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I was watching the biker build off and one of the guys took steel wool and then polish and turned aluminum into a chrome shine. Can this be done to my aluminum engine covers? Anyone tried this?
 

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tnhunter said:
I was watching the biker build off and one of the guys took steel wool and then polish and turned aluminum into a chrome shine. Can this be done to my aluminum engine covers? Anyone tried this?
yep it works pretty good . I'm going to strip the clear coat off my fork lowers an polish them in the next week or two . I'll post a pic when I'm through. Something else you can use is 2000 grit wet / dry sand paper . You can get it at any autobody supply.
 

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Make sure you check the grade of the steel wool first. It is like sandpaper and comes on various grades from coarse to very fine. They also have some very good polishing compounds that are used with the steel wool.
 

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First off keep in mind once you polish it, its alot of upkeep. Aluminum, once you polish it, pitts and oxidizes much quicker than if left alone. I was going to polish my wheels but a guy that does polishing and powder coating recommended against it. He suggested chroming. He doesnt do chroming so he is only losing money by telling me this. I polished the bed of my dually, mothers works well, also there are polishing compounds for different types of metals. Also dremmel has a polishing kit for those smaller areas, i used it to polish front master cyl res. and clutch res. It came out nice, i just hope it lasts. Good luck!!!!!!
 

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Another aluminum cleaner that will give it a good chrome like shine is a little pad called 'scotch brite'. It can be bought at Wal-mart,in the hardware section and sometimes its in the automotive section.That depends on where the stock-boy thinks it ought to go!!! see ya....
 

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If you are going to polish your aluminum make sure you get it good and clean and then clear coat it. Aluminum oxidizes easily and quickly, and aluminum oxide is actually tougher than aluminum. Once you open the surface again, if you don't coat it you're in for serious upkeep as someone else has said.
 

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Yeap, once you polish, you gotta keep doing it, lots of work, but it sure looks
purty. Use Mothers, good stuff.
 

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re

thats why i started using it :razz: for the refills :grin:

but it does a good job making corroded alum look like chrome
 

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I cannot remember the name of the product but you can get it at an outomotive store. I think we get ours at O'Reilly's but I am sure others carry it. Anyway, it comes in a small silver can and when you open it all you see is this handful of what looks like old wool insulation. The stuff is awesome though. I just finished restoring an old fire truck withthis stuff and the aluminaum diamond plate looked awful. This stuff made it look like a mirror finish, and that's on diamond plate with alot of wear and tear. You just take out a little piece of this stuff and lightly rub it on the aluminum in small sections and it sleans and polishes the aluminum. Then you just wipe it down with a clean towel and PRESTO.
Everybody who said something about needing to continuously polish it though is true. The coating that forms on aluminum is called a Patina and actually protects the metal from further oxidation (same thing happens on copper, brass, lead, zinc etc... etc...). So every time you shine it up you are exposing fresh metal to further oxidation and basically making it rust away but without the little red stains. That being said, it would probably take 50 or 60 years of polishing to wear into a piece of structural type aluminum to wear it down to the point of failure.
SO POLISH THAT BABY UP.

P.S. I would probably shy away from the steel wool unless your metal is heavily coated with patina. Steel wool is very abrasive even at the 0000 level. Yours shouldn't be in that bad of shape and a polish should do wonderfully for you.
 

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Ahhhh yes.....Patina.....and the ever ending need to keep it looking nice. I remember while in the Army we had to use Brasso on our brass belt buckles to keep them nice and shiny....or get put on KP and do a zillion push ups. :shock:
 

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Here u go,

Materials Needed:

-You will need a buffer. I recommend a Sears/Craftsman 6in. Sander/Polisher model 91052.


This is a very inexpensive buffer. The buffing process can be rather harsh on a buffer so I don't recommend

using a $200 Porter Cable. The Sears buffer is only $50 and does the job very well.



-Spiral Sewn Buffs

-Loose Section Buff

-Emery Compound

-Tripoli Compound

-White Rouge

-Buff Rake

-Easy Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner

-Ear Plugs and Safety Glasses

-Mothers MAGS and Aluminum Wheel Polish



Here are the manufacturers, part numbers, and prices for the buffs and compounds.


The rest of the items can be purchased at various local stores.


The phone numbers can be found online at each of the manufacturers homepages.



Eastwood Products product parts# and prices:


Spiral Sewn Buffs 13034: $5.99
Loose Section Buff 13043: $5.99
Emery Compound 13134: $4.99
Tripoli Compound 13135: $4.99
White Rouge 13001: $5.99
Buff Rake 13120: $9.99

http://www.eastwoodco.com/


Caswell Products product parts# and prices:


Spiral Sewn Buffs SSCW65: $5.00
Loose Section Buff LCW65: $5.00
Emery Compound BLKBC7: $7.00
Tripoli Compound BRBC7: $7.00
White Rouge WBC7: $7.00
Buff Rake WR995: $9.95

http://www.caswellplating.com/


The Process:


We are now ready to get started on our polishing. The first thing we need to do is to remove any body panels that we do not want
to get broken, screwed up, or polished. I removed everything from my bike including the rear sub-frame. I did, however, leave the swingarm on the bike when I polished it. You can remove it if you like. I will not make a difference. The next thing that we need to do is to mask off everything that will not be removed from the bike. We do not want to get any over-spray onto the remaining
parts of the bike. I just used masking tape and newspaper. I suggest putting several layers of newspaper so that the oven cleaner does not soak through.

Now that our work area is clear, we are now ready to start stripping the anodized finish off of the work area. I highly recommend wearing safety glasses from here on. Start by spraying the oven cleaner on the work area. Try to spray close to the area as to
prevent over wetting your newspaper. Let the oven cleaner sit on there for about 20-30 minutes. Wipe off the oven cleaner with a wet sponge. Now reapply a coat of oven cleaner to the work area. Now the work area should start to turn black. Once it has turned black, you can wipe off the oven cleaner. Check to make sure that all of the work area is black. If there are spots, then you need to
reapply the oven cleaner to those areas to get the anodizing all of the way off. The areas that still have an anodized finish will not
polish. Now that our work area is free of any anodized finish, we are ready to start polishing.

Install a spiral sewn buff onto you buffer. I had to use two washers on the bottom of the buff to be able to crank the buff on really tight to the buffer. You will not want the buff to spin on the shaft of the buffer. I also recommend leaving the handle off of the
buffer as this will just get in your way.
We will start with the Emory compound first. This is a rather abrasive compound.
We will apply this to the buff. I recommend putting in earplugs now as the buffing process is quite loud. Turn the buffer on and lock it in at the fast speed.
Now take the Emory compound and apply it to the buff. By holding it against the surface of the buff, it will start to
melt onto the buff.
We can now start buffing. Hold the buff against the surface of the work area. Use a little pressure, but not too much as we want the buff and compound to do the work. You will start to see the black disappear from the work surface. You are actually starting to buff the work material now. You will begin to see results in no time at all.
I suggest moving back and forth in a slow even motion so you do not heat the metal too much and cause imperfections in the final look.
If you are leaving a residue of compound on the work area then you are using too much compound. Be sure to rake your buffs every few minutes to keep them clean. Once the buffs have filled with metal, they will buff very slowly and will be gray and hard. It is time to replace the buff at that time. Continue buffing all of the surfaces until they are smooth and appear polished. Even though the work area will appear polished, it will not be as appealing in the sunlight as it will if you finish the process.

The second step is very similar to the first step except for the compound. We will now need to switch to the Tripoli compound. This is a less abrasive compound as the first and this process should not take near as long. Follow the steps as before, once again letting the buff do the work. This will help to remove most of the scratches that the first step has left in the metal. Your work area should now really start to luster.

We are very close to finishing the project. The next step is to clean any of the compounds that may have built up from
the buffing process. I recommend using Mothers to clean this residue off. We do not want any residue built up that can scratch
the surface again. The last step is to remove all of the fine scratches from the work surface.
This process is the easiest, but the compound is the hardest to use. We will use the loose sewn buff and the White Rouge. The hard part is the fact that we are using a loose sewn buff so it is hard to get the compound onto the buff. Once it is on though, you will just lightly apply this to the work surface. This will remove any final scratches left by the first couple of steps. You will be able to keep your work looking nice by cleaning it with the Mothers.
This process does not have to be done all of the time.

The finish will be quite resilient once the polishing is done.
 

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tileandslate said:
I cannot remember the name of the product but you can get it at an outomotive store. I think we get ours at O'Reilly's but I am sure others carry it. Anyway, it comes in a small silver can and when you open it all you see is this handful of what looks like old wool insulation. The stuff is awesome though. I just finished restoring an old fire truck withthis stuff and the aluminaum diamond plate looked awful. This stuff made it look like a mirror finish, and that's on diamond plate with alot of wear and tear. You just take out a little piece of this stuff and lightly rub it on the aluminum in small sections and it sleans and polishes the aluminum. Then you just wipe it down with a clean towel and PRESTO.
Everybody who said something about needing to continuously polish it though is true. The coating that forms on aluminum is called a Patina and actually protects the metal from further oxidation (same thing happens on copper, brass, lead, zinc etc... etc...). So every time you shine it up you are exposing fresh metal to further oxidation and basically making it rust away but without the little red stains. That being said, it would probably take 50 or 60 years of polishing to wear into a piece of structural type aluminum to wear it down to the point of failure.
SO POLISH THAT BABY UP.

P.S. I would probably shy away from the steel wool unless your metal is heavily coated with patina. Steel wool is very abrasive even at the 0000 level. Yours shouldn't be in that bad of shape and a polish should do wonderfully for you.
Eagle one --nevrdull-wading polish.It works good at cleaning up the alum. an even helps it shine . But I usually go back over the part with mothers an it really helps it shine. I might try some of the other products mentioned above if I can find them. Theres always something better to use,An these guys have mentioned a few to try.
 

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re

note to flitz users:

use a paper towel instead of cotton tee shirts-it works much better
but still not as good as excites :wink:
 
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