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Clay Barring the Cobalt SS

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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In my stupor the last two nights, I forgot an important step: clay barring the paint.

Okay, forgot isn't appropriate, I didn't include it in the steps properly.

The Cobalt's paint is ugly in so many ways. It's chipped, dinged, and scratched – and it has so many airborne contaminants in it, it might as well be sandpaper. Not a good canvas on which to compound, polish, glaze, and wax. Well, not if I don't want to imbed that shit further into the paint – and I don't.

That's where Mothers Speed Clay 2.0 comes in.

When I was introduced to the concept of the clay bar a couple of decades ago, the person who was promoting it was selling his own private labeled kit, but it had one distinction that most of the kits today don't have: the clay bar was designed to be used with water, not silicone-based lubricants.

As I've already mentioned, I'm reticent to use silicone-based car care products on my cars because of the potential contamination to the paint work that may need to be done to the car in the future. That isn't to say I haven't or won't – but I'm particular about where and when. And spraying the car down with those kinds of products definitely falls into my no-no category.

3M makes a clay bar designed for water – which makes sense, they are body shop oriented – but, it's pricey stuff. Right now, I'm into reasonable price and good value.

Speed Clay 2.0 fits right into that category and it does it without requiring a silicone-based lubricant. Just soap and water. As an added bonus, it can be used, re-used, and dropped and rinsed off.

High value stuff right there.

Also, it's not a squishy clay bar, it's a polymer pad on a foam block, so its feel and use is more like sanding with a block than pushing around putty. Just to be clear, it isn't sandpaper, it only pulls crud out of the paint, it doesn't remove the paint or sand the contaminants off.

So that's what ended up being the focus of Cleaning the Cobalt SS: Day 5.

That last statement makes it sound like I completed clay barring. I didn't.

Again, I couldn't get started until the sun was going down and I was only able to get the exterior of the cabin finished. Tomorrow is another day and I will endeavor to get as much of the clay barring done as possible.

With that out of the way, I got some bad news: the engine cover is discontinued and the last dealership in the country that showed one in stock, didn't have it. That meant that I spent the afternoon trying to resuscitate the cover and oil filler cap.

I took a different approach to the engine cover this time: I started with breaking down as much of the acid staining as I could with toothpaste, then I cleaned up the cover and moved onto a different product. I don't want to jump the gun here, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be able to save it. It's going to take a lot of scrubbing, though. I've already put in two hours on it, but I've got it on the run. I should have it completed tomorrow.

As for the oil filler cap, I had to take a completely different approach with that as well, but, it too, is almost there.

I hope I'll have some great news and let you know what I did to save them.

So, day five was another four hours, which brings me up to 19 in total so far – but I've still got a ways to go. Tomorrow will be more clay barring and more repairing of the engine cover and oil filler cap.

I'll let you know how it all goes.

Ryan

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