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Old 08-29-2010, 10:37 AM   #1
mfp4073 OP
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BMW Aluminum motor and jugs, what do you use to clean?

I need to do some good cleaning. Been riding in the rain way too much lately (fl in the summer, at any given time its 30 minutes from a rain shower). The flat aluminum parts of the motor are not as bright as when I got it. Obvious start is soap and water, but what can I use to brighten it up? I have seen threads talking about using paint and a scotch pad. I can think of stuff like barkeepers friend and other "abrasives", but am concerned about making it too bright or scratching. I dont want to polish it bright either! I have used choke and carb cleaner on my aluminum high rise car manifolds in the past. Next, is there anything I can use to protect it from dulling and staining so fast (other than not riding in the rain)?

Thanks guys and girls!!!!
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:44 AM   #2
matman1972
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I thought they were like old furniture or guns, If you clean the patina, you destroy the value. i have just used simply orange degreaser on mine. i did go and put together a soda blaster for smaller parts like valve covers and float bowls and it cleaned them up nicely
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:51 PM   #3
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If you keep up with the aluminum cases and parts you can use mild stuff like Bartenders friend or an acidic cleaner but once you've let it go, you have a real problem. I'd say try soda blasting it.

At least then you wouldn't have to take the bike apart.

Oh... For most of us,when it comes to grungy engine cases, patina has no resale value. All it does is collect oil and dirt.
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:04 PM   #4
matman1972
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Originally Posted by mymindsok
If you keep up with the aluminum cases and parts you can use mild stuff like Bartenders friend or an acidic cleaner but once you've let it go, you have a real problem. I'd say try soda blasting it.

At least then you wouldn't have to take the bike apart.

Oh... For most of us,when it comes to grungy engine cases, patina has no resale value. All it does is collect oil and dirt.
Agreed on the patina, it is just an excuse I use to ride rather than wash..

Mymindsok, do you know if the soda blasting is a problem on gasket surfaces? I know sand and bead blasting are. The soda worked really well on valve covers, and when I rebuild my wiring harness, and replace base and head gaskets this month, I thought about doing the front cover, cylinders, and heads. Would I be better off doing all those while assembled to protect the mating surfaces?

Thanks, and sorry for the hijack.
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:12 PM   #5
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Its not far gone at all, but just dulling with a few stains here and there. To give you an idea:

several months ago when I bought it


2k and 1.5 months later!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Blank
loner, lonegunman, get it. Thatís the whole point. I like the lifestyle, the image. Look a the way I dress.
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Cavemen must've designed them shortly after inventing the wheel.
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:12 PM   #6
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Creeks, rivers and rain, mostly.















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Old 08-29-2010, 01:15 PM   #7
matman1972
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here is what I am using for media

http://www.harborfreight.com/50-lbs-...dia-65929.html

harbour freight also sells a blaster

http://www.harborfreight.com/15-lb-p...ter-66742.html

but I made my own like this
http://www.aircooledtech.com/tools-o.../soda_blaster/

not my link, but it is where I got the info for mine. It really does spruce up the aluminum nicely. Since I have just acquired a second basket case r90 and am about to begin working on that engine, may purchase the harbour freight blaster. it looks like it may handle larger surfaces better.


http://www.rapiddog.net/BLOG/GSWHEELS.html
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:18 PM   #8
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Creeks, rivers and rain, mostly.















...and the occasional killer mud hole.

Woodgrain
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:21 PM   #9
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tHAT'S AWESOME!

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Old 08-29-2010, 01:25 PM   #10
matman1972
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Originally Posted by Lornce
tHAT'S AWESOME!

So far it comes in very handy. I am not worried at all about trying to keep it looking polished or new. I want to ride it. The reason I appreciate clean aluminum is I need to see where new leaks are developing, and what repairs might need to be done. For example, right now, I have new oil on my right carb. Need to check the breather valve, as I do not believe the newer reed type was ever put in. I know I have a new leak on my right cylinder becayse it was clean enough to see the oil stain develop. For me the soda gives me a fast, easy way to get grunge and stains off the metal. One drawback is it tends to leave a dull patina behind. (that is a concern if you want siny cases)
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:26 PM   #11
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...and the occasional killer mud hole.

Woodgrain
I've been trying to forget that day.





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Old 08-29-2010, 03:31 PM   #12
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How about that orange hand cleaner? Has anyone tried that?
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Old 08-29-2010, 03:38 PM   #13
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I have used the "cream" style hand cleaner on stuff in the past with good success. Now that you mention it I wonder about the other "abrasive" hand cleaners.


edit:
I just tried some of the cherry gojo and didnt have much in the way of results.
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1974 BMW R90/6 Bettie #1, 04 Triumph Bonneville
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Blank
loner, lonegunman, get it. Thatís the whole point. I like the lifestyle, the image. Look a the way I dress.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgoodsoil View Post
Cavemen must've designed them shortly after inventing the wheel.

mfp4073 screwed with this post 08-29-2010 at 04:00 PM
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Old 08-29-2010, 04:01 PM   #14
mfp4073 OP
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I've been trying to forget that day.






btw, I saw that pic yesterday for the first time and REALLY love it!
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1974 BMW R90/6 Bettie #1, 04 Triumph Bonneville
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Blank
loner, lonegunman, get it. Thatís the whole point. I like the lifestyle, the image. Look a the way I dress.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgoodsoil View Post
Cavemen must've designed them shortly after inventing the wheel.
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:48 PM   #15
zenben
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mymindsok
If you keep up with the aluminum cases and parts you can use mild stuff like Bartenders friend or an acidic cleaner but once you've let it go, you have a real problem. I'd say try soda blasting it.

At least then you wouldn't have to take the bike apart.

Oh... For most of us,when it comes to grungy engine cases, patina has no resale value. All it does is collect oil and dirt.
You are giving some good advice, as I restore bikes as a regular sideline, and use both processes WITH GREAT CAUTION !
These processes aren't always mild, and I think that you forgot the appropriate warnings.

I'll take these in order:

Barkeepers friend is great, but it is oxalic acid. Tenacious and corrosive. Unless neutralized, you can kiss all the zinc plating goodbye, and you'll still be dealing with residue months later.

Soda is corrosive. It gets everywhere. Soda is corrosive, and gets everywhere.
Soda is corrosive, and it gets everywhere.
Any questions?

Don't have to take the bike apart? Are you mad?
Six trips to the pressure car wash wouldn't be enough to get it out of every spoke hole, bolt hole, and recessed crevice. See above.
I run soda blasted parts through the dishwasher on rinse, and sometimes they need to go through two or three cycles.

Patina on a classic or antique motorcycle has become far more negotiable than (god knows what) somebody did to clean it up for resale.If you have a cool story that goes with the patina (full history of the bike), you can often see double the price.
I've been restoring bikes for decades. (not renovating or re-muddling).
I don't even glance at concours wannabe restos anymore. Its all about original (or period modified) and regularly ridden hardware.
I am not alone in my views.
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