Register now to get rid of these ads!

polishing aluminum valve covers

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by vintagetinman, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. vintagetinman
    Joined: Oct 22, 2007
    Posts: 157

    vintagetinman
    Member

    i have recently picked up an old set of cal custom valve covers for the FE in my 57 wagon . unfortunatly they have been sitting for quite a while and have dulled and oxidized .

    i am looking for advice on bringing the shine back .
     
  2. Buick59
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,994

    Buick59
    Member
    from in a house

    a few cans of elbow grease usually work for me.
     
  3. vintagetinman
    Joined: Oct 22, 2007
    Posts: 157

    vintagetinman
    Member

    elbow grease i have . any particular product that i should combine with it ?
     
  4. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,544

    indyjps
    Member

    can you post a pic, need to know if they are pitted, general condition
     

  5. BOWTIE BROWN
    Joined: Mar 30, 2010
    Posts: 3,253

    BOWTIE BROWN
    Member

    i media blast . Its all about prep .
     
  6. inlinr6
    Joined: Oct 27, 2009
    Posts: 344

    inlinr6
    Member

    have them polished at a good chrome shop
     
  7. Captain Chaos
    Joined: Oct 16, 2009
    Posts: 596

    Captain Chaos
    Member
    from Missery

    Polishing aluminum can be a pain if you dont have right tools.
    There is a guy here that does a nice job inspite of being an assshole.
    I think he goes by aqtw31 , his name is Andy
     
  8. vintagetinman
    Joined: Oct 22, 2007
    Posts: 157

    vintagetinman
    Member

    here are a few pics
     

    Attached Files:

  9. rockfish
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 445

    rockfish
    Member

    Depending on how bad the finish is I like to wet sand them before polishing. 600, 1200 and then 2000 grit paper. You can vary or skip grits depending on the condition of the covers. After this I buff on a wheel with 3 different compounds, but Mothers, Flitz or Semi-Chrome polish and an old towel with elbow grease will work well too, just takes a few beers longer:)

    No need to send them out for polishing. You can get great results at home. Save the money for more parts.

    Good luck.
     
  10. rockfish
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 445

    rockfish
    Member

    Just saw your pics. I wouldn't media blast. You'll just have a coarser finish to smooth out to get a high polish. I'd stick with the wet sanding. Just my opinion. Others may have good results with blasting.
     
  11. I don't know why people don't check the archives,,maybe it's because they don't know it exist, check this out. HRP

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=97179&highlight=polishing+aluminum
     
  12. duecesteve
    Joined: Nov 3, 2010
    Posts: 109

    duecesteve
    Member

    I wetsanded my lt1 valve covers with 2000 grit and used mothers aluminum polish!
     
  13. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,222

    F&J
    Member

    On the media, if you had a blasting cabinet with worn out sand, then it might clean up those fin recesses easier than sanding. If you don't have blasting, then do it like rockfish said. You could even try different grades of steel wool before buffing if you don't have a bunch of sand paper grit numbers.

    A little bit of dull looks good between the fins, if you shine the tops of the fins real good.


    One tedious spot will be those recesses where the bolts go. Might need a mini buffing ball on a drill.
     
  14. HomemadeHardtop57
    Joined: Nov 15, 2007
    Posts: 4,241

    HomemadeHardtop57
    Member

    Get a buffing wheel and some compound and have at it
     
  15. rogmoseley
    Joined: Jan 7, 2009
    Posts: 58

    rogmoseley
    Member

    I use heavy grade liquid polishing compound and a wool pad on a body grinder. It worked good on my big truck shiny wheels and here's a b4 and after pic of mine that i did,,, still could use a little more work.
    You can also use a cotton polishig wheel and hard stick compunds if you have an arbor to put it on. They make about 4 grades from jewelers rouge to black emory. Be ready to get dirty!!
     

    Attached Files:

  16. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,222

    F&J
    Member

    ^ that's a good idea ^ to put the cover stuck on a piece of wood, so it stays put.
     
  17. I haven't tried this product, but it got rave reviews on another car forum I frequent.
    http://www.californiacustom.com/purple_metal_polish.html

    I think they used the deoxidizer and the polish from that site. I believe you can call and get a sample too.


    These pics are from a guy on the other forum...not the seller.

    Old aluminum tube
    [​IMG]


    After a 1 min spot treatment with deoxidizer shows a clean oxide free area
    [​IMG]


    After 30 sec application and buff off the residual polish
    [​IMG]
     
  18. 5SPOKE
    Joined: Oct 24, 2002
    Posts: 67

    5SPOKE
    Member

    Hi, well I am a veteran polisher with 25+ years experience and I am not an "ass-hole" as someone else is described as :).........All the hints and tips here thus far are good, you can do this yourself without specialized equipment it just takes time, when you do it for a living time is $$. I use a higher speed polisher and larger diameter buffing/polishing wheels than most would at home and a 10hp lrg scale polisher. Media blasting is OK, I would say glass so as not to make to coarse of marks in the finish, just like you wouldn't want to start with too coarse of sanding grit 'cause you have to work those scratches out and aluminum is soft. Just my thoughts, I could polish 'em for ya, for $ or I trade as well, here a picture of my Buick covers and my beast of a machine.......
     

    Attached Files:

  19. 5SPOKE
    Joined: Oct 24, 2002
    Posts: 67

    5SPOKE
    Member

    Only problem here is the comparison of a aluminum extrusion (a very high grade and purer aluminum quality) than any cast valve cover is. extrusion polishing is like polishing billet aluminum 6061 or 5052, very easy to polish compared to an inferior aluminum quality thats in most cast items, along with better results as well....
     
  20. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,591

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    I've got a buffing wheel mounted on an old washing machine motor that I buff valve covers with, along with a couple different types of buffing rouge. I've found that die cast covers (like Cal Customs) don't tend to polish up as nicely as sand cast covers (like Edmunds, Offenhauser, and the original Edelbrocks).
     
  21. RetroSpeed
    Joined: Jun 25, 2001
    Posts: 128

    RetroSpeed
    Member

    I used three grades of WENOL products (Red, Blue and Pink Tubes) to polish the aluminum, chrome and stainless parts pictured:
     

    Attached Files:

  22. I did 400,600,800,1500 then hit it with Wenol all by hand, took a couple hours each cover.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  23. Jeff J
    Joined: Mar 15, 2007
    Posts: 958

    Jeff J
    Member

    Like the guys at the shows showing polishing the bottoms of soda cans !!
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.