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Video: Surbuf Pads, M105, and the Porter Cable 7424XP

by

For years the industry has relied on the rotary polisher, aggressive wool pads, and heavy-cut compounds for doing major paint correction work. This combination does a good job, but has a few drawbacks. First, you need to be skilled and educated on this process to get good results, and can be quite dangerous in the hands of a beginner. And secondly, this aggressive approach cuts well at the expense of the finish that you get afterwards…typically you’ll need several refining steps to clean up the marring, swirls, and haze left behind from the wool.

The Porter Cable D/A polisher has brought a new level of ease into the market, and many have stepped into the realm of paint correction detailing due to the relative ease of use and safe operation (much less of a risk of burning through an edge compared to a rotary polisher). But the one drawback (or myth) has been that you can’t get that really high level of correction in comparison to the rotary.

When Meguiar’s introduced the M105 Ultra-Cut Compound a few years ago, it completely opened the market to an entirely new level of heavy cut with a fine finish on a D/A polisher. It was (and still is) a revolutionary product…a game changer.

And when the detailing industry discovered the Surbuf pads, it took the combination of the D/A polisher and Meguiar’s M105 to even greater heights.

With this combination, you can get rotary/wool level of correction with a much finer finish and less of a risk of buffer burn. I say less because there’s still a chance…this combination cuts hard and fast, and you still need to be very careful around edges, ridges, and any other notoriously thin spots.

And why is a much finer finish (than wool/rotary) so important? Well for one thing, you’re not worrying about heavy holograms that will be leftover with the wool/rotary. Secondly, the more work of cutting and finishing that you do during the compounding stage means much less time and work that will be required on the finishing stage. Some may like to do 3, quicker polishing steps, but me…I prefer spending a little more time compounding to get as much of the work out of the way as possible, so that my finishing step is only removing a slight haze and therefore goes much more quickly.

Since this is such an aggressive combination, I only recommend it for high levels of defects (swirls, scratches, etc). You always want to use the least aggressive method necessary in the interest of paint preservation, but when you’ve got your work cut out for you, then this is a great option.

You’ve seen plenty of videos on how to use the Porter Cable, and perhaps even others showing how to use the Surbuf pad in particular. But have you ever seen somebody go so far as to tackle a freshly sanded panel with it? I’m thinking no…so that’s why I decided to throw some really heavy defects at this combination to show everybody just how powerful it really is.

I was faced with a targa top on a Ferrari F355 that had been (poorly) repainted at a body shop, and the texture / orange peel was so bad that you could spot it from across the parking lot. The only way this was going to be fixed was by heavy wetsanding.

Here’s what a closeup of the top looked like before I started:

This is what it looked like after D/A sanding first with P1500, then with P3000 grit sandpaper.

Now that the stage is set and the panel has been sanded down, let’s take a close look at the Porter Cable 7424XP / Surbuf Pad / M105 process and see how it does.

Now once it was compounded using the above method, I completed my finish polishing and the targa top now looked as it should (Note…this is after compounding AND finishing…not just compounding!).

And when you looked at the finish up close in the Brinkmann LED light, there was nothing but pure, crystal clear reflections with no sanding marks, no swirls, and no haze! Perfection…

Thanks for taking the time to review the work and the video, and please feel free to add any comments or questions below.

Best regards,
Todd Cooperider
Todd Cooperider Esoteric Auto Detail
Todd Cooperider
Esoteric Auto Detail
Columbus, Ohio
EsotericDetail.com

44 comments on Video: Surbuf Pads, M105, and the Porter Cable 7424XP

  1. Paul says:

    Hey Todd,

    Nice write up. I used this combo a lot before and it never let’s me down, the only thing like you mentioned before is that you have to be careful around the edges and thin spots. By the way great video! Hope you add more in your write ups.

  2. Adam B says:

    I like the video that you put in your article, very helpful. It looked like you were leaning your body weight over the PC for more pressure, am I correct? Also, were you on speed 6 or like a 3 or 4?

    • Thanks Adam. Yes I use my body weight to help add pressure, but it’s not like I’m using that much pressure! By making it a total body effort, it creates less stress on the arms if I were just using them. And in this video I was on speed 6.

      • Adam B says:

        well that helps, I’ve gone through a couple of my first details with using a PC and there is little techniques that I still need to pick up on, like using body weight rather than my arms to do all the work, or like getting the confidence to use speed 5 and 6, and many times I find myself just lightly gliding over the paint rather than applying enough pressure to correct deeper swirls, I’m glad you all convinced me to go with the PC for my learning curve rather than the rotary!

  3. Justin says:

    That top looks great Todd.
    Im addicted to SurBuf and M105.

    • Thanks Justin!

      Most people won’t be polishing out sanded panels, but I used that just as an example of how much cut you can get with this combination. I haven’t found much that it can’t handle…

  4. Bob says:

    I just have one question about the surbuf pads, how do you clean the pad say after doing a section since the fiber tend to lay down and get smushed? how many pad would you use on a whole medium sized car? How would these pads do on a flex 3401? thanks for the great write up..

    • Bob,

      After a section or two, I like to used compressed air to blow out the polish buildup as necessary. If I’ve been somewhere and didn’t have access to compressed air or a light brush, I’ve used my fingers to scrape off any heavy buildup. By using the occasional light spray of water to re-activate the abrasives, it helps to reduce the amount of polish residue on the pad as well. I will use about 3 pads for an entire car as fresh ones make a big difference in the overall cut. I would imagine that they would work well on a Flex…

      Thanks.

  5. Mitch says:

    AMAZING work. i used m105 and meguiar’s mf pads on my NHBP but like others i was too scared to really open up on it. this opened my eyes to what is considered too much or too little pressure though.

  6. Max says:

    i really liked the video as well. I am assuming that the pads are reusable? I don’t even know what they feel like. I may get some soon.

    Thanks for the video once again!

    • Max says:

      Also, I know that some of the DAs don’t do well with 6.5 inch pads and much better with 5.5 inch pads. Is that the case with the SurBuf pads aswell?

      Thanks again :)

      • I prefer the 5.5″ myself because you have better control of them, there’s less chance of the machine bogging down, and they’re easier to get into tighter areas than the larger pads. If you’re working a large, flat panel, then the 6.5″ might be a better option, but for the most part, the 5.5″ is where it’s at when you need this much cut! :)

    • Thanks Max. Yes they are reusable and are easily cleaned by hand in the sink…then allow to air dry.

  7. irfan says:

    Todd,

    The top looks great! great write up. My question is do you prefer the SurBuf pads w/105 or the new Meguiars MF system w/d300?

    • I can’t really say that I prefer one over the other, because I use them for different needs. The Surbuf/105 is for the really heavy defects, and the MF/D300 is for mid to heavy level defects. If the MF isn’t powerful enough, then I reach for the Surbuf/105.

  8. irfan says:

    thanks for the info and help Todd!!!

  9. Matt says:

    I love articles like this. So helpful and too the point. I’ve ready hundreds of how to’s and reviews and on and on, but this puts its so simply. Thank you .

  10. Max says:

    Thanks for the help Todd. I’ve been spending 2-3 hours for the past few nights reading on ask a pro. Just look at my post times!

    I noticed that you sprayed water after you did several section passes and then you went back at it. Do you normally spray water when using compounds and flat pads or do you just do it with the SurBuf pads etc?

    I had another question, but I totally forgot it. I’m starting to get forget full and I just turn 22 on Friday!

    Thank again!

    • Thanks Max, and I’m glad to hear that you’re getting so much out of the Ask A Pro Blog!

      The quick spray of water is really limited to the use of M105. If you work a section, and need just a little more cut, you can do a light spray, and re-work that section. Because M105 is a non-diminishing abrasive, you will still have active abrasives in the residue on the paint and in the pad. The water adds just a little lubrication to re-activate the abrasives and provides you with some more work time without having to add more compound. It helps you to save product and keep the pad a little cleaner at the same time. You can do this whether using a foam or a Surbuf pad on with M105.

      And a (early) happy birthday to you…the forgetfullness only gets worse as you get older. :)

      • Max says:

        Thanks for the reply and the Happy Birthday!

        Does this have anything to do with M105 being a SMAT product or not? I have worked with it some and it gets really dusty, especially after you are done with the whole car! I wasn’t expecting it. Hopefully soon, when I get my first client that needs M105 I can try spraying water like you did in the video.

        I’m off to reading..I think I booked marked 21 different ask a pro blog posts the other night!

        Have a good one!

        -Max

  11. Tim says:

    Great video Todd. I’m going to give the Surbuff bads another try along with M105. I just did a black Infinity the other day and was happy with the results I got from using the cyan hydrotech pad and m105. I followed it up with M205 on the orange pad and then finished with Blackfire Wet Diamond. It looked incredible. Thanks for all the advice. It has definetly taken my detailing to a whole new level.

  12. jscarver1 says:

    This was an EXCELLENT article with extremely detailed information. I tried it, using a Flex 3401 with the Surbuf 5.5″ pads, the Megs 105/205 combination, and I used a bottle of distilled water to lightly spray the panels to rework a section when using the M105. I had a problem with the horizontal surfaces of my daily driver. (roof, hood, and trunk) The paint didn’t shine like the vertical sections, and I wanted to try this application to see if it would help. I had previously tried other pad/product combinations with unsatisfactory results. Well, following your instructions produced fantastic clarity on the problem areas of my vehicle. Thank you for providing the solution to my problem. The advice and encouragement that all of you guys give is much appreciated.

  13. Mike says:

    Hi Todd,

    Great video and very well explained to the point. Love It!
    Have a question have you tried Meguiar’s Ultra Cut with Edge 2000 DA foam pads?

    Mike

  14. Mike says:

    Hi Todd,

    Another quick question what speed will correct for the Flex 3401 and how long should it be before drying. My guess should be less that a minute.

    Mike

    • Mike,

      I don’t use the Flex, but I’d imagine that you’re looking at the same speeds when doing heavy correction…5 or 6. Try the slower speeds first and make comparisons to the level of cut and finish you get at the higher speeds. There are too many variables to estimate working time (temperature, amount of product, type of paint, etc)…

  15. Marlene says:

    Hi Todd
    I have a ’69 Firebird that seems to have a hard clear coat…metallic green. I used M105 on the surbuf but the removal was so difficult. I then switched to D300 on the surbuf pad and removal was a breeze. Is that an ok comobo to use…D3oo on surbuf? Thanks. Regardless, the car came out great after polishing, EZ Creme Glaze and BFWD.

    • That’s surprising since M105 has greater cut than D300, but sometimes the best results come from unconventional combinations. While D300 was designed specifically for the Microfiber pads, it does work on other pads as well. I have used the Surbuf / D300 combination before myself.

  16. Kris says:

    Todd,

    Do you use an air sander or your PC for sanding? I’ve ordered some 3M sanding discs and backing plate to use on my PC and I was looking for some tips about machine speed and pressure. I have some hand sanding experience and I’m wanting to try machine sanding now.

    Thanks in advance

    • Kris,

      I actually did the sanding on this with the PC…about speed 3 with light/medium pressure. Just get yourself a good practice panel to play with to get a feel for pressure and speeds to see what kind of finish it leaves you.

  17. Kris says:

    Thanks Todd

  18. Ian says:

    Todd, I purchased some Surbuf pads (5.5inch) and I used one to compound a very badly oxidized hood, now after cleaning the pads fibers aren’t straight and are now all twisted is the pad still usable. I have a feeling that I use too much product.

    • You need to clean them (preferrably with compressed air) regularly during use…after a panel or two. Only use a few drops of M105 at a time for a small working area. They will get matted down and will come back after a full cleaning.

  19. Sterling says:

    Hey Todd, great work with the video. I am really excited to see what I can do with the surbuf/M105 combo this upcoming weekend…

    Quick question for you…did you finish off with M205/surbuf combo? Or is the surbuf a pad choice for this?

    Thanks!

    • Sterling,

      No…the Surbuf pad is for heavy cutting only! This is the pad that you use when you have serious defects to remove. Always use the least aggressive method to get the job done.

      For finishing, it depends on what kind of paint you’re dealing with. On some, you could finish with M205 and a black or white pad on a PC. If you had to use a Surbuf pad on soft paint, then you may need a 3-step process. Surbuf/105 would be the first, then possibly M205 and a white or black pad, then something like Menzerna PO85rd or Sonax Nano Tech Paint Cleaner.

      I hope this helps.

  20. Miguel Angel Rojas Rios says:

    UNBELIEVABLE! Todd, I did exactly as you mentioned in your text and video. The result is really fantastic. This system is new here where I live (Brazil) are few people who have the DA system, and yet is already causing much anger! Thank you for the tips!!!

    NOTE: sorry but my English is very bad.

    Saudações do Brazil – Best Regards of Brazil

    • That’s great to hear! The system really is a game-changer and can achieve some very dramatic results.

      On another note…I’ve been to Brazil twice before myself. Very beautiful country indeed!

  21. ron says:

    hey todd; i just picked up some surbuf pads along with the sonax and was wondering if they can be used for correction. i have a 07 mx-5 miata with true red paint and i have some swirls and the like. i do also have the orange pads, white,black and the blue with the porter cable. also have all the meguiar products. the sonax seemed like an interesting product from your review hence why i bought it. but i have one question, on dj review of the surbuf pad he primes the whole pad first with 105 and then puts some on the car and goes to work. on the surbuf website it says to use a little dot in the middle and then start. is it depending what product you use that will determine the amount on the pad? could you just give me a little breakdown on how much product do you put on each pad. the surbuf,orange,white and black or blue. i do get good results on my car but nothing like yours. any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks ron

    • Ron,

      You do not want to combine a Surbuf pad with NTPC. Keep the cutting pads for the heavy compounds, and use the NTPC with finishing pads (blue or black). As for Surbuf use with M105, just use 3 small drops of polish on the pad per working section…no need to prime it. But when you use M105 with a foam pad (orange or white for instance), fully prime the pad. This can be seen in my M105 / M205 Tutorial. When using NTPC, use just 2 small drops on the finishing pad per the instructions on that particular article. Thanks.

  22. Kris says:

    I finally got the chance to try my Surbuf pads today. I followed your process and ended up with M105 that wouldn’t come off the paint my simply wiping with a MF towel. I had to spray on IPA and let it sit for a few seconds and buff it off with the towel using more pressure than I felt comfortable with.

    I pulled out an orange LC pad and had no such problems with it hardening.

    What might I be doing wrong here?

    Thanks in advance

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