In this video I give the quad poo-shoots of a Daytona Blue Nissan GTR a good going over using both my bare hands and a machine fitted with a few fancy Mothers polishing bits.
In order to receive an all-encompassing clean the tips would ideally need to be removed but considering part of the under tray secured with 20 rusty bolts would have to come off plus the fact it’s never a straight forward task securely raising a car of this caliber off the ground, I chose to just go ahead with it while they were attached to the car as to be fair that’s what most people attending to their own poo-shoots would probably do too.
And while many consider exhaust cleaning to be a complete waste of time due to the fact they quickly get dirty again, decontaminating polishing and protecting them ensures that dirt doesn’t bake onto the surface making future cleaning so much easier and more satisfying, plus it’s far from a waste of time if, say you’re selling the car, photographing or putting it on show somewhere.
So prior to any polishing soiled shoots need to be thoroughly cleaned and in a similar fashion to how you’d attend to your dirty wheels first, it’s best to clean exhausts before touching the body to prevent any cross contamination with freshly washed paintwork.
A diluted all purpose cleaner works well for scrubbing exhaust tips and after being liberally applied it should be worked in with a selection of soft and stiff bristled detailing brushes to dislodge as much of the unsightly soot as possible.
If you find an APC can’t cut it though you can step up to a stronger wheel cleaner and repeat the process if needs be, just ensure you don’t let it dry on the surface or get it on any of the surrounding bodywork.
Now I’m not gonna lie this is a filthy job and you’ll most likely end up getting splattered with black soapy soot and while I won’t compromise your street cred by telling you to don a set of safety goggles, what I will say is just to make sure that you don’t attempt it whilst wearing your Sunday best or you’ll be in for a right scolding.
So once you resemble a Victorian chimney sweep you can rinse off your pipes prior to washing and yes, it’s perfectly safe to do so with a pressure washer so long as you don’t point the jet directly up the poo-shoots as it’s not colonic irrigation you should be going for here!
Heavy cleaning complete you’re then free to foam and wash the tips along with rest of the car using an old mitt to remove any remaining residue you may have missed with the brushes, and while we’re here I might as well mention that this is basically all you’ll need to do in the future to revive your tips once you’ve properly polished and protected them.
Before actually polishing the pipes a fine wire wool can be used to abrade away any remaining deeply ingrained dirt that wasn’t removed by the cleaning. This step isn’t absolutely necessary though and if your tips aren’t stained or ingrained then by all means skip it as the wire wool will inevitably inflict some light marks of its own.
With a gloved finger I directly coated the tips with some Mothers Mag polish to prevent the pot becoming contaminated with metal fibres before working it into the insides of them with the wire wool in a uniform fashion to try and keep the ‘grain’ of the light scratches even. Once the wool had flattened and blackened I buffed off the residue with an old microfibre towel to reveal a slightly cleaner looking pipe before repeating the process for its sidekick.
The first set of tips were to be hit by hand so after being re-smeared with plenty of polish they were worked over with a microfibre applicator pad for a few minutes to impart a bit of shine. Again, once the residue on the pad had turned black indicating the polish had done its job the area was then fully buffed off.
The outside of the tips were also tended to but with very little room to work I was limited to what I could do. Obviously not all tailpipes are enclosed like this though and if you’ve got more room to work on yours then definitely take advantage of that and make them shine.
There was a considerable improvement to be seen following the hand polish but the finish was still far from satisfactory in my eyes. It called for allot of elbow grease for comparatively little reward and knowing I had the drill and Mother’s bits to hand I was reluctant to work my fingers to the bone for nothing so decided to ditch the hand polishing at this point in favour of some 12 volt vigour.
Despite the size of the GTR’s gaping poo-shoots the main Mother’s PowerBall was still far too big to comfortably access them so I went with the mini instead. Again, the pipes themselves were coated with the polish in an attempt to reduce surface splatter whilst ensuring all of the metal saw plenty of it.
Once coated I got to work with the DeWalt on full whack moving mostly in an anticlockwise direction to counteract the rotation of the drill, giving greater control and in theory a better polish.
I have seen these being used with “proper” mains operated drills and while that’d definitely provide more polishing power it’s a bit overkill for a job like this in my opinion, plus a cordless is far more manageable, less likely to inflict damage to the surrounding bodywork and won’t tear the pads to pieces in a single session. Still, if you’d prefer to take advantage of the torque a real drill can provide then go for it, just don’t come crying to me if any of the above occurs!
Once throughly buffed the black residue was wiped away before the process was repeated this time with the Powercone, the idea being that the tapered tip of the tool would hopefully access the tight areas the PowerBall may have missed.
Unfortunately there wasn’t really enough room to safely squeeze the cone in between the edges of the bumper and outside of the tips which was a shame as they really could have done with a bit of a machine so again they were just given a basic once over by hand so they didn’t feel left out.
Despite being a quality DeWalt machine the old batteries on it were knackered so I switched to a spare Bosch item to give the tips one final going over and bring them all up to a satisfactory standard but as soon as I sensed I’d reached the point where they weren’t going to get any better without being removed, I packed in the polishing in preparation for protecting.
So once exhaust pipes have been cleaned and polished it’s important to seal them to both lock in the shine and keep any future maintenance detailing to a minimum. A prescribed metal sealant is perfect for this but a high temp wheel sealant will also do the job just fine.
I applied some pink Poorboys Wheel Sealant liberally to both the inner and outer surfaces of the tips with an old foam applicator pad and allowed it to haze over for a few minutes before buffing it off with a fresh uncontaminated microfibre towel to reveal a bright, stainless shine.
The process was then repeated for the other pair of poo-shoots, before all areas including the surrounding bumper parts were given one final spritz and wipe over with a detail spray and paintwork-grade microfibre towel to remove any light smears or splatters so some final snazzy after shots could be captured before it got dark.
As I’ve said already a job like this could be carried out to a far better standard if the exhaust tips were actually removed first however without either an extra pair of hands or Bernard’s watch it was unrealistic for me to do so here therefore a more simplistic DIY approach had to suffice.
Despite the compromise though the work I did manage to get done definitely helped breath some life back into the rear end of the big Jap beast. It’s freshly polished and sealed tailpipes would have benefitted from some further refinement but considering they probably hadn’t been touched for the whole 3 and a bit years they’d been sitting on the car I reckon it was a fairly good result.
The blackened Mothers polishing bits certainly helped save some elbow grease and brought the GTR’s tips back to a standard I certainly couldn’t have with just my bare hands so If you’re thinking about giving yours a similar seeing to then I’d definitely recommend trying them out to help make the grotty job slightly more bearable.
At 25 quid a piece though I was in no rush to bin them and so the following day let them soak in some hot water and dish soap to pull the majority of the cack out and render them useable again.
This really is just a once maybe twice a year task, with simple routine maintenance washing and sealant top-ups being undertaken in between to keep them looking tip-top, so don’t think you should be going to all this trouble every time you clean your car.
And of course if you just don’t fancy caking your face in soot you can always take the stealth approach and fit some black tips to conceal the dirt instead but I personally think there’s something to be said for a nice shiny set of poo-shoots proudly protruding from the rear!