View Full Version : valve covers
04-27-2010, 06:01 PM
I am removing the valve covers to install new gaskets. Any tips on cleaning/restoring the aluminum valve covers??
04-27-2010, 06:14 PM
The areas in-between the raised ribs is a texture like sandblasting. If I were truly restoring the covers to show condition I would polish all the ribs to a high shine and then cover them with a resist. You can use two layers of shelf liner or even blue tape. Carefully cut away the areas in-between the logo and ribs and blast with glass beads or aluminum oxide. Clear-coat with high temp material and you're pretty much done forever.
04-27-2010, 06:57 PM
Mine cleaned up and shined very nicely.
1. Scrub them down thoroughly with degreaser and a good stiff brush.
2. With medium grit paper on a sanding block take off the dullnish (tarnish, oxidation, corrosion, whatever it is) on the high surfaces of the ribs and center star. Sanding it off will bring up a nice shine.
3. With emory or fine grit on your sanding block the shine on the ribs and star will come alive and look mirror like..
4. Last, there is aluminum polish that you can apply to the high rib and star but it's more a good final cleaning than a polishing.
I found no need to go thru the labor intensive work of covering with tape and then trimming it. Also I would not blast with glass bead. That is something I would consider if all else fails as it it is going to dull up the entire cover. Scrubbing down with a brush and degreaser is very effective or alternatively take the covers to an engine rebuild shop and have them degrease in their dunk tank -- shouldn't be more than $20. There's some pictures I put up earlier in another thread... do a search on valve covers.
Keith W Colonna
04-27-2010, 11:23 PM
I also posted a detailed point by point process that I used now on 2 pair of valve covers with I think great results.
Basically, I wire brushed after removing grease and old silver paint in some cases. I also degreased the inside to make handling less messy.
Wire brushing the curved areas between the ribs required some stiff long bristled SS brushes.
Then I sprayed them down with carb/brake cleaner to remove the debris and finally wiped with alcohol.
Then I clear coated with a "satin" finish high temp engine clear coat.
Immediately I wiped the ribs and ornamental surfaces with a t-shirt over a wooden dowel to remove as much of the clear coat from the raised surface as possible...this was not 100% effective but helpful for when I
Next, blocked sanded the ribs with a fine 400 grit sandpaper and next with 600 and finer.
Then I used a dremel with a very hard compacted cotten/fiber polishing bit and polishing abrasive.
Then I finished with Wenol or similar ultra fine metal polish.
I did not clear coat the polish surface which shines nicely in contrast to the satin background on the rough cast valve cover housing.
This took several hours of joy in the sun in front of my garage.
04-28-2010, 04:50 PM
degrease the covers then bring them to a truck wash and ask them to acid wash the covers like the do for aluminum fuel tanks or wheels then you can polish them to your taste with aluminum polish such as fritz they should not charge you more tha 5.00 dollars
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