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Old 02-06-2008, 07:48 PM
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Chrome Aluminum versus Polished Aluminum

I have some really nice cast aluminum chrome valve covers (St & Perf) and I'm trying to match a finish and design to an air cleaner. I have located an air scoop (RPC) that I really like the design of, but it is polished alu.

Can anyone either advise how realistic it is to think it possible to polish cast aluminum to the luster of chrome? How close can you get?

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Old 02-06-2008, 08:08 PM
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A good plater could polish it and then chrome plate it ... is that shiny enough ???

I use Advance Plating out of Nashville for all my plating. They are not inexpensive but their work looks great and holds up good. The work they did on my 32 Ford suspension ... looks as good today as it di 18 years ago when it was done.

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Old 02-06-2008, 08:26 PM
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polished aluminum is a PITA. i have a lot of it. and if i had the $$$$ i would have it all chromed.
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:37 PM
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Chroming aluminum is an art and if not done correctly it will not last. Advance Plating is one of the few that do it correctly.

Vince
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Old 02-06-2008, 09:58 PM
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Polishing aluminum is easy. Yes it can look like chrome. Done right, you can clean your teeth in the reflection.

Maintaining polished aluminum is a bear. It will require frequent cleaning.

I usually start with 220 and work my way up to 2000. Wet sand with 1500 and 2000, paper lasts quite a bit longer this way.

Finally, get a Mothers 'Powerball' and a bottle of their aluminum polishing compound. Finish with Mothers 'Billet Polish'
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:11 AM
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I polished a set of the early Corvette valve covers for the '67. They came in an "as-cast" condition over the counter and I thought they looked too dull.

It took forever it seemed to get them to a respectable shine/sheen, possibly because of the seven ribs and the "Corvette" script. Like any shiny surface they are a magnet for dirt and fingerprints, but, after a quick buff about every year or so, they look pretty good.

I don't know if chrome would be any less likely to attract dirt. I didn't want too much of shine, which a lot of the times screams "cheap" to me.
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:09 AM
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Personally, I like the billet aluminum look better than the chrome. Chrome is too "bling" for me . As the saying goes,"Chrome don't take you home!". I've never used the 2000 wet or dry method yet. I have used the powerball and all it did was burn up my good drill. Mother's aluminum works well. I've been using Ultra Car Care metal polish which is purple in color, but this stuff really takes the oxide out of the aluminum and shines it up nice. I use a regular rag and then polish up with a microfiber towel. Another thing with chrome is you have to be careful not to scratch it, it stands out like a sore thumb. Aluminum you can fix.
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:50 PM
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Chrome versus Polished

Thanks for all the feedback...Since I live in Nashville, I'm going to run it by Advanced.....Just not sure my wallet is prepared for what I'm likely to hear.....
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:44 PM
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Opps....That was a mistake

They said they would have to chrome the valve covers and the cleaner to insure they had the same level of luster. Considering the valve covers are new show chrome, I could see no logic in throwing those dollars out the window. So, bottom line.....I'll be calling Street & Performance to get one that matches in design and plating process. Really hate to send the scoop back, since the vendor (RPC) has discontinued the scoop and it was the last one on the shelf.
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeford
They said they would have to chrome the valve covers and the cleaner to insure they had the same level of luster.
I would BET that the Advance stuff would be way better ... and have more luster.
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Old 02-09-2008, 10:26 PM
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Quality???

No doubt Advanced makes some good stuff.....I felt as though I was six years old in a candy store...

As far as Street & Perf. versus Advanced, I'd say the luster is equal....prices are also about the same...If there is a difference, then as Buffet would say, "Only time will tell".
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:55 AM
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Don't know if it'll help in your situation, but a good many years ago, my cousin bought a set of those type of valve covers. He sent them somewhere and had them polished. Then put a coat of clear imron on them. They looked good for many years, and all you had to do was wipe them off with a damp cloth. He was happy with them anyway.
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Old 02-10-2008, 10:22 PM
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No, kleen. The saying is "If it don't go, chrome it".
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:31 PM
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Once you get them polished you can get a clear protective coating that will preserve the polish. Chrome is expensive and is too Blingy in my opinion.
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:18 PM
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anyone plating motorcycle parts will be able to chrome aluminum .

1copper,2nickel..... 3chrome and just to split hairs the chrome retains or does not dissipate the heat as well as the aluminum.
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