Anyone have any good aluminum restoration tips? Trying to freshen up my valve cover.

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Doing a pretty in depth restoration under the hood of my 60 and I'm trying to find the best way to bring my valve cover and all the other aluminum bits back to a factory finish. I've got a glass bead cabinet that I can stick it in which is fine for the thermostat housings, but I know it'll change the finish/color of the cover which I'm really trying to avoid. The condition isn't bad at all, no pitting or anything, just some staining from 35 years of use. I could send it to be vapor blasted but I'd really like to handle it myself. I'm thinking chemical cleaning is going to be my best solution but really don't know what would be best to use. Searching brings up so many different products it's tough to figure out what is truly effective. I know I'm not the first person to go down this road, so what do you all suggest?
 
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If you're in a (ahem) humid climate, you might choose powder coating in a silver or very light gold color. I have had them polished (by a shop) to full glow. That looks pretty cool, but likely would die an early death in your climate. You could use a scotchbrite pad on a drill and shine it up that way. Beadblasting or sandblasting could result in an interesting finish.

I was told by a shop not to use clear powdercoating after a polish job, as it typically peels, turns yellow, or lifts. In your climate, I would have it powder coated. I'm not sure any 'naked aluminum' finish would look good for very long.
 

OSS

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Polish it!
Stays shiny for about 6 months depending on environment and slowly dulls to oxidated dull gray aluminum and if you wait long enough, it’ll return to the appearance it is now — then polish it again!

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You might consider using Gibbs Brand Oil after a good cleaning. Lots of threads on various car forums using it to protect metal. I used it on a magnesium transaxle after cleaning and it has held up well for years.
 
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I used Chesterton 421 on all my RX7 aluminum suspension components after I put those in the glass bead cabinet. The finish was smooth and has been extremely durable. Been about 4 years and they still look like I just did them. Maybe I’ll just use that again on this?

 

batthewmrown

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If you dig around in @mattressking ’s 60 build thread, he had his t-case vapor blasted and it looked good as hell. Some will argue it’s just fancy wet-blasting but it might be worth looking into.
 
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If you dig around in @mattressking ’s 60 build thread, he had his t-case vapor blasted and it looked good as hell. Some will argue it’s just fancy wet-blasting but it might be worth looking into.
If I end up deciding to let someone else do it, vapor blasting is what I’ll do.

I’m currently trying to convince my employer to buy a vapor blaster to go with our sand blaster and glassbead cabinets 😂
 

OSS

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The valve cover is aluminum as we all know and gets hot as hell. It’s also fraught with billions of microscopic pores that hold contaminates. Whatever coating that’s applied to it will not last long. It’ll look great in the beginning but the coating will inevitably fail - revealing unsightly aluminum chips underneath.
As the coating chips off more & more, the cover will get uglier and uglier to the point you’ll wish you never coated it in the first place. Then to add insult to injury, the only way to remove the failing coating will be to bead blast it off which will kinda wreck the cover.
In the end - after looking at the carnage in hindsight, you’ll wish you never applied a coating to it in the first place.
 

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