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View Full Version : Help me choose a polisher! Please :)



VPZ06
06-27-2014, 11:02 AM
I know, I know, I know... it's been asked 9 BILLION times... and that's why I'm so incredibly confused and looking for some guidance!

Which DA? Rupes or Flex?

A little background, I'm wanting to add a more serious?/capable?/powerful polisher to my arsenal as I've been using a 15 year old PC 7424 (PRE-XP) and... well... it takes forever to correct the hard CC on my 2004 Corvette. I've given up on correction for now because I've spent weeks working only 2 panels (polishing + glazing + sealing + waxing) to correct the PO's carelessness and I'm just not achieving the results I want.

Here's what I've been able to accomplish with my old PC7424 using various foam/MF pads and CG V-line compounds and polishes:

Roof panel Before:
http://www.vannpiazza.com/img/201406/cg-dam1.jpg

Roof panel After (~6 hours of polishing total - no glaze or wax):
http://www.vannpiazza.com/img/201406/cg-dam1c.jpg

Trunk panel Before:
http://www.vannpiazza.com/img/201406/cg-dam3.jpg

Trunk Panel After (~4 hours of polishing - no glaze or wax):
http://www.vannpiazza.com/img/201406/cg-dam3c.jpg

Was I able to make progress? Yes.. but I'm seeking perfection (aside from the RIDs that I simply cannot tackle of course).

So.. that leads me to start researching an 'upgrade' and I lean towards one, then I read a few more forum threads around the interwebs and I'm leaning toward the other! I know I'd most likely be happy with either BUT I want to find the best one for my situation.

My biggest hang-up about the Flex is that, from what I've read, it HATES to be used with microfiber pads. I have quite a few of these and would hate to abandon them. It also appears to me to be more for correction which, I shouldn't need to do often (if at all again) once I've corrected my paint once.

My biggest hang-up about the Rupes is all of the discussion I see about the Rupes machines having difficulties polishing out curved panels. I feel like my Corvette has quite a few of these. The hood has multiple convex curves and and the doors are very convex. Would this actually be an issue for using a Rupes on my car?

I get the impression that the Rupes 21 would have too large of a throw to be effective on this particular vehicle. I also feel like I could be completely wrong.. lol BUT.. i'm sticking with it for this post.

With that, would the Flex 3401 or Rupes 15 be the better choice for my vehicle and my need to only do heavy correction ONCE?

I'm pretty tired of being cross-eyed over this! I'd love to just get that extra little nudge to make my decision so I can buy one and get on with perfecting my finish! Luckily I can photoshop out any swirls I find in my photos in the meantime :D I want it to look like the below at ALL times!

Thanks in advance for your suggestions! (and for sticking with me and reading my short novel lol)

http://www.vannpiazza.com/img/201406/cgpost1.jpg

MattMan
06-27-2014, 11:44 AM
You can use either DA machine with a microfiber pad and V32. Do a test panel and see what steps you need to refine the scratches. I'd imagine
V32 on Microfiber cutting
V36 on Microfiber polishing
maybe V38 on White Hex Logic Foam

As for polishing around the curved areas, I'd use a 4'' hex logic pad on a rotary. I'd probably use a rotary over the whole car.

Jayincali
06-27-2014, 04:35 PM
I'm in the same boat as the OP. I have a PC that is probably about 10 years old and has been put thru its paces, yet still keeps going. I've been looking at either a Rupes or a Flex. I've heard the Rupes doesn't have the power unless you do some sort of washer mod? However I like how the Rupes doesn't need any pressure to make corrections as it only needs its own weight for pressure, unlike the Flex or PC where you need constant pressure.

I would say go with a Rupes, then fall back on the PC on concave panels. I probably just solved my own issue on which to choose as well lol.

erobertson
06-27-2014, 04:48 PM
While they are both great machines I'd have to side with the flex for heavier corrections. The force rotation gives nearly the same power as a rotary with the DA safety features to avoid burning paint.

Jayincali
06-27-2014, 08:52 PM
And now back to not knowing which to purchase lol.

MattMan
06-30-2014, 09:31 AM
well, if you're going to be polishing to make money, I'd go with the Flex. If you're just polishing your garage queen once a year or two, save the cash and go with a PC.

VPZ06
07-03-2014, 09:01 AM
well, if you're going to be polishing to make money, I'd go with the Flex. If you're just polishing your garage queen once a year or two, save the cash and go with a PC.

Thanks for your suggestions!

I'm reluctant to put my wants for a new toy on the bench but I agree with your last statement MattMan...The car is mostly a weekend driver so there's really no point in having a $400 machine that I'll only use for one.. mayyybe two correction sessions in a full year.

I put in an order for some more CG products yesterday including your initial suggestions, a 3" rotary backing plate w/ DA adapter along with some smaller pads to help get the areas I haven't been able to effectively polish. Mainly the curved side panels and rear quarters... all I can do with my current 5.5" pads & 12 year old stiff backing plate is sling product all over the place.

SO, one more question... Will the 4" HL pads be effective on a PC or will I need a rotary to get any real results from them?

.

MattMan
07-03-2014, 09:08 AM
Those 4'' hex logic pads work great on the DA! It's the exact same pad with all the same correction capabilities, just smaller!

you don't need to get a 3'' rotary plate with adapter, you can get a 3'' DA backing plate
http://www.chemicalguys.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=BUFLC_BP_DA_3&Click=81022&utm_source=Social&utm_medium=Forum&utm_campaign=BUFLC_BP_DA_3

KBsSS
07-05-2014, 03:08 AM
I have a Griots, I am a novice and it works great for me just use the correct pads. Myself I like the micro-fiber pads.

Jake
07-07-2014, 08:32 AM
@VPZ06 - You've asked for an opinion....here's my so take a seat and read through this....

- Awesome on using a PC for over 15+ years ( The PC is truly an amazing machine ). So couple of things you'll need to understand between the FLEX & RUPES is that although they are both "dual-action" machines they are very different in a lot of ways. First thing first:

The FLEX has a positive drive that forces the pad to continue to spin even when under load or pressure, this ensures a uniform movement. The pad moves in a forced rotation that keeps moving even when you put pressure or load on the machine. It has a lot more correction power than the PC that's for sure. The only down fall is that you can't run a 4 inch pad on the FLEX 3401 VRG.

Now we move onto the RUPES 15/21 - I will tell you this much, The RUPES was definitely a game changer in the polisher world. We haven't seen a lot of great machines besides the industry standard ones in the last 5+ years. But when the Rupes came into the market, it changed a lot of people's mind on polishers and polishing alone. I've been exclusively using the Rupes 15 machine for 6+ month now and I LOVE IT. I can't tell you how much polishing is made easy and fun with that little sucker. It corrects pretty much every problem I had, swirls, scratches, oxidation, wet-sanding scratches, and RIDs too. The machine whether it is the 15 or the 21 cuts down a lot of time and passes from the PC. and also it has a very smooth throw and operation, I would say close to NO vibrations at all when using the RUPES. and the best thing is that the machine is very very predictable and easy to use that sometimes you can polish with just 1 hand. Ergonomics feels great in my hands. The only downfall is that Rupes don't have a headquarter here in the US so if the machine goes bad and requires maintenance or service, you'd have a slower turn-around time.

SO to SUM IT ALL UP....

Both machines are PHENOMENAL and will make your life easier when polishing compare to using a PC.

Both machines have the same draw-back that it cannot run a 3.5 / 4 inch pad.

Both machines corrects scratches and swirls and many more really well.

The Rupes machine to me feels more natural and has a better correctiblity than the FLEX.

One question you should ask yourself too is that you've been polishing for 15+ years, have you thought of maybe instead of going with the dual-action machine to directly step it up and start learning or using the rotary machine? I will admit that both FLEX and RUPES will do about 80-90% of the job on paint correction. But if you truly want to "save time" and get a true 95%+ results, unfortunately only a rotary machine will get you there. So that's another thing for you to think about.

Ultimately if you asked me to choose between the FLEX or RUPES....I'd hands down take the Rupes 15 over any polishers that is available right now on the market.

tenblade2001
07-25-2014, 08:47 PM
so, is the 7424 just not even in the same league?

inDetail
07-26-2014, 09:54 AM
You may want to try stepping up to a bigger compound. Menz FG400 or WG Uber 3.0. They will make quick work on hard clear coats even with a PC. They will finish down near LSP ready. They are both great compounds and are hybrids DAT and SMAT which makes using them a dream. A little dusting on both but it's worth it in time saving. Nothing like getting paint done with one polish. If you want or see the need you can follow up with Menz 2500 or 4000 as finishing polishes.
Now to machines. If you just want more power get a Griot's. I would say a Flex or a Rupes is overkill if you are using it 6 times a year. If you are detailing for $ then a Flex. Rupes throw is much greater and will keep you from getting into tighter spots hence you will need a back up that accepts 3 or 4" pads. The available pads for a Rupes are also very expensive and right now limited in brand choices. From what I have read none of them are really durable.
So to get more power have use of smaller pads expand your polish and have more pads on hand grab a Griot's. Pick up some LC hybrid or hydrotech pads and grab 3 polishes that will tackle any paint system Menz FG400, 2500 and 4000.

Golfrocker777
07-26-2014, 08:15 PM
I purchased the flex 3401and I love it. The clear is so hard on my tahoe like your vette. I corrected with the black ops microfiber cutting pad and v36. The results were much better than the DA. See my corrected Tahoe in the forum see what you think. It was worth the money.

garryb
07-26-2014, 08:37 PM
Dot forget your working with fiberglass that doesn't have as much heat as metal. I would buff with compound using a rotary and then compound again with a microfiber buff pad or foam pad using your Porter Cable. Than follow up with polish/glaze, sealer, than wax. I know it's a bit more work, but it's your car and not a customer's, so you should have the time? I use this procedure on all my cars after buffing with wool pads and they come out like glass! I also have the flex and the newer porter cable and I have a hard time using microfiber pads with the flex rotary d.a. especially on rounded panels. It has a lot of torque because of it being a constant rotary and is heavier than the porter cable. But it does give a beautiful finish when Done wrestling with it!
Good luck and stick with it.

garryb
07-26-2014, 08:57 PM
Keep it cranked up at 6 and it will work. Just stop every few minutes and check the heat of the pads. If real warm or h o t, stop & let cool down, you'll melt the back of the pads into your backer pad. That another good thing about the Flex, it can run at a 4 & stays cooler. And remember when using a Porter Cable d.a., higher machine speed and slower passes!

VPZ06
08-05-2014, 07:17 AM
Thanks everyone for your feedback! I've learned quite a bit from this like thread already!!


@VPZ06 - You've asked for an opinion....here's my so take a seat and read through this....

One question you should ask yourself too is that you've been polishing for 15+ years, have you thought of maybe instead of going with the dual-action machine to directly step it up and start learning or using the rotary machine? I will admit that both FLEX and RUPES will do about 80-90% of the job on paint correction. But if you truly want to "save time" and get a true 95%+ results, unfortunately only a rotary machine will get you there. So that's another thing for you to think about.

Ultimately if you asked me to choose between the FLEX or RUPES....I'd hands down take the Rupes 15 over any polishers that is available right now on the market.

Thanks for the info Jake! It's certainly crossed my mind to go for a rotary and leave it at that but I tend to be a bit more cautious than I probably should. However... I do like the idea of working towards that goal of mastering a rotary and garryb's post about working with fiberglass on the Vette makes me actually want to lean this way... decisions, decisions!





So to get more power have use of smaller pads expand your polish and have more pads on hand grab a Griot's. Pick up some LC hybrid or hydrotech pads and grab 3 polishes that will tackle any paint system Menz FG400, 2500 and 4000.

This is what I think my main problem has been with my PC over the years. I'd been using 6" pads and some mid-level compounds that just didn't have enough bite without the faster rotation of a smaller pad.

I've picked up some smaller backing plates and some smaller pads.. 4" and 5.5" along with some more aggressive compounds. I'm going to switch the pads first to see how much better they cut with what I already use then I'll be able to step up the compounds if necessary.




I purchased the flex 3401and I love it. The clear is so hard on my tahoe like your vette. I corrected with the black ops microfiber cutting pad and v36. The results were much better than the DA. See my corrected Tahoe in the forum see what you think. It was worth the money.

Very nice! My other vehicle is a 2002 Tahoe that needs major correction so this is certainly helpful!




Dot forget your working with fiberglass that doesn't have as much heat as metal. I would buff with compound using a rotary and then compound again with a microfiber buff pad or foam pad using your Porter Cable. Than follow up with polish/glaze, sealer, than wax. I know it's a bit more work, but it's your car and not a customer's, so you should have the time? I use this procedure on all my cars after buffing with wool pads and they come out like glass! I also have the flex and the newer porter cable and I have a hard time using microfiber pads with the flex rotary d.a. especially on rounded panels. It has a lot of torque because of it being a constant rotary and is heavier than the porter cable. But it does give a beautiful finish when Done wrestling with it!
Good luck and stick with it.

The lower heat when working against fiberglass is something I'd never even thought about! Thanks for the tips!