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Old 07-27-2012, 02:38 PM   #1
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Mercedes-Benz E350 vs. 1Z, Flex & Blackfire

Talk about deja vu; it seemed like it was just yesterday that I stayed late in Autogeek's Show Car Garage to detail a 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350. In my article "Germany's Finest Meets Pinnacle - My Story" I talked about the most well-known German automaker, Mercedes-Benz, and how to make the paint shine in a way that would do justice for Germany's most respected manufacturer of luxury automobiles. Fast forward nearly a year and there I was again; locked in Autogeek's Show Car Garage on a Saturday night with the keys to an E350 in one hand and a Flex XC3401 in the other. A slap in the face wouldn't get rid of the grin that I was sporting.

Not much has changed since the last time I detailed this 4,200 lb mass of German luxury. Surprisingly, the Honda is still running, even after racking up another 25,000 hard miles, which actually put it over the 200,000 mile marker. I'm now twenty-four years old, which means I'm only one year away from being able to rent a car without paying a premium. The negotiations with Max regarding a 6-figure salary and a company car continue, although I don't think he's budged at all because he simply rolls his eyes and walks away every time I mention it. When you're known as the funny guy around the office, sometimes people don't take you seriously, even when you're trying to be.

Nature, along with the daily driver commute, had certainly taken its toll on the E350. The deep, shimmering gloss provided by Pinnacle XMT 360 had worn off, the wheels and tires were filthy, and nothing about the paint on the E350 screamed "look at me!" like it had last time it was in my possession nearly a year ago.

The E350 was given a thorough bath with 1Z Exclusiv Gloss Shampoo (German Luxury In a Bottle). After three long days of endless debates with myself, I decided to put what remained of the shampoo on my shelf at home where I keep the good stuff. I've never considered myself a fighter, but I would fight if someone tried taking my bottle of 1Z Exclusiv Gloss Shampoo. Just try to find a better way to spend $9.99 and let me know what you come up with.

I recall a conversation I had with Mike from 1Z at Detail Fest 2011. He was going over various products in the 1Z line while providing me with some inside info. The last product he talked about was Polish Wax. When he grabbed the tastefully designed tin can he said, with a faint grin; "Now this is great stuff." Granted, he talked highly of all his products, but the grin present on his face when he told me about Polish Wax was a clear indication that it was really, really good. So when it came time to show the E350 a little love, 1Z Polish Wax was the obvious choice.

1Z Einszett Polish Wax maintains and enhances the appearance of new and like-new paint finishes. Quickly and easily removes road grime, tree sap, bird droppings, stains, and light oxidation. Advanced German polymers and premium carnauba wax protect paintwork surface from future environmental pollutants and provide maximum depth and gloss for longer lasting results. Formulated for all paint colors and clear coat safe. For hand or machine application. Follow up with Einszett Glanz Wax for even longer lasting protection.

I was on a roll with the German theme; German car, German wax, and a little bit of German in my bloodstream, so I had to choose my polisher accordingly. I most definitely wasn't going to apply 1Z Polish Wax by hand, so the Flex XC3401 - often referred to as the Mercedes-Benz of dual action polishers - was a no brainer for this detail. I equipped a 3401 with the 4" backing plate from the Changeable Backing Plate System, slapped on a 5" Hybrid Power Finish White Polishing Pad and didn't waste any time.

The 5" Lake Country Hybrid Power Finish Foam Pads are self-centering on the 4" backing plate from the Changeable Backing Plate System.

The Flex XC3401 equipped with a 5" Hybrid Power Finish White Polishing Pad can only be described as heavenly. There was much concern as to how well the 3401 would handle such a small pad, but with Lake Country's innovative 45 degree beveled edge design of the Hybrid Power Finish Pads and the ridiculously smooth nature of the 3401, they make a perfect combination for effortless machine polishing.

When using an all-in-one (AIO) or cleaner wax, you can work on a much larger area because the goal isn't to remove defects. You can also practice a slightly faster arm movement than when compared to removing swirls and scratches. When I use an AIO or cleaner wax by machine, unless I'm working on a heavily oxidized surface, I generally work on a section that's about 2' x 2'. The perfect speed for an AIO or cleaner wax on the Flex XC3401 is the 4 setting.

1Z Polish Wax buffs as easily as any comparable product. It has a very long working time and wipes off without a struggle.

(Photo edited to show film of product)

It's nearly impossible to resist lightly rubbing the backside of your hand over a newly polished surface. This quick impulse, er, test, revealed that 1Z Polish Wax left the paint feeling silky smooth.

How well does 1Z Polish Wax pull contaminants out of the paint? Take a look for yourself! The pad on the left was used on half of the E350 while the pad on the right was still brand new.

After polishing the remainder of the E350 I vacuumed the interior, dressed the tires, cleaned and conditioned the leather, and drank a Mountain Dew. As with every other time I'm locked in the Show Car Garage by myself detailing a German automobile, my mind starts to wander. I began to recall an article I had read in Motor Trend about the new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG and the mountain-moving torque its twin turbocharged V12 produced. I kept thinking that it wouldn't feel right driving that car without completing my will first. What would 738 ft. lbs of torque feel like?

Reality set back in and I realized it was 10:42 pm. My goal was to be finished and have the Show Car Garage cleaned up by 11pm sharp. The paint at this point looked phenomenal, but I knew it could be better. Blackfire Crystal Seal, better known as the 11 minute paint sealant, was the product to take the shine and protection up another notch.

Blackfire Crystal Seal is quite possibly the easiest product you will ever lay your hands on. Not only does it induce whiplash by creating a reflective, hard-as-nails shine, but it also provides months of protection that can withstand the harshest of environments. Blackfire Crystal Seal protects and enhances painted surfaces, exterior trim, chrome bumpers, glass and wheels. Blackfire Crystal Seal provides a super-slick polymer barrier that virtually nothing can stick to.

Blackfire Crystal Seal includes two Indigo Microfiber Applicators for applying the sealant. When starting out with a fresh applicator, prime it with one spray of Crystal Seal.

One spray of Blackfire Crystal Seal is enough to cover half a hood. This product is a perfect example of less is more.

Evenly distribute Crystal Seal with the Indigo Microfiber Applicator working side to side and then up and down. If you see any high spots, simply go over it with the applicator again. Crystal Seal requires no buffing.

Eleven minutes after I picked up a bottle of Blackfire Crystal Seal, I was finished. 1Z Polish Wax paired with the Flex XC3401 removed below surface contaminants and polished the paint to a ridiculously high gloss. A quick coat of Blackfire Crystal Seal was the icing on the cake and provided a reflective, hard-as-nails shine.

With a little bit of passion that only a dedicated automotive enthusiast could provide combined with a warehouse full of the good stuff, I once again imparted a shine on the Iridium Silver Metallic E350 that was worthy of the Germany luxury marque.

Looking forward to next time.

1Z Einszett Car Care Products

1Z Einszett Polish Wax

BLACKFIRE Crystal Seal Paint Sealant

Last edited by Nick@Autogeek; 07-27-2012 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:33 PM   #2
Grande D
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Awesome write up and beautiful car! I'm glad Autogeek is a sponsor here!

Originally Posted by yousharenow View Post
Get out and walk. Meet people.
It will change your life!
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It's ok, the world needs boring people
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by zhp43867 View Post
Awesome write up and beautiful car! I'm glad Autogeek is a sponsor here!
Thank you! We're glad to be a sponsor here too.
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