Tom B. wants to bring his black Corvette Z06 to a new level, and has questions about stepping up from a random orbital to a rotary polisher:
After reading your article on the black Z06 I am determined to make mine better. I have a black 2006 Z06 that I’m about to detail. It has the usual spider webs and a couple deeper scratches. I am making the jump from RO to rotary this year but have some questions. I found a rotary polisher…can you tell me what speed you think will be correct for my polishing? Also, all these different polishes and pads I read about have me not knowing which one to get. Should I go with the Menzerna polish or I have heard great things about the Meguiars M105/M205 combo. I also need your opinion on what size pads I should use as a new rotary user. Thank you and keep up the phenomenal work.
It’s common for enthusiasts like yourself to be somewhat apprehensive when making the jump from a random orbital like the Porter Cable 7424XP to a rotary polisher. The rotary is a very powerful tool, and definitely demands respect. We’ve all seen holograms and burned edges caused by inexperienced detailers, but as long as you respect the machine you should be fine.
If you jump up to the rotary, I would recommend practicing on something else first before tackling heavy correction work. Or you could work on the Vette, but first polish it with a light combination of pad/polish and lower speeds to get yourself used to the rotary. A good practice tool is actually your washer and/or dryer at home! This will give you a good feel for how the rotary reacts, you’ll have both horizontal and vertical surfaces to play with, and it’s not as scary to work with them for your first time as it is your pride and joy.
Most of the time your speeds will vary from about 900 to 1800rpms depending on the polish you’re working with. For instance if you’re using Menzerna SIP or 106FA, you’d first spread it around at about 900rpm, then bump it to about 1500 until the product goes clear, and then a few final passes back down at 900 to ensure it’s finishing down nicely. Once you get the hang of it, you can work your way up to 1800rpms if necessary on a product like SIP in particular. You just need to get the feel for it.
You have a couple of options for polishes. Menzerna SIP and 106FA is a very good combination. They can be finicky in cold or high humidity conditions, and they take a little longer than 105/205, but they are very, very good polishes. They have been the “standard” for years now for a reason…they produce amazing results!
Megs 105/205 is another stellar combination, but definitely has a learning curve to it. I’m using these more than the Menzerna these days, but am actually using it with a PC. When I have deeper imperfections though (particularly on hard clear coats like the Corvette), I’ll reach for the rotary. A lot of people struggle with 105/205 at first, but once they get a system down with it, they absolutely love it.
For pads to go with your Corvette clear coat, I would recommend the 6.5″ Lake Country Hydro-Tech pads. Get some of the cyan pads for heavy cutting, and the tangerine pads for finishing. You also want to get some 4″ spot pads in both along with the applicable backing plate. These are great for the tight areas (which your Vette has plenty of). Also for the 6.5″ pads on the rotary, I recommend the Megs W66 backing plate.
Just take your time and get used to the feel of the rotary. At first it may jump around a bit, and act like it has a mind of its own, but you’ll quickly learn how to control it. Use slow arm movement, and don’t linger around edges or seams (especially the painted plastic sections on your Vette), and keep the rpm’s down until you really get to know your rotary.
For Tom and and other blog readers out there, please keep in mind that this polish/pad combination was made specifically for the hard clear coat of his Corvette in particular. All cars are different (even from model to model of Corvette), and require different approaches. With experience comes the knowledge of what combination may work best, but even the professional detailers still work on a test section first to determine the best combination for that particular car, on that particular day.
Thanks for submitting your question, and if you or anybody else has additional comments or questions, please submit your reply in the comment box below.