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COMPLETED! Prepping and Ceramic Coating a Lotus Evora


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I know I posted some after shots after going through the Lotus before, but I figured I'd write this detail to take everyone through the process for a full ceramic coating of the car.

 

The car was sealed and waxed not that long ago, along with some very quick polishing. This time since my intent was/is to ceramic coat the car, the tolerance for what's acceptable is tighter as I want to remove as many potential defects as I possibly can to aim for that truly deep and perfect finish. In doing this, we plan to use a variety of products and techniques.

 

First of all, once the car was rolled out of the garage it was time to do a strip wash. The car was foamed with an MTM foam cannon using strip wash. The suds clung to the car nicely and were left for a few to soak in. Once agitated, the foam was washed with high pressure from the pressure washer. To ensure that all of the spots were adequately washed and stripped, the car was then washed again with strip wash using the standard two bucket method. The wheels were cleaned up, but not obsessively as they'll be coming off later for coating. We will really get after them when we have them off.

 

After the car was cleaned, we wanted to decontaminate the car. To achieve this we used wheel cleaner diluted 1:1 with distilled water. Spraying the car didn't achieve much for color change associated with reactivity. This wasn't a shock since it wasn't many miles ago that the car was cleaned. The car was rinsed and we went to work with the claybar to finish decontamination. To ensure no water or clay lube (rinseless wash with distilled water) remained in the seams of body panels or trim, the car was blown out with the Master Blaster Revolution.

 

Next up, the inside of the car was started. The sidekick was used to blow anything out from under the seats and vacuumed out with the shop vac. The carpets were not finished at this point, but were left for now.

 

The car has a lot of genuine leather inside it. The seats, dash, console, side bolsters and door panels are all leather. These surfaces were cleaned with Leather & Interior cleaner. Once sufficiently cleaned and dry, Leather Conditioner was applied to all surfaces. Any hard surfaces were dressed with Total Interior Detailer and instrument clusters and touch screen were cleaned with glass cleaner. The interior glass was also hit with glass cleaner.

 

Once the interior surfaces were cleaned and dressed, the carpets were sprayed with Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner and extracted with the hot water extractor to ensure they were back to a factory clean look.

 

While the interior was being finished up, one of us started polishing a bit on the back of the car. There were some small swirls from the dealer prior to my purchasing the cars that I wanted to really address. I thought they would come out easily, but I underestimated the hardness of the paint. I wasn't able to take thickness measurements since the body is composite, but since it's my vehicle and I've had it since it was "new" (never registered but had 726 miles on it from going to dealer shows), it's safe to assume the clear coat is in great shape thickness-wise. I started with some Correcting Polish and the Rupes Mini with a microfiber bad. The first time working the polish and there was marginal improvement. It wasn't the total improvement that I was after. I tried again with the correcting polish and had the same result. Slightly better, but I still saw things. Some friends were over as we worked and they couldn't see the issues I saw. But I knew they were there. I'm waiting for my 4" pads for the Heavy Correcting Compound currently, so in the meantime I took my Rupes Nano (shortneck) and went to work with the Heavy Correcting Compound. After working the polish I was finally starting to see what I was after. This was followed by the Mini and correcting polish with a microfiber pad and again by finishing polish using a foam pad. Each step was wiped by microfiber towels so I could really inspect the results.

 

We weren't completely done with the panel at this point. The lowers of the car have clear bra on them. I didn't want to touch the clear bra with a polisher. Instead I took out Revive Hand Polish and the blue applicator and went over the clear vinyl by hand to ensure it was clean and to remove any small blemishes. The vinyl works easily by hand and didn't take long. While the revive was out, I also took it over the panels that I'd done (spoiler, trunk and rear end). This helped bring out that last little bit of perfection and to ensure that the paint would be clean when it is finally prepped for ceramic.

 

While the trunk is open, we will clean inside the jambs and make sure those areas are as flawless as can be. The plan is to use Tire and Rubber Cleaner on all of the rubber seals and to do the engine compartment as this is a rear engine vehicle with the compartment exposed under glass. We have even discussed the idea of laying Ceramic Paint Coating in the jambs so when the car is opened up, there are no neglected areas. We would do the same with the doors and sills as well. This will take some patience and extra prep, but in the overall appearance all opened up it may provide that extra "wow" for those who are sticklers for the details.

 

At this point, the work day ended for us and the car was closed up as we cleaned everything up. We will resume this Friday and again on Sunday (we have time on this one, so it's as we are free to work on it between other jobs and our regular work schedules). Friday will probably consist of more polishing and possibly pulling the wheels for cleaning, polishing as needed and ceramic coating. That will allow them to cure from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning before Ceramic Boost is applied.

 

I'll continue the write up when we do some more work on it this week. For now, here's some photos of what was done. Feel free to provide thoughts on the process or to ask questions.

 

List of products and equipment used:

-Strip Wash

-Foam cannon

-Wheel Cleaner diluted 1:1 with distilled water

-Clay

-Rinseless Wash diluted with distilled water

-Master Blaster Revolution

-Shop-Vac

-Sidekick

-Leather & Interior Cleaner

-Leather Conditioner

-Total Interior Detailer

-Glass Cleaner

-Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

-Hot water extractor

-Rupes Mini

-Correcting Polish

-Orange microfiber pad

-Heavy Correcting Compound

-Rupes Nano Shortneck

-Finishing Polish

-White foam pad

-Revive Hand Polish

-Blue applicator

-A LOT of various microfiber towels

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Edited by medic001918
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I'll be taking more pictures as we continue to work.  That's the only part of the car that's been polished so far.  There's still MUCH to be done to complete this detail.

 

And yes, that's a customer fiberglass enclosure on the floor that holds a JL Audio 8" subwoofer.  That little sub puts out a lot of sound.  The only speakers in it are the sub and a set of JL Audio components in the door (which was dynamat covered) and dash all powered by a Diamond Audio micro amp.  The headunit is a Kenwood with Apple Carplay and navigation with front and rear view cameras.  The shop that did the work did a great job.  I have no issues.

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So work continued today on the Lotus. We managed to put in a solid ten hours or so on it and got it nearly complete. A few more hours on Sunday, and it'll be complete. But with that, here's the write up...

 

We started the day by pulling wheels off the car. Since the jack pads are small, we couldn't put the car on jackstands. It was a process of jack the car up. Pull the wheel. Clean the wheel. Coat the wheel and caliper. Put the wheel back on. Lather, rinse and repeat four times. Some more depth on the wheel cleaning process though. Once the wheel was removed, it was sprayed with wheel cleaner to decontaminate the wheel on the faces and barrels. Once this was agitated and rinsed away, the tires were hit with Tire & Rubber cleaner. After the wheels were sufficiently clean, it was time to spray with coating prep followed by the ceramic itself. After the ceramic starts to cure, buff it off. Pretty simple really. Calipers were cleaned with all-purpose cleaner and prepped and coated as well. Same procedure.

 

While the wheel cleaner was out, the engine cover was coated using the wheel coating. The more I thought about it, the more the heat resistance made sense to me. So it was cleaned, prepped and coated.

 

While my partner was handling the wheels, I continued polishing. Panel by panel I made different choices of polishers, pads and compounds/polishes. I used everything from a 6" pad to a 1.25" pad to get everywhere. The sills and inside the doors were even tackled. Everything from heavy correcting compound to Revive Hand Polish came into play. I tried to remove every last defect, but it seems to be an impossible goal. There are defects that I see because I know what I'm looking for and where they are. I'm guessing 98% of the people who see the car will never pick up on them. It takes the right light and set of eyes to see them. But...I know they're there.

 

After hours of polishing, it was time to take care of the trim coatings. The car doesn't have much for trim. But what was there needed to be cleaned with tire and rubber cleaner, coating prep and then coated and leveled.

 

The largest part of the coating job was the paint. We elected to coat the underside of the hatch, inside all the door surfaces and door jambs. So all of those got prepped and coated. The coating is very easy to use. The cooler temperatures led to slower curing times before buffing off.

 

Now the car will sit until Sunday morning when we boost everytbing, take care of the glass and some small odds and ends. Then it'll be time to admire. For those curious, it's taken two of us working on the car and we have about fourteen hours into it so far.

 

Here's some photos with more to come Sunday. Enjoy.

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After the car sitting since Friday night, we finished it up today. Full boost throughout and in the door and trunk jambs was applied. Tires dressed, boosted and reinstalled. Calipers received the same treatment. Windows done and a final vacuuming completed. All told it has about 18 hours into it with two of us working on it. We can't say we were disappointed when we rolled it out of the garage and into the sun!

 

On a side note, I got to use the new Glass Cleaner today. I didn't use it on internal windows since it says it may not be safe for aftermarket tints. I did use it on the exterior glass. A little bit goes a long way. It foamed up nicely and wiped off clean. I used two towels as standard practice. One to remove the heavy stuff and another to buff to perfection. All glass was sealed afterwards and cleaned again.

 

Enjoy and as always ask any questions you may have! I'll be happy to answer.

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Amazing work. And your write up was stellar.  I hope you got to take it for a little spin at least!!  Thanks a lot for taking the time to take all the pictures and do the write up.  Great job!!  

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Thanks for the compliments guys. I'm glad to do the write up. I know the coatings are new and a little intimidating for some people. I know the more I read the more confident I feel. So it's my way of doing my part to give back and contribute.

 

I've been trying to be better about writing up different jobs I've been doing recently. I sometimes forget to take pics of work in progress. Lately I've been better about it though I think. The writing part is actually the easiest. It also helps me reflect on the process and where I can change or improve.

 

Thanks again for the compliments on the work and the car. The car is a lot of fun. I didn't take it out though once it was done. It went right back in the garage. It's still cold here and the roads a bit messy. I can't say I wasn't tempted though. Hopefully soon! At least the project is done. As better weather approaches, I'm sure I'll have more work to do write ups on. Already a couple of coatings on the schedule and working on getting the final commitments on some others. A couple of classic mustangs and a Vette that come to mind. If I can land those jobs, they'll be a lot of fun!

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