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Old     (wotan)      Join Date: Jul 2008       04-15-2011, 8:24 AM Reply   
I've buffed my boat using 3m products for the last 3 seasons. (Super Duty Rubbing Compound -> Finesse-It II -> Marine Wax.) It lives outside and it's red above the rub-rail.... it always looks just as bad by the end of the season as it did before all the buffing work. I keep up on the wax applications but I think it just gets baked by the sun non-stop and so it never stays looking nice.

Not my boat, but my red looks like this every spring:

I probably spend 30-40 hours every spring on this buffing process. What a pain!!

I think I've solved part of the problem as I purchased a new cover that will protect it from the sun. My thinking is that this will cut down it's sun exposure by at least 80% and will help it maintain it's finish.

But... first I need to get it back to shiny! Will the buffing/rubbing compound work and last better if I start with a wet-sand this time? Does anyone have any advice of what grit I should start with and what products I should follow up with? I'm really only interested in first-hand reports when you've dealt with a boat this faded. Telling me that you use XXXX product on your 2011 Wakesetter doesn't really help.
Old     (wakebrdjay)      Join Date: Apr 2008       04-15-2011, 8:32 AM Reply   
check the DIY forum it has a thread all about what you're asking
Old     (alindquist)      Join Date: Mar 2004       04-15-2011, 1:04 PM Reply   
I have the exact same problem and have done the Pepsi challenge with everything out there. I've done the 3 step process a few times and it's too much work (but it does work). I have also wet sanded then followed up with the 3 steps and it also works but it's also a lot of work. I finally feel like I cracked the code, 3m Restorer & Wax and my Dewalt polisher with a wool pad. One step and stays looking good all season. Takes me about 10 hours start to finish... Every now and then I'll put on a coat of proper wax but spray wax seems to work for the most part.

If you want to wet sand I would go with either 1500 or 2000 then stat the polishing process, you would be surprised how fast you take oxidation off with that high of grit. Anything lower I feel like your making more work for yourself.

My .02
Old     (carcrz)      Join Date: Mar 2006       04-16-2011, 5:16 AM Reply   
If it's that bad, I would start with wet sanding, then buff/polish & wax. What kind of wax are you using and how often though? One thing that I've found over the years is that if the oxidization isn't taken out completely in the first place, it tends to soak up the wax and not get ideal results long-term. I've never seen something get so oxidized that fast if it was done properly in the first place.
Old     (carcrz)      Join Date: Mar 2006       04-16-2011, 5:17 AM Reply   
Just remember that every time you take material off, there will be less there the next time. Just something to think about if you are thinking that you can do this every year.
Old     (NOBODY)      Join Date: Apr 2011       04-16-2011, 6:36 AM Reply   
I have 6 (one pint) bottle of 3M Marine color / gloss restorer part number 09089 that I'll sell at 1/2 price. I used it on my Colbalt 250 back 3 years ago. Now I have a Tige RZ4 and a Sunbrella cover that covers the boat top to bottom. But if you want my honest opinion.....I would have the red redone with 3 coats of AllGrip and two coats of clear. AllGrip is the absolute BEST marine paint finish on the market. It's also very difficult to spray. AllGrip has very very high UV inhibitors that will resist fading for years.
Old     (kko13)      Join Date: Jul 2006       04-17-2011, 12:42 PM Reply   
I went through the 3 step rountine as same as you. ALOT of work!
I then had a detailer turn me on to a product called Aqua-Buff. They have 2 differnt gritts for level of oxidation. I went with the 1000 and worked great. It is lasting longer than the 3 step process by far.. Its like wet sanding with a buffer. Then you put on a coat of wax. I also use babes boat bright after every use and it has held up great.
Old     (chris4x4gill2)      Join Date: Sep 2009       04-18-2011, 5:53 AM Reply   
wetsand and polish accomplish different things. Polish only removes fine scratches to bring out a shine, if you have oxidization that isnt enough.

Wetsand removes more materia lso you can remove the oxidization and get to the good gelcoat underneath. You polish after the wetsand to remove the scratches and bring the shine back.
Old     (ShawnB)      Join Date: Oct 2010       04-18-2011, 6:32 AM Reply   
Here's some before and after pictures of the sand-then-compound work yesterday. Still have to wax but ran out of daylight.
Attached Images
Old     (baitkiller)      Join Date: Jan 2010       04-18-2011, 7:12 AM Reply   
Paint it.

Base coat / clear coat and done forever.
I'll never own a dark colored gel boat for that reason.
The Florida sun is ruthless. Maybe if you have a garage kept boat in a short season region it's fine.

here? not so much.

Look at the bright side though. You don't have any varnish work to do next.
Old     (Thrall)      Join Date: Oct 2010       04-18-2011, 7:29 AM Reply   
You don't need to paint it unless there's something wrong with the gel coat which is unlikely.
If the osidation is real bad and keeps coming back, block sand with 1000grit and 1200grit. Buff with 3M med cut rubbing compound and the right pad. Polish with any flavor of 3M Finesse-It polish, using the right pad and wax. IMO foam pads keep teh swirl marks down better on darker colors than wool pads.

That aqua buff is interesting though. Would be nice to wet sand with a machine.
Old     (wotan)      Join Date: Jul 2008       04-18-2011, 10:28 AM Reply   
I used the aqua buff system one year -- it didn't last more than a season -- but.... we did it all by hand. Ouch! Probably be much better off now that I own a variable speed buffer/polisher.

Thanks for all of the feedback. I think I'm going to go the wetsand/buff/polish route.... Hopefully keeping the boat covered will keep the wax doing its job instead of drying out/soaking in.
Old     (chris4x4gill2)      Join Date: Sep 2009       04-18-2011, 10:51 AM Reply   
Robert, if you have bad oxidization to where it has that cloudy look, wetsand is the only way to go. Any of the magic cures in a bottle are worthless when it comes to removing oxidization. I used a pnuematic sander set to a lower speed setting on mine, made the job much easier but still took alot fo time to do the multiple steps.


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