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Old 10-29-2003, 08:45 PM
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polishing aluminum

hello,how would you go about polishing a piece of flat aluminum.its covering an intercooler.would i wet sand or just get to polishing.thanks

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Old 10-30-2003, 01:00 AM
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Aluminum is very soft unless its of the hardened aircraft type. So it will take a polish very well. Start off by making sure its very clean with no grease or crud on it. Then make sure there is no oxydation(the white powdery stuff). Go ahead and use steelwool or even sandpaper to get rid of it. Check for any deep scratches and go ahead and sand those out using progresivly finer paper. Once all thats done go ahead and polish the snot out of it using a nice buffing wheel and progresivly finer grades of compound. After the peice is a nice mirror finish go ahead and remove any wak or leftover compound being very carefull to not leave any finger prints or spots. Then just clearcoat the peice and you should be done.
On anything that gets hot though you can't clearcoat it but normal wax works good on parts that get pretty darn warm. Haven't found anything yet to clearcoat something that gets real hot. Aluminum is very reactive and will oxydise quickly (within days if not hours) without something to seal it.
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Old 10-30-2003, 06:20 AM
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Dude!! dont use steel wool unless you are painting it!!! The steel gets into the aluminum and wil start to rust. I learned this on my wheels. The fact that you are polishing means you prolly wont paint it so stay away from the steel wool. Use a green scratch pad (sos) or go to sandpaper
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Old 10-30-2003, 08:45 AM
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Have any of you tried Zoop Seal? It is supposed to put a ceramic like coating on you alloy and stop oxidation for 2 to 3 years so no more polishing all the time.
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Old 10-31-2003, 04:18 AM
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Thanks for the corections guys. Its been about 8 years since i polished anything aluminun and just didn't remember any problems with steelwool reaction with the metal. I've heard of Zoops but didn't know how good or what it did.
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Old 10-31-2003, 06:31 AM
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IMO Zoopseal isn't worth the $175 or so they want on their website for the 2-3 year guarantee, and you still have to completely prep the part to be sealed.
Instead of steel wool (bad, as described before) use a copper pot-and-pan scrubber used for dishwashing, then start with 400 or 600 grit sandpaper at the least.
Chrome bumper polish and a clean rag do wonders if the aluminum isn't too bad.
Eastwood sells polishing kits and all of the correct abrasives to do any size job right. and you can just use the bumper chrome polishing stuff to seal it after you get it to where you want it to look.
I polished the air conditioning accumulator on my Malibu with this stuff and my bumper polishing rag (cotton diaper material) while I was prepping my car at the last show I was in, it surprised me.
Matt
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Old 10-31-2003, 09:20 AM
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shiny stuff

on the bikes i do i go thru sand paper of da or belt sander based on how of area & rough it is. dents aand scratches should be worked out with hammer- dolly or i run it thru my english wheel. the gouges -dings diggin into metal need the work most. if good shape da 400-600-1000grits. polish with aluminum compound on hard wheel, color polish compound on soft cloth wheel. like sanding a car keep crossing sanding & polishing at angle to see last grade of scratches show as u miss any. i also replace all nuts & bolts on my stuff with stainless, it polishes up like chrome in minutes. u'll be combing ur hair it happy halloween jwart
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