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Thread: Acid Washing?

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  1. #1 Acid Washing? 
    The Rainmaker
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    Richy's thread about his White Trans Am clean up reminded me of something I heard mentioned at the auto auction some time back.
    They run two lanes of cars and do everything at various stations along the way. Kind of like the tunnel car washes except they do whatever has been requested to a vehicle.
    The thing that came to mind was a seller mentioning what a great job they did bringing back a white car he had for sale.
    They told him they acid washed every white car that they did a full exterior detail on. The guy that runs the shop really believes in acid washing. He thinks it is something that almost transforms a white car. He said you would have to see it to believe how much crap just rolls off.
    This is a true production line operation that does 300+ cars per week. They aren't hacks and the cars come out looking pretty good. I have no idea what they use for brands of product since it is either dispensed through a system of hoses or kept in generic bottles.
    The only two things I have noticed that I would take exception to is wet carpets after extraction, but in fairness to them, it might have just been done minutes before. The other thing is the engine dressing. After they clean the engine compartment, they just spray a bunch of dressing, (from one of those overhead dispensing hoses), all over the entire engine compartment.

    Back on topic.
    How many of you have experience with acid washes?
    I don't think it would be something for the hobby detailer at all, but it might have a place for the professional. Chances are, you would need a fixed location to make it work, but I really have no idea.

    Charles
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  2. #2 Re: Acid Washing? 
    COME AT ME BRO JaredPointer's Avatar
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    Are the "decontamination" washes sold by FK1 & others included in this type of wash? I don't know that much about them, but are they some type of acid followed by something else? I believe it's a three step process.
    I don't believe in grit guards.
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  3. #3 Re: Acid Washing? 
    Concourse Detail 9D4E420's Avatar
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    PRO makes an acid wash product called Power Lift fallout remover. I bought a gallon to give it a shot. The stuff did absolutely nothing to the paint and I followed the directions to a T. Needlesss to say I returned it back to the supplier in exchange for some other products. Maybe other products work well just don't try that stuff.
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  4. #4 Re: Acid Washing? 
    The Rainmaker
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaredPointer View Post
    Are the "decontamination" washes sold by FK1 & others included in this type of wash? I don't know that much about them, but are they some type of acid followed by something else? I believe it's a three step process.
    Good point about the "decontamination" system.
    The term "acid washing" may be somewhat generic and true acid may not even be involved.
    Whatever product is used, I would think some sort of neutralizing would have to happen after the initial cleaning.
    In the case of acid wheel cleaners, a simple water rinse seems to be all that is necessary, but I don't think I would feel comfortable with just a water rinse on the overall car.
    Strong cleaners seem to have some less than desirable side effects on a lot of the car components.
    When I had the streaking on the painted/dyed plastic body panels of the Montana, I used acid wash, acid wheel cleaner and even Easy-Off oven cleaner and none of it appeared to have any effect, good or bad.
    I think Ron Ketcham was a promoter of an acid wash system at one time, but I don't always give his comments a lot of consideration.

    Charles
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  5. #5 Re: Acid Washing? 
    a.k.a. Troy@DetailCity Troy@Protekt's Avatar
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    Acid washing has some advantages and disadvantages. The possibility of chemically damaging parts of the car is much greater when using acids. The type of acid and how much it is dilluted plays a big part. In certain cases I will use acid meant to clean wheels as a window treatment to remove water spots. In the past I have permanently damaged wheels using acid and I have seen where other detailers have ruined windshields because it causes them to permanently haze. I have also seen plastic fake chrome trim ruined around the window edges and in one instance acid ruined the side mirrors of a Mercedes.

    Bottom line is acid should be used with caution. Most things that acid is used for have safer alternatives that may take longer to work but are much safer.
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  6. #6 Re: Acid Washing? 
    COME AT ME BRO JaredPointer's Avatar
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    Mr. W - Keep in mind that I am not familiar with the ABC or FK1 kits, but I think the second wash is the neutralizer of the first wash. For the life of me I can't remember, but it was a "hot topic" for a few months a year or two ago. I think it was when FK1 was really getting a lot of hype on the detailing forums.
    I don't believe in grit guards.
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  7. #7 Re: Acid Washing? 
    The Rainmaker
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaredPointer View Post
    Mr. W - Keep in mind that I am not familiar with the ABC or FK1 kits, but I think the second wash is the neutralizer of the first wash. For the life of me I can't remember, but it was a "hot topic" for a few months a year or two ago. I think it was when FK1 was really getting a lot of hype on the detailing forums.
    Jared:
    Keep in mind that my expertise is confined to an overheard conversation and a few posts or articles by Ketch over the years.
    The conversation and Richy's thread just kind of triggered a little curiosity on my part.
    For me, any product that is considered acid is a little scary.
    Kind of like Troy said, it's a product or system to be used with care. (And not by me.)

    Charles
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  8. #8 Re: Acid Washing? 
    Pressure Washing Mafia Squirtgun's Avatar
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    Use of acid in fleet washing(semi trucks and trailers) is common place.We have done it in the past,but the 2 step process allows little room for error and the chemicals aren't user friendly either.
    Basically you apply and acid the a soap to neutralize the acid.On regulaly maintained fleet account this translates to almost to brushing of body panels.However,the acid can and will etch glass if allowed to dry or applied while temps are high.
    We have gone to a sodium hydroxide wash that does a great job.It still has some downfalls,but easier on user and vehicle that theacid/soap 2 step process.
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  9. #9 Re: Acid Washing? 
    Mr Detailer Stephan's Avatar
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    Personally I would think the issues that could arise from the damage the acid wash could do to portions of the car other then the paint outweight the benefits...
    I like beer. On occasion I will even drink a beer to celebrate a major event such as the fall of communism or the fact that our refrigerator is still working.

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  10. #10 Re: Acid Washing? 
    Just One More Coat Beemerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaredPointer View Post
    Are the "decontamination" washes sold by FK1 & others included in this type of wash? I don't know that much about them, but are they some type of acid followed by something else? I believe it's a three step process.
    I don't know what is in the decon kit by FK1 but I have it here...you start with washing the car to clean all loose dirt off...Step one is the contamination remover its a very milky solvent based product that sits on the car...wash that off and dry the top parts of the car. Step Two Sub surface contamination removal clear looking yellow liquid that has no smell or suds...this removes the rail dust and such.

    Step three is a green neutralization and finial clean much like a car soap, sudzie and quite slick.

    The cars come out squeakier clean and you can see that everything has been removed.

    I use this very rarely only because its a long process...where I have used it effectively is on older cars with lots of old ground in dirt or cars that have a lot of old wax and product that is in the cracks and such....that's the one good thing about this wash process is it gets in every crack and washes away everything in its way.
    Old Enough To Know Better, Too Stupid To Care....

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  11. #11 Re: Acid Washing? 
    Help, I wanna be a proton
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    Squirtgun is right one. Way to go Scott.

    Acid washing is not something that should be done without training. IT CAN KILL YOU!!! IF YOU GET MORE THAN A TABLESPOON ON YOU, IT WILL KILL YOU.

    Do you get how dangerous it is?
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  12. #12 Re: Acid Washing? 
    COME AT ME BRO JaredPointer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
    Squirtgun is right one. Way to go Scott.

    Acid washing is not something that should be done without training. IT CAN KILL YOU!!! IF YOU GET MORE THAN A TABLESPOON ON YOU, IT WILL KILL YOU.

    Do you get how dangerous it is?
    Well, I would really like some more details. What kind of acid will kill you with one tablespoon? Just getting it on your skin? That's a pretty amazing statement to be so "blanketed." I'd just like to know is all, since I am unfamiliar.
    I don't believe in grit guards.
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  13. #13 Re: Acid Washing? 
    Mr Detailer Stephan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaredPointer View Post
    Well, I would really like some more details. What kind of acid will kill you with one tablespoon? Just getting it on your skin? That's a pretty amazing statement to be so "blanketed." I'd just like to know is all, since I am unfamiliar.
    I always wash my car with Hydrochloric acid and have been fine...
    I like beer. On occasion I will even drink a beer to celebrate a major event such as the fall of communism or the fact that our refrigerator is still working.

    Stephan's Detailing
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  14. #14 Re: Acid Washing? 
    The Rainmaker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
    Squirtgun is right one. Way to go Scott.

    Acid washing is not something that should be done without training. IT CAN KILL YOU!!! IF YOU GET MORE THAN A TABLESPOON ON YOU, IT WILL KILL YOU.

    Do you get how dangerous it is?
    Quote Originally Posted by JaredPointer View Post
    Well, I would really like some more details. What kind of acid will kill you with one tablespoon? Just getting it on your skin? That's a pretty amazing statement to be so "blanketed." I'd just like to know is all, since I am unfamiliar.
    All acids and acid containing products need to be treated with respect.
    The one acid that I know is extremely dangerous is Hydrofluoric acid. It will eat through your skin and attack the calcium in your body. You know, your bones get eaten up. It is very bad stuff! see the info from Wikipedia.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Hydrofluoric acid is corrosive and a contact poison. It should be handled with extreme care, beyond that accorded to other mineral acids, in part because of its low dissociation constant, which allows HF to penetrate tissue more quickly. Symptoms of exposure to hydrofluoric acid may not be immediately evident. HF interferes with nerve function and burns may not initially be painful. Accidental exposures can go unnoticed, delaying treatment and increasing the extent and seriousness of the injury.[2] HF is known to etch bone, and since it penetrates the skin it essentially breaks the person's bones without destroying the skin.
    I can't imagine that Hydrofluoric acid is used to wash cars, but I do think I have read where it has been used in some wheel cleaners.

    Charles
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  15. #15 Re: Acid Washing? 
    Mr Detailer Stephan's Avatar
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    Personally I don't think I have ever run into a situation where I thought you know what would work good on get off the dirt on this car...acid! I would rather it take me and extra hour and do it the way thats not only safer for the paint but for myself too...
    I like beer. On occasion I will even drink a beer to celebrate a major event such as the fall of communism or the fact that our refrigerator is still working.

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