Jump to content
Customer Service 866.965.0400
  • 0

PC or Flex?


chief44
 Share

Question

I've hand polished cars all my life, so I'm new to the world of machine polishing. My wife's car ('07 Maxima - black) has a severe amount of swirls in it and thus, hand polishing will never get the job done. My car ('11 Charger) is developing (or developed through the dealership) fine scratches, which isn't making me happy.

 

I know the 2-bucket wash. I've clayed both cars. I've got tons of Adam's products.

 

So, for a novice, would it matter in using the PC or Flex? I've watched all of the Junkman's videos, so I have an idea about his technique (I say "idea" because I haven't practiced yet). I like the PC because it's built for a novice, but I want the Flex because of it's rotary action and less time for passing. Couple of questions though:

 

1. For the PC, how long should I expect to complete a car? For the Flex?

2. Is there any harm if I do the PC process on the entire car mutiple times over several weeks to get all (or most) scratches out? I'm just not certain if I use SHR, Fine Polish, and Buttery Wax on the entire car repeatedly over several weeks if any damage could occur.

3. Are there any specials on getting a PC or Flex?

 

Insight is appreciated. Love the Adam's line of products!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Answers 52
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters For This Question

Top Posters For This Question

Posted Images

Recommended Posts

  • 0

My short answer of the pros/cons of either machine:

 

The PC is slightly easier to learn on and more forgiving. It also affords you the ability to swap to the smaller 4" pad system for polishing in tight spaces. The main drawback of the PC is time... it will take more time to correct the same level of damage vs. what can be done with the flex.

 

The Flex just feels better IMO. Runs smoother and thanks to the design is much less fatiguing on your hands arms after extended use. Its capable of correcting much more in less time.

 

Either tool is going to get the job done, but you'll have to compromise somewhere along the way. In an ideal situation you have both, but I understand that buying 2 tools isn't realistic for everyones budget.

 

To answer your questions specifically:

 

1. Almost impossible to say. The cars condition, the hardness of the clear, your work speed, and a ton of other factors come into play. The Flex will always be substantially faster, but other than that its hard to say specifically for an individual case how long either would take.

 

2. If I'm understanding the question correctly you're looking at it the wrong way. You're going to work on one section at a time until you get the desired result before proceeding. From that point forward its just about proper upkeep and only occasionally will you need to spot correct problem areas.

 

3. The kits are already discounted a good amount vs. buying parts individually... you also have our occasional holiday sales and specials to help out with the purchase.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Dylan...thanks for the quick reply. It's greatly appreciated.

 

Ideally, I'd love to have both devices....but budget constraints (at the moment) prevent me from buying both. I'm leaning heavily towards the Flex, at the moment.

 

Oh, and thanks for your insight on #2. I'll definitely perfect one section before progressing to any other part of the car.

 

As for specials...maybe Adams could do a Halloween Special?? =) Can I get a "Heck Yes!"??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
Dylan...thanks for the quick reply. It's greatly appreciated.

 

Ideally, I'd love to have both devices....but budget constraints (at the moment) prevent me from buying both. I'm leaning heavily towards the Flex, at the moment.

 

Oh, and thanks for your insight on #2. I'll definitely perfect one section before progressing to any other part of the car.

 

As for specials...maybe Adams could do a Halloween Special?? =) Can I get a "Heck Yes!"??

Will, You will not be sorry with the Flex, it is a very nice machine!:thumbsup:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Another way to look at it is that after the initial major correction, your subsequent corrections (polishing sessions) will be much less involved. A Porter Cable is still slower than a Flex, but many of us get it done with only the Porter Cable. It's a good way to learn, very forgiving, and the results are amazing. And if you want to use the machine super sealant, it spreads out well with the Porter Cable.

Edited by Doug123
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
Another way to look at it is that after the initial major correction, your subsequent corrections (polishing sessions) will be much less involved. APC is still slower than a Flex, but many of us get it done with only the PC. It's a good way to learn, very forgiving, and the results are amazing. And if you want to use the machine super sealant, it spreads out well with the PC.

 

:iagree:completely. Unless you are a detailer doing a number of cars, the PC is your best bet for 1-2 cars. Once you get the major correction done, you will never have to pull out the flex again. Just maintain the paint by proper washing and use the PC for FMP and MSS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I see you're talking about microscratches so let me tell you about my experience and why I have a brand new 2011 with < 5K miles and I'm about to press the button for a flex on a brand new paint.

 

Although I would agree with the above comments about after you get over the major first correction it's easy going and mantiance past that point, it's a big hill if we're talking about scratches with visable valleys caused by a 20 year old car-wash(which it was ran-through without my permission..). Being inexperienced and working on new paint where I couldn't see the polish acutally working I came to the conclusion that it was the product, rather than the user.. Since then, and with the assitiance of Ashley (who rocks btw..) I improved my technique vastly and yet still saw little to no results--after using the same products on the beater car who's paint is absolutely trashed, I've finnally come to the conclusion-- with the assitiance of Ashley-- that the scratches I have-even though they're invisible unless in direct sunlight and do not pass the scratch test- are too deep for a PC. The suggestion that I 4" drill the entire car was made and I may still try that, but frankly, between work and doing other things on the weekend I simply do not have time to spend 20hours on the car, so $350 between what I have ahead of me on the beater, this car, and prospects of doing other peopls car as a side job may sway me to go for a flex.

 

The moral here is, that the PC is a good, safe tool, but it's not going to work wonders, it's essentially a swirl-remover, and *maybe* an isolated scratch reducer. If you've got major paint problems, you could spend days in work time with it and still not achieve perfection.

Edited by CTSV
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Speed is the main difference. After trying to get my schedule adjusted around so that I have enough time to polish the car, I am seriously considering the Flex purely from a speed standpoint. (It also would be useful on my cousin's Audi with that rock hard clear coat).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
Speed is the main difference. After trying to get my schedule adjusted around so that I have enough time to polish the car, I am seriously considering the Flex purely from a speed standpoint. (It also would be useful on my cousin's Audi with that rock hard clear coat).

That's one of my good reasons to pickup a flex, as I have a similar audi with Clear made from diamonds-- it's the junk car I'm praticiting on infact. The Cadillac's clear appears to be pretty hard too--and I usually get bored with my beater cars before I flip them once a year or so anyway.

Edited by CTSV
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

i think the question of how many times can you use these machines before you start doing more harm than good is a common one amongst us begineers. like a ball park figure on a new car 1 time 2 5 100? before youve polished off more than you can chew if you know what i mean. i really dont want to find out by ending up bufffing the clear coat off. maybe a little paranoid but this is something i wonder about. especially with a black car, swirls seem to appear after getting them out just by driving the car without even washing it or anything. how do you keep that from happening? I think you dont and i really dont want to clay the car and fine machine polish every few weeks, so what do i do and how many times can I do it seems a question worth asking...2010 370z

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
i think the question of how many times can you use these machines before you start doing more harm than good is a common one amongst us begineers. like a ball park figure on a new car 1 time 2 5 100? before youve polished off more than you can chew if you know what i mean. i really dont want to find out by ending up bufffing the clear coat off. maybe a little paranoid but this is something i wonder about. especially with a black car, swirls seem to appear after getting them out just by driving the car without even washing it or anything. how do you keep that from happening? I think you dont and i really dont want to clay the car and fine machine polish every few weeks, so what do i do and how many times can I do it seems a question worth asking...2010 370z

 

The quick answer for a PC is a lot. If you are just using FMP, then the number is over 100 times. If you are needing to use something more aggressive often, then you need to review your wash technique.

 

There are lots of variables that go into the 'how many times' question:

  • Has the vehicle been polished before?
  • If it has been polished, how was it done and/or how often?

Even if the vehicle is new the dealer may have fixed a spot with a rotary and that area will be thin.

 

This is why starting with the least aggressive method is always recommended.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Agreed. There are so many variable at work that defining 'how many times' for all scenarios is almost impossible.

 

The only absolutely definitive way to know is to invest in a paint meter and measure:

 

PosiTector 200 - Ultrasonic coating thickness gage measures coating over concrete, wood, composite and more. Conforms to ASTM D6132 and ISO 2808 and SSPC PA9

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Hey Will.

 

This is my advice for you hope it helps.

 

#1 - First it depends on how fast you learn to use the machine, and the quality of your clear, and how badly the paint is damaged. Assume you are equally skilled in using both a flex and a PC i would give the flex on average (like dylan mention many variables) of about 2-4 hours advantage over the PC.

 

#2 - If i understand correctly, your interested in taking some time to finish the car. A panel a day or a section at a time. There is no probloem with doing this, i would just suggest to not go all the way with your process. Dont glaze or wax after that, as you will just be removing it when your start your new section on the car the next day and you pass over where you left of last. Applying MSS with pc is very fast, so i'd save that step for when your done correcting panel by panel and your happy with the results. This way you'd give the MSS a day to cure until your ready to do your next step.

 

#3 - The machine and pad combo only for each machine is fairly priced.

 

note. The Flex will cut down your machine time buy a good bit, but you will not be able to use the 4" focus pads on a machine except a drill if you buy a flex, and the PC spreads MSS very nicely, you can also spread Revive and buttery with a grey pad on PC. Those are some of the pros of the PC.

Edited by Jonathan.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

You are correct in thinking about getting a polisher to remove your swirls. As far as the first time you detail a car and use a PC, you can easily use up a day and more, doing all the steps (stripping, claying, masking, getting used to the PC and polishes), at least that is how it worked for me. I am not the fastest guy, but I got the results. With practice, I have gotten a little faster.

 

Last fall (Thanksgiving week) I sat down every evening and put 1.5 - 2 hrs into each panel to really clean them up nicely - really swirl free. This one panel a night way is the most time consuming way to polish, but it was all I had. It is faster to do the whole car in 1 or 2 days over a weekend, no driving the car. FYI I also have a number of areas on the HHR that require the 4" pads (used the PC with them too) and that slows things down a little.

 

I do love the ability of the PC to apply Machine Super Sealant, as that is my first choice go-to product. (mine is a DD living outside in a marine environment, so I need that tough protection). I couldn't use MSS with the Flex, as it doesn't work well for the MSS application.

 

I started with and will continue to use the PC, but I have been eyeing up the Flex to add to my detailing tools for faster correction and maybe a little outside detailing here and there.

 

Edit: I pulled the trigger on getting a Flex - wow. :D

Edited by Doug123
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

The car I'm wanting to use the Flex on is a 2007 black Maxima and is covered with swirls. It's my wife's DD, so it gets a fair amount of abuse.

 

The other car is my DD -- a 2011 Dodge Charger, with minimal swirls. I think the Flex isn't the right tool for that car, since the swirls aren't bad and I don't want to cut more than I have to, especially on a new vehicle. I plan on waiting to get the PC for this car.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

The other car is my DD -- a 2011 Dodge Charger, with minimal swirls. I think the Flex isn't the right tool for that car, since the swirls aren't bad and I don't want to cut more than I have to, especially on a new vehicle. I plan on waiting to get the PC for this car.

 

Keep in mind you have a number of factors to play with to adjust how much cut you want, the machine is only one aspect of this.

 

The choice of pads/polish also play into this a great deal... so if you were to use the flex on both cars the maxima would take multiple steps, where the charger might be only 1 step (FMP + White Pad). Just b/c you choose a more aggressive machine doesn't mean you're stuck with a heavy level of cut... just step back on the levels of polishes and pad being used and you have a less aggressive tool.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
Thanks Dylan....great info!

 

No problem... there are some videos out there and people who try an scare people off of the Flex (I suspect b/c the person doesn't fully grasp the concepts they're talking about) but the best way to look at this is kind of a sliding scale... you have 3 parts to any polishing process.

 

1) Tool

2) Pad

3) Chemical

 

If we were to assign numerical values to each product to illustrate this we'd have the following:

 

TOOLS:

(1) Hand........ (2) Porter Cable........ (3) Flex 3401........ (4) Rotary

PADS:

(1) Gray........ (2) White ........ (3) Orange........ (4) Green

CHEMICAL:

(1) Revive........ (2) FMP........ (3) SHR........ (4)SSR

 

Now, the reality is that its not that linear, but for this discussion lets pretend it is.

 

You can see that the combo of Flex (3) a white pad (1) and FMP (1) gives us a total of (5)

 

Mix that up and a combo of PC (2) green pad (4) and SSR (4) gives you a total of (10) and is more aggressive.

 

There are other factors to consider, like the ability of the machine (or hand) to effectively break the chemical down, provide enough speed, etc. as well. Again, the reality is the correlation of pads/chemical/machine aren't nearly that linear, but the concept is the same. Aggressive tool, plus mild pad/polish combo is overall pretty moderate. At the same time the combo of a more mild tool, but aggressive pads and polishes equate to a more aggressive combo.

 

I think a lot of people get stuck in the same line of thinking you started with... FLEX = MORE AGGRESSIVE all the time, but if you keep your pad and polish choice down the fact is it can be a very mild polishing tool but with the ability to ratchet up the cutting power based on pad/polish selections as needed.

Edited by Dylan@Adams
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
No problem... there are some videos out there and people who try an scare people off of the Flex (I suspect b/c the person doesn't fully grasp the concepts they're talking about) but the best way to look at this is kind of a sliding scale... you have 3 parts to any polishing process.

 

1) Tool

2) Pad

3) Chemical

 

If we were to assign numerical values to each product to illustrate this we'd have the following:

 

TOOLS:

(1) Hand........ (2) Porter Cable........ (3) Flex 3401........ (4) Rotary

PADS:

(1) Gray........ (2) White ........ (3) Orange........ (4) Green

CHEMICAL:

(1) Revive........ (2) FMP........ (3) SHR........ (4)SSR

 

Now, the reality is that its not that linear, but for this discussion lets pretend it is.

 

You can see that the combo of Flex (3) a white pad (1) and FMP (1) gives us a total of (5)

 

Mix that up and a combo of PC (2) green pad (4) and SSR (4) gives you a total of (10) and is more aggressive.

 

There are other factors to consider, like the ability of the machine (or hand) to effectively break the chemical down, provide enough speed, etc. as well. Again, the reality is the correlation of pads/chemical/machine aren't nearly that linear, but the concept is the same. Aggressive tool, plus mild pad/polish combo is overall pretty moderate. At the same time the combo of a more mild tool, but aggressive pads and polishes equate to a more aggressive combo.

 

I think a lot of people get stuck in the same line of thinking you started with... FLEX = MORE AGGRESSIVE all the time, but if you keep your pad and polish choice down the fact is it can be a very mild polishing tool but with the ability to ratchet up the cutting power based on pad/polish selections as needed.

 

That was one of the best posts I've seen in breaking it down. Much appreciated!!! :2thumbs:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Answer this question...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...