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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought some polished aluminum valve covers made by Billet Specialties recently. I want to install them, but want to try to preserve the finish before installing.
I have been told "waxing" or "clearcoating" will work and keep them looking good with little maintenance.
Does anyone have any ideas or experience with this?
thanks in advance,


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My '69 Camaro Convertible
 

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mr69,
I have quite a bit of experience with polishing and keeping aluminum polished. I would not recommend clearcoating your valve covers. You valve covers should be very easy to maintain. I like to use Mothers metal polish or Wenol (in the orange tube). Use a soft cloth (I use diapers), whenever you clean or polish them (this will prevent scratches). I usually just clean my polished aluminum with glass cleaner, but I hit it with polish once every few months to keep it nice and shiny. I hope this helps. The problem with clear coating is getting it to stick to polished metals and trying to keep it from turning yellow (even the high heat clear turns yellow with heat). Take a look at the web page in my signature and you can see that keeping aluminum up is really not that much work. I treat my rims the same way, they have been on the car for about three years and I have only polished them twice other than that I just keep them clean with window cleaner. Wax works well too I like to use wizards car polish on the chrome and aluminum.

Royce

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70 Camaro 385ci
69 Camaro (soon to be 6" rod 355 backed by a T56)
2000 GMC Z71

http://hobbystage.net/camaro/camaroman7d/
 

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Hi Guys,

I hate to be the black sheep in this post, but I am no longer a polished aluminum fan at all. That's all I have under my hood and it's been nothing but an expensive thorn in my side. I could't keep up with constant polishing and God forbid I drove the car in the rain and let it sit overnight without wiping it. I will be changing everything over to chrome this summer and to be quite honest, I'm looking forward to a little more driving time and a little less detailing time. I'm not saying that this is the case for everyone, just for me. Good Luck with your decision, Paul
 

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two words,chevy orange.looks great,easy to clean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have chrome valve covers now , and it is starting to rust. I figure the polished alum. valve covers will be a bit more maintenance, but I do like the look of the polished and am willing to give it a try. I think it will look nice with my polished Holley carb and coated headers....


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My '69 Camaro Convertible



[This message has been edited by mr69 (edited 02-13-2002).]
 

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Your right. I have a lot of chrome on my Camaro's engine and it started to rust immediately.

I have had polished aluminum wheels on my car for 15 years & I can still bring the shine out on them. Do keep in mind that if you go with polished aluminum, you will need to keep it polished. I let a little time elasp between polishings and I now have water spots that I can not get out. From a distance they still shine great though. Just my two cents.
 

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Mr69,

If you look in the featured Camaros section of this board my 68 RS Z/28 is there (Note: I edited this posting and put the link below). I have, what appear to be billet valve covers, (they were on the car when I bought it) and these covers apparently have a clearcoat on them. The have not discolored in the 8 or 9 years since the car was finished. (I have owned for 3 of those years). I know there must be clear on them becasue they do not polish like the other aluminum parts I have on the car (intake, radiator, wheels, etc.)

Anybody that has used an aluminum polish knows that the rag turns black as it is polishing. When I tried to do these valve covers the rag did not change colors and the appearance stayed the same. I now just use a light polish or wax on them.

So I think you can use a clearcoat but I have no idea what type to use but I would assume some kind of high temp would be appropriate. I don't mind detailing my car as I listen to the ballgame in the summer while I do it. So I would not put clear on any billet valve covers if I buy some in the future. With the right polish you can get them looking like chrome with some elbow grease. I have used Mother's and a few others on the market and they all do pretty good job on the aluminum but I have not found anything better than Simachrome. This can be purchased at most motorcycle shops.

I do not drive my car in the rain and the few times I did get caught in it, I wiped it down before I put it away so I did not have the problems mentioned above. Aluminum is more work when done right, but I think it has aesthetic appeal just cuz it is polished aluminum. We expect the chrome to shine like it does but not necessarily aluminum.


Good Luck

Robert


http://www.camaros.net/feature/68/robertstacho.html

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67 SS 396 Chevelle 350HP 4speed
70 SS 396 Chevelle 350HP 4speed
68 RS Z/28 302 350+HP? 4speed

[This message has been edited by Robert Stacho (edited 02-13-2002).]

[This message has been edited by Robert Stacho (edited 02-13-2002).]

[This message has been edited by Robert Stacho (edited 02-14-2002).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Robert:
Thanks for the advice. I don't mind doing the work either, but i had a friend who just bought some wheels, and the retailer went ahead and clearcoated them for an extra charge. If the cost is not too high, i may consider this. Is waxing an option to keep the shine up also? IF so, what type, brand?


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My '69 Camaro Convertible



[This message has been edited by mr69 (edited 02-13-2002).]
 

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If you like the shine that you have as received probably just waxing them will maintain the shine. If you want the high luster (chrome like) aluminum shine you need a good polish and some elbow grease like mentioned above and then maybe light coat of wax to help preserve. I think just about any wax will do. I have used Simonize, MgGuires, Turtle wax, etc. I don't usually put any wax on my engine bay aluminum parts because I think with the heat it is probably a waste. I just use one of those polishes (usually Simachrome)but I do it 2 or 3 times a driving season (6 months). Most of the polishes I believe indicate they leave some knd of ultra thin layer of protectant on the surface anyway. I sometimes will put on a light coating of wax on the wheels after polishing.

Hope this helps

Robert

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67 SS 396 Chevelle 350HP 4speed
70 SS 396 Chevelle 350HP 4speed
68 RS Z/28 302 350+HP? 4speed
 

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Very well said Robert. Your valve cover might actually be powder coated clear. I have used high temp clear and is has yellowed every time. I also don't drive in the rain, so the water spots are not a problem. If you don't let the water sit on the parts you won't get spotting. The water spots can be removed, too. I have heard a lot of people like semichrome, so I guess I will give it a shot. I like what I am using (Wenol, mothers), but I am always willing to try others advice.

Royce
 

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Royce,

Never gave it much thought but you may be right. Those valve covers may have been powder coated clear. I have tried to contact the owner that restored the car in 1993 (I am the second owner since resto) and he never will return a call but if I ever do get hold of him, if I remember, in addition to other things on my list, I am going to ask him what is on the covers.

You can't see by the picture very good but they look very close to the Billet specialties "Hearbeat" covers available now except these have a "double heart" also engraved into them. I have not seen these exact covers on any other small blocks so they appear to be rather unique and maybe they came standard pwdercoated in clear from the manufacturer. May never know unfortunately.


Robert

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67 SS 396 Chevelle 350HP 4speed
70 SS 396 Chevelle 350HP 4speed
68 RS Z/28 302 350+HP? 4speed
 
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