"Repolishing" polished aluminium parts?

General topics
Forum rules
Please do not start new topics here, but here: New Panhead and Flathead topics
Post Reply
Michael_Germany_1956
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Northern Germany

"Repolishing" polished aluminium parts?

#1

Post by Michael_Germany_1956 » Wed Dec 27, 2006 11:57 pm

Hello Forum!

Years ago, I spent many, very many hours to polish the aluminium-parts of my 1954FL, for example the complete engine case, cam cover, transmission case, transmission cover, kicker cover, etc.

I did all the polishing work myself, with the help of some dentist tools, to reach even the small nooks and hard to reach areas.

The polished aluminium parts looked perfect, the engine looked like chromed, but was only polished...

Then I had to store the parts in a friends garage for many years, opening the cartons was a shock to me, all the fine polished aluminium parts are "dull" today, covered with a fine white "substance"...

I know about aluminium-corrosion, but the parts look like a pure horror!

How to "repolish" these former high-luster polished parts, every advice from you is very welcome...?

:cry:

Regards Michael

P.S. I will search for a photo of the "polished" 1954FL Motor, there is a photo somewhere...



VPH-D

#2

Post by VPH-D » Thu Dec 28, 2006 5:15 pm

IIRC, Simichrome polish was sold/made by Happich in Germany. It should be easy for you to find. It should bring back the the shine nicely.
I once had a 53 that was all polished.
VPH-D

Cotten
Posts: 6791
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois

#3

Post by Cotten » Fri Dec 29, 2006 5:05 am

Michael!

If you wish to return to a fully polished finish, then your real question is: What are the tricks to making it quick and easy?

Simichrome is without a doubt the final step, and I'm certain you went through the intermediates steps when you polished them in the first place.

But since we are working with corroded metal, we must first chemically remove the chalkiness before we begin using abrasives.

White aluminum "rosettes" are often a carbonate, formed from moisture and carbon dioxide in the air, and catalyzed by any salts that may be present in even the tiniest amounts.
So I suggest alternating soaks and washes with gentle acids and caustics like white vinegar and baking soda.
You may experiment with other chemicals, but beware of harsh commercial cleaners (such as "Mean Green") which will accellerate chalking or even blacken aluminum. So test any preparation somewhere inconspicous first!

But you will still be left with stains and pitting that will require serious elbow grease.

That's when I would consider steel-shotpeening to return it to an easily-maintained "cast" finish.

.....Cotten

john HD
Moderator
Posts: 3661
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 7:24 pm
Bikes: '42 WLA X 2, '55FL, '93 Ultra Classic, '91 Fatboy, '97 883, '71 Suzuki Duster 125, '83 GPz 750.

#4

Post by john HD » Fri Dec 29, 2006 5:10 am

i had real good results polishing a pair of grubby fork sliders by wet sanding with 600 grit sand paper then polishing with flitz.

i buffed it with a small polishing wheel chucked in a cordless drill. all i needed was a pea sized dab of flitz every couple of inches or so. less is better for this technique. simichrome would work as well.

works fast with nice finish.

john

Michael_Germany_1956
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Northern Germany

#5

Post by Michael_Germany_1956 » Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:59 am

Thanks for your answers! :D

Sanding is not necessary in this case, a few days ago I used the german aluminum polishing paste "Autosol" on the dull cam cover, the result is excellent!

Autosol: http://www.autosol.de/shop/

I will add a photo of the cam cover later...

Regards


Michael

Michael_Germany_1956
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Northern Germany

#6

Post by Michael_Germany_1956 » Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:12 am

John, in the 1980s, it was a bad mistake, to send my two perfect polished fork sliders to a "SuperChromer" (!) :evil: here in Germany...

The result was pure horror, and VERY costly at that time.

Nowadays, I do not like chromed original aluminum parts on a vintage HD, but I still like them polished, if ones does all this by himself.

Nice hand polished aluminum is pure "Class", chromed aluminum is a waste of money.

Regards from Germany


Michael

P.S. "flitz", what is this product, thank YOU!

Michael_Germany_1956
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Northern Germany

#7

Post by Michael_Germany_1956 » Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:30 am

That's when I would consider steel-shotpeening to return it to an easily-maintained "cast" finish.
Cotten, I have invested many hours, polishing the parts by hand, "blasting" them to the original finish is the last choice.

A buddy blasts old engine cases with milled nutshells, even with frozen ice (!), to clean them up, the results are perfect.

I will stick to my polished cases, I like them. :wink:

Regards from Germany


Michael

DuoDave
Posts: 198
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 10:45 pm

#8

Post by DuoDave » Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:02 am

Have you tried Garryflex blocks? Thes are rubber blocks with aluminium particles embedded. They do a very good job of bringing the shine back to polished aluminium parts that have becme corroded beyond the point where Solvol is effective. They come in three grades, work up to the fine grade and finish off with Solvol. Go to Amazon and type in Garryson Garryflex and you will find them. There is also a very similar product called Loyblocks or Loyblox.

Michael_Germany_1956
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Northern Germany

#9

Post by Michael_Germany_1956 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:00 am

Thanks. Dave!

For the small parts, and hard to reach areas, like the Linkert carb, I used the german DREMEL tool, it is a little costly, but the results are fine.

Dremel: http://www.dremeleurope.com/dremelocs-d ... cat_id=469

The small rubber polishing things I get from a friend, who works as a dental technician for free, in the tool shop you wont find these polishing tools.

He polished his whole BMW-Chopper, a R-69S with these tools, this BMW is more than perfect, belongs in a museum, I will share a photo later...

Regards


Michael

DuoDave
Posts: 198
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 10:45 pm

#10

Post by DuoDave » Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:14 am

My dremel is my all time favourite tool. My wife bought it for me as a Christmas present. I would be lost without it now. In fact I even bought a spare Dremel in case the original one developed a problem.

Michael_Germany_1956
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Northern Germany

#11

Post by Michael_Germany_1956 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:30 am

DuoDave wrote:My dremel is my all time favourite tool. My wife bought it for me as a Christmas present. I would be lost without it now. In fact I even bought a spare Dremel in case the original one developed a problem.
Dave, in the case, your DREMEL is defect, write to the DREMEL company, and I am sure, they will send you a new one for free...

As a shop-owner, I had a good contact to the DREMEL company, very friendly and helpful people, even after the period of guarantee.

And YES, it is a nice tool, not only for bikes! :wink:

Regards


Michael

58flh
Posts: 3338
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:54 pm
Bikes: 1958flh 1969sporty,had a knuckle but sold back to original owner
Location: NEW JERSEY

Re: "Repolishing" polished aluminium parts?

#12

Post by 58flh » Sat May 12, 2012 1:19 pm

I to polished my alum.--HATE chrome & it takes away from what would be a nice bike!-After many hrs. spent wetsanding in steps finishing with 1000, then I used MOTHERS ALUM. polish & you buff till the t-shirt or buffwheel turn-black & move on to the next spot! Once it turns black just polish with a cotton rag & its a high quality shine ,LIKE CHROME!- ON my sportster I powdwer coated them clear & all you need is some mild dishsoap & rinse --ALL is LIKE NEW again for 5min. work! ON my pan I just apply mothers once every 2-3 years & wipe off with a cotton rag! LOOKS LIKE I spent a week wetsanding again!--MOTHERS seems to work good ,I apply it in very little amounts & it goes along way!--IT cleans chrome also.--RICHIE 8)

Post Reply

Return to “General topics”