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  1. #1
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    How do you clean underhood cast aluminum parts

    Hi all,

    I have a bunch of cast aluminum parts under my hood and they are very rough and hold dirt that is hard to remove. Are there any products/techniques for cleaning these parts?

    I heard that acidic products should not be used, so just looking for some suggestions.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: How do you clean underhood cast aluminum parts

    I'd try to use a tooth brush to remove most of the dirt, then follow up first with an APC, then with an acidic cleaner to remove the remaining corrosion, and then finish off with a metal polish. If the tooth brush is not hard enough, you can try copper or brass brushes, but those can also scratch the aluminum surface, as they're harder materials than the latter.

    Using an acidic cleaner on corroded aluminum should not be a problem (well, it's actually a must to remove the corrosion), but you should use a wetted towel to apply it to the surface, to avoid overspray/dripping and getting the acid on parts that *would* get harmed by it.

    As always, do a smaller test spot first, and proceed to doing larger areas only if satisfied with the results.

  3. #3
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: How do you clean underhood cast aluminum parts

    Quote Originally Posted by ssbowtie1 View Post

    Hi all,

    I have a bunch of cast aluminum parts under my hood and they are very rough and hold dirt that is hard to remove. Are there any products/techniques for cleaning these parts?

    I heard that acidic products should not be used, so just looking for some suggestions.

    Thanks!

    In my experience, acid products will not only stain uncoated and uncoated polished aluminum, usually a grey color, but because there's a certain level of porosity to aluminum, the stain will go "into" the aluminum, not just be "topical". Then you really will have your work cut out for you.


    I don't mind polishing large aluminum stuff but getting into engine components is tedious work. My friend Rob the Harley Detailer is an expert and over the years has accumulated all the tools and techniques to do it right, do it safe and make things like engine compartments look like jewelry. But Rob, like a lot of guys, don't post on forums nor facebook and he normally doesn't share is secrets unless your his buddy.

    If it's important - perhaps try to find a Harley detailer and see what the can do for you?


    Mike Phillips
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  4. #4
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: How do you clean underhood cast aluminum parts

    Link here,

    Rob Harley Detailer















    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member
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    Mike Phillips Facebook Page
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    Click on a book to get your own copy.



  5. #5
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    Re: How do you clean underhood cast aluminum parts

    A bit long and too much talk, but the results are impressive:



    Obviously if the parts are not just aluminum, but some alloy or something that just looks like aluminum, they could react very differently.

  6. #6
    Senior Member FUNX650's Avatar
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    Re: How do you clean underhood cast aluminum parts

    Quote Originally Posted by itsgn View Post
    I don’t believe that this particular truck
    accessory is actually manufactured from
    cast aluminum.

    Therefore:
    I personally don’t see how it’s applicable
    to this thread-starter’s subject matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by ssbowtie1 View Post
    I heard that acidic products
    should not be used...
    I will also say: should not!
    (Especially true—RE: cast aluminum)


    Bob
    "Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk."
    ~Joaquin de Setanti

  7. #7
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    Re: How do you clean underhood cast aluminum parts

    Cast aluminum products under the hood are a pain to clean and even worse if you want to keep them brightened, per say. Dirt and filth over time cause a darkening effect to the metal. I've found the best way to clean them is just with a mild APC and a detail brush, just like If you were conducting a normal engine clean. I've also found that Sonus Motor Kote seems to hold up well to keep the metal looking good for a decent amount of time. Otherwise, on my own vehicle, I like to remove these items and get them powder coated for this reason alone. Makes cleaning much easier and you can get it done in about any color you wish. Personally, I like to keep it looking OEM, with a cast color or just flat black.

    Edit: I almost forgot... I've used Bar Keepers Friend 'soft cleanser' and a damp sponge in the past with excellent results. I've heard of some even using EazyOff oven cleaner or a BBQ grill type cleaner. Again, I don't recommend it as I've never tried it and its a bit caustic. If it did work, I would remove the part first. Just a warning.

  8. #8
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    Re: How do you clean underhood cast aluminum parts

    Take a look at the Flitz Pre-cleaners. They have all-metal ones and ones specifically for aluminum. And an assortment of brushes

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