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Restoring Aluminum parts

Discussion in 'Paint and Body' started by Henry James the 47th, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. Henry James the 47th

    Henry James the 47th

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    Any suggestions as to how to restore aluminum parts, like the rocker cover, thermostat housing etc, to like new condition? It's easy enough to polish them to a shine, but I'm wanting close to the factory original look. I was wondering if wire wheeling them, or tumbling them was the solution? I have some Solvosol polishing compound, but I don't want the 'chromed out' look.
     
  2. mrmouse88

    mrmouse88

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    Hey, I dont know about restoring them to factory original look, but I wouldn't tumble any of them, especially not the thermostat housing, you're lible to brake the "ears" off the damn thing, as for a wire wheel, iono, it might just be to harsh, I work in a aviation shop 99% of what we do is aluminium, and we use a wheel its nylon based..... dont know the name of the product though, will try to find out at work tomarrow, but the things work like a hot damn.

    Just my .02 cents on the subject
     
  3. AATLAS1X

    AATLAS1X

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    The orignal look was cast and you can use sand on the housings, but I powder coated my cover cast and it looks sweet!

    I had a cover polished and then sold it on ebay........
     
  4. Coolerman

    Coolerman SILVER Star

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    Bead blasting with glass bead will retain the look of cast. It's very gentle compared to aluminum oxide or silica sand blasting. I blasted my intake recently with worn out aluminum oxide media (almost like talcum powder) it turned out great.

    Here are pics of my intake and an old thermostat housing I had just started blasting so you can see what they look like. To prevent them from stainling again you could powder coat them with a low gloss clear. I powder coated mine a pewter color.
    BlastedIntake.jpg ThermoHousing.jpg
     
  5. banger hard

    banger hard

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    I worked it a aluminum die-cast shop in my MUCH younger days.And all small parts, such a thermostats went into the tumble'r. It was a walnut shell blast.Much more fine, than metal shot.
    They put around 2000 of these in at one time, with little too no damges.

    just my 0.2 worth.
     
  6. 3DAMAN!

    3DAMAN! No brag..just fact SILVER Star

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    Nylock discs:beer:
     
  7. F-junker

    F-junker

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    Cheap-O way with elbow grease. Steel wool, brass wheels, emory cloth, flitz polish. It take a long time, but it works.
     
  8. apeterson

    apeterson SILVER Star

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    I just painted mine with an alum. high temp paint... they look good.. or at least I think... I did have my valve cover bead blasted and I was going to polish it... but just seemed like alot of work.. guess I took the easy way out...
     
  9. tlcruiser66

    tlcruiser66

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    I'd probably just go with the 3M pads and good old fashioned eldow grease, thats what we use on airplane wings when we have to blend a toolmark out.

    Kevin
     
  10. CruisinGA

    CruisinGA

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    Its a good idea to paint cleaned bare cast aluminum parts or they will just oxidize and corrode fairly quickly...
     
  11. fjbj40

    fjbj40

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    don't use steel wool or a wire wheel. It will just corrode due to dissimmilar metals. Glass bead or glass grit then clear coat with a low luster will make it look stock.
    Daryl
     
  12. mrmouse88

    mrmouse88

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    Thanks for the correction on that, have only seen the bigger parts tumblers, I would still think it would be best on the thermostat housing to blast it or clean manualy though if its been already in use, had the "ears" on one of those damn things break off on me hardly even touched it, (PO must have over tightend the bolts:mad:)

    My .02 cents on that one

    And thanks 3DAMAN! thats the discs I was thinking of.
     
  13. Walton

    Walton SILVER Star

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    One recommendation would be spraying with acid etching, then neutralizing the parts. It's common in the fabrication field, especially in the prepping for painting aluminum.

    Good Luck.........:cheers:
     
  14. Coolerman

    Coolerman SILVER Star

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    Could you elaborate on that a bit more? :confused:
     
  15. Henry James the 47th

    Henry James the 47th

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    What's this acid etching stuff, and does it clean the aluminum? What does the aluminum look like when all is said and done?
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2007
  16. zags

    zags

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    After trying several medias including walnut shell and aluminum oxide, I glass bead blast aluminum parts then clear coat them with clear hi-temp engine paint. Glass beading alone makes the parts look a little "off". The clear coat darkens and glosses the part some to make it look much more like a new Japanese casting. The clear coat also protects the part from corrosion. On the thermostat housings like the one pictured above, I coat the hose areas with JB Weld to fill in the pitting and to protect it from eroding further. Once the hoses are installed, you can't see it.

    EDIT: wear rubber gloves when handling fresh glass beaded aluminum parts and wash them with acetone before clear coating or the oil from your hands will leave finger prints.
     
  17. Degnol

    Degnol

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    This valve cover was bead blasted, wiped with 3M Metal Prep and Cleared with urethane. Metal Prep does darken it a little. May be too glossy for some.

    Ed
    Thermohousing 002.jpg
     
  18. apeterson

    apeterson SILVER Star

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    I like... wish I would have dont that on mine.... too late now...
     
  19. Degnol

    Degnol

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    Its never too late!;)
     
  20. exmodlad

    exmodlad

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    Glass beading does produce some wonderfull examples of the finished product

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    want some beading done ship it to me i will do it for a modest fee and ship it back to you

    Best Regards

    Gord
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2007