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It hurts when I pee
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1,058 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
4 years of oxidation



After 5 hours of hard elbow grease
4 steel wool pads
8 microfiber towels
2 tooth brushes
1/2 can of mothers polish
1 Jägermeister and Red Bull
1 Vodka and Cranberry
3 Beers

Am I safe to assume these heads will never shine up like chrome does ?????





Also....... Does anyone know what to use to clean the porous grey cast on the Cases, Cylinders and Primary ect ????????
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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14,359 Posts
Try Never Dull.
 

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American Legion Rider
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Time for buffing wheel and compound if you want shine.
 

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Save them all!
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I love the look of aluminum.

Nice job, looks good! Vodka helps!
 

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It hurts when I pee
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1,058 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Will the aluminum shine like chrome, or am I wasting my time trying to go any further ?????
 

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Save them all!
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Polished aluminum has a different look than chrome. Chrome is like a mirror - I would say aluminum has more of a polished silver hue to it, not quite like a mirror. I like the look personally - mirror like, but not mirror chrome.

The downside is polished aluminum will require upkeep, or a sealer which I think takes away a bit of the shine.
 

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Aluminum will shine up as bright as chrome but it starts to oxidize again REAL quick!

I am overhauling a friend's 1983 Honda Shadow and tried some polishing compound on the aluminum but it was going dull again within the hour :frown:
 

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Save them all!
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I'm not a pro at polishing, but this is a Triumph I did several years ago. Polished with jeweler's rouge on a wheel. Shiny yes, different than chrome.

Edit: After looking over my notes, the bottom photo is just a rough polish, one pass on the wheel. Top was the finished product.
 

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Nightfly
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The first thing you need to determine is has the surface been clear coated. The clear coating is good and bad. It is good because it protects the aluminum, to keep the “new” look for three or four years, until the clear coat itself begins to haze and dull. Then it becomes bad, because there is no way to polish the aluminum that is covered with this clear coat of paint, and there is no easy way to remove the paint, either. If your rag turns black when you try and polish the surface then there is no clear coat.

A clear coat can be removed but it ain't easy. If a chrome like finish is what your after and were it me, I'd have it chrome plated. Personally I think it looks fine, but you ain't me.
 

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Troublemaker
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It's not going to shine like chrome until you take it off and use a wheel and polishing compounds. You have to generates some heat to get it to shine.

This is from a friend of mine that does all sorts of aluminum polishing. He did my baton for the relay I started in 2013 and it is still going to this day. The baton looks as good now as it did the day he polished it up. It's been in several countries and now it's in Australia.

Go to www.75chromeshop.com, click on "all other products", then click on "Care & Cleaning Products." There will be a thumbnail of a polishing wheel, and a thumbnail of polishing compounds.
For the buffing pad, get the 10 inch yellow keystone buffing pad for the 7 inch angle grinder. Also, at the very bottom of page 2, get the "Buffer Wheel Holder" flanges. the are safety flanges that clamp the buffing wheel to the polisher.
For the buffing compounds, get the brown "X Tripoli Rouge Extra Coarse" That the brown bar that cuts through to the bare metal. Then get the "Green Rouge Bar/ Med Fine," not the dark green bar. Use that after the brown to polish up after the brown bar. Finally, get the "Purple Rouge." It'll make the aluminum look like wet chrome.

The baton

 

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Gone.
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"1 Jägermeister and Red Bull
1 Vodka and Cranberry"

Now that your Bride has convinced you to stop twirling around and ride a Harley, she will probably also like it if you start drinking like a Man.

Jäger is stomach medicine. "Für den Magen." You take a shot before you crawl into bed after a night of eating too much and drinking too much so it settles things. You don't sit around and drink that stuff unless there's absolutely nothing else left to drink.

And mixing it, or any other alcohol, with the Bull will confuse your blood. "Speed up!!! S-l-o-w d-o-w-n-n-n.... Speed up!!! S-l-o-w d-o-w-n-n-n...." Don't do that.

Vodka is drunk straight up, in a glass, with nothing added. Okay, if it's really cruddy vodka you can add something to make it more palatable. But cranberry? Friend, your wife must REALLY love you to have stuck with you this far. I can tell she's a good woman!

3 beers was it? Righteous! (As long as they weren't some foo-foo nose-in-the-air beer.)

As others have already said: You can polish aluminum to be as shiny as chrome, you have to take the part off the bike it do it effectively, polished aluminum does have it's own real beauty, and polished aluminum will not stay shiny forever. To me, the pictures you posted of your rocker covers look very good. Now quit worrying about how your bike sparkles and go ride the heck out of it. That's what it was made for.
 

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Hero of Legend
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Based on the picture, I'd say you're about as polished as you're going to get. Although I guess a buffing wheel could get it a bit further. Not sure, really.

As far as chrome is concerned, I sincerely doubt you'll ever get that shine without actual chrome, but I also don't think you really need it. Yeah, chrome is good stuff, and the more you have, the better, but it's hardly necessary, as long as you can polish up whatever you do have.

Or you could go the "black out" route, I suppose. Never cared for that, but a lot of people seem to prefer it.
 

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Hero of Legend
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My engine is blacked out with wrinkle paint or powder coating or whatever Harley uses. I haven't had to polish it yet.
See, that's all well and good, but as for me, I'm a chrome kind of guy.

Ironic, since black is my favorite color. But to me, pipes and engines should be shiny.
 

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It hurts when I pee
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1,058 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The first thing you need to determine is has the surface been clear coated. The clear coating is good and bad. It is good because it protects the aluminum, to keep the “new” look for three or four years, until the clear coat itself begins to haze and dull. Then it becomes bad, because there is no way to polish the aluminum that is covered with this clear coat of paint, and there is no easy way to remove the paint, either. If your rag turns black when you try and polish the surface then there is no clear coat.

A clear coat can be removed but it ain't easy. If a chrome like finish is what your after and were it me, I'd have it chrome plated. Personally I think it looks fine, but you ain't me.

Yes.... everything I used to clean them turned black. Really black !!!!



"1 Jägermeister and Red Bull
1 Vodka and Cranberry"

Now that your Bride has convinced you to stop twirling around and ride a Harley, she will probably also like it if you start drinking like a Man.

Jäger is stomach medicine. "Für den Magen." You take a shot before you crawl into bed after a night of eating too much and drinking too much so it settles things. You don't sit around and drink that stuff unless there's absolutely nothing else left to drink.

And mixing it, or any other alcohol, with the Bull will confuse your blood. "Speed up!!! S-l-o-w d-o-w-n-n-n.... Speed up!!! S-l-o-w d-o-w-n-n-n...." Don't do that.

Vodka is drunk straight up, in a glass, with nothing added. Okay, if it's really cruddy vodka you can add something to make it more palatable. But cranberry? Friend, your wife must REALLY love you to have stuck with you this far. I can tell she's a good woman!

3 beers was it? Righteous! (As long as they weren't some foo-foo nose-in-the-air beer.)

As others have already said: You can polish aluminum to be as shiny as chrome, you have to take the part off the bike it do it effectively, polished aluminum does have it's own real beauty, and polished aluminum will not stay shiny forever. To me, the pictures you posted of your rocker covers look very good. Now quit worrying about how your bike sparkles and go ride the heck out of it. That's what it was made for.
I'm a Bud light kind of guy !!! :71baldboy:
This motorcycle was in real rough shape aesthetically when I got it. It was neglected for years. Besides, this is my first motorcycle with shiny parts and not made out of plastic. I'm kind of enjoying bringing her back to life again. :biggrin:
 

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It hurts when I pee
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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the tips thus far. :71baldboy:


Does anyone know what to use to clean the porous grey cast on the Cases, Cylinders and Primary ect ????????
 

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MODERATOR
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8,606 Posts
All of the engine/ trans/ primary etc can be cleaned real well with a diluted 'Simple Green' solution. Use a soft brush that will fit into the cracks and curves and don't use it full strength nor let it sit on the surface for very long. Never use it on 'clear coat' or 'crinkle finish,' as it will strip the clear coat and turn the crinkle finish white in area.:frown:

The engine/ trans/ primary on the 'Aluminum finish' areas really aren't meant to be polished and if done so the 'porous' area will look weird and half done.

How did the rims turn out?

Sam:71baldboy:
 

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Gone.
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Does anyone know what to use to clean the porous grey cast on the Cases, Cylinders and Primary ect ????????
If it's grease and oil on it I use Brake Kleen and a stiff nylon brush. I did one that had a lot of salt corrosion, but the bike was apart so I was able to just sand-blast the pieces.

Bud Light? Okay. You can ride with us. For a short distance until we get to know you.
 

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American Legion Rider
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If it's grease and oil on it I use Brake Kleen and a stiff nylon brush. I did one that had a lot of salt corrosion, but the bike was apart so I was able to just sand-blast the pieces.

Bud Light? Okay. You can ride with us. For a short distance until we get to know you.
But at some point you got to drink like a man and get away from the kids stuff.:D
 

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Cape Cods are the only way to drink rubbing alcohol. And even then, it's just cranberry flavored isopropyl.

If you want clear alcohol, and herbal taste, which it sounds like you do, drink gin. Other than that, brown is the proper color.

And pick a better lager.

Oh yeah. Aluminium. Try Flitz.
 
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