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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought some BlueMax NAPA Chrome cleaner/polish to clean and make my window trim shine again. Its all in good shape, just real dirty lookin. Have followed directions and applied 3 or 4 times now, cleaned it up, but still not satisfied. I want it to look shiney like the front and back stuff (I got a new roll of that). Anyone have any tips? Best way to re-polish these? Could a chrome shop do it for a decent price?
 

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Pathologic Opeler
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oxide

you are not deep enough into the alloy.its not shiny because you havent got the oxide off.

polish is step 3..

1-try a "scotch bite pad" (3M)first to develop and expose a mat finish of new metal (med scratches are left).these are in hardware stores or you could use 3M #5936 'perfect -it III 'Paste EXTRA cut rubbing compound for paint...found in car paint stores

2-next use an equivalent to "tripoli compound"..found at a jewelry supply/lapidry..i have seen it in auto catologues too.tripoli wont put a high shine on(small scratches are left) or use 3M-05933 'PERFECT-IT III" RUBBING COMPOUND...


3- now try your polish which is probably an equivant to :jewelers rouge or "mothers mag wheel polish"
 

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yea, napa's bluemax chrome and aluminium polish is junk. I've used it a few times with no results.
 

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Sparky73 said:
I bought some BlueMax NAPA Chrome cleaner/polish to clean and make my window trim shine again. Its all in good shape, just real dirty lookin. Have followed directions and applied 3 or 4 times now, cleaned it up, but still not satisfied. I want it to look shiney like the front and back stuff (I got a new roll of that). Anyone have any tips? Best way to re-polish these? Could a chrome shop do it for a decent price?
:cool:
John - don't take it to a chrome shop. They dont really have the expertise for soft metal polishing in most cases (they really don't work with AL much). Find a good "polishing" shop. I have one about 50 miles away that makes it look like brand new. It's a younger guy who bought the business from his father. They used to do chrome also, but they got out of that business to concentrate on polishing. They are in Hubbard, Ohio and do polishing for people all over the world!

He gave me sone AL polish that he uses cases of each year. It comes in a bright yellow bottle and is called "Lightning Shine", by Wicked Products. He swears by it.

Hope that's some help to you.

Allen & Vickie Gage :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. I havn't really had any experiance with polishing anything, so I don't want to screw it up since I have all good shape trim..which is hard to come by. If I did end up taking it to a polishing shop, how much would it cost to get all trim+corners done? Once again, thanks for the help

Jon Samuel
 

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Depending on how shiney you want your trim to look, here's what I have done over the years building aluminum hardware for my model racing boats. This works on all soft metals but takes a real long time to do. On all the rough pieces I cut out of stock metal, I start with 150 or 320 3M wet/dry paper, wet. Then using the next smoother grit of 400, 600, and 1200 paper, all wet. Then I burnish the piece with the last 1200 paper I used wet, only now it's dry. I keep rubbing the metal with the paper until the paper gets loaded with the base metal and keep rubbing some more. When I can see myself in the piece without a blue haze, I use DuPont #7 rubbing compound, then Polishing Compound, after that I use SimiChrome paste, then finish it all with a good coat of wax. Like I said it takes some time, usually in the evenings, in my recliner, in front of the TV, with a towel across my lap. I've lost fingerprints in the process more than once and my fingertips took weeks to get back the original color, but it's a labor of love to get it looking just right. But what else you got to do when there's no lite to see, working on the cars. :rolleyes:
 

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try POR-15 Artisan metal polish, GREAT stuff.
 

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Anodizing

Caution! It is not as simple as "repolishing" aliuminium trim as it has usually been given a shiny surface treatment called Anodizing - hacking into that with abrasives and polishes will remove the finish very quickly and leave you woth uncoated aliuminium. Anodizing is an extrememly thin but hard surface oxidation that is usually dyed after treatment to get various colours.
 

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Jim is absolutely right. Almost all the trim on our Opels is aluminum (Manta wheel arch and rocker trim is stainless though), and it's silver anodized. You can strip the anodizing off by sanding it, and polish it to a mirror finish, but at that point you'll need to either clear-coat the surface or keep it waxed to protect it from future oxidation.
 

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I would'nt sand alum. with anything, no matter how fine. It will leave fine scratches. Busch Polishes is what I've used, it is the absolute best. As much as you want to rub thats how shiny it gets. I've seen alum. so bad it was gray and it came back like chrome. Try buschpolishes.com they have all your polishing needs.
 

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Healy61 said:
I would'nt sand alum. with anything, no matter how fine. It will leave fine scratches.
The problem is the Opel aluminum trim is anodized, and you can't polish anodizing very well. My suggestion for show quality trim is to strip the anodizing via sanding, and then polishing and buffing it mechanically on a pedestal buffer (not by hand). This way, scratches are minimized since you can use finer and finer compounds to polish/buff the aluminum.

If proof of this technique is needed, I could always prepare a piece of trim and photograph it for this forum.

Bob
 

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polishing aliuminum window trim?

does anyone knowHow to polish the aluminum window trim for around the pop-out windows and around the door windows?

any info would be greatly appreciated

:cool: russell simmons
 

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Polished Aluminum on an Opel

Jim and Bob are both correct, the Aluminum is polished then goes through a clear anodizeing process to protect and keep the shine. After a period of time the anodize is dulled by road film, UV Rays and age. I have re-worked all my aluminum with great success but first you have to get the anodize off. You do it just as namba209 does his polishing process to remove the anodize, it is pain staking work. Once the anodize has been removed you can now polish the aluminum to make it shine. I did mine on a buffing wheel on my bench grinder and used the polishing rouges, black or brown first this finished it off with red. But you must be careful and watch what you are doing one wrong position or angle of the piece to the wheel stand back cause it just wrapped itself around the buffing wheel. This happened several times to me, especially the rear quarter windows, but I just straighted it back out (took some time though) and put it back on the buffing wheel and polished it out again. That was over 8 years ago and it still has the shine as when I had just poished it, I have cleaned (polished) it one time with Mothers Never Dull in all those years. The same with the stainless but it requires a heck of a lot more buffing. I staightened out all the dents and dings in both the stainless and aluminun prior to buffing them out and you could never tell that it had been damaged.
 

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Pathologic Opeler
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3 step polish after work

i started this wheel with the tire off at about 8:30- i am done before 11:30pm

it was a good nights work ,but i am done...including photos and posting this.

i also took time to make 2 mandrels out of the 3m STRIPING PADS...i LIKE THESE, you can buy them premade...but i make my own at a $1 apiece, by reusing the mandrel...plus walmart doesnt stock the premade type,but has the pads.

you will need bench lathe, mine is a 2 speed 1/6 hp ,i bought used years ago. (i think you could substitue a std paint buffer or a drill,,as i have done that ..on the car too).

nothing was hand sanded, as i hate to sand after about 5 min
 

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Pathologic Opeler
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summary of 3 step polish

1- wear eye protection( in addition to your glasses, wash glasses not wipe,as abrasive will ruin them...use the scuncii steamer to be sure! see the ad section of this site)

2-wear a mask.

3- be careful,its not a race

note: re eval after step 2, i leave in deep curb rash, as if i try to smooth out , i make it worse by making a wave or ripple in the metal
 

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I have used those thin 300 grit sand sponges from Home Depot (They are about $3 each, and 4x4x1/8" thick in the wood working area). They worked AWESOME on all the stainless and other metal items on the Manta.

The Headlight bezels, The trim around the side marker lights, and the upper cover in the door opening above the lock in particular looked NOS after I was done.

It worked on anything really.

I used the sponge and 3M compund to clean the AL bumpers, side door chrome, etc.. I noticed it worked AWESOME on any AL, Chrome or SS that was dirty and caked on. It only leaved scratches on areas that the chrome was really thing and soft, or where the AL anodization had worn off. Where you are just cleaning the trim with the anodozation on it, it works awesome.

Only time I had a problem with scratches was on the door handles, and rear ashtrays. The work I did left scratches, but they looked better none the less. But they are in real need of being rechromed anyway.
 

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Pathologic Opeler
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donor for my front wheels

the front wheels were given to me by craig, he said...the midget has 3 ets and 1 steel..its unmatched...maybe you can use them...turns out they were perfect...i am 5.5 in the front with 3.5 back space, i am 6.5 in the back with 4.5 estimated back space. it is my opinion, that my car looks better with the more narrow rims in the front...tires are the same 13-185 -70.
 

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Pathologic Opeler
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here is the track

i think the track of the front tire is about 1/2 in inside the track of the rear on each side.

so if i am estimating corectly..back tires are 1 in wider
 

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When I polished the aluminum on my Ghia I had to remove the anodize, polish the aluminum, and then I used stuff called Coricone to seal the surface so that it wouldn't oxidize. On the GT trim, which I have a couple pieces that are in pretty good shape, I didn't want to remove the anodize, but could not find anything that would remove the stains without hurting the anodize. Well, I think I have it. A jeweler friend of mine gave me a stick of compound that is used to polish plastic watch crystals. I used a new 4" buff mounted in my drill press, and the compound he gave me. I was able to put quite a bit of pressure on the pieces without burning through the anodize and it took all the water staining and grey look out. I can't say that they are perfect, because I did not start with pieces that could be made perfect, but they came out very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Back again, and I've got a bunch of trim I want to polish up in my free time. Anyone ever decide on the 'best' method? Trim has slight over-spray, and is just dull. Would I be okay using a dremel with a mini polishing wheel? I don't have the steady hands to use the buffing wheel on the bench grinder lol.

What type of compounds should I use with the mini-wheel? I've seen DuPont #7 mentioned a few times.. is that for taking off the anodize? What is best for polishing afterwards? I will probably shoot a thin layer of clear or just wax them, but am looking for suggestions for the polish.
 
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