This is one of our older tractors that has had a very rough life. Never seen an easy job it seems. Currently we have "semi-retired" the tractor to running a 30' mower for cutting hay. I say semi retired because it had been replaced in all of the other positions, but fit the bill well for this task which is not an easy one nor was this tractor designed for it, the front hitch and PTO we added aftermarket. Here is a picture I took when cutting last year.
The tractor has not seen regular paint maintenance, a coat of wax every now and then in the past few years but thats it. It looks like someone waxed it this winter judging by the wax residue left everywhere, IIRC they did use some form of a buffer, I am guessing a wax spreader style though. As you can see, cleaner waxes only go so far. Its the compounds and polishes that create the shine, not the wax. The wax can add depth, but it can't add depth to something that isn't there.
Pictures as it came into the shop.
Its wet and muddy here now, decent time to do this tractor, but I was limited for time. I chose to just do the hood for now. This allowed me to just use a good rinseless wash. I used Chemical Guys Hose Free ECOwash. Using a two bucket method with grit gaurds in the rinse bucket, I used a Micro Chenille wash mitt and gave it a good bath. I used Cobra Guzzler HD Waffle Weave Microfiber drying towels to dry it.
Then I used TarX to remove any tar spots I noticed. I also used it to loosen a very sticky glue from a dealer sticker. Unfortuneatley I failed to properly rinse the decal and stained it. I also used IronX to remove some of the iron deposits. I had a picture of it eating away at them but don't know what happened to it. You can see the TarX working below, it melts the tar away.
After those treatments, I used the plastic baggie test to determine if the paint needed claying. The plastic baggie amplifies your sense of touch and allows you to feel the surface texture much better. It definatley needed it. Here is the clay bar after just one section (2'x2')
Now the paint is ready to be polished. Here are the pictures before polishing.
The paint is very thin on this tractor, over the years most of it has oxidized away. For this reason I chose to use a mild polisher with a mild one step polish. Instead of using the Flex PE14 Rotary and some Menzerna FG400 to really get that glossy look, I took the safer route with the Flex 3401 Forced DA and Menzerna PowerFinish. I used an orange 6.5" Lake Country CCS pad for the major work and a yellow CCS 4" pad for the details.
Here are some comparison shots during polishing.
Once the polishing was all completed I stripped the paint using Menzerna Top Inspection, then applied a coat of Menzerna Power Lock sealant using a red CCS pad. The reason you want to strip the paint is to remove all of the components from the compounding and polishing processes that are hidden in the microscratches. This will really show you how good of a job you did. You will notice it will not look as perfect once you strip it, but thats okay. You can also use 12.5% IPA for this.
Menzerna Powerlock needs to be applied very thin. Thinner than you think thin, you will barely use a cap full for the entire hood. You can apply as many coats as you like, but you must allow the proper cure time. Most people do not do more than 3. MPL needs to be dried to a haze before removal. To determine when it is ready to be buffed off, use the swipe test. Swipe your finger and if it smears, its not ready but if it leaves a clean surface, its ready. MPL buffs off so effortlessly, its very nice. Here is the results after about 4hrs worth of work. The tape is still on because I am going to apply another coat of the Power Lock in the morning after this coat cures. If I run into extra time I may even top it with some Menz. Color Lock nuba wax. Not a glass mirror, but red and glossy which is what I was after for a safe compromise.
You can see a thin spot in the paint on this hood. It was that thin when i started and didn't seem any worse when done which is good.
Thanks for looking, Any questions ask.