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Thread: Aluminum Cleaning

  1. #1
    Registered User PeoriaMac's Avatar
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    Aluminum Cleaning

    OK, I've got the bike apart for replacing the starter, and as long as I do, I'd like to get the cases cleaner. So, what's the collective wisdom for cleaning? Simple Green? Ideas and suggestions appreciated...

    Mac
    Mac
    1986 R80RT, 2005 R1200GS
    Livin' Large On The Lake

  2. #2

    a vote for sipmle green

    I use simple green for all of the engine parts on my /6 (actually all of the parts on the bike), It cuts throught the grease and dirt very well and leaves the patina on the aluminum parts. Engine looks clean enough to eat off, but still 35 years old. I'm not fanatical about keeping the bike so clean and only do it like that about every other year. But when it's clean, it's really clean.
    Theo Marks
    '74 R75/6

  3. #3
    --Tony AnnapolisAirhead's Avatar
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    I used Flitz metal polish and a set of stiff nylon brushes of varying sizes. Followed that up with either Simple Green or Purple Power grease cutter and finally a light spray of SiliKroil (silicon spray) to keep future grease from sticking.
    1971 BMW R75/5 | 1975 Moto Guzzi 850T Cafe | 1983 BMW R100RS | 1988 BMW R100GS
    1988 BMW K75 | 1998 BWM R1100RT | 2000 Moto Guzzi Quota 1100ES |2002 Moto Guzzi V11 LeMans

  4. #4
    VANZEN
    Guest

    elbow grease

    there is no EASY way ...

  5. #5
    shire2000
    Guest
    My method leaves the aluminum looking great, but does remove most of the patina.

    1. Apply Simple Green, let sit for a bit, then hose off.
    2. Re-apply Simple Green, again let sit for a bit then scrub off all the dirt, oils, grease etc.
    3. Next, using plastic scrubbing pads (Scotch Brite), Autosol metal polish and lots of Elbow Grease, scrub the aluminum till all turns black, then scrub some more.
    4. Clean off the residue with soft cloths till nice and bright. Will use lots of old cloths.
    5. Spray some WD-40 on the part and wipe clean.

    Repeat 3. and 4. until you get the desired level of cleanliness. You can polish them to almost look like chrome if you wish. Or just clean to the point of a nice dull alminum finish. Anywhere in between.

  6. #6
    Living the Legend Bigrider's Avatar
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    Barkeepers Friend

    I really like "Barkeepers Friend". Looks like scouring powder, but doesn't have all the abrasive in it. It also has a chemical action that cleans aluminum quite well. Worls particularly well on the star wheels. But, like other products mentioned above, you got to put some elbow grease into it and make sure you rinse it off otherwise you will have a white residue.

    Dave H
    San Antonio, TX

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Markst1 View Post
    I use simple green for all of the engine parts on my /6 (actually all of the parts on the bike), It cuts throught the grease and dirt very well and leaves the patina on the aluminum parts. Engine looks clean enough to eat off, but still 35 years old. I'm not fanatical about keeping the bike so clean and only do it like that about every other year. But when it's clean, it's really clean.
    Theo Marks
    '74 R75/6
    I??ve been trying to get my engine clean, not yet satisfied . what is green?? is that some kind of a common household inventory ?

  8. #8
    Brillo pads work well. Leaves the aluminum clean with a slightly dark lustre. The finish also beads water, so there must be some wax in the pad soap formulation.
    It's all a matter of personal preference and how much time you want to spend. Fanatics will get out the buffing wheel and polish/buff using 3 different compounds.

  9. #9
    jdbott
    Guest

    Cleaning engine

    Use the RED ScotchBrite Pad, not the green.

  10. #10
    Midnight Rider 41077's Avatar
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    What is green?

    Simple Green available at Home Depot

  11. #11
    VANZEN
    Guest
    Brillo Pads and steel wool will leave iron residue that will rust.
    Scotchbrite Pads are a better alternative, IMO.,
    but both will "shine the surface".

    Simple Green is a household cleaner and a favorite of mine –
    SG has replaced the much more expensive S100 Motorcycle Cleaner
    in my garage for general duty cleaning.

    Caustic, dangerous and an environmental disaster ...
    but NOTHING takes the cr@p off aluminum casting as well as spray carb cleaner or spray brake cleaner ...
    except maybe the acid based aluminum cleaners as used on boats, trailers, etc.
    also marketed in smaller quantities as "raw aluminum mag wheel" cleaners.
    Both ACID based solutions, both very NASTY STUFF – and unless directions are followed meticulously, these can turn aluminum to black.

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