How to polish metal engine parts?

Discussion in 'Compounds, Polishes, Paint Cleaners, and Glazes' started by domino, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. domino

    domino Welcome to Detailing

    Hey guys

    Want to start detailing the engine bay on my GTR

    Ive already ordered some carbon goodies (engine cover, radiator panel etc) and want to polish the intake/plenum to a chrome finish

    Something like this.....

    Ive never done this before. Where do i begin? Do i need a dremel? What products, pads etc? Is there a one stop shop kit i can buy?

    Attached Files:

  2. JoeyZ

    JoeyZ Obsessive Detailer

    I used a dremel with polishing attachment. I see if I have a pic. However, I only did a very small part. Looks like you have much more to polish there. I used some cheap Mothers Metal Polish.
  3. domino

    domino Welcome to Detailing

    just did some google'ing and found this kit - comes with the 1" polishing disc, though i think id have to smooth the finish out first with some sanding paper as it has a crackle finish

    dremel sell their own compound too

    i gotta see if i can find a larger polishing discs......1" is going to take me a whole year

    1100-01 Dremel Stylus? Kit / Model: 1100-01
  4. JoeyZ

    JoeyZ Obsessive Detailer

    yup...thats what i was saying.....that little pad will drive you INSANE!!
  5. kc1337

    kc1337 Obsessive Detailer

  6. SilverGTV8

    SilverGTV8 Jedi Nuba

    If you got to get rid of the crinkle finish first...

    How about some abrasive fiber pads and a die grinder. I use that to clean up my rims before painting and worked well, probably start with a course pad then go to a finer pad, then maybe take say 1500 grit paper to it, then start working with polishing compounds...
  7. grease

    grease Birth of a Detailer

    A good dremel kit combined with Mothers Powercone should do the trick as far as tools are concerned. For a perfectly straight and sharp aluminum, you should definitely try the Blackfire or Wolfgang Triplets. The compound cuts much better then Wenol Red, but leaves the finish somewhat dull comparatively. Youlll need the fine cut polish to remove the haze. The concours polish wont remove the haze, but it will take the shine to another level. The concours polish is the best finishing metal polish Ive used... Ive used both the Wolfgang and the Blackfire triplets, and they both perform almost identically... Im sure there are small differences, but I cant tell...

    BLACKFIRE Aluminum Polishing System

    Chrome polish, aluminum polish, stainless steel polish, metal sealant, Wolfgang metal polishes, Wenol metal polishes, Rolite metal polish, Flitz metal
  8. Tire Shredder

    Tire Shredder Jedi Nuba

    All of the methods you guys are describing are for polishing metals that are are already polished. that is to mean, they have already been leveled.

    There's a big difference between truly polished aluminum, and cast aluminum that has been shined up.... I'll show you what I mean.

    I have significant experience polishing several aluminum and steel parts. Like these wheels.

    from this.....


    to this...




    I did a very basic write up, here about 6 years ago on this. have a look over it.

    Project Bling: Completed (restored wheels and other stuff) *56k WARNING

    i've also done several cast parts like my valve covers. they were very rough cast and required lots of sanding.



    but they can be brought shiny too




    Basically, it's just like doing serious paint renovation, but on a much larger may need to go as aggressive as 80 grit in some situations. obviously, removal of parts from your engine is mandatory. there is no easy way to do's extremely time consuming.

    as usual, anything that rotates can make the job go faster. die grinders, flap wheels, sanding rolls and palm sanders can all be helpful. In my experience, about 98% of the time is spent sanding. Superior prep work gives superior results. the actual polishing takes about 10 minutes for a part...but can have 10s of hours worth of sanding time. The most important thing to know is to remove sanding scratches from the previous level of paper used. Go 90 degrees to the previous step and ensure ALL scratches are removed. if you spend 10 minutes too little on the second step of a 6 step sanding process, those very same scratches will show through, no matter how much you rub with your final pieces of paper.

    I have outlined the basics in that thread that should give you a good start. Just remember you are leveling the aluminum to a smooth surface to give good optics, just like a paint finish. The very first step has to be perfect, as do the others.

    Have a red over my thread, and come back here with any questions, I will be happy to answer.
  9. domino

    domino Welcome to Detailing

    ^ that's pretty much confirmed for me this will be a job for a pro
  10. Norseman

    Norseman Virgin Detailer

    It all depends on how much time and effort you are willing to invest. Like the post above, sanding is the key factor. I had about 6 hours of sanding into a small exhaust pipe for a gas rc car. Once you have sanded the surface smooth as glass then you can achieve that mirror shine that looks like chrome

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