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Thread: Detailing the Undercarriage

          
  1. #1
    Registered Member Top Gear's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Detailing the Undercarriage

    Okay, friends, my latest mini-project was the underside. I wanted to do it in a way that was easily repeatable. My 3.8 R-Spec has a decent underbelly, I'd like to think, not something very many people will ever see, but then, we're detailing and hot rod freaks, so we tend to take a look. After some regional road trips, getting caught on dirty roadwork areas and in rainstorms a couple of times (we've had almost 2 months of daily deluges!), the underside was ready for some love. It wasn't all that muddy or gunky, so my issue wasn't a cleaning one, per se, and I surely did not want to use anything harsh, like Simple Green. I've read a lot of threads here and elsewhere, and wanted to use a readily available and totally harmless solution from my local Advance Auto, if possible.

    Now, the car does not really have undercoating, per se, just some on the frame rails from the factory. There's a large plastic tray covering the whole engine and tranny area, so there's nothing to see, and there are some cool stainless and black-coated panels along the drivetrain tunnel toward the back, with a nearly custom-looking exhaust. The rear wheel wells are almost a felt-like black material that really only needs rinsing, and the fronts are black and grey plastics that were starting to fade and collect grime as usual. The engine bay is easy to clean because it's so well sealed. I just rinse it when cold and blow it dry.

    So, after years of not using them, I decided to try one of the newer coin-ops in my area to start. I did the pre-soak, soap spray and final rinse, all very liberally, with a quick wash and rinse of the whole car. They had a blow drier option, actually, but I got tired of feeding quarters, and after a short drive it was all dry. The few little waxy water spots were easily wiped off using QW. Anyway, what I was concerned about was the underside, and all this trouble did for me was to clean it very well. Fair enough.

    The real trick was to use "Tire Foam" (Meg's, ArmourAll, Black Magic, probably all similar, and I went for the AA since I've been using their "Extreme Tire Shine" aresol gel for the sidewalls, which works really well). I went to town spraying the foam on as much of the undercarriage as I could get to without overcoating (the car is fairly low), into the front wheel wells, and even coating the rusty-looking rotor hubs. All of it dried quickly and looks amazing, as if clear-coated. Tire Foam is just an oil-based emulsifying coating, which are basically what the "Undercarriage Spray" and "Hyper Dressing" are as well, as I understand. The foam didn't really drip, and smeared itself nicely over all the parts. I wiped off the excess from the brakes and wiped down the rather large muffler. I didn't need to use very much and can easily do some more anytime.

    As a result, the undercarriage now looks new again, which is pretty much all I wanted. That, and a fresh touch-up of Ultimate Black on all the trim, and the car again looks showroom fresh. As you all know, this is one of those details that makes "detail"-ing so rewarding, even if our friends laugh and nobody really notices or sees it outright Here are some pics:

    Work in progress. Before, the black suspension parts looked flat and chalky with more than a year of water spot buildup.

    Also, compare between Ultimate Black applied on the trim and the lower areas with no treatment.
    Now, this is what the hubs are supposed to look like (this one is the right rear).

    Before, the rotor hubs had become a rusty brown, and did not look good with the red Brembos, big discs and silver wheels!


    And, here are some similar or older threads:

    Non-Garaged Daily Driver, DAMF System + M101, Carnauba Finish Enthusiast
    4-Step | Zen Detailing | Undercarriage | DAMF Upgrade |
    First Correction | Gallery

  2. #2
    Mr Sparkle davey g-force's Avatar
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    Re: Detailing the Undercarriage

    Looks great!

    I must admit, I can't say I have ever detailed the undercarriage of my car.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blueline View Post
    I own a silver vehicle and a black vehicle owns me. The black one demands attention, washing, detailing, waxing and an occasional dinner out at a nice restaurant. The silver one demands nothing and it looks just fine. I think the black vehicle is taking advantage of me, and the silver car is more my style. We can go out for a drive without her makeup and she looks fine. If I want to take the black one out, it is three or four hours in the "bathroom" to get ready.

  3. #3
    Registered Member Top Gear's Avatar
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    Re: Detailing the Undercarriage

    Well, I admit, it's a bit fanatical
    Non-Garaged Daily Driver, DAMF System + M101, Carnauba Finish Enthusiast
    4-Step | Zen Detailing | Undercarriage | DAMF Upgrade |
    First Correction | Gallery

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