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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Uploaded a horrible quality picture here:

IMG00594-20110907-0923 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

The finish looks nasty. I tested steel wool on the underside, but it did not seem to help after about 10-15 seconds or so. Is there a better way to shine this up? I am new to restoring and don't know what products or methods are best.
 

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there was some kind of blue polish I used, going to have to dig for it to find the name.

You will find some kind of polishing ball and a rechargeable drill with a polish will get better results.

I mention rechargeable drill, because a standard plug in drill will spin too fast and the polish will go flying off of the buffing wheel.
 

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I am new to restoring and don't know what products or methods are best.
I'm surprised that nobody else has replied; must all be out riding.

In my experience, you're better off to just scrape off any actual corrosion with 000 steel wool and then keep it polished to stop further deterioration BECAUSE..........to get it real shiny and clean will take a CRAP LOAD of labor......and then you have to seal it again or it will get nasty all over again real fast.

I have seen and talked to "non-professional" riders who have restored one bike and don't remember ever finding one who thinks he would do it a second time.

Your time can be spent MUCH better doing something else.......like riding......or working extra hours (if you can) to trade for a bike that is already shiny.
 

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it is a horrible picture... :).. but it almost looks like there was a clear coat over the metal? If so you might try to remove that chemically.. search "clear coat remover". If it is really chrome, it was a bad chrome job...lol... but simichrome mentioned before sounds like a good bet...and a lotta labor as mentioned already.

"Blue Job" is what Omegajim mentioned... but it is a super fine polish powder best used for a showroom final polish....and takes a ton of labor to get a result in my direct experience. As bad as your finish looks I doubt bluejob will touch it.

I like "never dull"... a cotton wadding with polishing stuff in it...seems to work fast for me on chrome.....

good luck..
 

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Common amateur mistake, trying to polish or steel wool a part like that. Tallannie is correct: it is covered with clearcoat, which is simply paint without color pigment, so you have to treat it like paint, not aluminum. So polish or steel wool will simply scratch the paint further. If the paint is pitted or peeling, which yours is, you need to strip off the paint first. Aircraft stripper or paint remover is perfect for this. Then you will have bare metal, which you can either polish, or buff, and once it looks the way you want it to you have the option to clearcoat it again. Once it is covered with clearcoat, wash and wax it like you would paint. If you do not clearcoat it, keep it nice with metal polish.
 

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found the blue stuff, they have it on amazon, but as mentioned, you want to get it close to finished before using it takes quite a bit of effort

Amazon.com: BlueMagic 400 Metal Polish Cream - 7 oz.: Everything Else

But one stupid little can will last the project you are working on.

BTW Drbob, what kind of clearcoat do you recommend once the aluminum is polished?
 

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correct me if im wrong but I herd steel wool will rust things faster because it leaves behind fibers. that's just what I've herd.

id use aircraft stripper ( autozone) and metal polish. be careful with the aircraft stripper, its strong smelling stuff

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
 

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correct me if im wrong but I herd steel wool will rust things faster because it leaves behind fibers. that's just what I've herd.
Well, like most anything else, there's always a way to screw something up.........but the above is NOT true, if you just take ordinary care to clean up the mess. And if one little fiber is left, only IT rusts and you just brush it away and the problem is gone.

DrBob hit the nail. Brushed aluminum/mag alloy motorcycle parts have a clear coat. If you REALLY want to tackle a complete re-finish, the first step is to remove that. You don't need anything exotic; an automotive paint stripper works just fine.
 

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Eastwood.com sells some good clear coats for aluminum parts, but I don't re-clearcoat. To me it is easier to use a little metal polish on the parts a couple times a year than to try and keep the clearcoat from scratching, chipping, or turning yellow.
 

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Eastwood.com sells some good clear coats for aluminum parts, but I don't re-clearcoat. To me it is easier to use a little metal polish on the parts a couple times a year than to try and keep the clearcoat from scratching, chipping, or turning yellow.
Yup.....I always used Mothers mag and aluminum polish on the bikes I owned with polished finishes,get that clearcoat crap off there and polish once every couple months with Mothers and she'll shine up nicely.

 

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Is it chrome or brushed stainless or aluminum?

If it isn't chrome steel wool will just put large(ish) scratches in it and make it look worse (unless you want a dull brushed steel look).

My suggestion is 1500-2500 grit sandpaper and just wet sand it (as long as nothing important gets damaged from it). Then use a polish to buff out the micro scratches.
This is how you professionally restore damaged headlights (glass or plastic) to their original condition.

Worse case senario, you scratch it with the fine grit paper and just buff it back out with the polish and you have no results, but it won't make it worse*.


* SHOULDNT make it worse. ;)
 

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I just realized that it's going to bum me out everytime I see a post from Bob :sad:
 

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I feel bad for you Ken. You actually knew him personally. I was looking forward to meeting him.
 
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