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I bought two can's of Mothers Mag and Aluminum polish and just spent half an hour on a small section of the timing belts cover. It has quite a bit of area that I shall call "pitted". Im sure others have cleaned theirs up quite nicely and Im looking for tips to help me with mine. Wet sandpaper? Steel brush's? Brillo pad's? What should I tackle it with first.



Thanks,

Harold
 

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you can go over it lightly with a soap brillow pad and some super fine steel wool then finish of with the mothers polish. if its not too bad just use the steel wool and polish
 

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1987 GL1200 Interstate
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I used one of those foam sanding pads on my belt covers and windshield trim. It came out looking pretty good, similar to the lower fork legs, though not factory. I tried to get that factory look with all kinds of stuff, but it never looked right. A member here, GregForesi,has a custom GL100 that the covers look pretty good on, maybe you can tell us how you did that Greg.

Heres what I ended up with. I'm having to redo it now, as hail damagedthe clear coat.
 

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Yeah, you need to get more aggressive. Try those Scotch brand sanding sponges. You can get them anywhere. Even Wal-Mart.

 

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I'm a fan of stainless steel brushes. I like the brushed aluminum look. I finish with brass brushes usually and then Nevr-Dull for protection.
 

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hope this helps , learned from my brother who restores vintage motocross bikes. first, hope you have a buffer.. I start with Wet Sanding-sand paper about 600 grit (depending on how bad the pitting is. ) if bad start with 300-400 wet sand paper and a good alum. polish. as you get the pits out move up in grit to600 >800 > 1000 >1500 >2000. depending on how polished you want it .eachgrit up in number removes the previous papers scratches. if 1500 is good enough for you then start buffing to get to where you want to be as far as shine. hope this helps ...DOC



check out this bike that my brother restored. the wheels were a mess when he got it.this is what you can do with a little elbow grease. IMHO not because he's my brother ,but he is one of the best restorers in vintage motocross motorcycle restoration there is. http://huskyrestoration.com/?page_id=321
 

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To clean my valve covers and timing belt covers I installed a cloth buffing wheel on my 8"bench grinder and used some #2MIBRO stick polishing compound on the wheel to remove the clearcoat and pitting, (It was pretty bad..) and for final buffing I went to a #6 compound stick. Since I didn't want to clearcoat them I used some Mothers Carnuba Cleaner/Wax. The best I remember I used about 6-8 coat's of wax, hand buffing between each coat. When I got done with her, the polished pieces looked just like chrome!! :coollep::coollep:



The best I can tell, no pitting has returned yet so I believe the wax has done a pretty good job of protecting the aluminum. I'll find out for sure when I change the timing belts out next year and repolish all the covers again!!



And I just remembered.. I wanted to polish the forks also so I removed the buffing wheel from the grinder, bolted a 1/2"X 3" nut and bolt in the mandrell hole and used my cordless DeWalt drill to polish/buff those and it worked pretty well!!



Have fun with it and post some pic's of the before and after!!
 

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Bike...and Dennis wrote:
...maybe you can tell us how you did that Greg.
OK...I will.

I cheated.

A couple of years ago I picked up a polishing motor, pads, and different grades of rouge from Caswell Plating. Wheeling them out is way easier than trying to get the pitting off by hand. Here is a link to their kits. Theseappear to besuitable to adapt a bench grinder to polishing. http://www.caswellplating.com/buffs/buffing_kits.htm BTW...I think the motor I have runs at 3400 rpm.

Lowes sells 6" diameter buffing pads that will fit on a bench grinder. I'm not sure whether they carry the rouge or not. Caswell rouge bars come in different grades for different metals. I use the black (coarse) and white (very, very fine). Having a double ended buffing station is handy. Coarse on the left wheel and fine on the right wheel. That way the coarse doesn't contaminate the fine wheel as bad.

The main advantage to using a polishing motor instead of adapting a grinder motor is that the output shafts are extended on a motor made for bufffing/polishing. That makes it a lot easier to work the part around the buffing wheel. (If you look around the Caswell site you'll come across the buffing/polishing motors and see what I mean. I will tell youthat I didn't pay near what they want for a motor now!)

I also have a 90° die grinder air tool. You can get a variety of different 2" diameter sanding pads (60, 80 and 120 grit) and nylon polishing pads (course through extra-fine). Along with the 30 years of pitting -my front fork lowers still had some sand cast marks on them. I usedthe die grinder with the nylon polishing pads to clean them up prior topolishing them on the wheel.

I polished the final drive housing on mine also. It's rough sand cast so that was a project. I think I've got about 8 hours into polishing that dog. It came out really well but only other GL owners take note of it.

Polishing aluminum on a wheel is a filthy job. You'll want to suit up and wear face protection. Small parts can go flying out of your hand as well. The parts get hot too.I use a pair of old welding gloves or (for small parts) pliers to hang onto the parts. Regular mineral spirits can be used to clean up.

Here's the final drive housing. This is the one I rebuilt with the 3.70 GEM gearset. There is a lot of satisfaction when you look at the polishing work you did and the parts shine like a mirror.

 

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DOC1500 wrote:
hope this helps , learned from my brother who restores vintage motocross bikes. first, hope you have a buffer.. I start with Wet Sanding-sand paper about 600 grit (depending on how bad the pitting is. ) if bad start with 300-400 wet sand paper and a good alum. polish. as you get the pits out move up in grit to600 >800 > 1000 >1500 >2000. depending on how polished you want it .eachgrit up in number removes the previous papers scratches. if 1500 is good enough for you then start buffing to get to where you want to be as far as shine. hope this helps ...DOC
This is exactly the way an older restorer taught me how to polish aluminum. Two things he made plain,

1: Don't skip grits because the next higher grit number is just the right size to remove the mountains and valleys left by the previous. If you do you'll leave scratches behind that won't come out till you do it right.

2: Lots of water, don't skimp on it, it is what washes away the residue and allows you to cut down to the part you want to remove.

When I am all done I finish it up with Mother Aluminum and Mag polish. Looks like a mirror. Lots of wax coats or poly over it.

With all that said I am lazy and most of the time I just do a quick wash and wipe. So my bike needs to be "Fixed" every couple of years!!.
 

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Does ANYBODY know how to get the stock finish? That's the hard part. And without that OEM look, it's a custom, not a restoration.
 

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Bike...and Dennis wrote:
Does ANYBODY know how to get the stock finish? That's the hard part. And without that OEM look, it's a custom, not a restoration.
Yes I know how but Im not going to tell you......:ROFL:
 

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Hanko wrote:
DOC1500 wrote:
hope this helps , learned from my brother who restores vintage motocross bikes. first, hope you have a buffer.. I start with Wet Sanding-sand paper about 600 grit (depending on how bad the pitting is. ) if bad start with 300-400 wet sand paper and a good alum. polish. as you get the pits out move up in grit to600 >800 > 1000 >1500 >2000. depending on how polished you want it .eachgrit up in number removes the previous papers scratches. if 1500 is good enough for you then start buffing to get to where you want to be as far as shine. hope this helps ...DOC
This is exactly the way an older restorer taught me how to polish aluminum. Two things he made plain,

1: Don't skip grits because the next higher grit number is just the right size to remove the mountains and valleys left by the previous. If you do you'll leave scratches behind that won't come out till you do it right.

2: Lots of water, don't skimp on it, it is what washes away the residue and allows you to cut down to the part you want to remove.

When I am all done I finish it up with Mother Aluminum and Mag polish. Looks like a mirror. Lots of wax coats or poly over it.

With all that said I am lazy and most of the time I just do a quick wash and wipe. So my bike needs to be "Fixed" every couple of years!!.
This is all good advice except there is no need to sand past 600 grit.

Black emery compound on a spiral sewn wheel is the first step to start with when buffing the aluminum. It is about equivelant to 600 grit so sanding beyond that is just wasting time.



Below is some pics of a set of timing covers I did for my friend notodd here on the forum. As you will see they where really bad.



I know that since they are shiny that makes them a custom piece and they are absolutley not fit to be put on a bike undergoing a restoration. :ROFL:



Im posting just to show anyone who is interested what can be done.



Heres the buffer.....








Here is the cover...really badly pitted.






I would normaly use paint stripper to take the clear off before polishing but these where so bad I just beadblasted them.






After blasting I wet sanded them in stages finishing them off with 500 grit, then started polishing with black emory compound on a spiral wheel, followed by trippoli compound on a spiral wheel followed by white rouge compound on a loose buff.













Hope this helps.
 

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William_86 wrote:
to get the stock finish you need to polish then clearcoat it, using good stuff not that on the cans...
Not true...In order to get the brushed finish you need to polish first. Thenrun the part over a scothbrite wheel or belt. There are scotchbrite belts that look the same as a belt sander belt. The important thing is that you run it through paralel with each stroke so that all the scratches goes in the same direction to give that nice brushed finish. Then clearcote if you want.



It can be done by hand , it just takes patients.
 
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