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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen several pics here on the BB showing engine and head castings sporting beautiful clean aluminum surfaces. Just finished rebuild of my 2 L for the 76 Spider and I'm kinda disappointed it doesn't look fresher. It's clean but not like I've seen posted here. Special cleaners used, paint ( kinda hope not )? First Alfa project in 30 yrs. and I'd like it to be as perfect as possible when I turn the key!!!
 

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Good hard scrubbing on the block and rough castings with brush and a good degreaser of choice.
Cam cover can be polished with anything from brasso to simichrome to whatever you can efficently use to bring up the shine, though from the factory they weren't exactly mirror bright. Just real clean.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply Darren, More elbow grease seems in order. Leaning currently to wrinkle black on the cam cover with the Alfa script taken back to aluminum. By the way, you guys on the BB are amazing with your level of knowledge and willingness to help!!! The last Alfa I owned was a 69 GTV series 1 that could have certainly benefitted from this info. Thanks again. Will be posting pics very soon. 76 Spider w new interior, new top, new paint, headers, ansa, panasports and yokahamas. Bought with disassembled engine with all pieces ready for completion for 2500.00!! 54,000 original verified miles and absolutely no rust!!!!!!!!
 

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clean engine

1 more spyder, mine is not as clean as many I've seen, but my posting on "engine pics" yesterday shows the level I reached. It required 18 hours for me. Filing off scratches, sanding with 120, 400, 600, and 1000 grit paper; then polishing on a buffing wheel with polishing rouge. I used red, and finished up with white. Dremel tool helped in the indented areas. It really is a rewarding feeling when you see the improvements. Good luck,
Bob
 

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Never did it but I think vigorous overzealous scrubbing of any aluminum alloy will only make it shiny/bright for a short time- after which the alum will oxidize again, leaving a slightly dull finish. Thats the natural alum look, unfortunately.
 

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Just learnt from when I was a kid- scrubbed the house alum storm door shiny clean! Mom said "good boy". Them it "rusted" back to the oxidized alum it was originally.
 

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And a good boy you were. :)
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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The cam covers I've polished have tended to stay shiney, they certainly don't go back to the way they looked before I started. They do require a buff from time to time to get back that super shiney look but do stay almost super shiney:) This one was run for a couple of years with little or no additional buffing.
 

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Many of us own and maintain classic polished aircraft. There is a process to accomplishing this that begins with preparing the surface using a compounding buffer and is followed by an orbital polisher with increasingly finer grained polishing pastes - the preferred product by far is Nuvite and the preferred equipment is the Cyclo-Polisher (brand name).

Alfa engine components such as cam covers and manifolds will initially require grinding and sanding prior to the above process.

Once the surface has been polished it is only a matter of routine maintenance to maintain the shine by periodically polishing off the thin layer of oxidation that slowly forms. On aircraft the oxidation can be slowed further with the application of a simple layer of car wax, which also makes it easier to clean. On engines there is usually at least a thin coating of oil which serves as a protectorant. There is also a product called Nylac which is sold by Eastwood and is similar to a clear coat that is very hard and heat resistant but I don't recommend it as eventually it will start to break down and removing it is nearly as difficult as starting over.

 

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it's almost a alfa romeo spider
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.. i cheated, i used silver spray paint on my motor.. 6 months later , looks good, the cam covers... must re-due them in red wrinlke finish soon..
 

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it's almost a alfa romeo spider
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not trying to hijack the thread, only photo i had of my motor before i put it in... the tranny is a t5 w/c gearbox.. why.. i lost 2 gearboxes in 4 years. last one had cheap bearings in it. and at 1500-2500 for a gearbox here in the states.. i decided to go with an american gearbox( nothing wrong with an italian gearbox:):) )just t5's are easy to get very low cost, you can rebuild them all synco's, bearings for about 95-115$..and it shifts much nicer than a alfa tranny:):)1-2-3 gear duel carbon linded synco's and it uses atf fluid.. but back to the silver paint job..it's been on the car for 6-7 months now, even washing the motor every 2 months the paint is still there..:) nice and silvery:)
 

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kcabpilot,
Admittedly I am no expert. But that silver blue machine in the photo does not look like any 72 Spider I ever saw. Is it some knid of Areo-Alfa?

Robert Hill in Memphis, TN
 

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I'm interested in cleaning up my cam cover, too, but I don't like a highly polished, chrome-like look. Is that just a matter of taking similar steps as described here, and just not moving to too fine a grit?

I have a vague memory of seeing a cam cover I really liked and reading it was done with a wire brush and WD-40. It sounds kind of witch-doctor-y now that I put in writing, but maybe someone here knows if it's a real technique or not.
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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Of course all this is personal preference. I reached mine when I bought a history of Alfa Romeo book and saw the engines of the 2900's, Type 12's, 1924 RL Targa Floria, on and on and they had beautiful works of art powerplants, the majority of which had polished aluminum covers. just my humble 02:)
 

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KCABPILOT: That's a sweet Luscombe 8A in your message. The first aircraft I owned was a Luscombe. It did the tightest, sweetest loops of any airplane I ever flew. Taught myself to fly a tail-dragger in that airplane. My first flight in it was solo -- a method not to be recommended!
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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Well we all know there are old pilots and there are bold pilots but there are no old, bold pilots.
 

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The Luscombe is one of very few aircraft that really deserves to be polished - just like the cam cover of an Alfa engine. This should never be confused with the tackiness of chromed valve covers on any other engine. Polishing aluminum has a Zen aspect to it, it's nothing like dropping it off at the plating shop.

As for silver paint on an engine - I don't even want to go there, that's just plain weird.

BTW - I'm an old pilot, first lesson was July 3, 1969 J3 Cub.
 
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