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Thread: Cleaning aluminum

  1. #1
    Registered User AjaxTheDog's Avatar
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    Cleaning aluminum

    Has anyone had any luck cleaning the mottling off old aluminum parts? I have tried soda blasting, aluminum jelly and polishing compounds with little luck. Parts look cleaner but still have a mottled rather than bright shiny finish which they had when new. I'd like to get as close to that as possible. aluminum.JPG
    Bill in Highlands Ranch, Colorado
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  2. #2
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    I've never had to deal with that issue so far, but I notice some threads in the Similar Threads pane at the bottom of the screen...maybe there's some ideas there.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
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  3. #3
    Registered User AjaxTheDog's Avatar
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    Yup, already looked there. Nothing on this.
    Bill in Highlands Ranch, Colorado
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  4. #4
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    I can't quite get a good view of the problem. You said soda blasting didn't work. There is more aggressive blasting like with walnut shells. I've also heard about vapor blasting. There is a link in the Opportunities thread where a member was discussing this procedure:

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...-Blasting-quot

    Here are some other vapor blasting discussions:

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...one-tried-this

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...ne-cases/page3
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  5. #5
    Registered User AjaxTheDog's Avatar
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    Guess I will have to try the vapor blasting route. A local guy does it for $75 an hour. Hopefully he can tell me what level of success to expect before starting the operation.
    Bill in Highlands Ranch, Colorado
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  6. #6
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    Vapor blasting, Brook Reams, etc.

    Hi there-

    I have had great success in utilizing vapor blasting, especially on things like heads and cylinders. The finish looks factory new. The problem, of course, is that it's not always convenient, or practical, for things like an assembled engine case....

    Brook Reams gives a really nice overview of his aluminum cleaning practices on his website. The real trick in some of those methods is time. A lot of time....

    https://brook.reams.me

    Good luck!

    ECJ

  7. #7
    '14 R1200 GS Adv bigjohnsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecjjce View Post
    Hi there-

    I have had great success in utilizing vapor blasting, especially on things like heads and cylinders. The finish looks factory new. The problem, of course, is that it's not always convenient, or practical, for things like an assembled engine case....

    Brook Reams gives a really nice overview of his aluminum cleaning practices on his website. The real trick in some of those methods is time. A lot of time....

    https://brook.reams.me

    Good luck!

    ECJ
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  8. #8
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Simple Green Aircraft Precision Cleaner

    You might want to try Simple Green Aircraft Cleaner. It is designed to clean aluminum on aircraft but not damage plastic or paint. A good friend of mine who restores old BMW bikes says it gives great results. If you look at the reviews of this product at the Amazon link below there are some user photos of results from using this product. I'm going to try it on a /5 I'm refurbishing once it warms up here in a month or two.

    https://www.amazon.com/Extreme-Aircr...s%2C229&sr=8-1
    Greg Feeler
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  9. #9
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    1500 or 2000 grit sand paper and then polishing compound?
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
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  10. #10
    http://www.chinook-helicopter.com/ma.../cleaners.html

    Apparently, Simple Green does not advertise that the Army had to publish multiple stop use bulletins to keep Army Aircraft maintainers and pilots from using it. It was corrosive over time and would weaken and soften magnesium, aluminum, and titanium; basically any of the alloys. If memory serves, we had at least one catastrophic structural failure that was “present and contributing” in the findings to simple green use.

    FWIW I have personally seen the damage to metal caused by Simple Green in the 90’s both on my aircraft and my car (mag wheels).
    R. Reece Mullins Ebony R1200RT (Gretchen)
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  11. #11
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rangerreece View Post
    http://www.chinook-helicopter.com/ma.../cleaners.html

    Apparently, Simple Green does not advertise that the Army had to publish multiple stop use bulletins to keep Army Aircraft maintainers and pilots from using it. It was corrosive over time and would weaken and soften magnesium, aluminum, and titanium; basically any of the alloys. If memory serves, we had at least one catastrophic structural failure that was “present and contributing” in the findings to simple green use.

    FWIW I have personally seen the damage to metal caused by Simple Green in the 90’s both on my aircraft and my car (mag wheels).
    Reece,
    That warning message appears to be very old as it references a crash in 1992. I suspect they are talking about traditional Simple Green because they did not state "Simple Green Precision Aircraft Cleaner" which is this product's name, and I would expect high precision in statements about aircraft maintenance. Simple Green Precision Aircraft cleaner was not introduced until about 2004 from what I can find, so I suspect that it was developed specifically to address any problems with their traditional product in this application. Is there any way you can find out the date of that warning?
    Greg Feeler
    Ambassador & amateur K-Bike collector, it seems
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  12. #12
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GREGFEELER View Post
    Reece,
    That warning message appears to be very old as it references a crash in 1992. I suspect they are talking about traditional Simple Green because they did not state "Simple Green Precision Aircraft Cleaner" which is this product's name, and I would expect high precision in statements about aircraft maintenance. Simple Green Precision Aircraft cleaner was not introduced until about 2004 from what I can find, so I suspect that it was developed specifically to address any problems with their traditional product in this application. Is there any way you can find out the date of that warning?
    P.S. I did see that at the bottom of that linked page it says it was last updated 1/7/2021, but that appears to be for the whole site, not necessarily the Simple Green warning page. But, I sure would like to know how old that warning is, and which Simple Green product it refers to.
    Greg Feeler
    Ambassador & amateur K-Bike collector, it seems
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  13. #13
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    I have found that when "staining" that resists the regular "cleaning" methods don't achieve the desired results, the "staining" has migrated into the pores of the metal. Industrial methods are needed as the top lays needs to be removed which can sometimes open the pores of the metal to even faster staining, oxidation and discoloration. Copper that has been outside for a while, and cleaned bright, will almost oxidize before your eyes.

    I took a quick look and this thread gives a quick overview of metal polishing-

    https://www.kmstools.com/blog/metal-polishing-101/

    It's important to "seal" the finished product to protect it. Sharkhide metal finish has had some great reviews although is very specific in it's steps on application. The marine industry has been battling this staining/corrosion for ever.

    OM
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  14. #14
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rangerreece View Post
    http://www.chinook-helicopter.com/ma.../cleaners.html

    Apparently, Simple Green does not advertise that the Army had to publish multiple stop use bulletins to keep Army Aircraft maintainers and pilots from using it. It was corrosive over time and would weaken and soften magnesium, aluminum, and titanium; basically any of the alloys. If memory serves, we had at least one catastrophic structural failure that was “present and contributing” in the findings to simple green use.

    FWIW I have personally seen the damage to metal caused by Simple Green in the 90’s both on my aircraft and my car (mag wheels).
    Was that the Extreme Simple Green made for aluminum?
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
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    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  15. #15
    Greg: I was unaware that Simple Green created a new product since the 90’s.

    Lee: we were using “original” simple green... that was the culprit.
    R. Reece Mullins Ebony R1200RT (Gretchen)
    MOA # 143779
    MOA Charter Club #5 #364 #100
    BMW MOA Vice President

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