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Old 11-26-2019, 07:48 PM   #1
msg
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Best low cost approach for restoring aluminum trim?

Assuming I can get all of the dings and dents out, whats the best way to restore the shine on the aluminum parts like these? I assume a high speed buffing wheel, but all I have is a hand drill. Id need to make a purchase for a grinder/polisher on a stand type thing. So far I have taken the sail panels and the front grill and sprayed with easy off to remove the anodized coating and then wetsanded them to 2000 grit and then polished but Im not sure this is the best way.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:56 AM   #2
Willie Makeit
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Re: Best low cost approach for restoring aluminum trim?

you gotta get the clear/hard anodizing off first. I strip it with drain cleaner (I use Instant Power Hair & Grease remover - purchase at Lowes, Home Depot, etc) and then buff it using an old 6" bench grinder & cotton buffs. Never bothered to clear coat, just go back once or twice a year with Mother's aluminum polish when it's back on the truck and it'll shine right up.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:24 AM   #3
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Re: Best low cost approach for restoring aluminum trim?

I removed the anodized coating , tapped out any dents as best that I could then buffed with buffing wheels and various grades of compound .
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:43 AM   #4
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Re: Best low cost approach for restoring aluminum trim?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie Makeit View Post
you gotta get the clear/hard anodizing off first. I strip it with drain cleaner (I use Instant Power Hair & Grease remover - purchase at Lowes, Home Depot, etc) and then buff it using an old 6" bench grinder & cotton buffs. Never bothered to clear coat, just go back once or twice a year with Mother's aluminum polish when it's back on the truck and it'll shine right up.

Have to try this method on a set of lower rocker trim I have from a '71 Chevelle. Good condition with no dents or dings, just 40 plus years of use and being subjected to road grime.

msg, what grit sand paper did you start with then ending up with the 2000 wet paper. Like to try that on the above rocker trim.

Lunnb, those turned out nice. Good work.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:47 AM   #5
Getter-Done
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Re: Best low cost approach for restoring aluminum trim?

Have you try Never Dull?
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Old 11-28-2019, 12:41 PM   #6
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Re: Best low cost approach for restoring aluminum trim?

Back in 2015 I tried out using the oven cleaner stripping method and then wetsanded 1000, 1500, then 2000 if I remember right and then used the compounds I had for the buffing wheel on that drill. It did ok, but if there was a better way I would like to know before I do the exterior trim. I used Blue Magic Polish cream as a wipe on/off at the end. I wonder if Never Dull would have by passed alot of steps, never tried it.

Heres a pic of the panel with one side with the oven cleaner stripped and one section I tested with the wetsanding and polishing. The wet-sanding maybe wasnt necessary but I didnt think my hand drill would really do what a higher speed bench buffer would accomplish. Thats where I will be heading next, buying a bench style and a stand to mount it on and go out in the yard and have at it. My garage is so cramped I wouldnt be able to swing a grill around.
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Old 11-28-2019, 12:47 PM   #7
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Re: Best low cost approach for restoring aluminum trim?

I found a panel and took a few pics of how it last turned out. Ill also need to check with the PPG store on what I need to do to prep each spot that needs black paint. I did avoid wetsanding those before and only polished, but I bet they need to be scuffed for the paint to take properly. Always something. Or I might just go without the paint, maybe paint them later when it bugs me enough.
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Old 01-09-2020, 02:17 AM   #8
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Re: Best low cost approach for restoring aluminum trim?

If not heavily stained, I only use steel wool and brake clean.
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:07 AM   #9
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Re: Best low cost approach for restoring aluminum trim?

Hmm, steel is harder than aluminum so I'd not go there polishing trim. Maybe mag polish.
The original, perceived, today or desired look of trim is to be debated. I think the original look was a bit not quite chrome.
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