Oxidized Aluminum

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By Painter John

The straight dope on clear coated aluminum:

Painted aluminum parts are to treated like your painted sheet metal. If your experiencing stubborn water spots, or dulling, you may have to wet sand and buff them out. Water spots are cause by hard water drying on your paint. If they are left alone too long, the minerals in the water will go to work on the paint and actually etch the effected area.

The Factory clear coats the aluminum to keep it from corroding.

Most aluminum's are alloys. The dissimilar metals have unequal electrical balance... it's an anode cathode thing. Aluminum alloys corrode all by themselves when exposed to the electrolytes (salts) in the air. This is why the factory clear coats, chromes, or otherwise coats these parts. Unfortunately, their clear coat methods are not always quite adequate. 

If your experiencing corrosion (which appears as a white powder) under the clear, the parts have to be stripped. Paint stripper does the trick. Spray on is a little easier to use, and most of your gasket removers will work as they're basically the same thing (methylene chloride). Now that you have them stripped.. you need to do something to protect your aluminum from corroding again.

To do this, they need to be treated with an aluminum prep or Ospho works just fine. Ospho is a self neutralizing metal conditioner ( meaning you don't have to rinse it off but do wipe the excess off) which can be purchased at most hardware stores or automotive paint suppliers. The active ingredient is phosphoric acid which is a mild acid ( it won't burn you on contact but will irritate the skin so you should wear rubber gloves). It's the same ingredient that's in navel jelly. Phosphoric acid converts rust or ‘red oxide’ into ‘iron’ or black ‘oxide’ which is a stable compound . It does actually kill rust (when we're dealing with carbon steel) and corrosion on aluminum in it's tracks! Then they are ready to polish and/or re-clear.. Any good clear urethane will do such as Imron or I prefer House of Kolor's UC1 clear. If it's done correctly. it will far outlast what the factory does and will save you many hours of polishing... Whatever works for you..

As for polishing, one of my customers turned me on to a product to puts the others to shame. It's called X-treme Metal Polish (no I don't have stock in the company but I should). X-treme come is two parts.. the polish itself and then a sealer.... I don't know what they put in that stuff but it makes your aluminum look like your ol' ladies best polished silver. Then the most important part.... the sealer.. X-treme Metal Magic Metal Sealer.. The sealer wipes on like a liquid wax .... you know... wipe on... wipe off... <heh Heh>

I've tested these products on a piece of rough aluminum stock and left it outside my shop for over one year... It works.

X-treme can be hard to find so here's the company info taken off the product containers though I believe you can purchase this product thru  the CCI catalog..

Hulcher Enterprises, Inc.
611 Kimberly Dr.
Denton, Tx 76201
1 940 898 1400

Part # 02001
Part # 3001
Made in the USA


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Site Last Updated:January 22, 2004   RETURN TO HOME