version of the real thing. I will be writing some more car detailing reviews soon, so keep an eye out for those. If I can’t drive my my car at least I can still clean it, even though it’s already clean. It also keeps me out of the way being indoors with the wife. The more I get under her feet the more she will find me “jobs” to do. She is trying to teach me to cook as well, me and kitchens don’t go well it has to be said. Yet when I try and get her to clean, polish, wax and detail her own car, the same levels of (non) enthusiasm I showed to cooking is reciprocated and more.

I do know that my time is already being allocated to redecorating the house, even though it did some of it just over a year ago. I have spotted the delivery of a few large tins of paint. So I need to keep busy, keep scarce in order to put off the the job that I seriously detest – decorating.

I think I need to get another model though to keep me quiet in these unprecedented times of forced isolation. Or I may end up cleaning walls and applying paint rather than applying extra layers of top quality wax to my pride and joy. Who am trying to kid? It’s not if if decorate, it’s a case of when!

Posted in Car Detailing, car shows, Collectables, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Differences Between Polishing & Waxing

I wasn’t sure if I was to split this post into two or not. I eventually decided to keep it all in one place. It might be a bit of a long post but I think it’s worth it. As a follow up to my mega wax comparison test the write up for my comparison of Dual Action polishing pads is now completed. This post has taken me many, many hours to collate and put together, not only for my own sanity of product comparison all in one place, it will hopefully be a help for you as well. That’s regardless of being a Professional Detailer or a Weekend Washing Warrior like me.

There is a huge minefield out there when it comes to buffing pads by various manufacturers for similar products. Although they may look the same they can perform very different tasks. They can do the same things but are different colours, it’s all very confusing. It drove me mad, so what I have tried to do here is create a chart of the most well known manufacturers and their Dual Action pad products. I chose the ‘Dual Action’ variables for a couple of reasons;

1) I have a Meguiar’s MT320 Dual Action tool.

2) Rotary tools and pads are for the experienced user or professionals. Incorrect use can damage your paint job. You have been warned!

I am a weekend washer as I mentioned, I’m not quite up to the professional detailing standards yet, but I keep trying. If I take my car to show or just taken out for a drive, I clean it via quick detailer product when I get to where I’m going. When I get home the car gets a full waterless wash before it goes in the garage and covered up again.

I found many charts and explanations from many sources, but none that done a full comprehensive comparison side by side. My Pad Guide which I collated below is for reference and you really should get the right pad for the right job. The chart here is also downloadable in High Quality PDF as well. 🙂

I have tried to provide links to each manufacturer and the descriptions of their own pad products below. If you find any others that may be of use, just let me know and I will try and add them.

Clicking on the individual links below will take you to that company’s website for more details. Some are great pages with lots of info, some are rather shabby to say the least. I honestly recommend having a look at the links as they will explain in greater depth why you should use their products and for what tasks.

  • Lake Country Products and Charts click here.
  • Meguiar’s Products and Charts click here.
  • DoDo Juice Products and Charts click here.
  • Chemical Guys Products and Charts click here.
  • Mitchell & King Products and Charts click here.
  • Auto Finesse Products and Charts click here.
  • 3M Products and Charts click here.
  • Shine Mate Products and Charts click here.
  • Gyeon Products and Charts click here.
  • Menzerna Products and Charts click here.
  • Scholl Concepts Products and Charts click here.
  • Sonus Products and Charts click here.
  • Vertool Products and Charts click here.

I found a couple of images from the net (below) that are pretty good to explain some of the terminology of this coveted detailing skill. There are many, many books out there and plenty of ‘how to..’ videos on YouTube as well, so I won’t duplicate them here who are much better qualified to explain it than me.

Marks on the paint can be from poor washing routines, bird lime, tree sap, third party damage such as keys or car park dings, damage from hedges when driving to close or stone chips etc. These sorts of damage can spoil the look of your car may require the polishing step. The easiest way to remove these marks are with the DA pads.

First the misconception of ‘Polishing’ and ‘Waxing’ are the same thing! They’re not.

Polishing Pads or Cutting Pads or Compounding Pads,: Choosing your correct pad and polish combo is critical, using a waxing or ‘finishing’ soft or super soft pad won’t do much at all, and you will be there a while wasting your time. The courser polishing pads or ‘cutting’ pads are designed to work the product to the paint and not just apply it.

Waxing Pads or Finishing Pads: Most of the waxing or ‘finishing’ pads are soft or super soft, they are designed primarily to apply the product to the surface and not ‘work’ the product into the paint as such.

A little common sense; before you decide to polish, you must wash the car thoroughly. I won’t go into the full details of how to wash your car, but I will touch on the main points before the polish and the eventual choice of pads. You can use waterless washing if you want of course, but applying waterless washing tends to add an element of protection to the paint.

An ideal prep for a polish is to use a pre washing “Snow Foam” first if you can. This tends to remove the worst of the debris on the car as a touchless process. If you don’t have access to a snow foam, then at least rinse the car first and then wash the car using the two bucket method with a wash mitt, not a sponge. Remember that a good quality shampoo should nourish the paint and prepare it for a wax layering process, it shouldn’t remove the wax that is already on the paint surface. The least amount of contact with the dirty paint is desirable.

Remove any wax that is on the surface of the car’s paint. This is a separate step after washing using a specific product just for that wax removing job. However, some of the cheap and nasty car washing products will also remove the wax at the same time as washing, saving you that extra wax stripping step. Use a proper de-wax wash product like Chemical Guys ‘Clean Slate’ to leave the paint bare to the elements. Don’t be tempted to use cheap washing up detergents to wash the car, as they themselves can also be abrasive and often contain salt.

Once the car is washed clean, there is a step that is often overlooked before polishing; the ‘Clay bar’. This is as it sounds, a piece of soft clay which is flattened out into a thin pad and rubbed over the surface of the paint using fingertips. This clay lifts the stubborn contaminates and they in turn stick to the clay. Use the clay with a recommended lubrication and turn frequently to a fresh piece of the clay when it becomes dirty. If you drop the clay bar, Never Ever pick it up and re-use it on the car, get a fresh piece and continue. If you dive straight into the polishing stage you could end up dragging these foreign particles over your paint making things worse. It’s always best to try and get the paint as smooth as possible first before you tackle that polish stage. I have review links to a great clay bar from Bilt Hamber here and pretty poor clay bar from Auto Finesse here. Choose wisely, not all clay bars are the same, some work and some really don’t. A Clay Bar will also remove wax as well. Rinse the car and dry thoroughly.

Tip: Polishing is an acquired skill and shouldn’t be taken on with a slap dash approach. Go to a scrap yard, get an old fender or hood and practice on that first. Practice on an old car, or a favour to mates old car. With a heavy cutting compound, or an overly abrasive pad along with undue pressure being applied during the polishing process, there is every chance that such an abrasive combination could take the paint of your car. Rule of thumb is that a polish cleans the paint with mild to very abrasive product.

Some polishes are known to have fillers to hide imperfections and to give a richer look to the surface paint of the car. Auto Finesse ‘Tripple’ is such an example or Meguiar’s ‘3 in 1’.

Another step than can be used instead of a polish is a ‘Glaze’. This can be applied by hand or a DA machine. This product is a filler for fine scratches or swirl marks. This will only mask the problem of damaged paint. It certainly won’t cure or fix the problem like a proper paint correction or polish would.

What is Polish and Polishing?

Depending on the paint condition this will determine the pad and polish product you will need to use.

Polish, or sometimes referred to as a ‘compound’ is usually in the form of a liquid which contains a varying degree of abrasive content. The polish abrasiveness is also referred to as it’s ‘Cutting’ strength. During a polish you are in effect removing microns of your paint, the harsher the abrasive or cutting, the more of the paint or clear coat will be removed. Polishing can also restore the shine of the paint on your car from a faded or neglected surface. If you see some slight discoloration, damaged paint from bird lime or similar, or when you think there is a lot of dirt that has got stuck on the surface that won’t be removed after a wash with a good shampoo, it may be better to go for the polish. Small scratches can be reduced or removed after a polish. This can also be known as a ‘paint correction’.

The majority of the time a Polish will require multiple applications of finer or less course cutting polishes and softer pads to obtain that smooth mirror like surface. Rule of thumb, start soft. If nothing is happening go heavier and work back to the light combo again. If the paint is getting to hot – STOP. Many experienced detailers and car body work painters just know what they need to use.

Why Polish?

Simple answer is that if you see scratches or swirls the polishing step could remove them depending how bad they are of course. This would leave a mirror looking paint if done correctly.

How does it work?

The light hits our eyes at strange angles, which shows up as a scratch, blemish, swirl etc. on the paint work. If the paint is smooth with no marks the light is bounced in an even manor. This is explained a lot better with the help of a little diagram towards the end.

What is Wax (ing)

Wax is just a protective coat to protect the paint of your car from the elements, prolong the longevity and lustre. There are two main products, natural and synthetic. Natural tends to offer the best shine with not much longevity. Synthetic offers the best longevity but not quite a good a shine. There are of course mixtures of the two and hybrids. Some of the ‘hybrids’ are now incorporating the ‘ceramic’ technology which is creeping into the consumer market. Natural waxes are often found at high quality car shows or concours events to show the paint to it’s full extent. Synthetics are for generally for daily cars who also want a nice shine. Waxes have moved on with technology, these waxes often come with UV protection to help stop paint fading in sunlight. They last longer, apply easier and offer great value for money, well in most cases anyway.

There is also another step that can be applied, that is ‘Sealer’. this is applied before the wax as it says coats the paint job to protect it better than a wax – so it’s said. Sealers do one job only and not designed for pure shine. More to protect what you already have before the shine is applied.

Waxes come in two main application forms; liquid or paste.

Paste wax or hard wax, is more of the traditional method and often classed as old school. Often requiring application, curing and then buffing to a shine, often repeated to build up the protection or shine. Usually the enthusiasts or connoisseur’s choice. These products are best applied as ‘a little goes a long way’.

Liquid wax or soft wax, is the modern approach. They tend to be quicker, easier and generally don’t require cure time or additional applications, also know as ‘wipe on, wipe off’ products. The down side is that you tend to use more of the product.

Why Wax?

Waxing protects the car from elements and even sunlight. It also makes the car look good and helps to retain the vehicles value.

How does it work?

The wax forms a protective barrier between the paint job and the elements.

There is no right or wrong for the type of waxing you take, what ever suits you. I have it on good authority that there are no differences between the paste wax and the liquid waxes apart from composition. The only real choice you have is what you want the wax to do, last, shine or a bit of an all rounder?

Understanding the paint problems

I found these various diagrams to show what the polishing is designed to do. Make the paint as smooth as possible, then protect it with wax (or sealer).

They say a picture speaks a thousand words and I think these pictures do just that to explain it better way than I ever could.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is paintlayersscratch4.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is paintlayersscratch3.jpg

Some examples of things that can damage the paint and how badly, and yes that does say ‘fingernails’!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is paintlayersscratch2.jpg

As I mentioned earlier on how the eye sees the light. If light reflects badly and is distorted instead of a bouncing straight back, that is when you get to see the marks on the paint as shown here:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is paintlayersscratch7.jpg

Various way to fix this is the buffing with pads to get to the bottom of the damage to leave a smooth even reflective area. As I have already explained, things likes glazes, sealants and waxes can help along with disguising these areas of damage to make the light reflect in a much more uniform manor. Thus making the surface look smooth and shiny again.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is paintlayersscratch.jpg

Then we get a little more techy with the thicknesses of paint and how the paints are applied. Of course the different applications of paint (Single coat, 2 pack, water based, cellulose etc.), amount of paint applied, types of paint; solid, metallic, pearlescent, matte, special mix custom. The type of primer, fillers, top coats, clear coats all need their own types of care. For some one product may not work the same on another manufacturers paint etc. Some manufacturer paints are known as hard paints, while others are considerably softer. This diagram shows the generic application of thicknesses, these vary wildly depending who done what. Some respray jobs cost £2,000 and others £20,000 and that’s for a good for a reason.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is paintlayersscratch5.jpg

The ‘basics’ of the paint application;

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is paintlayersscratch6.jpg

Don’t worry that is as technical as it will get about paint and the theories behind it. After all we are just looking at the comparison of pads to ‘fix’ the paint, according to my very own comparison chart above.

When I mentioned the combination of products and pads above, this is the visual representation of just that.

Not all these DA pads are for polishing or cutting alone. Oh no, Many people use the much softer pads to apply the waxes to the car for a much easier, smoother and even application of wax. I have a link here on 10 wax comparisons in a mega test.

Posted in Articles, Car Detailing, Reviews, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Wax Comparisons

During the last quarter of last year, the UK had a few nice days of sunshine and as I had a few days off work owing to me, I decided to use my holiday up. That time was put to good use and completed a little project I wanted to try for myself. It’s often done on YouTube, but not to this degree, I think.

There are often a few car cleaning products compared on YouTube channels, but not ten side by side, with the same testing criteria by the looks of it. When I say “Top Branded”, I mean top manufacturers and their best selling products for normal weekend washing warriors on the street. Those of us who like the best products that work and at reasonable prices using traditional waxes, not the latest in thing of ‘Hybrid’ or ‘Ceramic’ waxes. Lets face it, there are some truly great products on the market at the moment, some of which are even essentials of my own cleaning routines, still. To put this into context there are waxes out there that are expensive for expensive sake, like Swizöl International’s Divine costing £2,150, Brough & Howarth’s Definitive Wax Marble costing £24,000, Zymol Vintage Glaze costing £2,400 or The Ultimate Shine costing an insane £65,000 which can be seen here:   http://www.performancemotorcare.com/car-cleaning-product-news/worlds-most-expensive-car-wax/1808

However, there has been (a strong) rumour that the ‘Ultimate Shine’ wax itself is actually made by Mitchell & King in Scotland. I can’t verify this, but can only state what I have read so far. The original mix (allegedly) sold by M & K is called Gold Rush Rally at £75 a pot which is a mere 0.11% of the price! This brings me back to my point, although these ten waxes are (mostly) affordable and will last a good number of applications, they are not in that stupid silly money league. However there is an in-between level of Luxury car waxes such as Swissvax Crystal Rock at £300, BMD Prometheus £120, Auto Finesse Desire at £120 and Mitchell & King’s top of the range wax ‘Lily’ around £600 where only One pot is made a year, or anything in between from M&K for a comprehensive range of waxes between £45 to £600.

I will be reviewing Mitchell & King’s ‘Lily’ in a very special review coming soon. This was purchased with my wife’s very own money for a special Christmas gift. Before anybody asks – No, I’m not on commission or paid by them.

If you can afford those crazy sort of prices I suspect you will get somebody else to clean the car for you. I’m guessing most of those super high end waxes are being applied to Veyron’s, Ferraris or any other super or hyper car where money is no object. Then there is the other end where Poundland stores sell car shampoo for £1. Pure logic dictates that there has to be a difference right? But somewhere in the middle, there is a sweet spot and that’s these sort of products I have reviewed here.

Anyway, back to these standard off the shelf and top selling waxes, I have been very happy with most of these waxes and will continue to use them on my daily cars. Some do a great job and perform well after application. That’s why I really wanted to compare these particular mainstream products. Picking the best of the best that I like, then at a later date this summer step up to the ‘Real Luxury’ car wax to see the real differences, if any. But a couple of these waxes are getting close to treading on the toes of the ‘Luxury wax’ end of the market; Dat Wax and Illusion based on their cost to volume ratio. The scores I have given in the past to some of these products I stand by. At the time I didn’t know any better or had anything else better to compare them against until now that is.

Costs:

Multiple products which varied from a very reasonable £12 to a eye watering £75.  All these products I purchased myself, no sponsorship to skew reviews. These are my own thoughts and findings for the products with my own hard earned cash I parted with for each of them.

Meguiar’s :

Gold Class paste  £21 for 311g  click here for individual review

Ultimate Wax Paste  £40 for 311g  click here for individual review

Mirror Bright Polish Wax  £23 for 226g  click here for individual review

Nxt Gen liquid Wax 2.0  £26 for 532ml

Auto Finesse :

Glisten £12 for 500ml

Illusion Show Wax £75 for 150g  click here for individual review

Chemical Guys :

Butter Wet Wax  £23 for 473ml

Cherry Dripping Wet wax  £23 for 473ml  click here for individual review

Instawax+  £16 for 473ml  click here for individual review

Dat Wax :

£25 for 100ml  click here for individual review.

YouTube video of this written review:

The full video of this test can be found on my YouTube channel or here for the shortcut or paste the link to YouTube. It’s easier to see what is going on rather than read about it. The video lasts for thirty two mins or so and has be trying to film, commentate, wax and buff all at the same time. I think I pulled it off after a bit of editing.

https://youtu.be/mfUyFS-hRk8

Date Of Review:

October 2019

Background:

I have reviewed many products for detailing, especially waxes and quick detailers. Some have been rated 10 out of 10 by me when I tested them. Which at the time was correct as I used the product in isolation. However, there are always those nagging thoughts in my mind; what about side by side comparisons? Are the expensive waxes worth it? Can you tell the difference? I aim to answer these questions the best I can.

When you apply a wax on it’s own you can only gauge by what you are working with, application may be great and buffing at the time. But, you forget how others perform that you had previously used or reviewed.

So; I got my favourite waxes out and decided to compare them. That’s five hard paste waxes – old school and my preferred option. Then five soft or liquid waxes of similar products not made in a wax form.

The top three big boys are Meguiar’s, Chemical Guys, Auto finesse and a wild card of Dat Wax.

There are only really three actual ‘hard’ paste waxes which are the Meguair’s trio, Gold Class, Ultimate and Mirror Bright Polishing Paste Wax (made by Meguiar’s). The Auto Finesse Illusion and the Dat Wax are both very soft butter texture type waxes not quite liquid, but not a hard paste in comparison either.

The Sales Pitch(s):

These are found under each of the reviews I have done to date. See the links above. I still have a proper Glisten review to do and my latest purchase of the Butter Wet Wax.

Each of these products claims to have the best shine possible and protection, but they can’t all be right can they?

Instructions:

The instructions were followed on the tins and bottles of each product. The donor hood was my 2014 Toyota Avensis in a metallic grey. I divided the hood into roughly ten even sections via some masking tape. The day was overcast and sunny, but not enough to make the metalwork hot to the touch.

The top five sections were for the hard waxes, and the bottom five sections were for the soft waxes.

Top; left to right – Meguiar’s Gold Class, Meguiar’s Ultimate, Mirror Bright Polish wax, Auto Finesse Illusion, Dat Wax.

Bottom; left to right – Auto Finesse Glisten, Meguiar’s NXT Gen 2.0, Chemical Guys InstaWax+, Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax, Chemical Guys Cherry Dripping Wet Wax.

Application:

The hood was first given a wipe down with quick detailer to get the light dirt off.

The hood was then clayed with Auto Finesse clay bar and a Megs Quick Detailer, not the greatest detailer it has to be said, it’s recommended by Meg’s as a clay lubrication product as well.

The hood was then given a good spraying with 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol to remove anything left, which was quite a lot based on the clean white 100% cotton cloth.

My fingers dragged and squeaked across the paint, I knew then it was clean. The hood was the taped up ready to apply the products. 

Each Product

Rather than going into pages and pages of what I did and how I did it, the video will show you each product as I went along.

Each product was applied with a clean applicator or cloth. The pastes and liquids were left to haze except for the Auto Finesse Glisten which could be buffed off straight away. It took around 15 minutes for all the waxes to cure / haze over.

Each buffing was done with a clean 280gsm microfiber cloth all from the same manufacturer for consistency, the only difference being the colours. I tried to apply each product in the same way, and buff off in the same way. The only difference being the Mirror Bright Paste as that required working into the paint as it was a polish as well. Failing to apply that correctly would have compromised the product. It’s interesting to note that the Auto Finesse Illusion and the Dat Wax never actually hazed over probably due to the oil content not evaporating.

I tried to apply the products to the paint for the same amount of time, and buff to a shine for the same amount of time for continuity.

Each product was only applied once to the cleanest of my paint work I could muster up. That way they all have a same starting point. It was obvious that some required additional coats to get to the desired levels of coverage. But, to be honest, you do need to actually build up the wax layers. It wouldn’t be fair to apply two coats of one and just a single coat of another.

The Video

This is a full half hour video I uploaded to my YouTube channel. The Video has me narrating (some say droning) on what I was doing and what I had found on the comparisons. Put thirty minutes aside and enjoy.

Results:

Don’t get me wrong, I like these products or I wouldn’t have bought them in the first place. I have previously given some of them 10 out of 10 for a review. They are all (mostly) great products from the top suppliers.

HOWEVER; when they are side by side there is a difference and I didn’t think for one second that the results I got were what I was going to predict below, that actually shocked me.

The results I decided to do in three categories. Touch, Shine, Water Sheeting/Beading.

The Touch Tests:

No matter where I go at a car show and my car is all shiny, somebody wants to feel the paintwork. Not sure why, but they do. So I decided to make that a test. No amount of photos will ever show you the feel of a wax.

Process:  I had a single cloth soaked with Isopropyl Alcohol that I could wipe my fingers on between each touch test. That way I had no other waxes on my fingers to cross contaminate to the next touch test.

After a single application of the products and allowed to cure then buffed, touch test was ready. This was a simple feel for the surface, was it smooth, was it streaky or still there. My fingers really could feel a difference. The Meguiar’s Gold Class applied an adequate coating, but no doubt about it that it needed two or three applications to become a nice smooth barrier like the rest. It was really odd to feel the paint roughness still though.

I often refer on the video to a wet feel, of course it wasn’t wet, but just sort of feels silky or smooth buttery texture.

The touch test results are for the Pastes waxes:

1) Mirror Bright,

2) Dat Wax,

2) Auto Finesse – Illusion,

4) Megs – Ultimate,

5) Megs – Gold Class

Conclusion for Paste Waxes: The mirror Bright just felt like glass  where as both the Dat Wax and the Illusion felt more oily which was to be expected by their constitution to be honest. Some may prefer that type of feel. Ultimate was in no way a let down and felt like the Mirror Bright but not quite as deep feeling as it were. The Gold class could be felt as a coating there but certainly not great on a single pass.

The touch test results for the Liquid waxes:

1) Chemical Guys – Butter wet,

2) Chemical Guys – Insta Wax+,

3) Megs – Tech wax 2.0,

4) Chemical Guys – Cherry Dripping Wet,

5) Auto Finesse – Glisten

Conclusion for liquid waxes:  The CG Butter Wet Wax was the clear winner here with the Instawax+ with hardly any difference and a close run for top place. Megs Tech Wax 2.0 felt just like the Ultimate and a glassy feel to it. The CG Cherry Wet Wax was super smooth but just shaded a little by its siblings, a second coat and I would say it would be right up there with the winners. Glisten was on there but felt more watery based and you could feel there wasn’t much of a coating on the paint work, although a little better than then Gold class for a single application.

Overall: There is a difference between the feel of the waxes. The pastes are applying a thicker coating than the misting of Glisten for sure. Especially when you run a finger from bare paint to the waxed areas. It’s a very close thing between the Butter Wet Wax and the Mirror Bright. For a straight forward wax on the Butter Wet takes it, for a little cleanse and slightly harder work the Mirror Bright takes it. The Dat Wax and the Illusion over car show coatings feel like an oily coating to give that much desired consistent smooth look across all panels.

The Visual Inspection

Process: After the applications I was going to look at the colour and how the reflectivity, gloss, depth and warmth of colour of the waxes looked on a paint job. As my car has metallic flake this would be a real tell-tale of shine.

As I mentioned before this was a single application of waxes and inspected from their. The sun was in and out during the inspection. When the sun was out the metallic was made to pop by some waxes better than others.

The results are for the Pastes waxes:

You can clearly see from the top of this picture that the Meguiar’s has warmed the colour of the paint and clear to see.

The results for the Liquid waxes:

This picture shows the same warming glow to the paint from the Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax.

Conclusion:

As each of these products are now applied they should be performing as a finished product as it were. That’s the look of the waxes once applied and the effectiveness of the waxes.

There IS a difference in the way that these waxes can effect the look of a paint, say on a white car using a yellowish based wax will give a warmer glow compared to a white wax for example. It not as immediately obvious on much darker colours. I picked my Toyota as an example to test for the metallic and the neutral grey. My hunch was correct as the colour differences can be clearly seen.

Consider the look of the paint you require if you are that into it, or not worry it’s up to you.

Overall:

The waxes either the paste or liquid made little difference in the end to the look of the paint. A personal preference obviously comes into play as it does all the reviews. But I found the liquid of the Butter Wet wax and the Ultimate wax paste was virtually undisguisable.

1) (Meguiar’s) Mirror Bright Polishing Wax

2) Chemical Guys – Butter Wet

3) Megs – Ultimate

One thing to remember here, the hard waxes will last way longer than the liquid versions just by the nature of how they are applied. This could be a major factor when considering a purchase – value for money.

Water Tester Sheeting and Beading

Process:

I filled a gallon pot with clean water and chucked it over the car. This would show the clearing capacity of the wax properties for sheeting and beading.

I did multiple tests of the water deluge on the video and it’s very easy to see the differences.

On a personal note: to see the beading looks great as there is a barrier between the paint and the water. But as the car moves it will run off anyway. I prefer to see the water run off the car completely, but ‘Bead Bragging’ rights is a huge thing in the detailing circles.

Why do I prefer to see it all run off? Well if dirt lands on the car or dust it will sit around the beads. Once the beads are gone it will leave a dusty layer looking like a moon surface. With sheeting it will at least be a uniform film of dirt.

For the hard wax beading I found the following;

  1. Meg’s Ultimate Wax
  2.  Mirror Bright
  3.  Meg’s Gold Class
  4.  Auto Finesse Illusion
  5.  Dat Wax

For the liquid wax water beading I found the following;

  1. Meg’s Nxt Gen
  2.  Chemcial Guys Insta Wax+
  3.  Auto Finesse Glisten
  4.  Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax
  5.  Chemical Guys Cherry Dripping Wet Wax

For the Overall Sheeting ability I found the following;

  1. Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax
  2. Meg’s Mirror Bright
  3. Chemical Guys InstaWax+
  4. Dat Wax

Conclusion:

Without a question some waxes bead better than others, Meguiar’s take that crown here with both the paste and liquids.

Large amounts of water should run of quickly, and small rain drops tend to form together until the beads are to big and run off.

A little misting and ALL these waxes will bead very nicely and there isn’t a lot in it at all. In fact I would go far as to say you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Perhaps by full on pour of the water is a little unfair, but the sheeting tests is similar to those used on ceramic coating demos. I was just showing the same type of reaction from a well applied wax.

The difference between the hard and soft waxes is minimal if at all.

Overall:

Such a difficult thing to sum up.

It has to be preference for application. Traditional or old school – Hard wax on, cure and buff off. Great results and little goes a long way. New or time saver – Liquid waxes apply and buff off to a great result. This method tends to use more product, but is cheaper.

Beading / Sheeting, under heavy water its easier to see the ones that deal with it quicker, but allowing for beading they all performed well with the hard waxes being the more consistent beaders.

Scores: 

Various out of 10 for these as I have reviewed most of the products before, but more to come soon.

Conclusions:

I’m not convinced that the fine mist spray waxes like Glisten are on a par with the liquids / hard waxes from the other suppliers. Personal preference is a huge factor for application, you either see it as an art form process – hard waxing, or an exercise to keep the car protected and looking good – soft waxes.

Costs between these waxes is insane – £75 for Auto Finesse Illusion that applies beautifully and smells nice looked no different from Chemical Guys InstaWax+ at £16 once both buffed off to a shine.

There is an amount of snobbery regarding brands between users out there. But the big boys vs the cheap end of the market there is a difference no doubt about it. However when you get to these high quality level of suppliers, all their great products in relation to each other there is virtually nothing in it.

Some prefer the wax of ‘So & So’ because it doesn’t streak, but on another car’s paint it may be difficult to buff to a shine. I found that I am using mixtures of brands to get what I want from a detail for a show. No one brand has everything covered better than the rest. You just have to try it for yourselves. If you buy it again then you have a product that works for you. I have a couple of friend’s Craig and David who are both as sad as me when it comes to detailing, we swap products between us to see what we like. I may like the look, but not the process, where as he may like the gloss that I don’t. We have different cars and they are very different colours, white, grey, black, dark blue, light blue etc so we can see the varying results.

I do need to mention that the waxes are dyed. Thats the Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax after applying it to a car for two coats it looked like had been smoking 60 a day for the last twenty years. Same with the Cherry Dripping Wet Wax which left me with red fingers like I had been picking strawberries all day. Just saying!

So, when I go to a car show and a want a wax on the car not just a quick detailer, then it’s a liquid wax. At home with plenty of time it’s back to the hard waxes. I never thought I would hear my self saying that, but I use both types of waxes now. So I have moved on with the times, I think.

Would I buy them again?

To be fair most of them I would, but not the £75 Auto Finesse pot or the Auto Finesse Glisten, not my favourites to be fair, but both are at the opposite end of the price scales to each other. The hard waxes will last me a good few years yet and will probably still be some left to polish the handles on my coffin when I drop dead! Having to choose, the Butter Wet Wax I would buy again, as I would the Mirror Bright polish paste.

Would I recommend any of them?

Without a doubt some I would; such as the Meg’s Ultimate and Gold Class (when multiple layers applied), Butter Wet Wax and Mirror Bright. However, it’s hard to recommend a wax for £35 for few fluid ounces in a little jar or a £75 for a wax that don’t last long as it’s a “show wax”. Especially if there is no real difference that can be seen straight away after application.

Like I said earlier, I am looking forward to using a premium hand blended quality wax which I will review and apply before some car shows – weather permitting of course. To suppliment this post I have also created a Dual Action pad comparison & guide from the manufacturers. Once I have written that up I will also post that very soon before the car show starts again in earnest. This post may not all be exactly Mustang related, but it could be for any car and I hope useful. I have learnt a lot from speaking to the designers of the products and I will share a little of that information in the next forthcoming posts. I am really pleased to say that the blog is also attracting some car detailers to and not just Mustang fans.

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

I just wanted to wish all my readers and followers;

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

I wish good health and a prosperous new year.

It wouldn’t be a proper post without a picture of Mustang now would it?  I’m not sure where this came from on the Internet, but it’s a great pic.

More posts to follow in the next Decade.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Stop Right There

A little while ago at a car show I was told that my brake lights didn’t work. I was concerned for obvious reasons. The cars behind me can’t see me slowing or stopping, and the fact I’m running LED’s was a concern. It’s not as if I had a blown bulb or something which would be an easy fix. The guy told me that while we were in a long queue to get into the show he “didn’t see my lights come on at all”.

After he left explaining it to me my fellow Mustang mate David heard what he said and suggested I pressed the pedal so he could take a look. I pressed the pedal as I normally do when braking and the thumbs up and a “yep fine”, no problems there then. We swapped places and he pressed the pedal, no problems again as the lights came on as expected. This is now turning into a puzzling scenario. Perhaps an intermittent switch fault, or is it the fact I am very light on my brakes? I don’t pull away with a boot full of revs and I don’t jump on the brakes to stop me either. In traffic I pull away gently by just letting the idle move me forward, when I brake it’s just a light pressure enough to stop. Less wear and tear on the engine, less fuel used, it will help avoid a boil over and the big positive is there will be less brake dust on my chrome wheels to clean as well.

I made a trip to Mustang Maniac to be in the company of fellow petrol heads and I explained what had happened to Adam. He suggested a swap over of the switch for the power assisted disc version. When I asked what the difference was he told me the spring for the switch was not as strong and the wires were on the other side of the switch bracket. This translated means that the normal drum brakes need more pressure to apply the brakes with a longer pedal travel. That switch is stronger as the brakes don’t actually apply until a reasonable force is used. The power assisted disc brakes need less pressure before the brakes apply, so the switch needs to be activated a little earlier. Simple when you think about it. So with advice from Adam of course I was going to replace it.

Here the two are side by side. Old drum brakes on the left (still working when tested with multi meter) and the new one for powered discs on the right. It’s also the same switch for a 67-68 as well.

I got to work where the switch is attached to the pedal via, which is in turn mounted around the master cylinder lever, which is also attached to the pedal via the same pin. The switch and the lever are held in place by a fairly strong retaining pin which needs to be removed.

Depending on the state of the pin it could be rusted and a little penetrating oil may help with the removal. I used a long pair of angled pliers to pull it out, be careful you don’t slip and take a chunk out of your steering column.

With the pin removed the connecting bar to the brake master will be able to be pulled off the pedal to the side.

Move the brake lever halfway off the pin. This will release the closed part of the switch casing, a hole which the pin fits through in order to stop the switch from coming off the pedal itself.  The switch itself can now be pulled down as the opposite side of the switch is open at the top of the casing to allow the switch to be removed. This saves having to completely remove the brake lever bar if you didn’t want to. While I was at it I decided to regrease the pin and plastic bushings. When removing the pin take care to retain the plastic bushing inside the lever bar. There are also a nylon washers on either side of the pin which don’t need to be removed, but you can if you want to. Below is the pedal push rod to the master cylinder being removed.

I sprayed the pedal pin with some white grease ready for reassembly later and also the inside of the push rod and bushings. If they haven’t been replaced for a while, replace them just for the sake of it  as they are very cheap replacement parts. That would also eliminate and play in the pedal, if you have any that is.

Side by side with the closed side of the switches compared. The powered disc brake version on the right with the terminals on the closed side of the switch. The left has the terminals on the open side.

The other side of the switch where you can see the open side as it were. Notice the terminals on the left manual switch are now facing up.

Once the removal has been completed now it’s a simple the reverse to fit it. Apply grease to the pedal pin that locates the push rod bar and the bushings. I used plenty and can always wipe it up after. If you go mad with the grease you could drop or run grease onto your footwell carpet, be careful or lay some old rags around, just in case.

Place the switch up to the push rod bar which will sit between the open and closed sides of the switch. Align the holes and slip it back over the brake pedal pin. You may need to slightly rotate the switch so that the open end is located all the way up to the pin. The switch itself should sit square at the end of the brake push rod, in line at the end of the lever bar as shown here. If the switch is not located square, the lights could be on all the time or not come on at all.

The push rod lever bar has straight edges deliberately, this means when the pedal is depressed the lever bar moves on the pin’s axis and the edges press the top of the switch down to make the contact.

Check the motion of the pedal and you should here a very faint click as the switch engages. The retaining sprung pin can be located into the hole in the pedal pin. This retaining spring is quite a tough to open around the pedal pin in order to be properly located. Here just the retaining pin tip is located in the brake pedal retaining hole.

You may need the pliers on the spring a little to get it passed the pedal pin and snap it into place.

A little more spray on white grease and pump the pedal to make sure full and correct operation.

Lastly you just need to swap the connecting block to the other side of the switch. It’s possible that you may need to free up a little more cable but you should have enough slack in the loom to allow you to do this. Here the switch is fully assembled with the connector in place with the red and white wires showing, before I re-wrapped them again. The connecting block can only fit on in one direction as the male terminals are set at angles.

From a slightly different angle.

Again, check the FULL motion of the pedal and make sure everything is clear from snagging. You should now be able to check that your brake lights are now working correctly. Lastly you can either clean up the grease on the visible parts or leave it as is. I left mine for a couple of trips in order to let it all work around, then I cleaned it up, but not to much as you need the lubrication there.

The noticeable difference being that the pedal moves less now before the brake lights come on which suits my style of driving. Also even if I just cover the brakes it should give the car behind earlier warning that I am actually slowing down and avoid being rear ended.

In total it took around just over half an hour plus taking the pictures to complete. It took a further few hours for my back to recover after laying upside down in a Mustang footwell and twisting into positions that any circus contortionist would be proud off. The cost of the project was £16.80 from Mustang Maniac, click here for the link for the switch I used. A small price to pay to be safe.

Quite what the issue was with the brakes not working or just the switch playing up i don’t know. Replacing the switch is simple and like I just said, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Quite what my next project will be I’m not sure, but I will find something no doubt, hopefully without having to book an appointment with a chiropractor! 🙂

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Results Are In

At the end of my last post “Sweet & Sour part 2”, I asked for the my readers / followers view and response to my dilemma of the cheating allegations that I aimed squarely at Ted Brooke the owner of the 1961 Morris Minor. I won’t go back into what I saw over the weekend I have documented and evidenced that. I created a Poll and asked should I leave my cheating report up, or take it down?

Thank you to those that voted along with your support. The results were a conclusive and massive over 95% in favour to leave it up.

So my evidence of what I saw stays posted.

I have been asked how these posts even got to the point it has now. The answer is quite simple; people started to press my buttons, pressing my buttons does make things happen in my head, I just have to deal with it and can’t let it go. The most basic explanation is when I confronted those involved with the evidence I had, it was laughed off and laughed in my face, it was ignored completely, I was told to go away, I was called a “liar” and a “sore loser”, I was even threatened with legal action, and that little lot just started to rub my nose in it. A little gaggle of cheaters sitting behind the car laughing and celebrating that they had ‘Won’ the ‘well deserved’ trophy didn’t sit to well with me or the others that were there in either. So, not only did I/We witness bad things, but it was then blatant they had no qualms about cheating.

To the point of this post; behind the scenes I had told people I emailed Lancaster my concerns and if I got a response I would too also allow them their fair say. Lancaster did respond and so did Clarion. I will show what I wrote to Lancaster and the responses in a second.

But first; I would like to make it clear that I have no grudge(s) with organisers / partners of the event at all, in fact a little more respect as they had the balls to reply to me knowing full well I would be commenting on their replies, I know they will be reading this. So Thank You to those that have contacted me and replied to me. I will keep their personal contact details out of it as I see no benefit to splash that level of detail all over the internet. All I am doing here is fighting for a pure point of PRINCIPLE, I’m not here trying to ruin events or their jobs.

I wrote an email to Richard Morley, Operations Director, Lancaster Insurance. The email was sent Thu 14/11/2019 13:45  the cut and paste reads as follows; (including a couple of typos, I had at the time and still have tonsillitis, that’s my excuse for the unforgivable errors! 😦

Afternoon Mr Morley,

I would like to start of with big thank you for such an enjoyable weekend 8-10 November at the NEC Birmingham. I was one of the lucky 20 entrants able to display on the Pride of Ownership a real honour. However I would like to ask the official stance on cheating within the competition you are sponsoring. Throughout each of the three days at the event the owner of the winning car the pink Morris Minor, was seen cheating by myself and others. He filled in his own voting slips and putting them into the vote boxes, passing pre filled forms to visitors asking them to post the forms as well. He even told the visitors where to tick for his car, he also took wads of the voting forms to club stands to be filled in on a few occasions. As he was next to my car it was clear to see. The joining instructions clearly stated that any cheating would mean disqualification and be asked to leave. Especially as the joining instructions specifically said there was complaints and cheating the year before as well. Vigilance should have been a priority.

The cheating was reported to the NEC organiser who confirmed in a text to me that that the cheating votes were not going to be  counted, obviously many were going to be missed.

With such a blatant knowledge of his cheating the organisrrs and your staff still allowed the entrant to continue. I and others also reported the underhanded tactics to Lancaster staff in white t-shirts who didn’t seem to take it too seriously. Yet still he was not disqualified. I took a photo early Sunday morning where he was sitting at a table with voting forms going through his phone looking for contacts to complete the forms. I witnessed it.

As I’m a good sport I did not make a scene at the awards and spoke immediately to the guy representing Lancaster giving the awards and showed him the evidence. His response was an astonishing “I just write the cheques”. I showed the evidence to the Morris Minor owners club who just denied it and laughed. You representative was seen to go over to apologise the club for any misunderstanding. Again no offering to look into the evidence. I know thwt the Morris Owners club had stacks of forms on their stands, which shouldn’t of been there in the first place. I have the photograph and also the screen shots between me and NEC where the organisers KNEW of cheating and even acknowledged the cheating via text messages, yet still allowed the car to go on and win. By saying we removed the blatant cheating forms has condoned the practice to not remove the car. If you are caught cheating in an exam the exam is void, not just the question you cheated on, if you cut corners on a running track you are disqualified, not just ignore that little bit. I could have been handled without fuss by not placing the car at all, if you didn’t want the bad publicity. An even playing field was all that we requested now I feel that I need to expose this wrong doing. I am happy to have my message logs to be examined by the phone company to prove the messages were indeed sent and received as they were just text messages not WhatsApp encrypted. 

Please could you let me know if you want to see the evidence where I will be happy to send over. Also what if anything does your company intend on doing about the obviously squewed results. I don’t want publicity, i dont want free insurance, I just want the moral and integrity high grounds to be fought for. The guy wanted the trophy so bad be managed to pull it of in the biggest classic car show in the country and you (organisers) were told about it. 

I’m sorry that this has had to be noted to you in such a way.

Based on the experience of your company to date I feel that I can never be insured with you as I don’t know that I can trust the company as a whole. I am in no way suggesting you on any others at your level knew about it. But, it was raised over the whole weekend to many people. In fact there were others entrants also cheating, unfortunately I don’t have 100% proof of that. 

Sour grapes from me? Not at all I had a great time there. It just seems that my principles are greater than others. Many people are the opinion “let it go” but that’s not the point. I have no doubt what so ever than I will now be black listed for events as a trouble maker.

I look forward to your responses.

I’m very dissapointed and feel let down.

Regards,

Mart Dawson.

Mr Morley’s job title is now different to the documents that I had researched at the time, so perhaps this wasn’t the idea person to speak to, but to be fair – Mr Morley took ownership of it and moved it along for a resolution. A good positive there.

‘Poppyseed’ Clarion’s PR Agency tried to contact me:

Wednesday 15th November 2019 at 15:38. I was unable to answer as I was unable to speak as I had completely lost my voice. A pleasant email was left on my voice mail to call back.

Monday 18th November 2019 at 11:14. I was actually asleep at this point (recovering from a fate worse than man flu obviously) although my voice was starting to come back to the dulcet tones of Barry White. A pleasant voice message was again left for me.

I tried to call PoppySeed on Tuesday 19th November 2019 12:53, unfortunately they were in a meeting all day. A text message very shortly after my call to me to say that emails were going to be on their way back to me later that afternoon. I was slightly surprised that written correspondence was going to arrive, but this is again a positive.

The first email response the next day was from Lee Masters of Clarion the ‘Show Director’ on Wed 20/11/2019 10:59

Dear Mart

Andrea Seed from our PR Agency (Poppyseed Media) and Richard Morley from Lancaster Insurance have brought my attention to both a letter that you have written to Mr Morley and also a social media blog that you have written entitled ‘One Man and His Mustang’.

Firstly, can I thank you for your encouraging and positive words and photos that you took at the show. It’s good to hear that you enjoy the event as much as we do. I would also like to thank you for entering your superb Mustang into the Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership Competition.

It is with regards to the competition that I am writing, and I want to reassure you that your concerns about cheating are being taken seriously. The Pride of Ownership Competition has been running now for four years at both our March and November shows. The competition is about bringing together some of the UK’s best privately owned classic cars and asking the public to vote for their favourite (top three) cars. This is all done in a good-natured spirit of fun, enthusiasm and passion for the classic cars that we all love and cherish.

For clarity, the competition is organised and run by Clarion Events Ltd as the owners of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show. Lancaster Insurance is the sponsor of the competition.  The organising, administering of the terms and conditions, voting process, vote counting and conclusion of the final results are done by Clarion, independently and without prejudice.

Should any of the competition terms and conditions be possibly contravened then the situation would be raised with me as the Show Director and reviewed by the competition organising team. I confirm that all of the voting forms for all competing cars were diligently inspected and a number of ‘non-qualifying’ votes were removed (not just from the Morris Minor) and were discounted from the final results. I also confirm that this did not affect the outcome of the top three places.

Whilst we do state disqualification in the terms and conditions, in most circumstances, once we have removed ‘non-qualifying’ votes there is not a need to take such action – it really is a last resort as we want this to be a gracious and good-natured public vote.

Finally, I don’t want you to be unhappy and we will as a result of your feedback conduct a review of our processes and Terms and Conditions for our next event. Please also be assured that you will not be black-listed as you put it. I see you as a friend of the show and your comments will help us in the future. As a gesture of goodwill, I would happily offer you guest tickets to our spring NEC show or Reis Race Retro if you would like to join us.

My very best regards

Lee Masters

Show Director

Second email response was from Mr Morley Wed 20/11/2019 11:31 some thirty minutes later with the following: (Personal contact details redacted).

Hello Mr Dawson  

Thank you for your email.

Apologies for the delay in my response, following your communication we have shared your email with Clarion Events and have been having discussions with the team there.

Pride of Ownership is an integral part of the weekend and we’re delighted that you were able to join us at the show. I understand you spoke to Andrea Seed on the Sunday of the show regarding your concerns and she has been trying to get hold of you following your email to myself. I’m sorry to hear you have been suffering with tonsillitis, I hope you feel better soon.

Lee Masters, the Show Director, has emailed you this morning and we hope that this has reassured you and addressed your concerns.

Please be assured that all feedback is greatly appreciated, and we certainly take on board all comments. We also hope to see you at future events.

Kind Regards

Rich Morley

Broking Director

OK, really nice to get the emails which I won’t forensically deconstruct the emails which would be fairly easy to be honest, I will just point out a few little things for you. It’s also quite clear that they spoken with each other and the organisers and the sponsors are not going to throw each other under a bus for bad publicity that’s for sure. The show works well as a whole and I hope it continues to do so. It’s a great show at the end of the day.

We are not stupid either that the voting forms are also a way of the sponsors being Lancaster Insurance are gaining contact details for leads for classic car insurance with renewal dates. A little side note: Classic Car Insurance is a good risk for a number of reasons; people who own these cars trailer or drive them very carefully. Restricted number of drivers also tend to be in the more mature age banding. These cars are simply not thrashed around. They are very well looked after, more so than modern cars. Restricted annual mileage means less exposure to road risks. They are usually kept very secure. Although the downside is the value of the cars for a total loss which can be high, the overall claims ratios still make this a profitable book of business.

Lancaster’s response email from Mr Morley; is worth noting that their email didn’t address a number of my specific points directly about the insurance company itself. This is partially seen to be addressed by Clarion’s response(s). Hence Lancaster have played their keep it clean card to keep out of any potential ‘misunderstandings’ from the show. Lancaster doesn’t address the behaviour of their representative towards me either.

Clarion’s response email; This was always going to be a text book response for an email. They had the right to do what they wanted regarding the Terms & Conditions when you break down the structure. The ‘non-qualifying’ references instead of the ‘cheating’ which softens the public perception of the terminology is now being used. The fact that even with the ‘non-qualifying’ votes removed the results will still stand. In other words; we don’t need to recall the trophies, we don’t need to announce any ‘errors’ Ted Brooke and others are not seen as a cheater and all is good with the world. In fact the email states “a number of ‘non-qualifying’ votes were removed (not just from the Morris Minor) and were discounted from the final results“. So it seems rife that cheating takes place and acknowledged.

However – There is no way that you can guarantee that you removed all the cheating votes, hence the call for disqualification we wanted, or just not place the car at all would have been the easiest answer on the day. The Clarion email says this little paragraph;

Whilst we do state disqualification in the terms and conditions, in most circumstances, once we have removed ‘non-qualifying’ votes there is not a need to take such action – it really is a last resort as we want this to be a gracious and good-natured public vote.

So it’s OK for the cheaters that they weren’t going to be thrown out, and the other entrants may as well not turned up by the sounds of it.

The upside is that Clarion offered me a good will gesture, this was always going to be a difficult one for the organisers if they did it at all. To much good will would have looked like a pay off, and too little would have been a slap in the face. I think they got it right to be fair to them and a nice offer. To save any face on either side I won’t be taking them up on their kind offer, I know that on the day it would have be fine.  Thank you again Clarion for the offer.

Lancaster couldn’t do anything, as I already said I didn’t want anything from them, however they could of offered to try to beat or match my current insurance terms at renewal on a fair basis by speaking to them. I respect their response that they didn’t try that approach, by the tone of my letter they were not going to win my custom anyway. Again I would have declined any of their offers or quotes for this years premium which was a lot more than I currently pay anyway.

Conclusion:

Both Lancaster Insurance and Clarion replied. Their responses were nothing of a surprise to be honest. Organisers and Sponsors are both needed to make these things works. Both Lancaster and Clarion pull these shows off well. Both of the have taken my points on board to make it better. Despite how this reads I did have a great weekend with Andrea and she has a great sense of humour and we did laugh together. There is no animosity on my side that’s for sure. It’s also great to know that I haven’t been black listed, but the jury remains out on that one for a while.

There is nothing else I can say with my journalistic report on the weekend now. The results won’t change – that was always going to be a certainty. The explanations were always going to be text book responses and these emails are just great examples of that. My experience was tainted at the end knowing that this pink Morris Minor will be paraded around as a genuine winner.

It’s up to the readers now to make their own minds up.

Email’s now exchanged and they hope the man with a Mustang drops it and moves on. I can confirm that he will indeed now move on and not to keep bringing this up. But, if I am at a car show and I get asked what went on I will explain it. My quest is complete, I have exposed what went on, no more actions will or can be done now, those ranks have closed. I only wanted a point a principle to be upheld, you cheat – you’re out!

At the end of the day I’m just one man with a Mustang, what chance did I really have? My next posts will car related again you will be please to hear.

Thanks to Chris Tilley for these great pics more of these which will be on a post soon.

Posted in Blog, Car, car shows, Polls | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments