Options people are using to keep aluminum Parts looking as close to new....

Discussion in 'Street/strip 400/430/455' started by Pro69GS400, Apr 15, 2020.

  1. Pro69GS400

    Pro69GS400 Well-Known Member

    I’ve been trying to search the forums on current information protecting finish of new aluminum timing cover, intake and heads. Currently I am investing to me what is a lot of money in aluminum intake, timing cover and heads. My experience in the past has always been that after time starts to pass the aluminum parts get corroded, oxidized or stained and do not not look as nice. With the cost of today’s accessories continuing to increase what are people doing to protect there investment? Powder coat, paint, clear coat, polish? What are the pros and cons of the choices or suggestions? On one had I’d like to show off the natural look of the aluminum but not at a cost of having to remove them later to freshen up later if I can prevent it or comprising the dissipation of Heat of the aluminum components. What are the suggested options?

    BUICKRAT Got any treats?

    I used vht aluminum color paint, the stuff that is good to 1300+ degrees F. The parts still look like new, even the exhaust ports. Used it on the intake, heads, timing cover, water pump and any aluminum brackets.
    70skylark350 likes this.
  3. alvareracing

    alvareracing Platinum Level Contributor

    Chris, what I did because I wanted to keep the aluminum look on my heads and intake and TC was, I sanded it down to remove all the rough casting like one would do if to polish, but I didn't polished it. After all smooth I used a real fine steel wool with some lubricant and kept the dull natural finish, but smooth. The smooth surface is way easier to keep clean than a coarse rough finish. When finished I sprayed Gibbs ( great lubricant) or anything like type product, even wd40 would work to keep it looking nice and wipe it down to remove excess. The lubricant keeps the aluminum from corrosion or staining. The cartridge rolls for porting etc work great to smoothing out tight areas. I used wire wheels sand paper, you name it, I used every thing I could to smooth the finish out, even sanding by hand and many areas, but I got the look I wanted.
    Mark Demko likes this.

    BQUICK Gold Level Contributor

    I've used Sharkhide...….
  5. Briz

    Briz Founders Club Member

    Powder coat either clear or alumn color
  6. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD" Staff Member

    Paint it. If you like the aluminum color, paint it with Alumiblast. Aluminum dissipates heat very quickly, so it does not burn off.
    70skylark350 likes this.
  7. Jim Weise

    Jim Weise EFI/DIS 482

    If you want the aluminum look, then we have been polishing via a vibratory process here for many years. I have some stuff that we did 30 years ago, that still looks great.

    The process closes the pores up on the aluminum castings, and produces a semi-shiny finish. Oil and dirt just wipe right off, an it resists fuel staining on intakes. We do heads, intakes and timing cover/water pump assemblies.

    costs is $125 for each piece.
    I can do bare cast alum valve covers for $80 pair.

    This can be done to both new and old stuff, obviously old parts need to be cleaned and bead balasted, we can do that also, on a time and materials basis.. The average dirty bare, used alum intake is about $50 for the cleanup. Or feel free to do it yourself if you have the equipment.

    This is superior to any coating or paint product. It will never discolor, flake off, do any of the other bad things coating and paint do... simply because there is no material applied to the metal. The metal is processed which is the superior protective/functional fix here. If it get's dirty, just shoot a rag or paper towel with brake clean, and wipe it right off... don't try that with a painted part...:eek:

    Looks like this..


    Just the exterior surface of the heads is done. We have to seal all the holes to keep media from getting lodged in it.



    This motor has the $500 package..Intake heads, timing cover/water pump.

    When I say "polishing" folks think of that mirror finish car show stuff... that is not what this is... this is more of an industrial finish, function over form. I developed this process 35 years ago, after getting tired of pulling the intake of my race motor to bead blast it every couple of season. I saw something similar in one of my friends machine shops, asked him about it, and then worked with a local metal finishing company to perfect the process. We tried many types of media.

    I like the finish more than the super polished stuff, and it looks better in person than in these pics.

    Turn around time on polish is typically 1-2 weeks, I have to mask all the holes and surfaces, and built special head plates that cover the deck and intake surface of the heads, so there is some labor involved here, and I only have one set of masks.. But I can tell you where we are at on polishing if you give me a call.

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
    alaskagn and Mark Demko like this.
  8. Gallagher

    Gallagher Founders Club Member

    I would say the same thing. I've seen these parts in person, and they do look better than the pics.
    I'm looking forward to having my SP3 intake finished.
  9. Pro69GS400

    Pro69GS400 Well-Known Member

    All good ideas. Smoothing the surface to prevent these issues sounds like a more permanent solution . I have recently just found some good powder coaters here close by also but haven’t discussed much detail with them. Jim I will give you a ring to check your schedule. Turnaround time will also be important to me I don’t want to hold the build process up to long.......
  10. Pro69GS400

    Pro69GS400 Well-Known Member

    Has people’s experience with powder coating been good? Like holding up to carb clean and such?
  11. 1969RIVI

    1969RIVI Well-Known Member

    Well Jim that is EXACTLY what I'm after and when it comes time to pull the goodies off my current engine to put on my new one I'd like to get this done. I assume you'd be willing to accept items from and ship back to Canada correct? On my dime obviously.
  12. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    I like Fernando and JW's idea/process and I'd likely do the same.
    Paint and powdercoat can burn or crack of flake off, once that happens they look like crap.
    Its kinda like painting a brick house, or painting over beautiful wood trim in a century home, once you paint 'em, the appearance, and "feel" is ruined, gone forever.
  13. Steve Reynolds

    Steve Reynolds SRE Inc

    20180418_161035.jpg 20180418_161208.jpg 20180824_170746 (1).jpg Jim's tumbling process is spot on. I did the same thing with my Tomahawk build, with the exception of the block itself, (too big to fit in the tumbler at work! LOL). I then proceeded to cover all of it with a coating of Sharkhide. Been using Sharkhide for many years and the stuff does work really well and lasts a long time. Every couple years you can simply wipe down with lacquer thinner and recoat. It's super easy to apply. For the really tough to get at places I pour some in a used (but thoroughly cleaned) fine mist spray bottle and lightly spray the surface, wiping up any puddling.

    alaskagn likes this.
  14. 70skylark350

    70skylark350 Jesus loves you unconditionally

    I brush painted mine with the Bill Hersch aluminum color engine paint, looks great.
  15. BQUICK

    BQUICK Gold Level Contributor

    On my Jag I had the Cool Runner intake JetHot coated....still looks like when it was done 15yrs ago......not sure if it helps or hurts heat dissipation tho…..
    Had a coupon from a race I won...….
  16. Jim Weise

    Jim Weise EFI/DIS 482

    Sure, no problem.

    1969RIVI likes this.
  17. 1969RIVI

    1969RIVI Well-Known Member


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