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MG TD TF 1500 - Cleaning aluminum

I have a very nice vintage Lucas Sport Coil with a finned body. See pic below.
I would like to "polish" it up and make it look new. I would obviously mask and protect the Lucas label and the Bakelite top.
What sort of process would you guys recommend for this? Could it be media blasted with something soft?

Tom '54 TF

T Norby

Someone was recommending soda blasting. Can't comment, myself, but it was on a recent thread. Check the archives...
Geoffrey M Baker

Media blast will clean it up, but you'd still have to polish it-- it would come out dull. A brass wire wheel will clean it and shine it up a bit at the same time. Actually polishing it would be an involved process and difficult to do with those fins. Neat item, never seen one before!
David Littlefield

If you don't mind spending the time I'll bet a little Dremel tool and a polishing pad would bring the shine right up, after a good cleaning.
Geoffrey M Baker

My bet is that it was never polished even when new. If so, a soda blast and clear epoxy spray would keep it looking new for a long time.
Richard Cameron

"Polish" was not the right word to use. What I want to do it clean it up. David, do you think a brass wire wheel would do the job with my electric drill?

T Norby

I would advise against using a wheel of any kind on aluminum. It always leaves an uneven finish. You see this often on gearboxes, sumps, and timing chain covers. They look awful afterwards - you always see swirl marks and it creates a differing reflective surface. I would go with soda blasting and clear as Richard suggested. That or a very gentle hand cleaning with very fine polish.

Again, I would resist the temptation to hit it with a wheel brush of any kind.

Interesting, Tom.

Looking on the Google there was only one image and even though it doesn't show a new coil it looks like those units were a matte finish between the raised ribs.

Try going over it with a stiff nylon bristle brush and see how it looks. It might be enough.

Bobby Galvez

Let's see if I can attach the picture in line.


Bobby Galvez

A brass wire wheel on a drill would be fine, or you could use a dremel like someone mentioned. DLD is right, though, it does leave an uneven finish. Soda blasting is a good option. You can DIY soda blasting without any fancy equipment as long as you have even a small air compressor.
David Littlefield

Soda blasting will take off anything on the surface without pitting the aluminum. On the aluminum body of the fuel pumps, I use glass bead because I want to remove stubborn stains, but it does remove material. As for polishing, I got a tip from a jeweler friend, of using a 4 inch, very fine jeweler's wire wheel - plain steel, and it does a beautiful job of polishing the aluminum. Cheers - Dave
DW DuBois

Bobbby, thank you for the detective work. That coil in the center is like mine.
I think I will go for the "less is more" approach and use a stiff nylon brush. See what I get.

T Norby

For my aluminum polishing I make my own rouge from Comet and melted bees wax.
Bill Chasser Jr

Try aluminium wheel cleaner, it is excellent stuff and will leave a nice bright finish. There are two types, acidic and non acidic. The former is brutal stuff and will clean the dirtiest of wheels an d aluminium. You must remove the wheels from the car however since it will strip the plating from wheel nuts and calipers. For your coil I would use the non acidic stuff and apply it with a small brush

Jan T
J Targosz

I think a good hand cleaning and any metal polish should make it much better. Please post pix of the results!
Geoffrey M Baker

No kidding, the best metal polish is Under the "how to" then "soft metals" he describes polishing and cleaning aluminum. He invites you to email him a question on your issue for advice. Family owned U.S. business. This stuff is the best cleaner/polisher/wax I have ever used or seen.
Almost looks like the top unscrews on that coil thing, doesn't it?
D mckellar

I have used quick glo and it is a great product. He makes three grades for difficult, normal and superfine. He will talk your ear off so have time and a comfortable chair. Nice guy.

On the TR 3 Rock guards I used Mother's metal polish. Worked OK but really now prefer the quick glo.
JWP Policastro

use your buffer a good polish and it will clean right up and be shiny if that is what you want. Polished aluminum takes time but looks great.
TRM Maine

I have spent over 30 years as a gunsmith refinishing all kinds of metal for bluing,plating and Parkerizing. To clean aluminum use lye in water.Dont leave to long as it will eat up your part. Try on a scrap aluminum first to see how fast it works. BY the way Parkerizing makes a grate finish for hardware(nuts bolts) and as a undercoat for paint. MGTDC/22679
Forrest Rubenstein

Based on D McKellar's post above I purchased a pot of Quick Glo with some reservation as I had tried everything to clean up staining on the bowls of my carbs without removing them. Was I in for a surprise, the stuff actually works. I am not one to write glowing reviews (pardon the pun) but have ordered another pot. The carbs now look respectable after cleaning without removing them from the TF. Bad staining on the carb bowls required the Orginal blend and the Fine blend works well on the Chrome

I will rebuild the carbs when high summer arrives here in Florida and soda blast them. In the meantime I am happy that the bowls are no longer an embarrassment due to heavy yellow staining that I believe was due to the PO using gas with Ethanol. Fortunately I can buy Ethanol free gas locally due to the high boat owning population here in Florida

1955 mgtf 1500 9194
I Massey

Hi Tom - Google "CLR" -
They make a cleaning product for everything ... and, I just discovered, a whiz-bang website that will answer most every "Who-What-Why-When-Where question" you can come up with ... plus a call-in phone number if you have a question! Let us know what you find. Ron
Ron Linden [53TD 24972]

This thread was discussed between 29/11/2015 and 21/12/2015

MG TD TF 1500 index

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