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Thread: How to clean aluminum Intake and valve covers?

  1. #1
    Senior Member MASTER BUILDER
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    How to clean aluminum Intake and valve covers?

    I just got a car that has set for some time and the Intake and valve covers look bad. What product or products will make them look good?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE mopar1968's Avatar
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    I have always wondered this also.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member SENIOR BUILDER
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    I never had any luck with any type of cleaner, I just pull them and have them sandblasted with coarse sand.

    Glassbeading always seem to leave a dull shine where coarse sand would bring it back to the out of the box appearance.

    Of course I just got my valve covers back from the blaster and the first person to come over had to say "those look nice and" put his hands on a cover, leaving a nice shadow that even carb spray can't remove.

  4. #4
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE
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    yep sand or bead blasting, would be best, anything with caustic, or acid will only make them uglyer.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MASTER BUILDER
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    Thanks for the info.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE
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    Depends on the finish you want. If its a vintage patina'd look, or traditional factory look, then I would agree with sandblasting; however I wouldnt suggest coarse sand or glass beads. They will clean the aluminum and also "de-skin" it, giving a rough finish. Most valvecovers and intakes retain a smooth light gloss finish. Use walnut shells, TIP aka Truman's sells them.

    I have my cabinet set up with walnut shells as I do a lot of Muncie 4-speeds and they are really dirty. The walnut shells remove all the crud and lets them look exactly as new.

    If you use glass beads or sand, you might want to at least give it an oil rub or a light steel wool run to get some of the natural look back if you are doing a period look.

    However, if you like the rougher look then glass beads work well.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member DYNO OPERATOR
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    at wal-mart they had some stuff called FOAMING engine brite, and man did it work { WOW } but now all i can find is the straight engine brite, and it does not work neer as well. so if you can find the FOAMY kind it works great,,

  8. #8
    Senior Member MASTER BUILDER
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    Thanks Guys.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE
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    Ive used baking soda on a lot of things I dont want tore up.....anybody try it on aluminum?

  10. #10
    Junior Member SHOW GUEST
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    i would take it to your local machine shop, there they will have the know how to get exactly what you want
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