The Finer Points of Washing and Detailing - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 57 Old 06-19-2008, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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The Finer Points of Washing and Detailing

By Popular vote, I thought many of ya'll would fined this handy.
Start off by finding a shady place and the bike should be cool to the touch. Gather around your supplies and tools, I use the following consumables, yours may vary.

1st up the detergent, if you use harsh home soap such as dish soap, it will remove the wax coating, this can be helpful if your building your base from the polish out.
The order for proper polish and wax is, Remove old wax, polish, then wax. Polish has harder immolants than wax, it also builds up layers, so the more coats of polish, the deeper the gloss, use the wax to protect the polish and clearcoat from acid rain, and UV damage,it will also make clean up of bug spatter a jif, and compliments the shine of the polish.
I use Maguires "Gold Class wash, Maguires polish, and Maquires Hi Tech yellow #26 wax, because they leave no white residue in the surface cracks, so there is no dried paste hiding.
The other items we will address as we move ahead.

Simple green and water in spray bottles from the garden center at Kmart.

Special needs, from the short bus at the autostore

Heres alook at the tools, brushes mitts, applicators, and sheep mitts. The brushes are handy for the tight areas around the engine, pegs, rims, pipes and such.

The one item I strongly recommend, as it goes where others can't. Be sure to cut the bristles down, this will stiffen them up, then cover that metal band with tape to protect soft plastic in tight areas.

Lastly, have a dedicated pail, If you have a high dollar paint ( On my cars I never use the same rag on the quarter panels as I do the hood, use colored ones to keep track and buy more than one). This will keep the dirt from entering your wash mitts, thereby scratching the finish. Always be sure to rinse it out when your done, thats the point of having a dedicated wash pale, keep it clean and don't use it for anything else (Yes, Hide it for her and them!).

OK, start by rinsing your machine, try to remove as much crud as you can with the hose, try not to direct the spray into and controls and bearings, etc. I use warm water in my pail with the soap, some may use cold. Its just a personal thing and I have heard both sides. Once you have your pail full, soak your 100% cotton rag, (polyesther scrathes, this means the hem threads too)
then toss it on the wind screen, so it'll soak and soften up the dried cooked bug spatter.

Now is also a good time to soak down the engine area and rear wheel with the simple green, anywhere there is grease this is the stuff ya want. Now let it soak and forget about the windscreen and simple green stuff for a while. Lets move on.

Start washing from the top down, do the painted surfaces first, then the black front fender, and work your way back and down. The idea is to get the grittiest grime last, rather than introducing this to your wash and mitt, keep the mitt soapy and don't rub hard, let the suds do what they do, always think you have grit in your mitt ( That sounded good). Rinse the bike often to prevent spots and keep the mitt rinsed in the soap. The more bubbles the better.

Use the detail brushes around the forks and rims, also rear shock area, muffler, pegs, and tail pipe. Grab the paint brush and do the areas often over looked. Keep the simple green away from your current tools as it depletes the soapy suds.

Now, using the tools ya have, start cleaning up the simple green soaker areas, the paint brush combined with the simple green works very well on grime, you can also use the soap pail at this time providing you did the rest of the machine (except the windscreen) at this time (If any simple green residue get in the pail, it kills the suds).
Now its the time to spray down that 100% cotton rag on the windscreen, you should have enough soap in it to remove the bug matter. Do not rub hard. Or you can rinse the pale, and fill with more hot water and soap for more stubborn spatter. Try to only move the rag in one direction, in the event you inadvertently scratch your screen, it will limit the refraction of light at night.

Keep an eye on the rest of the bike and keep it wet, no water spots, spray it down as needed. Now head in for that last tool and dry it off.

Yea I cheat. Some say oil and debris are a threat from this tool, well no more than riding on the street. Seriously, I have used this on my old vette and my Harley with no ill effects. And I can assure you I am very picky, ask my wife...shes ready to leave...
You will also have to towel dry, little toweling if you got blown, and once again, only cotton or micro fibers. Don't worry about really drying the windscreen at this time we have another trick coming up.

OK, Now its dry, go ahead and do the polish, while buffing turn the rag often, I use the sheeps mitts, sometimes for shows I use two, one for the final buff and the other for the initial buff.
TIP: Use the H20) mister bottle on the final buff, super lightly mist the surface, then continue with a clean sheep mitt and buff. This gives you an extra touch as it helps even out the emolants for a super finish.

OK, now the wax. Do the same here as you did with the polish, only NEW rags and MITTS. Not the same ones you polished with as polish tends to have very very fine particulates, which slightly cut the surface hence the old line "perhaps those scratches will polish out". Once done, use the same H20 tip as above for the final finish.

Now in the special needs section, or the plexi polish, use little mounts.

Work this into the light lenses and keep it wet, do not let it set up. Then flip the rag and buff it out. Here you can see the difference on the 1st application.


"Pain is weakness leaving the body"
"Nothings possible until its done!"
"If ya can't afford the fine, take the lead!"

Last edited by Tollster; 06-30-2008 at 07:28 PM.
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post #2 of 57 Old 06-19-2008, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Finer Points of washing and detailing PTII

From where we left:
Now reach for the Armor All ultimate clean from your consumables box. Spray it onto a rag and clean all black plastic rough surfaces, dash, front intake vents, rear fender, lower exhaust heat shield, etc. It does not attract dust and with restore that new look, here is a sample.

Now is also the time to get the windscreen clean. I use endust, spray onto windscreen lightly, then once again, clean 100% cotton or microfiber, flipping towel, polish inside and out, using light pressure in one direction only, ie... up and down.

Now for the final touch, use the silicone on all hoses. I spray the calipers, the radiator hoses and the rubber cable guards. Just about anything I did not use the ultimate clean on. Use caution around the dash area, and only spray on rag first, direct spray has been known to stain, which looks like shit around the dash area for sure.

I hope this helps some of ya'll, if ya like em dirty, thats good too. Just take your time and enjoy what your doing, its also a good time for visual inspecting as your move along, perhaps lube your pegs, stand, adjust your cable end play ect. Its also my preference to work on clean machines, it reflects in the final product,
anyway enjoy.
OH by the way, if ya find this usefull and don't feel like saying much, please rate the thread for me, so at least i know you found some use for it.
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"Pain is weakness leaving the body"
"Nothings possible until its done!"
"If ya can't afford the fine, take the lead!"

Last edited by Tollster; 06-19-2008 at 09:32 PM.
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post #3 of 57 Old 06-19-2008, 03:57 PM
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You got it all figured out so I'm just riding my bike over to your place, save me buying all the consumables. ha ha

Your tip about Simple Green is a good one.
I'd also recommend Plexus and micofibre cloths.
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post #4 of 57 Old 06-19-2008, 03:59 PM
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Excellent report. Thanks for posting this. It went on my browser favorites list.

Greg "Pinkman" Pink
Leesburg, FL
K4, Flat Black Club #135
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post #5 of 57 Old 06-19-2008, 10:21 PM
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Good Thread

Can't wait to get home soon and try some of your tips.
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post #6 of 57 Old 06-20-2008, 12:16 AM
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The horror!

I had to get the children out of the hovel before I could look at all of your post. That is just beyond the pale.

If I washed my bike like that, it would freak out, thinking I was getting ready to find it a new home.
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post #7 of 57 Old 06-20-2008, 05:56 AM
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Great write up. I gotta admit I'm very lax on the Vee, but your tips work on all kinds of bikes, even cars and for that I appreciate some things.

I love the Meguiar's polish/wax stable, I use them on everything from guitars to my helmet. Great stuff.

Never met a dog I didn't like, a machine I couldn't break, or a woman I couldn't tick off.
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post #8 of 57 Old 06-20-2008, 12:11 PM
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What??? After all that we didn't get a full-bike pic :sad1:

Great write up but it'll never happen on my bike, unfortunately. thanks for this thread.

Blue DL1000K7
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post #9 of 57 Old 06-22-2008, 09:46 PM
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Spraying silicone onto brake calipers is dangerous and not to be recommended. If silicon gets on the disc or pads, you'll have very little braking when you squeeze the lever!
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post #10 of 57 Old 06-22-2008, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jvdairlie View Post
Spraying silicone onto brake calipers is dangerous and not to be recommended. If silicon gets on the disc or pads, you'll have very little braking when you squeeze the lever!
I have been spraying for 3 years now and still don't know what your talking about. I am on my 4th can. Anyway, I reckon if you were to spray the rotors, it would give you a stain in your shorts, so I will leave this one up to ya'll.
Next critique please, besides my spelling! LOL!

"Pain is weakness leaving the body"
"Nothings possible until its done!"
"If ya can't afford the fine, take the lead!"

Last edited by Tollster; 06-23-2008 at 10:43 AM.
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