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cure for dull aluminum trim?

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  • cure for dull aluminum trim?

    Is there a thread on getting the shine back in aluminum trim? If not, has anybody had any luck? We've got a '64 Daytona with a really dull grill, and with all the little sharp angles pressed into the mesh portion, I don't see how to get any consistent shine out of it.Help.

  • #2
    It's easier to replace the grill. IIRC, the NOS 4-headlight version is NLA, but the 2-headlight grills are still available and reasonably priced. I am told that the 2-light grill can be easily modified for the 4-light application. Anybody done this?

    Jim Bradley
    Lewistown PA
    '64 Daytona HT "Rerun"
    Jim Bradley
    Lake Monticello, VA
    '78 Avanti II
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Aluminum forms a very thin layer of oxidation (dull) on the surface that protects the remaining metal below from being in contact with air. If you have ever cut aluminum you have noticed that the fresh cut is very shiny. Polishing removes the oxidation, but on the grill you describe this would probably be very difficult. A mild phosphoric acid solution will remove oxidation from aluminum (dip, wipe, spray, etc.), but of course the oxidation will start again after a while. If you apply a lacquer over the aluminum after either chemically cleaning or polishing, the shine will be protected.

      I don't recall the exact strenght or dilution ratio to use but it is probably available on-line somewhere. Probably worth a try, since phosphoric acid is cheap.

      Las Vegas, NV - Stop by, coffee's on!
      '51 Champion Business Coupe G899965 10G-Q4-1434

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      • #4
        quote: the NOS 4-headlight version is NLA, but the 2-headlight grills are still available and reasonably priced. I am told that the 2-light grill can be easily modified for the 4-light application. Anybody done this?

        Jim Bradley
        Yes, I have done this... It does work just fine, but cutting must be done very carefully- as you need to leave a couple "tabs" of aluminum- for the 4-hole headlight buckets to screw to.
        I made sure to cut mine too small... and then trimmed to fit.

        I KNOW I have some pictures here somewhere......

        Ray


        Specializing in Studebaker Restoration
        Ray

        www.raylinrestoration.com
        Specializing in Studebaker Restoration

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        • #5
          Air conditioning supply wholesalers sell an acid aluminum brightener/cleaner for A/C condenser coils. The acid cleaners are a blend of phosphoric acid and HYDROFLUORIC acid. Yes, that is Hydrofluoric and not Hydrochloric. The above acid cleaner is usually diluted about 1 to 10, acid to water, for about 5 minutes. WARNING. This acid blend is EXTREMELY dangerous to work with.The problem is if you get it on your skin or inhale the fumes it does not burn immediately. By the time the acid does burn it is too late for the medical community to do anything about it. People have lost body parts when using this acid blend . The body tissue slowly dies as the fluorides replace the calcium in the effected tissue. In NYC 2 waste trash haulers died and a third was very seriously injured when a home owner threw out a 1/2 full 1 gallon bottle of acid cleaner. The bottle burst while it was being compacted and sprayed down the workers.
          Also, the gases acid cleaners give off are hydrogen which is extremely flammable. Remember the Hindenberg. On the other hand it makes an excellent cleaner brightener.
          Phosphoric acid by itself is relatively safe to work with, ( you can still burn yourself or lose an eye) but doesn't brighten as well.It will clean and remove the oxide layer. Phosphoric will also generate hydrogen gas. So use it outside.
          I have seen liquid aluminum wheel brighteners at the auto stores. I do not know how well they work.
          Please be very careful. Rubber gloves and plastic goggles are a minimum when working with acid.[xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(]

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          • #6
            <center>ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!!!</center>
            There is NO WAY IN HE** that phosphoric acid or ANY of the above cleaners will bring the "shine" back to your ANODIZED Aluminum pieces... Please DO NOT try them on your grille- you will be SORELY dissappointed- and the results will be worse than when you started.

            Once those pieces have started to dull- all you can do is put a sealer/wax over the top to make them "look" better (this usually only last 2 weeks or so)... but there is NO WAY to rectify the oxidation process on an anodized aluminum piece.
            If there was any "secret formula"... You can bet it would be sold in every auto parts store possible. How much have YOU SEEN?

            For anodized pieces- we (and everyone with a 1964-1980's car) are pretty much "stuck"...

            You "CAN" strip ALL the anodizing off- and polish the underlying aluminum- but this is a VERY time consuming and dreadful task on anything but nice straight pieces (such as your side moldings)

            The only way to return the piece to original is to have it re-anodized. I cannot find anyone that will do small-lots of anodizing.. Maybe you will have better luck in your area.

            Ray



            Specializing in Studebaker Restoration
            Ray

            www.raylinrestoration.com
            Specializing in Studebaker Restoration

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            • #7
              Thanks for the input. Have ordered new 2 headlamp grille. You gentlemen have saved my hours of wasted frustration. Now I can be frustrated about something else...

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              • #8
                Ray's point about leaving tabs to fasten the headlight rims sounds like good advice. Measure twice, cut once. IIRC, there are also two tabs at the bottom of the opening that are needed to hook the bottom of the headlight rims.

                Save your frustration for something other than your Studebaker! Let us know how you make out. (I may need to replace my grille some day)

                Jim Bradley
                Lewistown PA
                '64 Daytona HT "Rerun"
                Jim Bradley
                Lake Monticello, VA
                '78 Avanti II
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've worked at two different places that had anodizing operations. For what's involved in the process, it's easy to understand why there's no one that'll do onesies and twosies. It's an involved and exacting process that requires heated vats of various washes and coloration baths. Even tho the aluminum pieces on our Studes look like just plain aluminum, it's actually COLORED aluminum color to get the look and the durability that's desired.
                  But back to what I said about the elaborate process involved - it would be cost prohibitive to do this 'n that bits as folks came thru the door! And too, there'd be the prep work to get a 40 - 50 year old piece ready to anodize so it'd come out looking like the customer would expect it to given what he'd be asked to pay!

                  Some of my fondest memories [xx(] are of operating from the basket of an 80ft boom lift over vats of boiling acids and other solutions while trying to get the overhead trolley-hoist to work. The vats were huge enough to swallow wing spars from the DC-10s and C-17s that were being built there (McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft). Working amidst the vapors wafting up, while the basket was bouncing on it's fully-extended boom, was a treat that I'm glad is only a memory now.[B)]

                  Miscreant adrift in
                  the BerStuda Triangle


                  1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                  1960 Larkvertible V8
                  1958 Provincial wagon
                  1953 Commander coupe

                  No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

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                  • #10
                    Heres one you may want to try.Go to your local supermarket and get some white vinegar and cream of tartar,also known as tartanic acid(yes I know, acid again).Mix the two to form a paste and apply to stainless, aluminum or whatever.Let this dry then wipe off and buff with a clean cloth.I read this in a magaine somewhere,and I haven't tried this myself.Let me know if this does the trick (I'd try a small section first.) Good Luck!

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                    • #11
                      you know airstream trailers are aluminum like some of the old aeroplane and they shine those and mag wheels are as well mothers has a sponge ball you put on a drill and use a buffing compound to shine up trim and wheels I saw one at the parts store on the shelf by the wax. I use a 1/2 inch drill with a 9" wool compounding bonnet to clean off the flat side of my trailer and the compound I use is Nuvite G6 I use F9 some but its very abrasive. I have some of my old 1949 Detroiter trailer shine like a mirror. Look up Nuvite they have a site where you can study the method even if you get the mothers brand.
                      I got 2 gal of muratic acid at home depot and washed my trailer and it will clean it up quite a bit but its a real nasty job I skip when I can but rust removal is important because it just rubs it into the aluminum and will look worse.

                      1955 Commander

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                      • #12
                        The Ultra One Co offers their degreaser as a safe alternative to hydrofluoric acid IRT cleaning aluminum (and many other things). I haven't tried it, but have had good results using their "Safest Rust Remover" product.

                        http://forum.missbelvedere.com/bbs/v...d8006c2664d085

                        60 Hawk
                        Black on red, of course

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                        • #13
                          Be careful when using Muriatic(hydrochloric)acid to clean aluminum.
                          Some aluminums during manufacturing contain enough contaminants, that the HCl acid can actually turn the aluminum permantely black.

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