Cleaning Alloy
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  1. #1
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Default Cleaning Alloy

    Hi Guys,

    How many of you have really corroded, shocking looking alloy parts on your car Especially if you have a UK import.

    I was chatting to a guy in the UK who has a CX show car. All the aluminium on his car is so shiny that it looks like it's almost chrome plated.

    I've attached a photo of mine after several attempts at cleaning... It's still looked like a corroded peice of [email protected]

    The trick is to sand it flat using some sandpaper. I used 120grade wet 'n' dry. The a tin of that metal polishing rag over the top.... The difference is staggering ....... All you need to do is painstakingly 'sand' the alloy.

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    has anyone else found anything like this or better.

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cleaning Alloy-shitty.jpg   Cleaning Alloy-eng3.jpg   Cleaning Alloy-eng5.jpg  
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    '72 DS21 ie 5spd pallas (last looked at ... about 15years ago)
    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

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    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    When Brad's been welding (turbo) donuts and various other alloy castings, he has to sand the welds down and then polish the entire job as many of the cars he does work on are show cars, in fact a couple have featured in a couple of national mags that specialiase in that stuff.
    After he's ground the welds down smooth, he then has a couple of cloth buffing wheels on his bench grinder. These are best described as bing like discs made of cotton material and bolted via a boss to the shaft of the bench grinder so that the edge of all the pieces of material are the parts contacting whatever you're polishing, very much like the things bootmakers use.
    He then has two sticks of "stuff" that look like sticks of chalk about 25mm square, and he first hits the wheel with one, then runs the job on the wheel, then hits it with the other. These are apparently some kind of fine abrasive of varying grades; one buffs it up and the other ads the final polish. I have seen some jobs that you can actually see your face in, literally.
    With alloy engine/gearbox parts though, an old trick when we used to work on motorbikes, speedcars and the like, was to have a shallow tray, fill it with phenyle and lay the parts in it overnight. Regardless of how hard it was baked on, next day a rinse under a tap washed it all off and alloy in particular always came up as if it was polished. Trick was to try to not get too much on your clothes or you smelt like you'd fallen into an out back dunny.


    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan S
    When Brad's been welding (turbo) donuts and various other alloy castings, he has to sand the welds down and then polish the entire job as many of the cars he does work on are show cars, in fact a couple have featured in a couple of national mags that specialiase in that stuff.
    After he's ground the welds down smooth, he then has a couple of cloth buffing wheels on his bench grinder. These are best described as bing like discs made of cotton material and bolted via a boss to the shaft of the bench grinder so that the edge of all the pieces of material are the parts contacting whatever you're polishing, very much like the things bootmakers use.
    He then has two sticks of "stuff" that look like sticks of chalk about 25mm square, and he first hits the wheel with one, then runs the job on the wheel, then hits it with the other. These are apparently some kind of fine abrasive of varying grades; one buffs it up and the other ads the final polish. I have seen some jobs that you can actually see your face in, literally.
    With alloy engine/gearbox parts though, an old trick when we used to work on motorbikes, speedcars and the like, was to have a shallow tray, fill it with phenyle and lay the parts in it overnight. Regardless of how hard it was baked on, next day a rinse under a tap washed it all off and alloy in particular always came up as if it was polished. Trick was to try to not get too much on your clothes or you smelt like you'd fallen into an out back dunny.


    Alan S
    Ahh the smell of Phenyl in the morning!!! Theres a good little kit available on EBAY that you can use in your drill and is a small version of what Alan is talking about, Comes with all the mops and polishing sticks works a treat and looks like chrome when finished, Search under tools.

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    There used to be a product called Goddards Glow that we used to polish aluminium cases on pommy bikes back in the 60s and 70s. Haven't seen the product for years but Brasso Paste seems to be exactly the same stuff. As described above, wet and dry the surface working down to 800 (even 400 is pretty good) and finish with the paste the alloy will look like chrome and requires redoing about every month. If you don't want to keep polishing spray with clear laquer, but if this chips you have to clean the whole lot off to start again.

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    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys,

    this one if far from a show car (trust me on that). You need to see a UK import to understand what I mean by corrosion on alloy surfaces

    This looks reasonable, however is still far from a shiny/mirror finish. I would have needed to continue sanding the awkward to get to places around the plug holes etc... for hours to get the finish you guys speak of. There is simply hours and hours of work in sanding it back flat. Once flat I'm sure you could buff it up as described, but just trying to 'polish' the corroded alluminum would no doubt end in tears (and lots of trashed buffing pads).

    I should have taken a proper 'before' and 'after' shot so you could see what I mean.

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    'Cit' homepage:
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    Proper cars--
    '85 Series II CX2500 GTi Turbo I
    '63 ID19 http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=90325
    '72 DS21 ie 5spd pallas (last looked at ... about 15years ago)
    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

    Yay ... No Slugomatics


    Modern Junk:
    '07 Poogoe 407 HDi 6spd manual

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    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    What about acid dipping? Heard that was good for getting the "factory" look back
    I tried to drown my sorrows in alcohol, but the bastards learnt how to swim

  7. #7
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Acid dipping won't remove the corrosion though.

    Interestingly my car appears to like having a shiny rocker cover .... Bloody things running *much* better below 3000rpm today and the turbo sounds different I thought the car was running brilliantly before too....

    My guess is the one of the lines upto the wastegate was blocked/kinked and when I removed the all the hoses to access the rocker over I've 'fixed' the problem... They have a 2stage wastegate, my guess is the first stage was not functioning fully (the 2nd stage cutting in at 3200rpm).

    Betcha I find my missing 2mpg now .... All winter it's been giving 22mpg in the daily comute, where as the last two years it's never dipped below 24mpg

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    'Cit' homepage:
    Citroen Workshop
    Proper cars--
    '85 Series II CX2500 GTi Turbo I
    '63 ID19 http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=90325
    '72 DS21 ie 5spd pallas (last looked at ... about 15years ago)
    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

    Yay ... No Slugomatics


    Modern Junk:
    '07 Poogoe 407 HDi 6spd manual

  8. #8
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    Bead blasting will remove the corrosion and you will end up with a fabulous satin finish. You could then polish.

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    Shane, i like using the ruff side of those household green/yellow scourers & DW-40. Then followed by a rub of stainless steel wool & again WD-40 for that satin finish. If you like the polishe look you can use Silvo to give a shinier finish. Fine grit sandpaper is also effective, but can lead to rust further on. - Chris
    ... ptui!

  10. #10
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys,

    I've forgotten all about trying to make shiny alloy.... I'm confused, the car has found a sh!tload of power .... I thought it was going well before, but she's just pinning me back in the seat and hammering down the road now It doesn't appear to be overboosting as the boost guage is getting nowhere near the red

    I think I'm going to lose my license

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    'Cit' homepage:
    Citroen Workshop
    Proper cars--
    '85 Series II CX2500 GTi Turbo I
    '63 ID19 http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=90325
    '72 DS21 ie 5spd pallas (last looked at ... about 15years ago)
    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

    Yay ... No Slugomatics


    Modern Junk:
    '07 Poogoe 407 HDi 6spd manual

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    With alloy engine/gearbox parts though, an old trick when we used to work on motorbikes, speedcars and the like, was to have a shallow tray, fill it with phenyle and lay the parts in it overnight. Regardless of how hard it was baked on, next day a rinse under a tap washed it all off and alloy in particular always came up as if it was polished. Trick was to try to not get too much on your clothes or you smelt like you'd fallen into an out back dunny.


    Alan S [/QUOTE]
    Just tried it overnight with some phenyl I use for the wheelie bin and stuff me it worked really well on my sons bike cover . Thanks for the tip

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    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    I'll ad a bit to it;
    if you've got any paint brushes that have gone hard either slightly or rock solid, get an old plastic bottle and cut it in half. Partially fill it with phenyle and just sit the brush in it. Slightly hard will be completely softened overnight and the hardness will be reduced proportionatley to the length of time the really hardened brushes are left to sit in it. Cheap Chinese ($1.50 at Bunnings) types will simply fall apart, but any even reasonable quality brush will restore back to as new condition; just test it every day or so if it's really hard and it will eventually come back as new right up into where the bristles are fixed so you don't get that hard top bit. When soft, wash out in fresh water then warm water with a bit of detergent, then rinse off and shake dry and then "work" the bristles on the edge of a piece of timber, old table or the like.
    It works on everything from water based paints to oil paints to varnish, I've even used it on brushes used on Bondcrete. It was an old trick I was taught by an old retired housepainter many years ago and it's saved me heaps over the years as when it comes to properly cleaning brushes after I've been painting, I gotta admit, I'm a lazy basted.


    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

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    1000+ Posts CHRI'S16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan S
    It was an old trick I was taught by an old retired housepainter many years ago and it's saved me heaps over the years as when it comes to properly cleaning brushes after I've been painting, I gotta admit, I'm a lazy basted.


    Alan S
    Alan, sounds like you & I have worked for similar line of real old school tradesmen... everything from paint to A/C, "you gotta learn it all son".. was the motto. -Chris
    ... ptui!

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    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHRI'S16
    Alan, sounds like you & I have worked for similar line of real old school tradesmen... everything from paint to A/C, "you gotta learn it all son".. was the motto. -Chris
    If I remember rightly, we both started out in life as similar tradesmen didn't we?


    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

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    I have some very white and fuzzy alloy that I will need to desmut and then have glass bead blasted to restore to as cast condition.

    This is the best information I have found ondeoxidising\cleaning.

    Note: This is a hazardous process using chemicals that can cause injury.

    "The best solution (in terms of not harming the aluminum substrate) is the 2.0 wt% chromic acid + 3.5 vol.% phosphoric acid, balance DI water, solution used at 50-100oC. This is the official method of stripping oxide to determine the anodic coating weight per ASTM B137, ISO 2106: 1982, B. S. 6161: part 1: 1984, and EN 12373-2: 1999. Sometimes called “slow stripping” solution, although actually quite rapid at 100oC. The chromic protects the bare Al from the phosphoric.

    The next best method is to use a commercial deoxidizer/desmutting solution. These are either nitric or sulfuric acid based, but contain inhibitors to stop the attack when bare Al is reached.

    Concentrated nitric acid (67-70 wt%) is also very safe for cleaning Al (pretty harmful to humans, though). A protective nitrate forms once the bare Al is reached. Dilutions to 50 vol% (38 wt%) are commonly used to reduce the nitric acid fumes, but the reactivity vs. Al goes up fast if the water content is increased. Useful for stripping metallic plating, too, e.g., EN (electroless nickel).

    If possible, take your part to a nearby anodizing or plating shop, as they already have the above solutions and can safely handle."
    "fast , cheap and reliable...you can only pick two"

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    Default Chromic acid

    Quote Originally Posted by 750sport
    I have some very white and fuzzy alloy that I will need to desmut and then have glass bead blasted to restore to as cast condition.

    This is the best information I have found ondeoxidising\cleaning.

    Note: This is a hazardous process using chemicals that can cause injury.

    "The best solution (in terms of not harming the aluminum substrate) is the 2.0 wt% chromic acid + 3.5 vol.% phosphoric acid, balance DI water, solution used at 50-100oC. This is the official method of stripping oxide to determine the anodic coating weight per ASTM B137, ISO 2106: 1982, B. S. 6161: part 1: 1984, and EN 12373-2: 1999. Sometimes called “slow stripping” solution, although actually quite rapid at 100oC. The chromic protects the bare Al from the phosphoric.

    The next best method is to use a commercial deoxidizer/desmutting solution. These are either nitric or sulfuric acid based, but contain inhibitors to stop the attack when bare Al is reached.

    Concentrated nitric acid (67-70 wt%) is also very safe for cleaning Al (pretty harmful to humans, though). A protective nitrate forms once the bare Al is reached. Dilutions to 50 vol% (38 wt%) are commonly used to reduce the nitric acid fumes, but the reactivity vs. Al goes up fast if the water content is increased. Useful for stripping metallic plating, too, e.g., EN (electroless nickel).

    If possible, take your part to a nearby anodizing or plating shop, as they already have the above solutions and can safely handle."
    As a lab technician I'm pretty wary of chromic acid. Its used in labs to clean stubborn stains off glassware. Really agressive stuff and my chemical store contains nitric,sulphuric,hydrochloric,phosphoric,acetic and formic acids all concentrated. The chromic is the one I treat with the most respect.
    Ok if you can get it diluted but haven't heard of anywhere selling that.

    Aluminium is a lovely metal but so reactive, a clean surface will quickly form a coating of Aluminium oxide from reaction with the oxygen in the air unless it is protected. This coating of aluminium oxide is inert and stops further corrosion. Anodising has taken this a step further. A thick coating of aluminium oxide is purposely formed and that is then coloured with dyes.
    Quite a simple process for anyone with a battery or battery charger and some sulphuric acid. If anyone wants details I can post a prac I wrote up for our Multistrand Science classes.
    Electroplating steel with zinc is also easily accomplished.
    Paul,
    504-504-504,
    Northern Outpost.

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    Alu-Brite, sold by marine retailers for cleaning aluminium boats. Works a treat.

    http://www.northshoredistributors.co..._products.html

    Stuey
    Last edited by Stuey; 11th October 2005 at 08:16 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by 504-504-504
    As a lab technician I'm pretty wary of chromic acid. Its used in labs to clean stubborn stains off glassware. Really agressive stuff and my chemical store contains nitric,sulphuric,hydrochloric,phosphoric,acetic and formic acids all concentrated. The chromic is the one I treat with the most respect.
    Ok if you can get it diluted but haven't heard of anywhere selling that.

    Aluminium is a lovely metal but so reactive, a clean surface will quickly form a coating of Aluminium oxide from reaction with the oxygen in the air unless it is protected. This coating of aluminium oxide is inert and stops further corrosion. Anodising has taken this a step further. A thick coating of aluminium oxide is purposely formed and that is then coloured with dyes.
    Quite a simple process for anyone with a battery or battery charger and some sulphuric acid. If anyone wants details I can post a prac I wrote up for our Multistrand Science classes.
    Electroplating steel with zinc is also easily accomplished.
    Paul,
    504-504-504,
    Northern Outpost.
    Im interested in the finer details of anodising, not for my car but for some vintages model plane engines ive got, the little alloy heads on them have faded and ive always wanted to redo them.........

    you wouldnt happen to have a reciepe for 'blueing' steel as well?????? i understand that aluminium cant be blued (it falls to bits) but thats ok because im wanting to 'blue' some steel bits and pieces.........

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    Quote Originally Posted by 123abc
    Im interested in the finer details of anodising, not for my car but for some vintages model plane engines ive got, the little alloy heads on them have faded and ive always wanted to redo them.........

    you wouldnt happen to have a reciepe for 'blueing' steel as well?????? i understand that aluminium cant be blued (it falls to bits) but thats ok because im wanting to 'blue' some steel bits and pieces.........
    have a look at your local gunshop as to what products they've got for blueing rifles.

    I recently blued a rifle barrel using a paste. The only trouble is that the finished item needs to be oiled or its prone to rust. Theres a few different methods for blueing so you should find a method thats suitable for what you want.

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  20. #20
    1000+ Posts 504-504-504's Avatar
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    Default Anodising.

    Quote Originally Posted by 123abc
    Im interested in the finer details of anodising, not for my car but for some vintages model plane engines ive got, the little alloy heads on them have faded and ive always wanted to redo them.........
    I will dig out the file next time i visit work (lsl and loving it) and forward it on to you or post it here..

    I don't have any experience with blueing steel. The other posts sound helpful though.


    Paul,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan S
    I'll ad a bit to it;
    if you've got any paint brushes that have gone hard either slightly or rock solid, get an old plastic bottle and cut it in half. Partially fill it with phenyle and just sit the brush in it. Slightly hard will be completely softened overnight and the hardness will be reduced proportionatley to the length of time the really hardened brushes are left to sit in it. Cheap Chinese ($1.50 at Bunnings) types will simply fall apart, but any even reasonable quality brush will restore back to as new condition; just test it every day or so if it's really hard and it will eventually come back as new right up into where the bristles are fixed so you don't get that hard top bit. When soft, wash out in fresh water then warm water with a bit of detergent, then rinse off and shake dry and then "work" the bristles on the edge of a piece of timber, old table or the like.
    It works on everything from water based paints to oil paints to varnish, I've even used it on brushes used on Bondcrete. It was an old trick I was taught by an old retired housepainter many years ago and it's saved me heaps over the years as when it comes to properly cleaning brushes after I've been painting, I gotta admit, I'm a lazy basted.


    Alan S
    Alan, Can you recommend anything that will harden something up overnight as I seem to be having a problem there & I reckon the phenyl might cause a rash!

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    Default Molasses rust/paint stripper

    Molasses is great for removing rust / paint from steel & iron .Simply suspend the article to be cleaned in a solution of around 10% molasses & water, leave for a couple of weeks for the solution to work ,you may give it a go with a wire brush to accelerate the process if required or simply leave it in the solution.DOES NOT work on aluminium. Molasses is about $1.80 a litre for most equestrian/produce suppliers
    A gunsmith has several products to blue steel ,but this process does not stop rust & also does not work on Aluminium.
    Cheers .

  23. #23
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    Default "casehardening" as opposed to hard case

    Quote Originally Posted by routley43
    Alan, Can you recommend anything that will harden something up overnight as I seem to be having a problem there & I reckon the phenyl might cause a rash!
    Get yourself down to your doctor convince him you are suffering from depression and need prescribing zoloft. Interesting side effect.

    Paul,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey
    Alu-Brite, sold by marine retailers for cleaning aluminium boats. Works a treat.

    http://www.northshoredistributors.co..._products.html

    Stuey
    Very good for cleaning rusty deposits in coolant bottles also

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