I have a 16 year old motorcycle whose aluminum parts seem to be corroding.
I'm wonder if there is any way to polish this up and prevent it from
Here are a couple of pictures to show the mess
You need a buffing tool and the proper compound. Your tool needs to be
small but powerfull life a die grinder, Pneumatic. Or maybe electric .
A dremmel you will burn up. Alot of work. Or there are polishes that
may clean it a bit.
What you've got appears to be aluminum that was polished and then
coated with clear laquer. The laquer is what is failing. You will need
to strip the parts completely, polish them with a buffing wheel and
compound, and then, if you wish, recoat them with laquer. I would
recommend that you just strip and polish them, without recoating them.
The cause is the fact that the aluminum you have is cast rather than forged.
Forged aluminum won't oxidize (as easily? at all? don't know...)
These motorcycle parts are painted when new with a clear coat which protects
them from the air. Once that coating goes away, moisture and air do their
thing and you get what you have.
Notice how much of the ugliness is spotty? That is actually oxidizing (clear)
paint, not oxidizing metal. If it hasn't gone all the way to the metal,
rubbing out the clear coat will result in the shine returning. But where the
metal is now unprotected, you must paint it again. If the oxidizing has gone
all the way to the metal, polishing might help.
Polishing is the only choice I know of to get them shining again, but you
will still have some oxide in the grain of the metal which is very hard to
get out and will still show.
Focus on one part and see how good you can get it to look, then attack the
rest of the bike if you're satisfied.
<< I'm wonder if there is any way to polish this up and prevent it from
happening again. >>
There is much more to this polishing than you realize. The investment in decent
tools plus the hours of time involved make it totally frustrating unless you
are obsessively committed.
Consider the sensible alternative: talk to your local H-D dealer and get
recommendations for local or nearby polishing and plating firms. If you check
their prices you will find them quite reasonable, and their expertise on
protective coatings will be invaluable. Nobody demands higher standards on
appearance than the typical Harley owner, so take advantage of it. HTH
On 02 Jul 2004 15:26:01 GMT, email@example.com (Joe Bobst) wrote:
You can do this quite inexpensively yourself by buying a cloth buffing
wheel and mounting it on an old bench grinder motor. Nothing fancy or
expensive is really needed. A shop where they do this all day long for
pay, will naturally buy something bigger and faster for reasons of
consider sandblasting it with baking soda
put baking soda in sand blaster drum
it is not to abrasive so you should wind up with a very light matte
finish --then polish with buffing wheel and red rouge--get from jewelers
supply--should do the trick
(Joe Bobst) wrote:
This is an issue on many older vehicles.
The original aluminum was first machined to look pretty. Then it was
coated with a polymer ("clear coat") to retain the surface quality. The
polymer coating eventually gets pinhole leaks, and salts get trapped
underneath, and corrosion sets in to the point of pitting.
Polishing won't work because the pitting is too deep. You'd just end up
with a pretty polished surface mingled with lots of ugly pitted areas.
Even if you had the power to grind a polish down that deep into the
metal, you would just wind up with a wavy surface.
True restoration requires re-machining (lathe) down to an even surface
of fresh metal, and reapplication of the polymer coating. This is not
an inexpensive job.
Occasional stripping, light polishing, and recoating would prevent the
severe problem from developing, if you're the neurotic maintenance type.
That is what is recommended in luxury car factory maintenance manuals.
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