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Trim/moulding buffing/polishing
#1
I have looked thru the threads and have not seen anything about buffing or polishing the aluminum trim/mouldings? has anyone have any experience trying it at home? I am looking for any input as to if it can be done or if it is worth it? I have some extra trim pieces that I may use one to "practice" on with different buffing compounds/grits and tools to see if it will work and what the results will be.
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#2
Before you try to polish the aluminum trim you must first strip the anodized clear plating off.

1973 Mach 1, Porsche Guards Red, 429/C6
1972 Mach 1, Grabber Blue, 302/C4, currently under construction
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#3
Go here http://www.7173mustangs.com/thread-any-s...andodizing
Post #12.

Chuck
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#4
I had the same question 12 months back. After reading some posts here and watching the odd youtube video this is what worked for me:

I decided to start with the door aluminium weatherstrip channels first (removed from the car). First thing was to remove the old rubber residue plus previous sealers that had been used inside the channels. Once done I took them outside and sprayed oven cleaner on them - left them to sit for a few minutes then washed off with water (this removes the clear coat anodizing that Ford put on at the factory). Can't remember exact time I left soaking in oven cleaner but I recall trying for 30 seconds that did virtually nothing. It was probably five-ten minutes maybe slightly longer. Leaving the oven cleaner on for too long can apparently pit the aluminum but I never had that problem.

My channels were badly scratched so I started "wet sanding" (ie. sand paper and water) with something like 150-180 grit. I initially tried with 400 grit but didn't seem to work well on some of the scratches. I sanded only the areas that you see. Once I had gone over with that grit I moved up to another grit probably 250 then 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500 finishing with 2000. I recall once I started using 400 grit it only took about 5 minutes per grit after that. The 180 and 250 grits took probably 30 minutes each.
I then polished with a chrome and mag wheel cleaner using a cloth/rag. It's at this point they should start to look great. I then took them to a spray painter that day who painted 2 coats of solvent clear coat on them (stops them turning black after a few weeks the reason Ford anodized them in the first place). They came back looking amazing. 12 months on they still look good - make the car IMO.

A few tips:
Each piece takes a long time. Some pieces took 2 hours each. But in the end the result was amazing they look brand new.
If you have dented pieces they can be restored would recommend practicing with small hammers on a another piece to figure a technique that works for you.
With the lower grits you are sanding out the deeper scratches. As you go up the grits you are basically sanding out the marks that each level of sandpaper creates if that makes sense.
The oven cleaner was a nothing special standard brand.
Wear good gloves it's a messy job.
Wouldn't use more than 2 coats of clear coat. Worst case scenario you could get a stone chip this could cause the clear coat to peel. This hasn't happened to me yet.
Patience is the key. Once you've done the first piece and got a technique that works for you it's just time after that.

Hope that helps. I'm no expert but once I got over that this job would take time and found a technique I could work with looking back really happy with the results.

Kerry
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#5
asusnz;215230 Wrote:I had the same question 12 months back. After reading some posts here and watching the odd youtube video this is what worked for me:

I decided to start with the door aluminium weatherstrip channels first (removed from the car). First thing was to remove the old rubber residue plus previous sealers that had been used inside the channels. Once done I took them outside and sprayed oven cleaner on them - left them to sit for a few minutes then washed off with water (this removes the clear coat anodizing that Ford put on at the factory). Can't remember exact time I left soaking in oven cleaner but I recall trying for 30 seconds that did virtually nothing. It was probably five-ten minutes maybe slightly longer. Leaving the oven cleaner on for too long can apparently pit the aluminum but I never had that problem.

My channels were badly scratched so I started "wet sanding" (ie. sand paper and water) with something like 150-180 grit. I initially tried with 400 grit but didn't seem to work well on some of the scratches. I sanded only the areas that you see. Once I had gone over with that grit I moved up to another grit probably 250 then 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500 finishing with 2000. I recall once I started using 400 grit it only took about 5 minutes per grit after that. The 180 and 250 grits took probably 30 minutes each.
I then polished with a chrome and mag wheel cleaner using a cloth/rag. It's at this point they should start to look great. I then took them to a spray painter that day who painted 2 coats of solvent clear coat on them (stops them turning black after a few weeks the reason Ford anodized them in the first place). They came back looking amazing. 12 months on they still look good - make the car IMO.

A few tips:
Each piece takes a long time. Some pieces took 2 hours each. But in the end the result was amazing they look brand new.
If you have dented pieces they can be restored would recommend practicing with small hammers on a another piece to figure a technique that works for you.
With the lower grits you are sanding out the deeper scratches. As you go up the grits you are basically sanding out the marks that each level of sandpaper creates if that makes sense.
The oven cleaner was a nothing special standard brand.
Wear good gloves it's a messy job.
Wouldn't use more than 2 coats of clear coat. Worst case scenario you could get a stone chip this could cause the clear coat to peel. This hasn't happened to me yet.
Patience is the key. Once you've done the first piece and got a technique that works for you it's just time after that.

Hope that helps. I'm no expert but once I got over that this job would take time and found a technique I could work with looking back really happy with the results.

Kerry

Good writeup Kerry. Thanks for the contribution! I wonder if the painter sanded yours down before spraying. Will clear stick to 2000 grit?
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#6
c9zx;215226 Wrote:Go here http://www.7173mustangs.com/thread-any-s...andodizing
Post #12.

Chuck

+1 I read this a while back and have been refinishing my aluminum pieces with no problems...it's simple, fast, and reliable, not too mention free! Thanks Chuck!

JHawk
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#7
jhawk635;215299 Wrote:
c9zx;215226 Wrote:Go here http://www.7173mustangs.com/thread-any-s...andodizing
Post #12.

Chuck

+1 I read this a while back and have been refinishing my aluminum pieces with no problems...it's simple, fast, and reliable, not too mention free! Thanks Chuck!

JHawk
I'm glad it worked well for you. Sending them out to be done is Soooo expensive. Chuck
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#8
Thanks folks, this is just the kind of information that I was looking for, I would never had thought about using oven cleaner to strip off clear coat. I was planning on trying different buffing wheels / compounds chucked in the floor drill press and set on high. Putting a small buffing wheel in a 20K RPM die grinder is just begging to hurt me unless I can slow it down. Early one morning, (worked nights then)years ago I was using a steel knoted end brush with my die grinder and had a bristle break off and went thru my upper lip and into my gum, safety glasses on - yes, face shield - no. It felt like I got kicked in the face by a horse, I pulled it out myself and doctored myself up and went back to work finishing what I was doing. I had a very nice fat lip and one hell of a sore neck from the whip lash for about a week. I went out and got me a face shield before returning to work later that day and kept it locked in my tool box as it seemed that any of the "shop equipment" like that would get damaged or abused and it took forever to get it replaced. LESSON LEARNED... THE HARD WAY....
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#9
Dusty1;215316 Wrote:Thanks folks, this is just the kind of information that I was looking for, I would never had thought about using oven cleaner to strip off clear coat. I was planning on trying different buffing wheels / compounds chucked in the floor drill press and set on high. Putting a small buffing wheel in a 20K RPM die grinder is just begging to hurt me unless I can slow it down. Early one morning, (worked nights then)years ago I was using a steel knoted end brush with my die grinder and had a bristle break off and went thru my upper lip and into my gum, safety glasses on - yes, face shield - no. It felt like I got kicked in the face by a horse, I pulled it out myself and doctored myself up and went back to work finishing what I was doing. I had a very nice fat lip and one hell of a sore neck from the whip lash for about a week. I went out and got me a face shield before returning to work later that day and kept it locked in my tool box as it seemed that any of the "shop equipment" like that would get damaged or abused and it took forever to get it replaced. LESSON LEARNED... THE HARD WAY....
If you have a bench grinder put a buffing wheel on one side. It is not as good as a real long shaft buffer but worked for me. It helps if the grinder is on a small stand instead of a bench that limits the movement and angle of the piece being worked. Chuck
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#10
Polishing has been my winter job. Like some have said there are videos on youtube and the net that show how to strip the anodizing before polish. The stripping process makes Hydrogen gas so do it outside and no open flames. If you have dents you can almost massage the dents out doesn't take much. If you have uneven surfaces you need to file them or use a stone to get that back even then start the sanding and polish. For a cheap buffer go to Harbor Freight for like $25.00 they have a two head one and also have the wheels. Keep your buffing pads in zip lock bags and do not use different compounds on the same pad. If you have a convertible one of the things that makes it pop is to polish the windshield stainless and the stainless behind the top in rear. Where the seal sets on the windshield upper frame it scratches the stainless. You can sand with 500 and then 1,200 to get deep ones out and can push dents out and then buff until they are like a mirror. If you send them off they charge a fortune so good way to save money. DO NOT WEAR LOOSE CLOTHING OR CLOTH GLOVES WHILE BUFFING WITH MACHINE. You have to be careful on a buffer and not catch the edge. NEVER have an edge to where the wheel is coming down on it or you will have it pulled out of your had before you can blink. Always have edges going down so the wheel will not catch.
David
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