Friday, March 20, 2015

Applying Gtechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer

Yesterday I began applying Gtechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer to my new car.  The weather had cooled down enough to work in a closed garage without fans blowing dust around that would settle onto the curing products.  And the temperature would be below the Gtechniq recommended 30 deg C (86F) for C1.

My plan was to treat the following surfaces with C1: all painted surfaces (body panels and fenders) including the roof and tailgate, headlamps, taillamps, A & B pillars, and wiper arms.  I decided to start with the roof.  I figured I'd make the most mistakes at the beginning and I'd prefer those to be out of sight.  This turned out to be a good idea.  I'll post some photos of my mistakes in a few days.

The instructional videos suggest you use bright diffuse lighting, and that you move your head around a lot.  This is very good advice.  It is sometimes very hard to see the residue.  I don't have the luxury of a well lit bay.  I did mine in a dark garage with the door closed and 3 LED work lamps that I kept repositioning.  The most helpful thing I did was to buy a little handheld LED light.  I got the Larry 2 by NEBO.  This thing is excellent for this kind of work.  It was much easier to move a small light around, than to move my head.  This light was perfect and many times it allowed me to spot the C1 residue that I had missed.

Another tip I have is: buy an extra package (or 2) of the applicator pads.  C1 comes with 5 pads.  Unless you have a much smaller car, you will need more than 5.  I bought 2 extra packages (they're cheap), and I'm glad I did.  I've used about 10 pads total so far.  I don't like to continue using a pad if I can see any dirt on it.  Yes, I know, that means my car isn't super clean.  Meh.  But also, C1 will start to cure in the pad and those crystals can result in a messy application.

My progress was much slower than it would be if I were waxing the car.  Mostly, this was due to the time it took to carefully inspect each patch and buff off any remaining residue.  Wax haze is easy to see.  C1 residue is almost invisible unless the light hits it just right.  Additional time is also required to prevent C1 from starting to cure in the bottle: close the lid after dabbing the C1 onto the application pad, and set the bottle down so your body heat doesn't promote curing.  Since it cures so fast, you need to buff off any residue within about 60 seconds of applying it.  This means you work small areas.  

After 3 hours, I had not yet finished covering all the planned areas.  The LR4 has a lot of surface area.  I was worried that the 30 ml bottle might not be enough.  Gtechniq says that's enough to cover the average car.  But the LR4 is kinda big.

Since I was getting tired, I decided to delay applying C1 to some remaining areas (the passenger side and the painted areas on the front bumper).  I needed to get busy applying the EXOv2 stacked on top of the C1.  Gtechniq recommends applying EXOv2 between 3 and 12 hours after applying C1 for best results.

So far, I'm not sure it's worth all the effort.  The cost of a mistake is high, compared to using wax.  Late in the day I was wishing I'd chosen Zymol Carbon wax.  I would have been done much faster.  Although it wouldn't last as long and wouldn't have the same hydrophobic properties of the Gtechniq products.

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