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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I couldn't just stop with the polished intake manifold thread posted previously. Here is a recent PIC of it from the last local meeting (nevermind the rest of the crap under the hood...I still need to put all of the stock underhood panels back, have a temporary hose running across the front, and need to redo the breather filter on the valve cover):



The car still has the candy apple red valve cover installed that I had painted at a local shop. The paint however has since flaked off on one spot (under the front left valve cover bolt that you can see in the above PIC). I could have the shop fix it, but the paint would probably end up flaking off somewhere else later. With that being the case, I decided to go for a change in look. I had a spare valve cover in the garage and have since started the polishing process. Here is a PIC of the spare:



The first step in the polishing process is to remove the paint from the surface. The easiest way to do this is to pick up a can of aircraft coating remover (or some other paint stripper) at your local auto parts store. You could remove the paint by sanding, but that would cost you a lot more time that is better reserved for the polishing itself.

Before applying the paint stripper, you want to be sure to read the directions on the can. Before spraying the part, you can also stuff a rag or a paper towel into the four holes to prevent the paint stripper from being applied to the rubber spark plug boots. Once done, apply the paint stripper to the part.

When it is time to remove the paint stripper (i.e., the paint has bubbled away from the surface and the bubbling action has nearly stopped), make sure that you put on some solvent resistant gloves to prevent contact with your skin.

Next, you want to use a brillo pad to assist with removing the paint. Once that is finished, you want to rinse the part off completely with water and use the brillo pad to reach into and remove the paint in the tight spots.

Finally, you want to dry the part, reapply the paint stripper, and remove the last bit of paint from the part. Once you are finished, the part will look as follows (note, I started sanding the top of the part to remove the casing marks in the finish):







I'll post more PICs and detail steps once I have the time to make more progress. The steps basically follow those already detailed in the polished intake manifold thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I clearly forgot how much of a pain in the ass it is to polish aluminum. The above was the easy part. The fine sanding required prior to polishing is the real time consuming one.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
divinebarrel said:
ehhhhhhhhhh....i like the red
I'm at odds. I think that the polished aluminum will look just as good as the candy apple red. I was originally going to paint this one a burnt orange color, but figured I'd wait until I can get my hands on another valve cover. :biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here is a PIC of the back side of the valve cover after wet sanding with a 220 grit sheet:



Once at this point, you can finish with a buffer to polish to a mirror finish. If you do not have a buffer, then you can continue to sand going to about a 600 grit sheet and then polish by hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Here are two PICs under different lighting conditions after running the part under the buffer:





The part is very close to a mirror finish and just needs a final polish.
 
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