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Re: aluminium cleaning

Samir Shah wrote:

> As some of you may be aware, both bays of my garage are occupied by cars
> with dismantled engine compartments - the 635 is getting a head gasket,
> and the new Audi is getting all rubber in the engine compartment
> replaced while being serviced/debugged.
> So, while its all apart, I'd like to freshen up the aluminium parts -
> intake manifolds, BMW head, valve cover, etc.
> What products/chemicals have you guys/gals in the concours set found
> that will brighten up the aluminium, without destroying all the rubber
> in the vicinity? So far, I've tried cleaning with Simple Green, a wire
> brush, brake cleaner, but no luck - the aluminium just does not sparkle!
> All help appreciated. Thanks. Samir.

I agree with David Lola regarding the Mother's and acetone; but would add the
following: having restored a couple of old bikes with many exposed polished
and pourous aluminum parts, I've learned a lot of cleaning tricks. One of
the best on pourous aluminum _if_, as David said, everything is completely
dismantled, i.e., no painted surfaces or rubber, is to wire brush with a
Dremel using Mother's. Polish by hand as best you can. Then spray with Eagle
One Mag cleaner for non-polished/non-anodized aluminum wheels. This is a
weak sulfuric acid solution and should be high pressure washed off (not
garden hosed) about 30 seconds after spraying on, you can do the last step
multiple times.

If you really want to go whole-hog, get your parts (manifold and head)
walnut shell blasted (similar to bead blasting, but residue won't wreck
valves, etc.). Then use Eagle One as above. When I had my engine completely
disassembled and out of the bike, I used the Dremel/Mother's/Eagle One
process. I did the final cleaning at a car wash for the high pressure spray.
The results were astounding with the aluminum looking almost white. It works
- just test the brushes out (i.e., different types and applying different
pressures) in an inconspicuous spot. If you're worried about the
heavy-handed tactics, get a peice from the junk yard and test the process.
If you don't have a Dremel, get one - great little tools with 100 uses;
invaluable (IMHO) in cleaning/restoration projects.
Good luck!

Dylan Jenkins
2 x 85 4kq
Virginia Tech Forestry Extension
216B Cheatham Hall (0324)    
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061