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Thread: Bare aluminum cleaning

  1. #1
    JohnP
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    Bare aluminum cleaning

    A hint from Heloise -- the makers of naval jelly, the acidic rust remover gel also make aluminum jelly. Wash an area like cases or fins first to remove dirt and oil/grease and let dry. Work in aluminum jelly with a stiff brush. it will chemically clean the aluminum of imbedded dirt, stains etc. and leave cases looking very fresh without harming the metal. Wash off thoroughly and do not let it sit on paint or other finished surfaces.

  2. #2
    dlearl476
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnP
    Work in aluminum jelly with a stiff brush. it will chemically clean the aluminum of imbedded dirt, stains etc. and leave cases looking very fresh without harming the metal. Wash off thoroughly and do not let it sit on paint or other finished surfaces.
    Here's the rub: Aluminum is POROUS. How do you "wash off thoroughly" and not leave any chemical embeded in the pores? I prefer soda blasting.

  3. #3
    steviewonder
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    Acid wash is the way most shiny aluminum is professionally cleaned. Anodized or other "dull" surface aluminum should just be cleaned with soap and water.

  4. #4
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    I found that basic engine degreasers (like Gunk or Wally World) and some scotchbrite pads (the green kind) work well on the rougher castings of the block, tranny, etc. When I had my /2 engine completely disassembled, I used the high pressure hose at a car wash on the empty block along with the degreaser and it did great.

    But I've been trying to clean a couple of pieces on my /2 engine, one being the front timing chest cover. I've tried anything and everything, including aluminum jelly, over-the-counter mag wheel cleaners, and good ol' elbow grease and engine cleaners. I've invested a small fortune in just about everything out there. Nothing touches these separate pieces...I've basically given up. I've come to believe that they are made out of different aluminum in a different process than the other castings. Some of the products, including aluminum jelly and things that contain phosphoric acid will leave the surface blacker even if left on for only a minute. The only thing that is left is bead blasting, I'm afraid.

    Just my experience. Be careful what you try...

    Kurt in S.A.

  5. #5
    dlearl476
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774
    But I've been trying to clean a couple of pieces on my /2 engine, one being the front timing chest cover. I've tried anything and everything, including aluminum jelly, over-the-counter mag wheel cleaners, and good ol' elbow grease and engine cleaners. I've invested a small fortune in just about everything out there. Nothing touches these separate pieces...I've basically given up.
    Kurt in S.A.

    Try Soda Blasting, the pieces will come out looking just like the just popped out of the mold.

    The only thing that is left is bead blasting, I'm afraid.
    Bead blasting, even plastic media, is too harsh for aluminum, unless you're looking for a "hammered" finish. Try soda I tell ya, you'll like it.

    I have some "before" and "after" pics of some Amal and Dellorto carbs at home. I'll try and post them tonight or tomorrow morning.

  6. #6
    dlearl476
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlearl476
    Try Soda Blasting, the pieces will come out looking just like the just popped out of the mold.



    Bead blasting, even plastic media, is too harsh for aluminum, unless you're looking for a "hammered" finish. Try soda I tell ya, you'll like it.

    I have some "before" and "after" pics of some Amal and Dellorto carbs at home. I'll try and post them tonight or tomorrow morning.



    Actually, I stole these from BEVEL HEAVEN, I hope Steve doesn't mind. If he does, let me give him a plug: Steve runs Bevel Heaven, a great place for all kinds of stuff, mostly vintage DUC, but anything Dellorto, and a whole bunch else. Check it out:Bevel Heaven

    Notice the extremely fine grain of the finish. Notice also how none of the lettering was messed up, especially the tiny "Made in Italy". Bead blasting would pretty much obliterate that.

  7. #7
    Grammarian no, Rider yes ISAMEMON's Avatar
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    oh so nice
    I agree soda blasting is great
    those look great
    so he only does italian stuff ???
    looks like great prices on brakes etc

  8. #8
    Rally Rat
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    cleaning aluminum

    OK, so where do you get soda and what kind do you get. I cannot find Arm and Hammer Washing Soda in my area, is there any other kind that works.

  9. #9
    bigfoot105
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    I would like to know too


  10. #10
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  11. #11
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    Well?



    Scotch brite wheels are also remarkable. They look like grinding wheels and fix to the grinder/buffer just like a grinding wheel, but are just abrasive enough to wear down aluminum pebble finish. The resultant finish is about the same as with a coarse polishing compound. The Scotch brite wheel also burns rust off of bolt heads and it removes scabs of rust off of chrome without scratching the chrome finish. My brother in law is a professional restorer (he has a 1953 Indianapolis race car in this summer' s Monterey Concors De Elegans) and he did not tell me about these miracle wheels until I had finished restoring my black RS.

    They are not even in the Eastwood catalog. I will find out where they can be acquired and let you know.

  12. #12
    Grammarian no, Rider yes ISAMEMON's Avatar
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    my local guy calls it soad wash, but it really is blasting, at least what he does. soda wash, around here anyway, is like bead blasting except they shoot a "soda". the guy that does the soda washing around here, does all kinds of blasting, bead, walnut shell ( yes really) , sand, and soda.
    He makes his big money soda blasting resturaunt equipment. so if you can not find a car or bike shop that does it, look comercial

  13. #13
    dlearl476
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_M
    They are not even in the Eastwood catalog. I will find out where they can be acquired and let you know.
    Google 3M, click "find local distributor", any auto body supply shop that carries 3M products will have them. Scotchbrite comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. BUT, you have to be careful Things you DON'T want shiney can get shiney quick with Scotchbrite, especially hooked to a power tool.


    OK, so where do you get soda and what kind do you get. I cannot find Arm and Hammer Washing Soda in my area, is there any other kind that works.
    No, it's not Arm & Hammer. I don't have my source but it's in AZ. Here's a start: Ace Soda Blasters For those of you with a shop, and enough work to justify it, their portable unit is $250. For those of you who don't, I'm sure Steve will do just about anything you ask him to, although he did my carbs enroute to a rebuild so maybe not. If you can wait until I get my 240V installed so I can buy a proper compressor, I intend to start doing it as a service.

    Otherwise, you can look in your yellow pages under "sandblasting" and make some calls. About 1 in 10 do soda blasting.

    Another thing to keep in mind: for a lot of jobs, all kinds of blasting will work. IMHO, anything around engines, carbs, transmissions should be done with soda. It's water soluble. Nothing like a bit of walnut shell in a carb venturi, a piece of sand in a rebuilt trans, or a plastic media bead in an oil passage of a rebuilt engine to really mess up your day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Isamemon
    my local guy calls it soad wash, but it really is blasting, at least what he does.
    Where I come from "soda wash" is pressure blasting a thin slurry of soda and water. Soda blasting is dry soda powered by air. I would suppose the effect would be much the same.

  14. #14
    Grammarian no, Rider yes ISAMEMON's Avatar
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    thanks, that clears things up one more notch

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