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Hot Rods Cleaning Aluminum Engine Accessory

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Vetteman61, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. Vetteman61
    Joined: Oct 28, 2008
    Posts: 221

    from Tennessee

    I have an engine accessory (compressor) that's aluminum. I didn't clear coat it and now it has dulled quite a bit. Has anyone polished something like this back to luster? If so, what methods did you use?

  2. leon bee
    Joined: Mar 15, 2017
    Posts: 629

    leon bee
    from Arkansas!

    Marvel Mystery Oil and a green scotchbrite.
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,926


    do you want it to shine, or have luster?

    Might help to see a picture of the compressor...if it was polished, then you probably don't want to use scotchbrite on it.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.

  4. Vetteman61
    Joined: Oct 28, 2008
    Posts: 221

    from Tennessee

    Thanks for the suggestion guys. I don't really care for it to have a super shine, but it looks oxidized and looks bad enough to be an eyesore. I didn't know to coat it before, so my hope is when I get it done to spray some clear coat on it.
  5. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,839


    Polishing is a double edge sword. Gotta get every surface, 80% polished looks worse than leaving it alone.

    Brushed is easier, but still need consistent finish. Depending in how porous the surface is, scotchbrites may get the look you want, still need some polishing rolls to get into corners etc. Then even out the sheen.

    Clearing aluminum has its own challenges. Since aluminum oxidizes in air almost immediately after you cut the surface, you need to get clear on very quickly, or youre shooting over the oxidation and it may have bonding issues. Clear in an engine bay will likely yellow over time.
    Ive had best luck on brushed finish, prepping aluminum fully, mix my clear, go over every surface for a final cleaning with a light abrasive pad and panel prep, keep the surface wet with panel prep to reduce oxidation. Hook up my gun, blow the part dry, start shooting clear.

    Can you split the case and have it powder coated or etch prime and paint an aluminum color. This will be the most straight forward and durable finish.
  6. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,839


    If you just want to clean it, aluminum wheel cleaner and some brushes, tooth brushes, scotchbrite, will get it looking better. Some mothers applied by hand and redo it evey few years is another option.

    Mothers or other aluminum specific polishes do hold a shine / protect better than wax.
    pprather likes this.
  7. Oilguy
    Joined: Jun 28, 2011
    Posts: 632


    I sandblasted the fan and pulley on this alternator and used a cheap Harbor Fright wire hand brush on the aluminum.

    Attached Files:

  8. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 6,109

    from Ks

    Looks great Oilguy! Lippy
    Oilguy likes this.
  9. Wenol or Simichrome.
    scotty t likes this.
  10. If it was polished Mother's aluminum polish and elbow grease will get the job done. That is what I have always used on my bikes.
  11. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 8,713

    Bandit Billy

    I don't always polish shit
    But when I do, Flitz on a
    foam cone on my air drill.
    Micro fiber towels and Mothers
    by hand to finish.
    Stay shiny my friends!
    jnaki, Pats55 and bchctybob like this.
  12. wulf powis
    Joined: Jun 19, 2017
    Posts: 64

    wulf powis

    powdered Tide laundry soap to clean (takes all the buildup off the aluminum) , then polish with semichrome and a buff wheel, and finally gloss clearcoat for extra glitz, or satin for preserving the polish look.
  13. Vetteman61
    Joined: Oct 28, 2008
    Posts: 221

    from Tennessee

  14. racerlall
    Joined: Mar 18, 2011
    Posts: 98

    from WA

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