My garage isn't dark by any means, but I need it brighter. I have 4 2-lamp 48" T8 fixtures, but I am playing with the idea of replacing them with 4-lamp models. I am having some difficulty finding exactly what I have in mind, since most 4-lamp fixtures are designed for high bays. Part of me thinks mounting fixtures designed for commercial warehouses would be awesome, but the practical side of me realizes that would be overkill.
Here's what I'm currently dealing with. It's adequate, but I think a world-class garage deserves world-class lighting. Once I have the fixtures, it's just a matter of having my brother-in-law's electrical firm mount them up.
I added a few new things to the garage. I picked up a foam gun that works with a regular water hose. I already own a pneumatic gun along with a gun that works with my pressure washer, but this gun will allow me to take care of smaller scale jobs more efficiently. I tried it out the other day when I was cleaning my summer wheels prior to storing them for the winter. It allows you to really control the amount of soap in the stream and it uses the soap additive frugally. I wasn't over the moon with the quality of the fit between the gun and nozzle, but I made it work with some teflon tape.
I also picked up another 50ml bottle of GTechniq EXO v2 hybrid coating/sealant. I plan on re-sealing my SQ5's paint over the Winter Break. EXO does a fantastic job of protecting my paint from the harsh winter elements. I also stocked up on Lake Country polishing pads. I snagged 4 orange and 1 yellow CCS 5.5-inchers.
I'm excited to have pulled the trigger on a new creeper stool. I have been looking for a good deal on a Craftsman one for ages, and I finally found one through a seller on eBay. The bloody exchange rate was a bit of a pill, though. I'm going to enjoy the versatility this stool will offer me in terms of height. The big creeper I use now is a bit too high for comfortably cleaning wheels and the lower portions of the body. Should be here in a week or so.
I have a number of work surfaces around my space, and they are invaluable when I am in the throws of an intense detail job. I find it frustrating to put something down and then lose track of it, so having a variety of accessible work surfaces makes things much more efficient and pleasant for me.
I have experimented with a variety of materials to line the tops of my various work surfaces. Until the other day, I had heavy duty rubber lining atop my benches and rolling cabinets. The price of the lining was ludicrous especially after customs and shipping fees, but Rubber Cal carries an extensive selection of high quality products that are great for protecting the tops of your work surfaces. Just be prepared to pay through the nose if you are shipping to Canada.
So, I was using Rubber Cal's "corrugated wide rib" rubber runner mats. They were working okay, but I didn't like the way they marked up so easily and they did require regular cleanings in order to look good. Plus, they never did sit flat on the top of my tool box or workbench. I had to anchor them down along the edges which has never sat well with me. It just looked bad, but without them, the ends of the rubber mats would start to roll up. If you haven't caught on, I'm a little bit particular about things, and I just couldn't deal with it any longer. I had an extra strip of industrial carpet laying around so I thought I'd give it a shot. I cut a piece to fit the top of my rolling 4-drawer cabinet and I was pleased with the result. That was a few weeks ago, but now all my work surfaces sport carpet.
I know what you are thinking, "Carpet on a workbench"? But, before you start questioning my sanity, you have to understand that the most abuse my work surfaces see is the placement of spray bottles, polishing pads, and the occasional detailing brush. Obviously, this solution wouldn't be practical in 99% of garages, but I think this will suit my needs nicely.
If you are wondering what I did with the expensive corrugated rubber, don't fret. I used it to line my two Craftsman carts which do come into contact with water quite regularly.
My garage has seen more than its fair share of decals over the years. The bulk of them came from eBay, but most of them are now gone. I now have only 3 decals on the walls. I have a few stickers on my metal magnet board. The large "SQ5" decal was a custom job I used a guy in Latvia for. I paid too much, but he was very willing to work with me and I got the exact decal I wanted in the exact size I requested. The "quattro" by the clock was your basic eBay search and purchase, as was the "vorsprung" decal on the car door. The "Audi" above the floor mat wall is actually raised letters I purchased online. I also applied a couple of decals to liven up my Craftsman rolling cabinets. They began life grey, but I rattle-canned them blue.
Most of the standard decals can be had for pennies on the Internet. My current decals are all incorporated into the paint scheme which, in my opinion, brings more cohesion to the overall design. This is in stark contrast to my decal philosophy of the past, which was a "more is better" approach.
The Current Decal Situation
If you spend any time browsing through the garage gallery, you will see a multitude of decals that have come and gone.
It has taken a few years, but I have finally mastered the art of the winter wheel swap in my garage. The RaceDeck Free Flow floor requires some protection from the floor jack, so I picked up a heavy duty rubber mat that provides the perfect amount of protection. My brother-in-law swung by with his S4 and we swapped out his 19" summer performance setup with his 18" winter setup. Here's some pics that demonstrate what a painless process wheel swaps are with a RaceDeck Free Flow floor:
In March of 2009, GM was on the verge of bankruptcy and dealers in our city were offering handsome discounts on their stock. We ended up trading my wife's 2007 Lincoln MKZ in for a 2009 Pontiac G8 GT. This car was essentially a Holden Commodore with Pontiac badging. We received a $7500 discount on the car and ended up driving it off the lot for $31k. It was a smoking deal. Within three months, the shine had worn off the penny and we listed it for sale. It sold in less than an hour for $30,500. While I absolutely loved the looks and performance of the car, it wasn't really fitting the bill for us.
One thing that really irritated me about this car was the fact it arrived from the dealer with all kinds of scuff marks on the paint. I took it back to them twice, but their detailing staff lacked the skill to rectify any of the paint issues. I spent a month trying to get the paint back to factory-fresh condition, but the paint was so thin and weak, it proved useless. The paint seemed to scratch incredibly easily and it was a magnet for dust. I actually think the paint held an electrostatic charge that attracted dust particles. A few other maintenance issues began to surface and the dealer proved unable/unwilling to address them. After three frustrating months of ownership, I was done.
Pontiac went out of business shortly after this car arrived in Canada ('08 version was available in the US), and it's a shame because this car had great potential. I imagine the second generation of this car would have been something really special. This YouTube clip will give you an idea of what this car was all about:
I was, and I wasn't surprised to learn that the 485 bhp Challenger SRT is only 0.1 sec faster to 60 mph than my SQ5. You would assume a 131 bhp boost would equate to more of an acceleration advantage. I imagine more than one SRT driver would crap his Nascar boxers if a gussied up station wagon gave him a run for his money. Lucky for them, I don't street race.
Back in 1989, I inherited my first car. A 1982 Plymouth Horizon. It was a nice little car with a two-tone blue paint scheme. My Grandpa Sam was an auto body shop owner for years, but his shop had burned down in 1981. He built a substantial detached garage complete with everything you might find in a professional body shop. I took the Horizon up there in the summer of 1989 and, with the help of my grandpa and uncle, gave it a thorough respray in its original colours. I drove the snot out of that car for a few years, then purchased a 1985 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo off a friend.
I remember that car, that summer, and especially my grandpa fondly.
My wife and I spent a number of years living overseas. When we returned to Canada, we lived in a condo we had purchased years prior. We left that condo when the construction of our current home was complete, but we still own the condo and rent it out.
The unit has one titled spot, but many of the residents do not drive, so it is possible to rent out additional spots. That's what we did. Our titled spot is on the end of a long row, which I appreciated. The man who owns the neighbouring space is almost as obsessed with his car as I am so there was never any worry about door dings.
The spot we leased for my wife's car at the time was on the very opposite end of the row and was also an end spot. Eventually, we lost her space and had to pick up a different one in the middle of the row. Luckily, the car to the left was rarely used, and the couple with the stall on the right were very particular about how they parked their Dodge truck.
While it was nice to have a designated spot in a heated underground garage, I'll never take my current garage for granted. I don't miss all the walking to and from the car, especially carrying bags of groceries.
Prior to moving into our current house in 2010, I did my fair share of detailing in the parking garage below our condo unit. It was dark and dusty, but I managed to do some pretty good work down there.
My "clients" were friends and friends of friends. I would wash the car at the coin-op across the street and then take care of the finer details down in my assigned parking space. I probably did 40 cars in the 1.5 years we lived there. I didn't have nearly the tools and equipment I have now, but I was younger and had way more elbow grease than I do these days.
It's no secret I like cars, and our garage has seen its fair share of new ones in recent years. I have enjoyed all of them, but none really ticked all the boxes. I'm really enjoying the overall SQ5 experience, and I'm very happy with our choice, but when friends ask why we went with the SQ5 I like to joke that my wife had two demands.
1. It needs to have a back-up camera, and
2. It needs to hit 60 in under 5 seconds.
Even though only one of the above wishes is true, the SQ5 was able to grant them both:
Who is Rick?
I'm just a guy who loves his garage, Audi, and detailing so much he blogs about them.
Geoff Wilkings Photography
RaceDeck Garage Floors
Jay Leno's Garage Advanced Vehicle Care
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