Artillery (some call it Shotgun) Fungus - Eek!

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Artillery (some call it Shotgun) Fungus - Eek!

Oct 1, 2017
Edinburgh Scotland
Artillery fungus? Never heard of it? Neither had I until today.

Actually I have seen it before on scrap and abandoned cars/vans but I'd no idea that's what it's called and I don't remember ever having had to tackle it.

So why am I raising the subject here? Well yesterday I was guiding Mrs J, in Becky, backwards off our hard standing and into the road so she could go off shopping, when I noticed poor old Becky was looking pretty grubby and realized I couldn't really remember when I last washed either of the cars. Washing cars is not one of my favourite activities although I do like looking at the nice clean shiny result. So, immediately after breakfast this morning I set out to give them both a good clean. Twin bucket wash set up with noodle mitt in hand and a goodly dollop of shampoo in the "wash" bucket and, nasty shock, what I thought was just dirt wouldn't wash off!

It looks like little black spots of paint - surely not thought I? Then I looked at Twinkle our Ibiza (much newer car) and, shock horror, it's exactly the same but not so noticeable because Twink is red and it stands out more on Becky's white paint - It's just as bad though especially on flatter, horizontal surfaces. I noticed it first on Becky's rear wing just above the rear wheel:


Look closer and it just looks like dirt doesn't it, but no! It refuses to shift even when the mitt is passed over it a number of times, Makes absolutely no difference!


It's all over the car. Here's the front edge of the bonnet just above the head light on the driver's side:


The Ibiza is exactly the same especially on the roof and bonnet but also on the wheel arch flares and rear hatch just below the glass where it bulges out a little.

So, feeling slightly panic'd I decided to google it and found a number of people giving advice on how to shift it ranging from quite gentle mopping to more aggressive use of scouring pads and bathroom mold cleaners containing bleach and other chemicals right through to scraping it off with razor blades and credit cards. The consensus seems to be that once it's really got a hold it's not going to be easy to shift.

I didn't like the idea of getting too aggressive to begin with so I filled my bucket with some quite hot water, but not so hot I couldn't put my hand in it, and emptied about twice the normal amount of car shampoo into it. I was feeling most concerned about the Ibiza as it's my "good" car so decided to start on an out of the way bit on the rear bumper. I first gave it a rub over with the shampoo solution and left it to soak while I made a cup of tea. Then I started rubbing at it, in straight lines so I was not creating swirl marks, with the noodle mitt:


and slowly, very slowly, it all came away.

Encouraged by this I next tackled the bonnet. Same proceedure. Wet it down first with the hot shampoo mix, leave it a few minutes to soften and then rub at it in straight lines without "leaning" on it too enthusiastically. I did the bonnet in two halves rubbing it from side to side, so I was standing by the front wheel pushing the mitt away from me and pulling it back again. Probably took a little under a half hour and then, thinking it was all done, I rinsed it off only to find that although much of it had indeed gone, some of the larger spots were still there. Further rubbing with the noodle side of the mitt didn't seem to be doing anything - Oh dear! The reverse side of the Mitt has a different, textured, finish to it:


but I can't remember what it's maker recommends that side is to be used for, maybe glass cleaning? Anyway, I had a good feel of it with my fingers and it actually felt quite soft, so I decided to try it on a wee area around one of the headlights where, if it left scratches, they wouldn't be very noticeable. It shifted the marks much more quickly and, after drying, I couldn't see any scratch marks. So, take big breath and try it on the stubborn marks on a wee bit of the bonnet. Great, seems absolutely fine. So I continued with the rest of the marks on the O/S of the bonnet, all the time keeping it well lubricated with copious amounts of the very soapy shampoo mix to lubricate it, rinsed it off and dried it with one of my big microporous drying cloths. Almost too frightened to look, and, whoopee, black spots all gone and no scratches I can see!

Here's some pics of the end result:





The slightly mottled effect on the bonnet is actually the clouds being reflected in it. You can see the shine is so good you can see the pebbles reflected in the N/S rear door. Unfortunately I didn't take a pic before I started - because I was feeling too panic'd - the transformation has been remarkable!

Tomorrow I'm going to repeat the procedure on Becky if my shoulder muscles haven't completely seized up overnight due to the unaccustomed exercise. By the way, I thoroughly recommend these microporous drying cloths. I've got two, here's one out to dry on the line:


and you can see it's a good size. I find the two dry off a medium sized car very nicely so you don't get any streaks as it drys. Of course you can then get on with the polishing immediately too. My, very wet, "car doing" jogging bottoms give you some idea of scale. I've never been able to wash cars without ending up "drookit" myself.

Then I'd better apply some polish to delay it all happening again - and wash the cars much more often!

I'm thinking of Bilt Hamber double speed-wax which seems to get good reviews and seems like the "old school" products I'm more used to using (simonize speedwax etc) Anyone care to comment or try to persuade me to try something more "adventurous"?
Do not ever take any scouring pads to paint even the fine ones will cause utter havoc. My dad mad a real mess of his car some years back. It took a lot of elbow grease and cutting compiund to get it back.

I find a good liquid car wax will remove this sort of thing fairly easily. Especially if you have a rotary car polisher to do the donkey work. AUtoglym and the like remove small tar spots and this stuff. Using a ceramic coating like Autoglym Gold makes this much less of a problem as it doesnt stick as much.
Once clean I’d recommend getting something like autoglyms ceramic coating.

It seals the paint and prevents the crud working its way into the paint.

In the winter my car looks like absolute garbage and is caked in dirt and road grime but every summer it gets a proper deep clean and detail and despite being 8 years old aside from the odd little dint and scratch it’s immaculate.

I put the condition of the paint down to being properly protected in the summer it survives the worst weather in the winter.

I recently fitted some Karmann badges but the picture I took shows the reflection and believe it or not this is the car dirty without having been cleaned for a couple of weeks

This is the car after being cleaned a few weeks back.

Our countryman has a white roof and white mirrors and also spends a lot of time out in the elements in the middle of a huge open hospital carpark so the white bits tend to get all sorts of nasty-ness ground into the paintwork, my wife is not good at getting it cleaned generally taking to the “Polish car wash” where it gets scratched and scraped by clothes used on a hundred other cars that day and left laying about on the ground.

All the little blemishes and marks left in the paint then make it easier for all the grime to work its way into the paint.

You can use a traffic film remover to break down the easy stuff, products like Magma reacts with and removes any iron particles in the paint, then there is tar and glue remover to get rid of tar drops, and you can “clay” the car to pretty much remove anything else.

Not that I get a bit anal about these things