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Old     (corerider)      Join Date: May 2008       09-25-2013, 2:24 PM Reply   
I'm looking for a new machine polisher and was wondering what others are using. This polisher will see dual use on my boat as well as autos.... All are black. I've used a Makita rotary polisher on my boat before and was pleased, but I'm too novice to try it on automotive paint. I was looking at the random orbital polishers and there seems to be a lot of good feedback for the Porter Cable 7424XP.
In a quick talk with the customer service guys at they seemed to think the Flex XC 3401 would be a better choice for use on boat gelcoat as well as auto paint.

There is a BIG price difference and I want to make the right decision the first time. Any opinions out there? What are other using?
Old     (jonblarc7)      Join Date: Jul 2006       09-25-2013, 2:39 PM Reply   
I not going to act like I know anything about really polishing a boat. But I use 3M compound, polish and wax on my boat at least once a year and buff out scratches from my wife black SRT-8 dodge and my black Silverado. I've been using this from Harbor Freight for a couple years. For the price when it breaks I'll just throw it away and go get another one.

P.S. I'm on my seconded in about 6 years.
Old     (Greeko)      Join Date: May 2013       09-25-2013, 4:25 PM Reply   
Hands down one of the best polishers...
Good bang for buck with all the pads
Old     (murphy_smith)      Join Date: Dec 2005       09-25-2013, 7:54 PM Reply   
Pretty sure that this is the best thing on the market right now.

Both random orbit and rotary at the twist of a knob.
Old     (cadunkle)      Join Date: Jul 2009       09-27-2013, 10:23 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by Greeko View Post
Hands down one of the best polishers...
Good bang for buck with all the pads
This is the one I got and I am very pleased with it. I've used it on the boat and also for metal polishing parts for other projects. Was my first compounder/polisher purchase and use so I have nothing to compare it to but I am satisfied and if I was doing it over I wouldn't hesitate to get the same Makita unit.
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       09-27-2013, 4:37 PM Reply   
Can't go wrong with the Mikita. (That's what I use) but I have ayes wit the DeWalt and it's nice.
3M just came out with a line of tools and they have a Bad A$$ polisher. If money is no object and you want the best then go check one out.
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Old     (jafo9)      Join Date: May 2012       09-25-2013, 6:51 PM Reply   
i bought the HF initially. horrible. it would bog down with any pressure. bought the makita. wow. night and day. worth every penny. it will adjust the power of the motor against the resistance created by your pressure on the surface to keep the speed constant. hands down, but the makita.
Old     (jtech)      Join Date: Aug 2008       09-25-2013, 6:54 PM Reply   
I have a Porter Cable one that many of the auto detailers swear by. Not sure of the model but a quick check to the auto detail forums will probably reveal which model is best. Probably similar to the Makita.
Old     (Jmorlan)      Join Date: May 2013       09-25-2013, 7:00 PM Reply   
How bad of shape bad is your boat? This is the first issue I would address, then go about a machine that will work you from there with your needs.
I have a PC7424 that I use on my vehicles, and while its a bit slow, it is VERY effective. As I have become more affluent with it (was my first machine polisher) I would go with a flex 3401.
So, if your boat is not bad, the flex may be a calling for you, working both on your boat, and vehicles.

As for rotary, I have a HF rotary, with an array of pads and products, it has never let me down. But on the flip side, my boat has never been bad enough that my PC7424 couldnt handle, the HF rotary is just quicker.

first would be to narrow down your needs, then pick a machine, and products.
seems like you are on the right track with autogeek. Thats a great place!

Last edited by Jmorlan; 09-25-2013 at 7:02 PM. Reason: edit
Old     (CarZin)      Join Date: Feb 2011       09-25-2013, 7:54 PM Reply   
I detailed jets in my younger years . I highly suggest a Cyclo. If you have heavy oxidation, a grinder with a big wool pad is your friend, however, you can easily burn your paint. It is nearly impossible to damage paint with the Cyclo and it will do a beautiful and uniform job.
Old     (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       09-25-2013, 8:27 PM Reply   
I have a version of that Makita from 1993 and it still works like new! Had to replace the cord on it because it got wound up around the wool pad but other than that, 20 years old and still kicking!
Old     (mortbike)      Join Date: Feb 2005       09-25-2013, 9:47 PM Reply   
flex tool ,,,kinda pricey but easy to use. I bought 3 for polishing my houseboat...I believe the model is 3401.
Old     (rmotoxxx711)      Join Date: Oct 2008       09-25-2013, 10:49 PM Reply   
I spray automotive paint and do custom work for fun. That being said I use a dewalt fully adjustable RPM (1000-5000) buffer with a hook and loop set up. Last buffer you'll ever buy. Keeping this not to lengthy, you use wool (fluffy off white colored pads) for buffing at 1000 rpms turned all the way down with either heavy, medium, or fine cut compounds (I use all 3m professional quality but it is pricey). Then foam bumpy (dark grey) pads for polishing (after cut and buff) with 3m swirl remover/polisher. You can also use these pads for waxing.
Be aware that with the buffing pads you can easily burn paint gel coats all the way thru if yor not always keeping the buffer moving. So corners and sharp body lines are most prone to burning paint
Old     (murphy_smith)      Join Date: Dec 2005       09-26-2013, 7:37 AM Reply   
What is paint gel coats? Is the a new hybrid blend of both. My boat has gel coat, my truck has paint - two entirely different substances.

The dewalt is a nice product and can be had cheaper than the Makita.
Old     (corerider)      Join Date: May 2008       09-26-2013, 8:52 AM Reply   
I think I've decided on the PC 7424XP and I'm getting the XL Kit from That way I will have enough pads to get started on both auto and boat without cross-contamination of product. I know the rotary polishers will be faster but that isn't a real big deal as I have all Winter. The finish on my boat is really good, just starting to show a slight hint of oxidation. I'm worried any sanding scratches I make repairing gelcoat may take a long time to remove with the PC but I have a friend I could always borrow a rotary from if that is the case. I like the Flex 3401, but don't really want to come off that much cash right now.

I'm also going to give AutoGeek's "Marine 31" products a try this time around. They seem to have good reviews and the 3M stuff I normally use is meant for auto paint, not gelcoat. I will save it for the cars.

Thanks for all the info guys!
Old     (zap)      Join Date: Jan 2009       09-26-2013, 9:23 AM Reply   
I use both styles

Random orbital/DA for general wax application and removal

Orbital (grinder style with a white foam pad) when cutting out light scratches (3M perfect it)

I have found that gel is so hard that the most minor rubs and abrasions won't come out with a DA/wax combination
Old     (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       09-26-2013, 9:20 AM Reply   
I bought my Makita for exactly what west side Ryder is describing. I used to paint cars as a hobby and you did that exact process that he describes. You will have the smoothest paint around when you do that. The 3M stuff is bad azz but they know it is so you pay for it!
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       09-27-2013, 4:38 PM Reply   
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Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       09-27-2013, 4:48 PM Reply   
I think the most important part of any polisher is the ability to adjust the RPM. If you have that ability your pretty much dialed in
Old     (davez71)      Join Date: Oct 2007       09-27-2013, 11:11 PM Reply   
Grant- have you ever tried a Cyclo polishers? I always see your post on your awesome detailing and the jobs you did on your boat and curious to see if you have ever tried it?

I have two of them that I have gotten over the years and they are hands down the best buffer i have ever used. They are supper smooth and give a great polish on anything you use it for. Zero vibration when holding the polisher due to the balancing weights on the spline. It has the ability to use all types of different pads and it's a dual headed buffer. It's super easy to use and hold and never feels like it's getting away from you or allow you to do much damage to the surface being polished like I have found with the type of polisher you just talked about. I still have my Mikita buffer similar to the one you mentioned and when using them side by side I saw better results with the Cyclo. Check them out of you haven't already I think you might just fall in love. Ever since I have gotten my Cyclo, waxing boats is quick and enjoyable.
Old     (davez71)      Join Date: Oct 2007       09-27-2013, 11:16 PM Reply   
The Cyclo
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Old     (fullspeed)      Join Date: Oct 2005       09-27-2013, 11:30 PM Reply   
I have the portacable 7424,. love it. I did a lot of resesearch and decided on it and couldn't be happier....To be honest it is hard work regardless. I used it for two seasons, but now I just pay for a professional detailer to come to my house and spend 6 hours plus and do all the work for me. It cost me $200 with tip. 3 rd boat and I am over it. My current boat sits in the water all summer at our lake house and the work to get it perfect at the end of year is worth it to me to pay for someone else to do it.

When I do it myself I tape off all the crome with the blue tape to save the clean up time. The Clutch on the 7424 is awesome. The cheap or professional high RPM with out the clutch means you better know what the hell you are doing or your giong to screw your boat up. Buy the PortaCable you can't go wrong or just pay to get it done like I do now.
Old     (Jmorlan)      Join Date: May 2013       09-28-2013, 9:50 AM Reply   
I have a Procter cable 7424xp I'll sell you, with polishes and pads.
I bought it last Christmas from Adam's. Lifetime replacement warranty for any problem, and I've only used it about 3 or 4 times. Once on the boat, once on each of my 2 vehicles. Basically brand new.
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       09-28-2013, 12:14 PM Reply   
david no I have never used the cyclo polisher that you have in the picture I see most detail shops use them I would like to have a go on one they seem to spend at lower speeds. What I have found is the compounds and cutting Materials prefer a faster speed and a wool bonnet. The polishing compounds and waxes prefer a lower speed and foam pads that's why I recommend a variable speed polisher so that you can turn up to speed when using cutting compounds and turn down the speed when using polish or waxes The cyclone polish or in your picture i've only seen used for waxes and polishes do you or can you use it for compounds such as 3M super duty


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