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Any of you guys got a trick for restoring anodizes aluminum trim. Can it just be buffed out and clear coated, or is there a specific process to get it back to factory appearance? I know there are shops that do it, but they charge a fortune.
 

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Any of you guys got a trick for restoring anodizes aluminum trim. Can it just be buffed out and clear coated, or is there a specific process to get it back to factory appearance? I know there are shops that do it, but they charge a fortune.
I has to be stripped and anodized for a factory appearance, You can polish it but it will never look factory.
 

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5.0 is right. I couldn't find new/replacement headlight buckets for my Fairlane. I bought a mini anvil and some jewelers hammers at harbour freight. Bought a book on repairing trim. Just took some patience. Then took the buckets to a shop specializing in polishing and anodizing. Well worth every penny. Wasn't really that expensive. When it was all done, there was a hairline crack in a seam. Backed it up with 15 minute epoxy. Even I can't find the crack now.
 

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Thanks, I have since learned that it is a specialized process and must be stripped and reapplied. I found a place in Minnesota the does such work.
 

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Lye will strip the anodize off. Then you can buff it out. Go to youtube and type in stripping aluminum trim. There are 3 video's on it.
I seen a bunch of them. This is the one I think I'm going to try when the time comes.

63 impala video 49? POLISHING TRIM SECRET - YouTube

It's fast, works quite well, and very, very good. Acording to the video. If anyone trys this let us know how it works on Ford aluminum trim.
 

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Just my .02. Lye, oven cleaner, etc does work. But not very efficiently. It is a real PITA. If you are going to repair then have re-anodized you will find that the repair process will remove much of what needs to be remove. It is then faster, easier and cheaper in the long run to have whoever is re-anodizing your pieces remove the old finish and buff it out.
 

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Well, that video looks pretty convincing. I guess it's worth a try as long as the drain opener doesn't cause any erosion of the aluminum. Thanks guys!
 

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I tried some of the Anodizing remover sold by a company that specialized in buffing and polishing equipment. I didn't have much luck with it.

I ended up taking it a company that does Anodizing to have it removed, Polished and Anodized again. It wasn't to expensive from what I can remember. And it looks like new or better!

I've heard of people not getting the parts Anodized again, but you have to keep it polished and waxed. No thanks.


Jet
 

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Thanks jet, I'd much rather have it done professionally and done right too. I'm going to make some inquiries up in Canada as I have heard they do plating for a lot cheaper then in the states. What scares me is I talked to a guy at a car show recently who paid over $1300 just to have the aluminum trim on his '64 Fairlane stripped and re anodized at a place in California. Then there's all the pot metal chrome that needs redoing too.
 

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I've heard of people not getting the parts Anodized again, but you have to keep it polished and waxed. No thanks.


Jet
POR15 has à product called Glitsen..
A exellent clear coating for that ...
 

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POR15 has à product called Glitsen..
A exellent clear coating for that ...
+1. I stripped the aluminum trim on a Merc in 2001, buffed it with $20 of supplies and sealed it with Glisten PC. It still looks like chrome today and spends much of it's time parked outside. I also did the aluminum heads with it (just wiped-down out of the box) and they also look like they were installed yesterday. A little goes a long way, and a pint did it all (including a lot of wasted over-spray) with 1/3 can left-over. Zero maintenance.
:tup:
David

PS: I originally tried this because I've received bent or destroyed pieces back in shipping as there was no (good) local shop, and the best price for decent work was $400 plus shipping - 10 years ago. Some parts you just can't replace, or don't want the hassle of trying to find them and get enough insurance payment to cover, etc. After all that, you still have to send those parts back out for more $ and wait again... :( The only down-side is it took two full weekends and careful patience to do it the first time DIY.
 

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Thanks David, I'm going to give it a try myself first because I am concerned about shipping the large pieces without damage too. What method did you use to strip the old anodizing? I've got all winter to polish the pieces out with my Dremal and this is not going to be a Concurs correct show car but more of a resto-moded mid-sixties super stocker. If it doesn't turn out to my satisfaction, then I wiil give McNichols a shout.
 

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Thanks David, I'm going to give it a try myself first because I am concerned about shipping the large pieces without damage too. What method did you use to strip the old anodizing? I've got all winter to polish the pieces out with my Dremal and this is not going to be a Concurs correct show car but more of a resto-moded mid-sixties super stocker. If it doesn't turn out to my satisfaction, then I wiil give McNichols a shout.
Note that I have a couple books on trim and I never have read them, so this is all just my experiments based on previous similar life experience and taking a shot at it. I think it works very well, but then again I could be missing something that would make the process easier or better. That said. . .

I used an industrial cleaner from a restaurant supply, but it's still potassium hydroxide (similar to sodium hydroxide "lye"). I split 33 gallon garbage bags to make long plastic sheets (I didn't have a roll of Visqueen or $1 plastic painter's tarps at first). The trim was laid on the plastic, sprayed or brushed with cleaner, and the plastic folded over so the cleaner wouldn't dry too fast. After 10 minutes, I started pulling teh plastic back a bit at a time to scrub the trim with generic brand red Scotchbrite. You can tell if it's cutting through and if not, just spray a bit more and cover it again to repeat.

Once it's all evenly scrubbed, it's out to the driveway to blast it with the hose. The next light pass is with fine Wet-or-Dry sandpaper on little rubber blocks (or abrasive-coated foam sanding blocks from the hardware) that will expose high and low areas that need attention before moving on. Be careful of over-doing peaks, corners and edges anywhere in the process. Then finer grades of pads, followed by ultrafine wet-or-dry sandpaper on the small rubber blocks. I try to keep the trim on the floor or table the whole time to avoid handling and bending when applying pressure, but the very edges must be done while holding. Fortunately, the edges are easy and lightly push sideways on it so bending is not nearly so likely.

I've used buffing machines before - but not enough to really get skilled - and I don't trust myself to avoid bending or catching an edge and twisting the trim to a pretzel while cutting my fingers off. So, I use an electric die grinder with a home-made variable speed box using a dimmer switch. It's basically a giant Dremel tool. 4 and 6-inch buffing wheels and a box of compound sticks does the rest in stages. I do not recommend a Dremel as it will be too slow, but especially as it will not be large enough contact area to give an even polish without distortion and waves.

Again, I try to keep it flat on the table and run the wheels down it with fairly low speed and light pressure with each pass at a cross-angle. Final passes are lengthwise. I held trim down with foam blocks and Qwik-Clamps. Yes, I needed a second set of hands a few times so I could control the wheel with two hands. Most important tip - smooth even passes like spray painting. Do NOT work areas or spots or you will get uneven distortions you won't see until the final polish. I wash and degrease very thoroughly (especially the back and edges) and shoot the sealer.

Removal of the anodizing can be done several ways, and I have done small pieces using the electrolysis method and just a little lye that worked very well, and also alkaline cleaners like Greased Lightning (spray, scrub, spray, scrub). Try a couple alkaline substances to find what technique works well for you. Be patient and do not skip doing each finer grade thoroughly, or the scratches will take twice as long to get out later. Use everything lightly. Relax and enjoy.

David

PS: if your trim not damaged at all, and is just dull or mottled, then you should try to start with finer grades of abrasives. No sense in making it rough just to polish it back out.
 

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Thanks David, for a very detailed description! All of my trim is indented and unscratched, so it just needs stripping and buffing. I'm going to give your method a shot. The front grill is going to be the tough one as it has many cross bars and is very flimsy.
 

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Just my .02. Lye, oven cleaner, etc does work. But not very efficiently. It is a real PITA. If you are going to repair then have re-anodized you will find that the repair process will remove much of what needs to be remove. It is then faster, easier and cheaper in the long run to have whoever is re-anodizing your pieces remove the old finish and buff it out.
So I've done some research on this and I am going to use the por15 product that was mentioned elsewhere in the thread, however how does this effect the black pinstripping on the 66/67 trim? does it remove it too? I just dont think I have a steady enough hand to re paint those lines on there haha
 

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+1. I stripped the aluminum trim on a Merc in 2001, buffed it with $20 of supplies and sealed it with Glisten PC. It still looks like chrome today and spends much of it's time parked outside. I also did the aluminum heads with it (just wiped-down out of the box) and they also look like they were installed yesterday. A little goes a long way, and a pint did it all (including a lot of wasted over-spray) with 1/3 can left-over. Zero maintenance.
:tup:
David

PS: I originally tried this because I've received bent or destroyed pieces back in shipping as there was no (good) local shop, and the best price for decent work was $400 plus shipping - 10 years ago. Some parts you just can't replace, or don't want the hassle of trying to find them and get enough insurance payment to cover, etc. After all that, you still have to send those parts back out for more $ and wait again... :( The only down-side is it took two full weekends and careful patience to do it the first time DIY.
So how does the Glisten affect non bare metal surfaces, like for example the painted stripes on the 66/67 fairlane lower trim that runs the length of the car? will it cover that or will it react weird with the painted surface?
 

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I had no reactions the one time I over-painted with it. That was urethane enamel Ford Argent-color highlights on wheels. I don't know what the black insets in your trim are done with, and I doubt it would react with the Glisten PC chemicals, but I would call or email POR for info or do a tiny test dot.

David
 
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