aluminum trim pieces restoring tricks - Ford Muscle Forums : Ford Muscle Cars Tech Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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aluminum trim pieces restoring tricks

Hey all,
Looking for some advice on restoring my aluminum trim on my 66 500 xl vert. I know the trim is anodized and that needs to be taken off before restoring. Some of my questions are, how to repair holes, or missing pieces. I got the dents figured out. Can i solder missing pieces or filling holes? how do you guys do it? Also, how can i paint the black on the rocker pieces. Is it lots of masking or just spray it all and then sand down high places??? can I buff on a wheel the aluminum parts?? Slow speed or 3200 rpm??? what color polish??? Lastly, anyone have some old bad scrap pieces i could have or buy (cheap) to practice on????
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 09:00 AM
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Re: aluminum trim pieces restoring tricks

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Originally Posted by JIM4 View Post
Hey all,
Looking for some advice on restoring my aluminum trim on my 66 500 xl vert. I know the trim is anodized and that needs to be taken off before restoring. Some of my questions are, how to repair holes, or missing pieces. I got the dents figured out. Can i solder missing pieces or filling holes? how do you guys do it? Also, how can i paint the black on the rocker pieces. Is it lots of masking or just spray it all and then sand down high places??? can I buff on a wheel the aluminum parts?? Slow speed or 3200 rpm??? what color polish??? Lastly, anyone have some old bad scrap pieces i could have or buy (cheap) to practice on????
Cant speak to the repairs, however I soaked my trim in oven cleaner (think you're looking for LYE as the active ingredient), that stripped the coating, scuffed it to get the rest off and polished with mothers polish. Not perfect by any means, but 75% better than it was.


1966 Ford Galaxie 500 -289
2005 Ford Expedition -5.4
1983 Honda CM-450a -450cc
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Re: aluminum trim pieces restoring tricks

Has anyone tried this product to fix aluminum trim pieces.
Aluminum Welding | Muggy Weld.com

Has anyone used Drano to remove the anodizing from trim???

Has anyone used just a aluminum polish to shine up trim????

Do I need to buff aluminum trim after removing anodizing or just use polish????

Has anyone sprayed clear on refurbished aluminum trim???? HOW to do it and how does it look and last???

does anyone have old pieces they cant use, so I can practice on?????

Last edited by JIM4; 02-17-2017 at 10:52 AM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: aluminum trim pieces restoring tricks

Now I see why trim costs so much. No one knows how to repair it and or shine it up. Great, I will figure it out and charge a biljillion dollars
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 04:20 PM
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Oven cleaner works good, be patient. Aluminum polish will shine it up. Clear coat with UV clear coat works to protect and not have to polish every few weeks.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 05:37 PM
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Re: aluminum trim pieces restoring tricks

The biggest cost with restoring aluminum trim is in the preparation. Aside from cleaning the parts and stripping the anodized finish off, it comes down to straightening and polishing the metal. The brightdip (if desired) and anodizing processes aren't as costly as these steps.

So if you were to bring in nice clean straight parts to a trim shop, the cost will be a lot lower than not.

Another consideration is whether you intend to get your parts "brightdipped". This is the additional process the factories used that gives you that chrome-looking finish. There's a difference between just getting parts anodized and brightdipped+anodized. Brightdipped parts will have a brilliant shine, like chrome, whereas anodized look nice but are more cloudy.

Still aluminum can be polished to look quite nice. The trick is keeping it that way, which is why the factory went with brightdipping (lasts a long time). As DSTARK alluded, you want to seal these aluminum parts once polished. Otherwise oxidation takes place and it will begin corroding. The factory seals with anodizing. Folks with those big aluminum windstream camper trailers swear by Sharkhide. Other folks say Permalac.

The challenge with aluminum is that it has weak adhesion properties. If clearcoat + UV protection is being applied, adhesion promoter with catalyst should also be added to help increase adhesion and long term durability.

Everything comes down to money, time and what you want. In my case, I didn't want to be in the "aluminum maintenance" business where I'm cleaning and polishing aluminum a few times every year. It's not a big deal, and I'm not "above" that kind of work. I just didn't want to deal with it. At the same time, I didn't have an endless budget. So as mentioned above, I found good straight relatively scratch-free parts which I thoroughly cleaned, then brought them to the trim shop for polishing, brightdipping and anodizing.

It cost me more, but I helped save $$ by having good clean parts to start with (which didn't require much prep). The brightdip was a cost-adder, but the incremental hit wasn't a ton actually. In the end, the extra $$ was worth it to me given the trim looks almost like chrome and I don't have to worry about maintenance.

Either way good luck!!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 10:27 AM
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Thx for the bright dip info, prep is always the cost in things looking good.
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