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Old 07-25-2007, 04:36 PM
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Cleaning and polishing a trans.

Well im getting ready to clean and polish my TH400. I know your not supposed to polish it b/c the trans wont be a ble to disipate heat as well but i wont be running it that hard, so im not to concerned. Pretty much doing it for the looks.

So i want to know what kind of degreaser you can use to clean the aluminum? I want to use something like the gallon of parts cleaner you buy athe parts store. Just dip it in there for a few hours and rinse off. Ive been using that purple power stuff and it works on the large flat areas but it doesnt work too well in the crevices where its caked up. Ive reaplied a few time but its still dirty. And it seems to just spread the oil around instead of neutralizing and getting rid of it.

Now once i get it clean, whats the best way of polishing the trans? Been thinking of using finer and finer scoth-brite pads on my grinder on the flats and using poishing cones in the tighter areas. And what kind of compound do i use when doing the final polish?

THanks,
John

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Old 07-25-2007, 08:18 PM
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I polish all my trannys. Forget the heat loss problem. Milliwatts in a megawatt world. Be careful of the purple stuff around aluminum. Great cleaner but very caustic. If you soak the case in that stuff for even a few minutes it will eat thru the metal and ruin the case. Don't ask me how I know that.


Now about polishing. forget the scotchbrite pads. Tranny cases have really rough surfaces and you need to do a LOT of sanding with coarse grits to get the surface ready to start polishing. Don't worry about getting the oil stains off the metal w/ cleaner, you will have to sand it down anyway which will remove the stains

Start out with you 4" angle sander w/ 120 grit , die grinder w/ carbide bits, files, etc. Grind, file and sand the surfaces to a smooth contour getting rid of casting seams, sand marks, pits, etc. Once you are there you are ready to start the classic polishing routine. Get some sanding rolls form Eastwood etc that fit on wire mandrels. Get a bunch of 100 & 200 grit rolls. Not sure about the 200, may be finer grit. Get some medium and fine grit rolls is the point. get them in cylindrical and conical shapes. Get 20 of each grit and each shape. Get a couple mandrels too 'cause the thin tip fatigues and snaps off after a couple hours work. Use your angle grinder w/ 220 grit and the grit rolls to refine the surface. Then go to even finer grits and get the surface to a ~400grit finish. Now you are ready to polish. Get a mandrel and some 2" buffs for your die grinder. Get some tripoli (coarse) and white polishing compounds. The tripoli will take out the 400 grit scratches and the white compound will color the aluminum to a bright mirror finish. You will find several places that still have sand paper scratches. Simply go back to the 200/400/tripoli/white compound sequence in those spots to perfect the surface.

Would really help having a big 10" or 12" polishing wheel to make the job go faster. I made mine from an old 3hp swimming pool pump motor. Anything less than 3hp is a waste of time, stick with the hand power tools.

Here is mine,



If you want an easy way out, paint the tranny. Polishing is a LOT of work and a LOT of hours but I think it is worth the effort.

Once it is polished, have it clear powder coated to preserve all the work.

Here are peeks at a couple of my polished trannys


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Old 07-26-2007, 08:23 PM
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Wow! That pretty nuts. I hope i have the time and patience to turn out something like that.

Oh, and while i was looking on the eastwood site i found they have this new chrome/aluminum paint. Its like $60 for a pint and i was wondering if anyone used that stuff? Looks just like polished aluminum. Just need an opinion. Cos i would rather spend some time getting rid of the flash and seams. Then just spraying instead of cleaning and polishing for hours. Nevermind spending all the money on supplies. Then posibly having to repolish in the future.

Thanks,
John
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:30 PM
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How many hours do you think you spent from start to fiinsh?
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:48 PM
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Probably most of two days once all the detailing is counted up. And if you clear powder coat it, there is no need to re-polish - it will stay good looking virtually for ever.
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Old 07-27-2007, 06:03 AM
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2 days, sounds like a professional. i have polished a lot of aluminum. and i can tell you = IT SUCKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if you put a satin finish on it, say, 400gt sand paper, it will look good, and save tons of work. or even powder coat it. i have seen poweder coated trans's and they look real good. even a nice rattle can paint job will look good.
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