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ThumperTDC

Aluminum acid wash

11 posts in this topic

Yesterday I tore my 400 down and gave it a good cleaning. I took some aluminum wheel acid wash to all of my aluminum parts. My engine looks brand new, it got all the baked on dirt/mud off of the cooling fins. My hubs look brand new, it really cleaned up my rear shock from a dull brownish color to a bright aluminum color. A little got onto my swing arm and since it is coated, it left some discolored spots, but a little elbow grease I am sure will take care of that. Just thought I would pass this info along. I just wish I would have taken before and after pictures.

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Make sure to rinse the parts very thoroughly, preferably with a water/baking soda solution. Aluminum is porous, and if not rinsed well, the acid will continue to eat away until it is neutralized.

Robert :)

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I have a featherlite trailer that is all Aluminum and has no coating on it, its sounds as if this is what I need to clean the trailer of its oxidation. Where do you get this acid wash and how much do you use? Maybe my trailer will look new again? :)

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ditto, what is this stuff called and where did you find it

finally, a solution to the baked on SOCAL creosote bush plaque

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Yesterday I tore my 400 down and gave it a good cleaning. I took some aluminum wheel acid wash to all of my aluminum parts. My engine looks brand new, it got all the baked on dirt/mud off of the cooling fins. My hubs look brand new, it really cleaned up my rear shock from a dull brownish color to a bright aluminum color. A little got onto my swing arm and since it is coated, it left some discolored spots, but a little elbow grease I am sure will take care of that. Just thought I would pass this info along. I just wish I would have taken before and after pictures.

I spent a great deal of time running failure analysis in the aerospace industry.

Washing your bike with acid wash is not the hot setup.

Robert (ob1quixote) gave you some very good advise as to make sure you neutralize that acid.

If not removed, it will continue to corrode until it is neutralized. It's nasty stuff.

I have seen parts that failed 2 years after they were assembled due to this type of condition.

If it were me, I would give your parts a baking soda bath with copious amounts of baking soda and water.

Just a suggestion

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Are you saying that I should not use an acid wash for my trailer, if not how would I get rid of oxidation. :)

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I would polish the trailer, using automotive compounds. Experiment with quality compounds, I prefer 3M products.

Start with low abrasive and move up.

Compound and a 9inch rotary buffer with foam pads can work wonders! Maybe you can find a local auto or boat detailer who can shine it up for you.

Robert :)

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The dangerous one is hydroflouric acid. It eats bone calcium. Very nasty, it's all but gone except in the industrial level with user training. I think Thumper is referring to the spray can aluminum wheel cleaner.

Owning shiny aluminum is a maintenance curse.

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Hydroflouric acid is nasty stuff, I use it myself in my business. It isnt hard to get though. It also eats glass!!! Other bad cleaners are Purple Stuff/Castrol Super Clean/Formula 409. All acid based. The new surface will be replaced by powdery white aluminum oxide as the acid keeps eating away.

Wheels are different from motors. Wheels are cut from large billet of good quality, while motors are cast thin with who knows what quality metal. The motor metal is much less dense, more porous.

Robert :)

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Good choice checking out the different cleaners for aluminum wheels. The active ingredient is mostly PHOSPHORIC ACID, usually around 2 to 3%. Phosphoric acid is compatible with aluminum in lower concentrations but YOU DO HAVE TO NEUTRALIZE IT with an alkaline such as baking soda or soda ash when your done. DO NOT USE any cleaner that contains HYDROCHLORIC ACID,(Muratic or pool acid) or SULFURIC ACID on aluminum. READ THE LABEL! Don't be afraid of cleaning metals with acids, as it is done all the time. You just need to understand chemical compatability and proper neutralizing.

If I remember right the alloy wheel cleaner is sold in three concentrations A,B & C. One for a raw finish, one for a polished finish and one for a clear coated finish. I don't recall which was what. Just remember that that most bikes may have a combo of all three depending on what part of the bike you are cleaning.

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