When it comes to detailing, most people tend to focus on the products like compounds, polishes and Last Step Products (LSP's) in order to obtain that perfect paint finish. But as important as the products are, the tools and the knowledge in how to use them make this a joint venture. You can have the best products in the world but without the correct tools, the paint finish will suffer. Hence, both are required to obtain that flawless paint finish!
I often get emails and personal messages asking what products and tools I use and I always respond…that depends. Each paint finish that I come across presents a unique challenge in order to get that paint to its 'maximum potential'. Now while that is a catchy coined phrased for the most part, what the maximum potential is to one person may not be the maximum to another.
When it comes to backing plates, many people are so concerned about the buffer that they figure just any old backing plate will do. While most backing plates on the market do provide an attachment for the pad to the polisher, there are many different types of plates, differing in sizes and flexibilities. Between my rotary polishers and G110’s, I have no less than 11 different plates! Each plate has a specific purpose and I need those plates in order to get the various vehicles to 'my maximum potential'.
Over the years, Meguiar’s has offered the: W64 Rotary Backing Plate and the W64DA (DA) for 6.5” pads, the**W65 Rotary Backing Plate and W65DA (DA) for 8” pads, the ** W67 DA Backing Plate for the 6.5” pads, the So1o W66 Rotary Backing Plate for the So1o pads, the ** New W68 rotary Backing Plate and the ** New W68DA Backing Plate for the new 7.0” Version 2.0 pads. Whew that was a mouthful! Each of these plates were designed for a specific reason and/or pad.
Recently, Meguiar’s has made a change up on the W65 and the W64 Rotary backing plates for the 8” and 6.5” pads respectively. Both of these new plates have some very new and unique features which as you will see below, are incredibly beneficial!
Let’s get started with the Professional Rotary backing plates.
Part One: the New Rotary polisher backing plates
In the above photo, you have from left to right: the older version and New version of the W65 for the 8” pads, the New W68 for the new 7” Soft Buff 2.0 pads, the old version W64 for 6.5” pads and the So1o W66 for the So1o pads. ***Please note that at the time of this review, the New version of the W64 was not available. However, as soon as it becomes available I will add it to this review.
When looking at the older and newer versions of the W65 backing plate, one can see the similarities in thread size (which is a 5/8”), the pad centering nibs, as well as the plate’s diameter. However, that is where the similarities end. The new W65 is a completely new material which is flexible closer out to the edge and yet stiffens as it gets closer to the mounting hole. Unlike the hard composite plastic backed older version, the new one is a rubber composite. The edges are rounded over which should help alleviate any accidental contact with the paint.
What I like most with the new W65 is that when I am placing downward pressure on the rotary, the new plate flexes just enough that allows the pad to contour better to the paint. This may not seem like anything important, but if you are new to the rotary, you have probably experienced the dreaded rotary bounce or hop problem. There are many factors that lead to the rotary bouncing, one of which is not keeping the pad flat on the paint’s surface. With a more rigid plate, it is easy for the new rotary user to use bad form as they are trying to get control of the rotary’s power, they may tend to tilt it etc. This can lead to buffer burns or holograms and possibly burning right through the paint. The new plates flexibility should make a big difference to those just starting out!
When it comes to mounting pads to backing plates, many people do not realize how critical it is properly align the pad to the plate. On the DA, it is not that critical due to its oscillating action. However, on the rotary polisher, a misaligned pad can throw the polisher badly out of balance. And, just like before, for the new rotary user, a unbalance rotary will make using it extremely difficult. Meguiar’s helps the rotary user by providing centering nibs on the plates. These nibs correspond with the centering hole on the Velcro on the pad.
The centering nibs make it super easy to line up the pad perfectly, ensuring a properly cenetered pad and a balanced rotary polisher!
Here is a W-9000 8” Finishing Pad. Please note the centering hole as well as the nib on the backing plate.
To install the pad, just line the nib to the hole, and attach to the Velcro. With the 8” pads, I tend to fold the pad slightly like a taco which facilitates the mounting a little easier!
If you plan on using the plates with other brands of pads, like 3M Waffle pads for example, you can also remove the nibs from either plate. They just unscrew, allowing the plate to have a flat mounting surface.
When the new 7” Soft Buff 2.0 pads were introduced, some people were concerned about using the slightly larger pad on the same sized backing plate. While I have not found it to a problem, Meguiar’s decided to make a backing plate specifically for the new Soft Buff 2.0 pads.
The New W68 Rotary plate was designed to fit perfectly into the recess on the back of the new pads. The outside lip on the back of the pad, allows one to easily center the pads without the assistance of a centering nib.
The end result is a perfectly centered pad every time!!!
There are also a couple more features which differentiate the W68 from it other siblings. The W68 has a lower profile. This lower profile provides even more flex than from the W65, but it also allows the plate to tuck up neatly into the back of the 2.0 pads. This little feature may not seem like much, but in reality, it is just one more feature Meguiar’s designed into the pads in order to help the user avoid accidental touching of the plate to the paint.
Another feature is a 15/16” slot that is provided on the mounting neck in order to help you mount or dismount the backing plate. Normally, a rotary polisher uses a spindle lock so that you can mount the plate to the polisher. However, if you have been doing any aggressive polishing or for whatever reason, the plate can sometimes be VERY difficult to remove. I have struggled on occasion only to slam my knuckles into the polisher when the plate finally decides to let go! With the new W68 plate, just use a 15/16” wrench, push the spindle lock and the plate comes right off…it does not get any easier than that!
Finally, the new W68 plate does not have Velcro all the way to the edge. This can be a good and bad thing.
The slight recess on the edge of plate makes removing pads a lot easier. One of the best ways to remove a pad is to slowly and gently lift an edge of the pad off of the plate. Then you gently but firmly roll the pad of the plate. By removing the pad this way, you are reducing the stress that is being placed on the Velcro. If you pull the pad too hard and or the pad is over-saturated causing the product to wick through to the pads Velcro, you may accidentally tear the Velcro from the foam. Sometimes, the hardest part is getting that first finger hold. The recessed edge makes that really easy. The only negative that I have found is when you tilt the pad slightly (though you should try and keep it flat on the paint as much as possible), the edge of the pad where there is no Velcro can lift slightly. This lifting is not a problem on a rotary, but on the DA, one must be careful as slightly lifting the polisher away from the paint can cause the pad to fly off even with plates that have Velcro all the way to the edge. So while this is something to keep in mind, in practice, I have not had any problems what-so-ever, and those that know me, know that I tend to push the envelop when testing products! I think the slight recess is far more valuable for what you can gain versus any slight problem.
It is these little differences that demonstrate just how much thought Meguiar’s placed into the design of these plates! Well done Meguiar’s!
Meguiar’s M66 So1o backing plate was designed to be used with the So1o series of pads. However, many of us use this plate with the older Soft Buff pads anyway. The plate features a foam cushion that again allows the plate to flex better to contours of the paint. Because the So1o series contains both foam and wool pads, this cushioning foam on the plate makes the plate ideal for either style of pad!
Finally, here is what the new W65 and the W68 look like when mounted to the rotary polisher. Please note that I have shaft extensions installed on my rotaries. Because I often use wool pads like the W-5000 which require an extension in order to be used, I have gotten used to using them on the polisher and now just leave them on all the time.
Here is the W65 with an 8” pad….
Here is the W68 with the new Soft Buff 2.0 pads…
And…side by side…
Part two: the new Dual Action Polisher plates!
Meguiar’s has 4 Dual Action Polisher Plates: The W65DA for 8” pads, the W64DA for 6.5” pads, the W67 for the 6.5” pads, and the New W68DA for use with the new 7” Soft Buff 2.0 pads. Please note that I am missing the W65DA plate. The DA plates have a 5/16”-24 spindle which allows it to be used with most DA polishers on the market. They also have a nylon or plastic washer/spacer attached to the spindle so that the plate does not cinch down too tightly making it difficult to remove. The washer/spacer also allows more room for the rivets that hold plates together.
Just like their other rotary siblings, the DA plates have unique and different features making them stand out in a crowd. The original W64DA plate fits the 6.5” pads perfectly. This is very important for a couple of reasons. Sometimes on detailing sites, people will post pictures of cuts into the back of the foam pads and question how they got there. These cuts can be caused by many factors like using the wrong size plate that does not line up with the amount of Velcro available on the back of the pad. When Meguiar’s designed their plates, these problems were considering and solutions were designed into the plates. The W64DA uses a rigid plastic backing just like its rotary sibling. The edge of plate uses a rubber material that allows some flex, but not that much. Again, there are pros and cons in having a rigid plate. But in the end, the W64DA is/was and excellent plate.
The W67DA plate came out as a plate to accompany the new design of Meguiar’s new Dual Action Polisher, the G110.
The W67DA is a more flexible plate and has Velcro that sticks like crazy! I use this plate a lot and just love it. It has never let me down and believe me, it gets used…and abused… a lot!
Meguiar’s new W68DA plate for the new Soft Buff 2.0 pads is also like its other rotary sibling 2.0 pad specific plate. It too has a recess around the edge for easier pad removal. The plate material uses a very flexible material allowing the plate and pad combination to better shape itself to the various contours of the different vehicles. The plate is slightly larger than the W64DA and W67DA plates, but again, it is designed to fit and tuck right into the back of the Soft Buff 2.0 pads. This allows the centering of pad to be incredibly easy!!!
Here are the W67DA and the W68DA plates mounted on the Meguiar’s G110 Dual Action Polishers.
As you can see the, W68DA and the Soft Buff 2.0 pad is slightly larger. However, after extensive use, I have found that the slight increase in size does not hurt its paint correction ability over the W64DA and W-8006 Polishing Pad enough to negate the benefits of using the W68DA plate. In fact, it is a pure pleasure to use every time I use it!
When a new product first comes out, I test it over and over and then test it some more. These new plates brought out by Meguiar’s demonstrate without a shadow of a doubt that they took every aspect of their design into consideration in order to produce the best performing plates possible!
I hope this helps!