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cleaning aluminum


yzg

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Don't know where you are, but for the price guys at a truck stop do a much better job than I can. Then it's simple to keep it up. I think last I paid in S. Carolina was like $10/wheel. For $100, they did every piece of aluminum on the truck, steps, mudflaps, etc and the trailer wheels too.

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I just ran the Freightliner thru the truck wash near the I-40/I-75 interchange south of Knoxville this past weekend. Running bobtailed, they charged me $49 to wash and do a spray wax on the truck and the aluminum wheels, chrome and stainless all came out looking great. I will NOT wash and polish that truck again if I can continue getting it done for that.

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You guys are lucky ! I went to a couple of detail shops and they won't touch it unless I ante up large bucks. I have one more place to try..

 

My bus lived about an houyr and 1/2 away and he had no problems getting his rigs done...it may be worth the drive..

 

When I tell the folks what I have I can see the spinning dollar signs in their eyes..

 

I don't think the 'purple" is sold in Canada but I shall check.

 

Thanks

Ian.

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Ian,

 

you need to find a large truck stop for semi's near you and ask them where the closest truck and trailer wash place is located. They have a crew of guys (sometimes 6 or 8 per rig) and the equipment to wash a rig in 15 minutes or so. That is ALL they do and are quick at doing them for a reasonable cost.

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Ian

Most of the large truck fuel places will have aluminum polish in their stores. I have bought the purple at one of the Petrocan card lock stores near me. It does work fairly well but you are going to get very dirty and spend lots of time.

 

Sibernut

It is about four times your price to get the aluminum done up here.

 

Nigel

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Ian,

 

you need to find a large truck stop for semi's near you and ask them where the closest truck and trailer wash place is located. They have a crew of guys (sometimes 6 or 8 per rig) and the equipment to wash a rig in 15 minutes or so. That is ALL they do and are quick at doing them for a reasonable cost.

If you go this route you need to specify that you do not want any acid wash used on the truck. It will dull whatever surface you have. When Blue Beacon washed our on the way back from Michigan, I forgot to say that and they took the shine right off the flare where the exhaust stack runs. Buffing will bring back the shine, but its time I could use doing something else.

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Ian,

 

you need to find a large truck stop for semi's near you and ask them where the closest truck and trailer wash place is located. They have a crew of guys (sometimes 6 or 8 per rig) and the equipment to wash a rig in 15 minutes or so. That is ALL they do and are quick at doing them for a reasonable cost.

This is only true in some areas, especially NOT in Canada. If you do find someone who does polish aluminum you will pay through the nose. When I owned my own truck I had a local professional polisher do my truck (6 wheels, 2 tanks 2 battery boxes, 4 rear fenders, grille surround, 2 air tanks) and he charged me $1500 and took 1.5 days. When I started running to Arizona I found a truck stop that offered polishing, dd the same job for $400 and took 4hrs (3 man crew). It is almost worth taking the trip south just to get shined up.

 

Or youcan buy all of the stuff to power polish it yourself for under $400. Do a youTube search for aluminum polishing.

 

Power polishing will get it 10x shinier than any chemical polish, but it depends on how shiny you to be.

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When my kids and I were restoring their Duster, we quickly realized that we had no where near the resources that our friends in the south had. I have also underestimated how hard it is to buy product for my truck from the local truck supply stores and even Freightliner...for instance, the only place I have found a external sun visor and bug shield is Florida ! I have a couple more inquires out but I am not hopeful.. .

 

Just an up date. I went into the last local "detail" shop that I know of and they don't do "big trucks" so i called up one of the guys that I had talked to when I was searching for a rig and asked who was their go to guy for detailing.

 

I now have a name and am waiting for a quote. ..if it is @ 1500, my son and I will do it because my time is "free" so to speak :)

 

Nigel, I have found 'purple" here...I gather that Mother's also puts out a nice product.

 

Thanks, Ian.

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Goodness, no :)

 

Those are Christmas lights..

 

It kind of takes up a bit of the driveway so he kids decorated it for the season.

 

They are off the rig now.

 

I think I am going to write my air brake cert next week.

 

Ian.

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Met the guy yesterday. He was a fountain of knowledge for me..giving me some where to's and hows..

 

His price ? $ 150.00 bucks for all chrome and aluminum. Cannot but the product and tools to do it for that. It just has to be a bit warmer first :)

 

Ian.

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  • 4 weeks later...

If you go this route you need to specify that you do not want any acid wash used on the truck. It will dull whatever surface you have. When Blue Beacon washed our on the way back from Michigan, I forgot to say that and they took the shine right off the flare where the exhaust stack runs. Buffing will bring back the shine, but its time I could use doing something else.

Yup, the acid-wash turns aluminum whitish and dull.

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  • 1 month later...

I had acres of aluminum diamond plate on my MDT. Aluminum looks really good brand new (diamond plate, aircraft sheet, Airstream skins), they special coating on it to maintain that mirror finish. Once the coating is gone my suggestion is to PAINT IT. Unless you don't value the remaining hours days and weeks the Lord has given you, or have folks willing to do it for minimum wage or below.

Once that aluminum oxidizes it's harder than sand paper (aluminum oxide is used as sandpaper grit)

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  • 3 months later...

I am not certain of the name of the product, However, it was a cotton wad cleaner in a metal can that was used to clean and polish planes in the US Air Force before we painted them. It worked great! Maybe someone will remember.

 

Safe Travels!

 

You are thinking of "Never Dull" in the silver can. Great stuff and leaves a protective coating on the metal.

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  • 3 months later...

If you go this route you need to specify that you do not want any acid wash used on the truck. It will dull whatever surface you have. When Blue Beacon washed our on the way back from Michigan, I forgot to say that and they took the shine right off the flare where the exhaust stack runs. Buffing will bring back the shine, but its time I could use doing something else.

BINGO! I was hoping someone would mention this as my bed was entirely covered in Aluminum Diamond plate. I mistakenly had it cleaned at one of the commercial boys places and that stuff etched the Aluminum so that it would hold a shine for all of five minutes after driving away.

 

There are no shortcuts to this stuff. Elbow grease and a good Porter Cable selectable dual action variable speed buffer with a selection of lambs-wool and applicator wheels is the ultimate end. I used Wenol, a German product that also left a coating of polymer over the shine to give it some duration.

 

I made a buffer plate out of 1/2" ply a foot long and about 5" wide with a handle at the outboard end and a machined up receiver at the inboard end to screw into the head of my Porter Cable buffer then epoxied velcro to the underside so that I could take some deep-pile carpet segments, glue some velcro to the backs and simply attach them to the underside of that longer plate to perform a "sweep" polishing a swath of a foot at a time with the buffer head set to oscillate only. That cut my polish time by at least 60%.

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I use a product on my aluminum wheels that I get at AutoZone. It is called Blue Magic. It works very well as a metal polish and it also easily cleans up the oxidation on fiberglass and can make your fifth wheel end caps look like brand new.

It is a blue gel that applies very easily, spreads easier than butter and with a little polishing, really does a great job on many surfaces. I was going to get new center caps and lug covers for my wheels, but some blue magic and a few hours of elbow grease had them all looking like brand new. Same with the wheels themselves.

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