Guide Ceramic and Hydrophobic Coating

:
Florida
:
2020 CX-9 GT AWD
Hello all - I figured I would share my experience with coating my CX-9 using a ceramic and hydrophobic solution.

Products
  • GTechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer (ceramic base)
  • GTechniq EXO (hydrophobic topper)
Steps
  1. Wash - I used a pH balanced wash solution (Chemical Guys CWS_1011_64) using a pressure washer and foam cannon technique along with a microfiber mitt and rinse bucket with grit guard.
  2. Clay - I used a traditional clay bar (as opposed to a mitt), medium grade, and used an Optimum No Rinse solution (diluted as instructed) as my lubrication.
  3. Polish - I used Sonax 4/6 polish with an orange pad and random orbital tool. I honestly didn't spend a ton of effort in this stage since the vehicle is pretty new and my purpose for the ceramic was paint protection, not paint perfection. It's just a family hauler, not a show car, so minor surface scratches were acceptable. Most of them should be gone with the polishing step.
  4. Tape - Looking back I probably didn't need to worry about this. I taped off all of the plastic trim and roof rails. It only took about 25 minutes to do the whole car, so not a big investment, but likely something that can be omitted.
  5. Panel Wipe - This is probably the most under looked step in the process. I used GTechniq's panel wipe, but any IPA/water mix on a clean microfiber will work. The purpose of this step is to remove any remaining product on the paint surface (i.e. left over polish, etc.). You want the panel absolutely free of any chemicals or dust before applying the ceramic.
  6. Ceramic - I used GTechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer. I applied it using a foam applicator block wrapped in some sort of soft soft cloth. To buff, I followed the instructions and used a two-microfiber towel approach to prevent any smearing.
  7. Hydrophobic - I used GTechniq EXO. This product applied very easily (I used the included applicator). Again, I followed the instructions to buff away. The vehicle will need to sit garaged for 12 hours - it cannot get wet before then.
Application Notes
  • Use gloves starting with the panel wipe stage all the way through to the end so you don't contaminate the paint with any oil from your hands.
  • The C1 was a little tedious to apply. I found the EXO to be easier to work with, though neither were bad at all.
  • I applied the ceramic/hydrophobic coatings to the head and tail lamps.
  • It took about 11 hours to work through the entire process.
Results

I was blown away at how glossy and water like the paint surface was. I've used a lot of products over the years - though never a ceramic - and I really can't believe how the paint turned out. In terms of repelling properties, I could set the box that the EXO came in on the hood and it would just slide right off. Unreal. I am hoping this will make washing much easier and of course protect the paint over the course of a few years. GTechniq claims a 5 year protection with the C1 + EXO combination. The EXO layer is supposed to last 18-24 months. Time will tell.

I have enough of the ceramic and hydrophobic left over to coat the wheels, so I plan to one of these days remove each wheel and coat the outer and inner rim for protection and ease of cleaning.

A few pictures below - of course they don't replicate what the eye sees in person. The wheels, tires, plastic trim is untreated/no dressing.

PXL_20210123_180208261-01.jpg

PXL_20210123_224844852-01.jpg

PXL_20210124_142219553.jpg
PXL_20210124_142513312-01.jpg

PXL_20210124_142522317-01.jpg
 
:
2014 Ford Explorer Sport, 2009 CX9(Wife's)
Looks good.
I applied CSL and EXO to my car last spring.
You're right that the gloss is amazing and the water beading is impressive as well.

One comment: I would recommend using a panel wipe for final wipe down. I used isopropyl/water mixture for most of my cleanup during my paint correction, but my last step was the panel wipe. I believe there are a few additional chemicals in the panel wipe to help with fully stripping any remaining polish, oils...etc. That's just based on my 'nose test' as well as lots of reading on autogeekonline.com, I have no physical evidence. ;)


OK, one more comment: Be wary of bug guts/splatter etching into the EXO. I never had any issues with removal of bug guts before, but after my first road trip with my car (all of 350 miles on the freeway in the summer), the front end had bugs all over it (normal). I didn't wash it right away and when I did about a week later, some of the bugs were etched into the coating. I tried to clean them off, but nothing worked. Luckily I had some left over CSL and EXO, so I re-polished and recoated the hood of my car. Unfortunately I didn't do the same on my mirrors, so they have bugs etched into them.
 
Last edited:
:
Florida
:
2020 CX-9 GT AWD
Looks good.
I applied CSL and EXO to my car last spring.
You're right that the gloss is amazing and the water beading is impressive as well.

One comment: I would recommend using a panel wipe for final wipe down. I used isopropyl/water mixture for most of my cleanup during my paint correction, but my last step was the panel wipe. I believe there are a few additional chemicals in the panel wipe to help with fully stripping any remaining polish, oils...etc. That's just based on my 'nose test' as well as lots of reading on autogeekonline.com, I have no physical evidence. ;)


OK, one more comment: Be wary of bug guts/splatter etching into the EXO. I never had any issues with removal of bug guts before, but after my first road trip with my car (all of 350 miles on the freeway in the summer), the front end had bugs all over it (normal). I didn't wash it right away and when I did about a week later, some of the bugs were etched into the coating. I tried to clean them off, but nothing worked. Luckily I had some left over CSL and EXO, so I re-polished and recoated the hood of my car. Unfortunately I didn't do the same on my mirrors, so they have bugs etched into them.

Nice!

I actually did exactly the procedure you described. During the polishing stage, after each panel, I wiped using a microfiber with isopropyl/water. Then, before applying C1 to each panel I used GTechniq's Panel Wipe to clean the surface. I have seen a car applied with ceramic coating where this step was omitted and you could see the smearing of oils/chemicals in the finish. It was bad.

Good to know about the bugs. We get them really bad in the summers here in FL. My goal will be to rinse or wash as soon as I can after a highway trip. Good tip!
 
:
Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring 2016
For those who want a good looking car for a lot less time, expense, (and shorter duration), look at 303 Graphene Nano Spray, $20. For a spray-on/easy wipe-off, it's pretty amazing.
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
:
Canada
:
'18 CX-9 Signature
For those who want a good looking car for a lot less time, expense, (and shorter duration), look at 303 Graphene Nano Spray, $20. For a spray-on/easy wipe-off, it's pretty amazing.

Been wondering about this product, glad to hear you like it.
 
:
2014 Ford Explorer Sport, 2009 CX9(Wife's)
To add to this, I just started to use Griots Garage 3 in 1 ceramic spray on my Explorer that it's just waxed from time to time (no coating). It's probably similar to the 303 Graphene. So far, seems to be holding up well (I applied it 2x about a month apart in the fall). We'll see how it looks some spring after salt season is over.

When the ceramic coat wears off my Golf, I'll probably transition to a spray coating that needs to be reapplied every few months.

Also, check this out. Chicago Auto Pros is doing a comparison of various products on one of the guys' daily driver. Some interesting results after 1 month (and one that does not surprise me).

 
:
ACT, Australia
:
2016 CX9 Azami
Hello all - I figured I would share my experience with coating my CX-9 using a ceramic and hydrophobic solution.

Products
  • GTechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer (ceramic base)
  • GTechniq EXO (hydrophobic topper)
Steps
  1. Wash - I used a pH balanced wash solution (Chemical Guys CWS_1011_64) using a pressure washer and foam cannon technique along with a microfiber mitt and rinse bucket with grit guard.
  2. Clay - I used a traditional clay bar (as opposed to a mitt), medium grade, and used an Optimum No Rinse solution (diluted as instructed) as my lubrication.
  3. Polish - I used Sonax 4/6 polish with an orange pad and random orbital tool. I honestly didn't spend a ton of effort in this stage since the vehicle is pretty new and my purpose for the ceramic was paint protection, not paint perfection. It's just a family hauler, not a show car, so minor surface scratches were acceptable. Most of them should be gone with the polishing step.
  4. Tape - Looking back I probably didn't need to worry about this. I taped off all of the plastic trim and roof rails. It only took about 25 minutes to do the whole car, so not a big investment, but likely something that can be omitted.
  5. Panel Wipe - This is probably the most under looked step in the process. I used GTechniq's panel wipe, but any IPA/water mix on a clean microfiber will work. The purpose of this step is to remove any remaining product on the paint surface (i.e. left over polish, etc.). You want the panel absolutely free of any chemicals or dust before applying the ceramic.
  6. Ceramic - I used GTechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer. I applied it using a foam applicator block wrapped in some sort of soft soft cloth. To buff, I followed the instructions and used a two-microfiber towel approach to prevent any smearing.
  7. Hydrophobic - I used GTechniq EXO. This product applied very easily (I used the included applicator). Again, I followed the instructions to buff away. The vehicle will need to sit garaged for 12 hours - it cannot get wet before then.
Application Notes
  • Use gloves starting with the panel wipe stage all the way through to the end so you don't contaminate the paint with any oil from your hands.
  • The C1 was a little tedious to apply. I found the EXO to be easier to work with, though neither were bad at all.
  • I applied the ceramic/hydrophobic coatings to the head and tail lamps.
  • It took about 11 hours to work through the entire process.
Results

I was blown away at how glossy and water like the paint surface was. I've used a lot of products over the years - though never a ceramic - and I really can't believe how the paint turned out. In terms of repelling properties, I could set the box that the EXO came in on the hood and it would just slide right off. Unreal. I am hoping this will make washing much easier and of course protect the paint over the course of a few years. GTechniq claims a 5 year protection with the C1 + EXO combination. The EXO layer is supposed to last 18-24 months. Time will tell.

I have enough of the ceramic and hydrophobic left over to coat the wheels, so I plan to one of these days remove each wheel and coat the outer and inner rim for protection and ease of cleaning.

A few pictures below - of course they don't replicate what the eye sees in person. The wheels, tires, plastic trim is untreated/no dressing.

View attachment 294579
View attachment 294580
View attachment 294581 View attachment 294582
View attachment 294583
Was there a reason for Crystal Lacquer over Crystal Serum Light? I'm a fan of Gtechniq's stuff too (I have it on the wheels).
 
:
Florida
:
2020 CX-9 GT AWD
Was there a reason for Crystal Lacquer over Crystal Serum Light? I'm a fan of Gtechniq's stuff too (I have it on the wheels).

The person that helped me with the application of the coatings had C1 on hand. I believe CSL is newer, so I would guess it's probably a better formula, but I am not sure of the differences.
 
:
ACT, Australia
:
2016 CX9 Azami
The person that helped me with the application of the coatings had C1 on hand. I believe CSL is newer, so I would guess it's probably a better formula, but I am not sure of the differences.
Yeah, I'm just wondering because there isn't much of an explainer on their website either.

(Ergo: Do I just get C1 or CSL and EXO? Is it better to do CSL, C1, then EXO? Is C1 glossier than CSL? Etc. I read somewhere that if you have "matte", you should use C1. So does that mean we can use C1 on the trim? Etc.)
 
:
Florida
:
2020 CX-9 GT AWD
Yeah, I'm just wondering because there isn't much of an explainer on their website either.

(Ergo: Do I just get C1 or CSL and EXO? Is it better to do CSL, C1, then EXO? Is C1 glossier than CSL? Etc. I read somewhere that if you have "matte", you should use C1. So does that mean we can use C1 on the trim? Etc.)

Yeah I remember when I was looking in to the products it was difficult to determine the differences or uses. I'm sure there's an explainer on a forum somewhere out there.