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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I thought I'd post a "before" pic or two of the cam cover before I polish it, then a few "durings", then a few "afters". I don't purport to be an expert at polishing aluminum, but I do it at work sometimes, so I thought I'd create a little tutorial, at least of the way I do it. I'll try to use materials and equipment that the average guy can get hold of...First pic is the Script. This cover probably is NOT a great candidate for polishing, because the castings are VERY rough, but it doesn't have the holes for the air tube brackets, so I'll use it anyway. Also, someone oversprayed it with black paint when they did the engine bay. (Makes a pretty good guidecoat, though).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Now I've begun to clean it up with 80 grit emory cloth on a rubber sanding block. (Cut lengthwise in half, to make a thinner sanding block.) Remember that every scratch you put into the piece, you'll have to work back out with finer and finer papers and rouges, so use the finest paper that'll do the job. (In this case, 80 grit...pretty extreme- I usually start with 120 or even 180.)
 

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Anyone else want to chime in here on how THEY do this? The cam cover that Vickesh has posted in the "wierd photos" thread is WAY better than what I do. You got any advice for us, Vick?
 

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Two words......Power tools.

You will need a good, high speed drill for starters. And a straight sander. And a Dremel.

You have a few choices on sanding her down. You can use a drill with a sanding wheel with sanding discs. You can use a straight sander. I personally like using a straight sander if at all possible. Start with a grit in the 250 range. Don't use the low grit paper. Start your cut in higher....it may seem like its not doing much, but its better than trying to cut out the mess that those will make. And really once you get that 250 cut in, each following grit goes quicker and quicker. Wet sand only. Keep the surface clear of cutting debris as you go. Keep going up and up in the paper to a least 1000, but 1500-2000 if you want show quality. Use the dremel to cut in all the hard to get to places. You can find sanding wheels and bands at home depot.

Once done w/ all the sanding, you are ready to polish out the finish with buffing wheels on a drill and the three stages of rouge. Three levels of rouges to do just as you did with the paper.

This entire process takes some serious time and expense in materials. I am currently polishing out a complete set of 91-94 phone dial spider wheels and its very time consuming, but you see the fruits of your labor.

Now you can go through this process or do as I did for my cam cover, buy one on ebay for $90. ;) You may not be able to find that luck, but can source it out to be done.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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cam cover

Here's a good place to look for shining up the camcover: http://kcaroc.pcbs.net/techses/89rebuild5/thumbs.asp Lots of other great info here too.

My tool of choice was the Dremel with scotchbrite type wheels and various fine sandpapers and polishes. Like anything else the more time you spend the better it will look. I spent about 8 hours on mine last winter.

Before: Day I bought the car. The engine bay was a sorry sight. In dire need of detailing.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Well, THIS has got to be some kind of record for the longest period of time taken to polish a cam cover, ever! I think I've gone as far as I'm going to. The better it gets, the more flaws you see, so you kind of end up chasing your own tail. I decided to donate this cam cover to our club, which is having a silent auction at our annual holiday party tomorrow night. I'll attach a couple of pics of the process I went through to do this. Again, I'm no expert, and this was a really rough example to begin with, but it didn't turn out too badly. Hell, I'd put it on my car, and the cam cover is such a major focal point on a DOHC engine that polishing the thing has a pretty big payoff in your engine bay.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
And last one... a close-up of the script. If you scroll back to the beginning and look at where I started, it is definitely better looking.
 

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That looks very good
congrats on a job well done,

Who said a car needs to be perfect

I opperate on the 20/100 rule. If its an alfa and looks good at 20 feet doing 100, then its a PRETTY alfa,

so congrats on a beautiful cam cover

Richard
 

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The script on mine is red. Did it come stock that way, or did a PO paint it?
 

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Bob,

Your cover has been painted by a PO. No cam covers were painted at the factory.

CarPoor,

Great looking cam cover, a lot of hard work went into this cover I'm sure. Great idea for a fund raiser too.
 
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