I'm going to be posting to our YouTube channel over the next few weeks with the content you are looking for and one that gives you a much better insight into what we do here. Lets take that spirit of ingenuity and create something different. I'm looking forward to your comments and showing you yet another side of RSP Motorsports.
In earlier blog posts I talked about some of the changes that are being made to the exterior of the property and the epoxy floor that we are putting into the shop and storage area. The pictures speak for themselves.
The exterior parking lot has been completed and helps display our commitment to the local business community and the community we are located in.
We take pride in how we represent ourselves and always want to ensure that we give back in some way. Although challenging during the times of the pandemic, we are doing our part to keep small businesses alive. One of the main points included in that is giving back to our customers. We want you to be secure that the pride we put into our workplace is the same care and respect that we put into your vehicles.
Accessible parking at the front entrance - as a side note we will be featuring the Tesla in an upcoming ceramic coating article
Our front entrance. many of the shrubs and plants have been removed to make the office space brighter and give a better view of our logo.
A wider shot of the front entrance and customer parking area
The picture above is the rear of our building where we have additional parking for customer vehicles. In the far view of the picture you can see the post for the electronic security gate. We are installing two of those on the premises to add additional safety and security to our building access for customer vehicles and our fleet of courtesy vehicles. We are also having a key drop off being built at the front for those customers that want to drop off their car after hours.
The interior of shop floor is being prepped for the epoxy flooring. We have completed the storage area and we are thrilled with the results. Renato has been looking for a floor that passes the 'white sock test' and the this is it. We are also having an RSP Logo embedded into the floor - another example of the pride we have in what we do.
The uncompleted section is in the foreground and you can see the difference that the floor makes to the overall look. The surface has a light non slip pebbling added to it.
Epoxy floor coating in the storage area - just in time for the fall storage season
A final picture in front of a room that most of the public hasn't seen. We have a series of exciting projects that will be coming out of this custom built workspace that will be highlighted later this year. What I can say is that what we will be working on displays that spirit of ingenuity that this blog post is about
Recently, Chino our detailer, completed a certification course in the use and application of ceramic paint protection. Its a service new to us that we now offer to our customers. I wanted to take a bit of time on this blog post to talk about what it is and what it does. Before I do that its not a bad idea to have a quick overview of paints and protective coatings. For those that feel that reading that is like watching paint dry (sorry) skip to the bottom for what ceramic coating can do for you and your car.
A brief look at the evolution of automotive paint
The original paints of the days of the first production cars was not actually automotive paint, it used linseed oil resin as a binder and caused a long time to cure and dry. With the advent of more cars going into production all over the world DuPont developed a paint that was specifically made for the automotive industry that dried in under two hours. Plus it had the added benefit of the revolutionary idea of paint colors other than black. In the 1950's car paint advanced with synthetic formulations and primer was used prior to painting to help stop corrosion and rust.
Through the 1950's to the 1970's paint protection appeared in the form of an acrylic lacquer coating applied to as the final coat on cars. These top coats lasted about two years before they started to degrade and required consistent wax applications to keep the paint looking 'fresh'.
In the 1980's auto manufacturers were looking for something better - and coupled with the environmental standards of reducing VOC's (volatile organic compounds) a basecoat and topcoat solution was created. In part, this was also driven by consumer desire to have paints last longer as they were keeping their vehicles longer.
Clearcoats continued to evolve over the next 20 years through 2000, largely driven by the need to reduce environmental footprints and save time in the manufacturing process. The latest iteration that involves solvent based primer, basecoat and clear coat are all applied successively and then allowed to 'bake'
Waxes and other car protection products
In the 1800's the first coating to help protect the lacquer on horse carriages was developed in Germany and made from animal fat. As mentioned above in paint development there was an evolving need for paint protection to keep pace with the changes - not to mention animal fat was probably not going to catch on. Paint polishing compounds have actually been around since 1900 as a method of keeping a shine on paint. Its origins can be traced to Frank Meguiar (yes, that Meguiars wax you can find today) as an offshoot of the furniture polish he had developed. This development continued with George Simons who created a cleaner wax for cars that contained carnuaba wax (often called Brazil wax as it comes from palm trees native to that area) and the term 'Simonize' was coined. Partway through the second world war the first liquid car wax (Turtle wax) was developed followed by DuPonts development of polymer sealants in the late 1960's
With clear coats arriving in the 1970's advancement in protection products continued and products like detailing clay began to emerge in to 1990's. By the 2000's companies like PPG were developing products to help reduce the effects of ultraviolet light and acid rain. By 2007 companies were advancing ceramic coatings or nano-coatings. Nano meaning billionth of a meter as it dealt with filling in paint in areas as small as that size and protects paint from all kinds of issues including bird droppings, UV light (sun damage) etc. If you want an idea of how small a nanometer is its about the length your fingernails grow in one second.
Why have us Ceramic coat your paint?
Ceramic coatings are the next step in paint protection, and way better than animal fat if you read the top of this post. They do need prep work and they do need a clean surface free of contaminants though to work properly and provide maximum protection. Its not just a claim of protection though - we warranty it for 3, 5 or 7 years depending on the package you select.
To begin with we strip all of the old wax and contaminants off your car, then go through paint correction (which includes cutting and polishing) and if needed clay bar your vehicle before we start the ceramic coating. The coating is then applied in a dust free environment and allowed to cure for 24 hours. Some of the benefits include:
There is more to doing a dyno run than simply driving into the dyno cell and pushing your foot to the floor. In fact much of what happens when we do one is all about preparation. Most of our time is spent doing the prep work and making sure both the car and the area is safe.
Any vehicle we test goes through an extensive series of checks prior to being moved into the dyno Lab. This includes everything from checking the tires for age, tread depth, speed rating and pressure as well as the torque values on the lug nuts. We also put the car on the hoist and give it a thorough inspection and look for any panels that may need to be removed so we can get attachment points to secure it. Typically on sports cars like a Ferrari this could be something like a diffuser at the rear of the car.
Next is sensor connections, and depending on what the customer is looking for they can be anything from Lambda, boost, back pressure etc. We often have requests to see how well an intercooler is working and we can measure the temps of the air going into the intercooler and the temps coming out of it to get a good idea of how effective it is.
Calibrating the dyno is a critical step. The computer is given the values for the car prior to the car even running and setting the values for the starting ramp in km/hr for the car etc. The car is then started and warmed up by driving it an easy pace on the dyno, making sure all coolant, oil temps and oil pressures are good and all systems are functioning. Once this is ready the car is brought up to full speed, and then let to coast so the computer and the dyno can determine parasitic losses from the flywheel all the way through the driveline to the wheels. We usually do this a few times to get an accurate reading of the losses
The Superflow Dyno we use automatically calculates and corrects for barometric air pressure, Inside temperature and humidity. It doesn't just check this once - we do it continuously through the pull to ensure the most accurate results
Performance Pull. Only once all of the above has been done, the straps holding the vehicle down are rechecked, and the sensors checked and ready to go, do we do the final pull to see what kind of power is made. All of that is displayed in real time in the control room and on a big screen in front of Stefan, our dyno guru. Stefan has well over 30 years in Europe in Canada doing exactly this. We've often had comments that it looks like a space launch as Stefan can also have a computer with him in the vehicle to adjust fuel tables and any other a parameter. With that car at full speed and the fans pushing thousands of cubic feet of air it sounds like it.
Lets be honest - if you read this far you really want to see what that all looks and sounds like. This is not an exhaustive list of prep work or all that goes into a dyno run but we always get requests for more detail and we are happy to oblige. The video is just below but I will close on this: We do this level of prep and attention to detail for each and every car we test and tune. From motorcycles to Ferraris and all things in between. Would you really want to take your car to anywhere that does less?
In an earlier post I talked about the construction going on at RSP. As part of the fabric of the community and as part of the desire to serve our customers and drive the economy, our construction efforts continue.
We are enhancing our parking lot and the entry ways to our facilities and the progress is visible.
Its a full time effort to manage that part of the infrastructure on its own. The mountain of dirt in the front is much smaller and the curbs are now in, as are the sidewalks and the base and wiring for the LED lamp posts. So far we have added over 3500 metric tonnes of gravel (about 120 dump trucks) to the parking areas in preparation for the first coat of asphalt.
We are working on more than just curbs, but also curb appeal. We are updating the entryway to a custom glassed in enclosure to enhance the look of the building as well as the customer experience. The time and effort we put onto our facilities is a reflection of the same attention and detail we put into servicing your vehicle.
New Curbs and Sidewalks
Entryway and sidewalk, with a view of customer parking (including accessible parking)
New entry way. The existing doors in the background will go and the new entry will have a custom built glass enclosure.
Last week I added a post about a GL350 that was in for a blind spot sensor issue that turned into an engine rebuild due to a considerable lack of maintenance. That lack of maintenance was evident everywhere we looked. Below is the one of the old air filters next to a new one. It looks like more than a few years of dirt and quite an array of insects. We aren't even sure if it still flowed air.
The good news is that after some time in our engine lab the diesel is rebuilt and is back in. For those that will ask the inevitable question - yes the cabin air filter was just as bad.
Don't let simple maintenance items go into your 'blind spot'. We also do Pre Purchase Inspections (PPI) and if you are thinking of buying a luxury car or exotic give us a call and we can do a deep x-ray on it to give you some peace of mind. We've done everything from Mercedes to Ferrari's and Porsche for customers to give them a realistic understanding of what needs addressing, and the overall state of the vehicle they are thinking of purchasing.
Prepping to put the rebuilt engine back into the GL
Renato with 'Big Joe', our gantry engine hoist, in the final stages of putting the motor back in.
Modern engines are built very well, but they all need regular maintenance. One of the engine rebuilds we have on the go is a Mercedes diesel GL350 that was brought in with a complaint of blind spot monitor not working.
Before we looked at the vehicle we could hear it coming. The blind spot monitor was the least of the issues and it was apparent from the noise that the timing chains were stretched and slapping inside the engine. There was also major oil leaks, suspension issues, leaking oil cooler seals and a host of other issues. It was obvious that the Mercedes had not received much, if any, of the maintenance it needed over the years (it was a new customer). The engine was torn down and the analysis was accurate. The main bearings were chewed up, the timing chains were stretched beyond limits - it was time for an engine rebuild. When I asked Renato how a car could get this bad he said it was simple - limited oil changes and lack of any basic maintenance. Although the car had a bit over 200,000 km (it was a 2011) there is no reason why it should not have gone further with a bit more care and attention.
We don't just say that lightly either, we prove it daily. We have a fleet of Mercedes customer courtesy vehicles from a Large S class to C class and they range from 110,000 km's on our C240 to 645,000 km's on our E class. All of them get regular service here and we expect they will continue to last. Its part of our commitment to what we do and the longevity of the cars is a testament to that.
In this post I spent a bit of time with Chino, our detailer, to get a bit about his background and what he has seen over the years. Chino started detailing cars at his own shop in Singapore almost a decade ago. After a chance meeting with a manufacturer he received training and started working with ceramic coatings long before they appeared in Canada. If you have been to our shop and got one of our Mercedes courtesy vehicles you have probably met him as he also keeps our fleet clean and maintained and does the vehicle circle check with each customer that takes advantage of our courtesy car fleet.
Chino is one of those guys that doesn't say a lot, he's quiet and never the type to brag about his accomplishments, but underneath that quiet exterior is a guy that has done a lot across the globe. When it comes to cars he has either seen it or done it.
For that matter when it comes to a lot of things its the same. Once, at lunch, I said I was doing some slow smoked ribs over the weekend. I'm pretty confident in my pit-master skills over the years and launched into the type of hardwood I use, rub, pit temperature etc. I asked Chino if he had ever done anything like that. Without hesitation he said ribs were great but what I really needed to do was a whole pig. He spent the next ten minutes going into detail on how he built a rotisserie for something that large, the type of spices, cooking time, and everything else that went into it. He knew far more about BBQ than I ever will.
In that short time I realized that this is a guy that doesn't say much - but when he does he knows what hes talking about. There is a point to the story - when Chino sets out to learn something he masters it. The same goes into his mastery of detailing cars.
Here is a short Q and A when I sat down with him earlier today:
Q: So what is it about detailing that you like?
Chino: Its something that's in your blood, you either like it or you don't. For me the best part is the final result when you can take a car and bring it up to what it was like when its left the factory...the before and after. (see the picture above)
Q:Whats the most challenging paint color?
Chino: Black, definitely black. It shows off every scratch and imperfection. But its also my favorite color because when it's done right the shine is so deep and clear, its amazing
Q:What do you like about paints on the latest model years of cars?
Chino: The paint is so much better but I think clear coats are getting thinner or manufacturers are using less clear coats. If you are buffing a car and don't know what you are doing its easy to burn through the clear coats
Q: Have you seen that happen?
Chino: Oh yes, many times when someone is doing a DIY polish and cut and have gone through the clear or left swirls on the paint. Its the same for scratch repair, I once saw a DIY repair on a deep scratch where the owner had used touch up paint and then buffed it and it was awful. I have my own secret detailing technique for scratches.
Q: Whats the secret?
Chino (smiling): Every good detailer has his own way. If I told you then it wouldn't be a secret. But I can say that I do like to build up the paint and the clear coat and then make sure the surfaces are flawless and even. When its done right you won't see the scratch.
Q: You said to me earlier that you find detailing the inside of the car is easier, why is that?
Chino: For me, its easier as its a lot of using the extractor and deep cleaning all the carpets after they are removed, although in some cases I take out the seats as well if it needs a really deep cleaning. There have been a few times when its much harder though. I've cleaned everything from years of dirt, to pets getting sick in cars to everything in between. They all come out looking, and smelling, like new.
We get a lot of questions - and when I say a lot, I mean its one of our number one requests on Facebook and Instagram about what happened to Cars and Coffee and when is it coming back?
A Bit of History
Most people point to California as the start of it - the sun, the beaches, lots of cars of all types and an organic meet up of enthusiasts that didn't want all the formality of car shows. Most started as a group of like minded people getting together in a parking lot on a weekend to show off what they owned and chat. Pretty much a couple of people grabbing a coffee and gabbing about cars.
One of the other features was that anybody could go. You didn't have to have a Ferrari F50 or a numbers matching Hemi 'Cuda to go. It avoided all the stuffiness and elitism that came with a high end auction house or car show with all the registration and pedigree display etc. If you were into your hopped up Ford Fiesta or your work in progress muscle car, rat rod or whatever you enjoyed you brought it.
Then something curious happened - the get togethers went from a few cars in a parking lot to much larger events where you could find a slammed Civic next to a Lamborghinis, Porsches, Mazdas etc.
Social Media - why it made events huge, and also led to their demise
One of the reasons why cars and coffee suddenly got big with an eclectic mix of people and cars was simple: Social Media. Suddenly everyone knew when the meets happened. You could see the cars online or take a photo and post them to your own account. The need for 'likes' changed the dynamic of the experience and every cars and coffee meet suffered from its own success. Venues that once had a dozen cars, now were hosting hundreds and large crowds. With that came the need for some 'enthusiasts' to push the envelope further and further, from burnouts to engine redline revs. and the inevitable crashes. Across the States and Canada cars and coffees were either moving venues or shutting down.
Our Own Experience
Ours wasn't that different from any other cars and coffee show, we had great turnouts with the vast majority enjoying it and being respectful. I say the vast majority with the exception of those that did the inevitable burnouts or wanted to show off 0 to 60 times. A quick search of YouTube will show you some of them and we had a lot of complaints. Above all, we also have a responsibility to the community and the attendees. Our shop is in a mixed commercial and residential area and the main road has a fair bit of traffic. Unfortunately the actions of a few caused us to make the decision to cancel it.
We have actually looked at bringing it back - but there are a few challenges.
How do we keep that original concept of cars and coffee without having to have it 'chaperoned'? Pay duty police take away from the spirit of enthusiasts getting together and quite honestly its cost prohibitive. Some have suggested that we charge an entrance fee but once again that changes the dynamic away from the spirit of it. Others have suggested a donation to a charity but that too comes with all of the administration and registration overhead. We already know of the demise of a few others, like 519Drives etc. for similar reasons.
For us, the liability and equally important, the responsibility, we have to the public, the attendees and the residents of the area just don't outweigh the benefits of having it. Additionally we are changing our facilities and adding more driveways, parking and will be having a new tenant on the adjacent property (see our previous posts).
Now you know.
Our obvious passion is cars, everything from a classic design to the sound and even the smell of them. From the way they were built, the engineering that goes into them to the form and function of them. When it all comes together it can evoke a strong response. Its something you either get or you don't.
A few weeks ago I heard the distinctive snarl of a Porsche on the dyno at full power, there isn't a sound anywhere like it. By the time I went back to have a look, Stefan, our, dyno cell guru, was emerging with a grin that couldn't be removed with a sanding disc. He pointed to his arms as he pulled his noise protection off and beamed "That car just gave me goosebumps!" The car itself was in for a sport tune, an addition to its already formidable start.
What we added is more than just a few values copied over from one computer to the next, its a complex balance of engine management, airflow, fuel mixtures, diagnostics, decades of experience and a state of the art dyno cell that has no rival in Canada. Out of respect for the privacy of the owner of the Porsche I won't post the end values here, but if it gives Stefan goosebumps...lets just say the customer was pleased.
That same passion goes into everything we do, from cars to motorcycles, from Alfas to Volkswagen, Bentleys to Mercedes. We know our customers share that passion for cars - thats part of why they come here.
The smile says as much as the the results of the dyno run.