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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Seven
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
G. Gordon Liddy
Issue Seven
May 27, 2003
G. Gordon Liddy
Credit Card Rewards Programs
Frozen Rotors
Bentley Continental GT
Porter Cable Buffer
Coming Next Issue
Jay Leno
Hot Rod Tour
Paint Film
Porter Cable Rotary

Detailer's Dream: Porter Cable Random Orbital Buffer

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Detailing Supply

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Let's start with the basics - both the PC7336 and PC7424 derive their power from a 3.7amp, 110v motor that's capable of orbiting the backing plate in a random, elliptical motion at speeds between 2500 and 6000 orbits per minute. The motor drives a 5/16" diameter spindle, to which a counterweight and backing plate are attached. The unit weighs approximately 6 pounds, and measures almost 14" in overall length.

Users can adjust the speed of the machine by way of a small thumb dial, located on the back of the machine. A master power switch is mounted to the top of the machine, to ensure easy access. Porter Cable includes a stabilizer handle, which at the users preference can be attached to either "side" of the machine.

The primary difference between the PC7336 and the PC7424 boils down to the size of the counterweight that Porter Cable includes with the machine. The PC7336 ships with a 6" counterweight and a 6" backing plate, while the PC7424 ships with a 5" counterweight and a 6" backing plate with an integrated (non interchangeable) polishing pad.

Some folks will argue that the 5" counterweight is fine for just about all uses, but I've found the 6" counterweight smoothes the buffer action, especially when using larger foam polishing pads. It's a personal preference, but should you decide you need a different counterweight, you can find them online for around $2. All you'll need is a small TORX driver to exchange the counterweights - removal and installation is very straightforward.

Either buffer usually commands a street price that varies between $109 and $125, depending on the vendor. Keep in mind that the backing plate that ships with the 7336 or 7424 will not accept traditional Velcro-backed buffing pads. The 7336 factory backing plate is designed to accept adhesive sanding discs, while the 7424 has an integrated pad, so you'll need to order a few accessories for your new buffer, which we'll address in a paragraph or two.

The most common question I'm asked regarding the Porter Cable buffer is, "Should I buy the one from Griot's for $199? I hear it's made specifically for Griot's and that they include their own special backing plate." While there's nothing wrong with the Griot's version of the PC7336, it is, in my opinion, horribly overpriced.

The Griot's Porter Cable kit is nothing more than Porter Cable's #97336 kit, which includes a plastic carrying case, dust collection accessories and a Velcro-backed Porter Cable backing plate, P/N 18001. The cost for the backing plate is approximately $10 at any major hardware store, and the #97336 kit usually retails for around $135 - $150. You make the call as to where you'd like to buy yours.

Ok, so now that we've got the basic buffer in hand, let's make it "user friendly". I'd suggest you purchase a Velcro-backing plate from an online vendor. Backing plates can cost as little as $10 and as much as $30, and are basically all the same - just make sure the backing plate has the proper arbor shaft and the "hook-style" backing plate.

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