How to refinish center console aluminim trim

Discussion in 'E9 General Discussion' started by CharlesJ, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. CharlesJ

    CharlesJ Member Site Donor

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    Working on cleaning up the shift surround and the two aluminum strips under the window switches have a few blemishes. The trim appears to have some translucent finish, so curious if there are any recommendations or how-tos for refinishing these pieces
     
  2. m5bb

    m5bb Well-Known Member Site Donor $

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    They probably have clear anodizing on them like the body moldings.
    I had mine powder coated that same color and they stay nice looking.
    You can remove the anodizing by soaking them in Drain-o the crystal kind. Mix with hot water and soak. Be careful with your skin as the Draino is a little weird.
    Once you get that off you can polish them by hand or with a wheel buffer and possibly remove some scratches.
    Good luck.
     
  3. Ohmess

    Ohmess I wanna DRIVE! Site Donor

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    I haven't done this yet, but I have heard the recommendation to remove the coating and polish by hand using Simichrome.
     
  4. coupesport

    coupesport Newish Member Site Donor

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    I am about to do this and have been researching. West Coast Customs has a Youtube video where he uses Easy-off oven cleaner. Lye is the acid ingredient that remove the anodized surface and from what I've read you can go with Lye and water solution mixed at home or with Draino or Easyoff.... Easy-off is on the lighter side so that is why I'll go that route. Afterward I'll polish with a scotchbrite pad - 3M 7447. Then reanodize.
     
  5. coupesport

    coupesport Newish Member Site Donor

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    ... and here is the video if interested.
    So some pros use this method. I'll be testing on some similar aluminum straps.
     
  6. merdad

    merdad Member Site Donor $

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    2B3BBB70-F9A0-4F1F-A11B-F89EEA3BE8E6.jpeg I did it in a primitive way, since access to aluminum refinishing source is limited in Iran.
    I wet sanded the trims with rough all the the way to soft to get all the scratches off, specially on the rear of the seat trims where seat belts had hit them, Then polished. I know that I have to polish them every once in while to keep them shinny.
     
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  7. Rek

    Rek Active Member

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    Would this work for the front and rear window trim too?

    I presume that this is corrosive, so it I left it overnight, the part would be gone in the morning.
     
  8. Wes

    Wes Active Member Site Donor $

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    I gave mine to a mate that runs an anodizing works.
    He dipped and stripped and then re-anodized.
    Really happy with the result.
     
  9. merdad

    merdad Member Site Donor $

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    Yes, I did the same with windshield trims too.
     

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  10. merdad

    merdad Member Site Donor $

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    That is the way it should have been done, but couldn't find anyone back home.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  11. CharlesJ

    CharlesJ Member Site Donor

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    Thanks all...the anodizing was really the question. Was not sure if it was this or some other finish. Looks like I will be pulling together a large batch of parts to get anodized.
     
  12. deQuincey

    deQuincey Well-Known Member

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    i did this some years ago,
    it would be good to keep in mind that anodizing is simlar to chroming in the need of polishing
    my advice is that you should discuss this with your shop, and if they do not have any other way to hold the pieces during polishing, my advise is to offer them a piece of wood of the same size of the width of the alu parts, and with two holes so the studs can go in and the part is easier to handle by them without damaging the studs

    see here,...
    https://www.e9coupe.com/forum/threads/central-console-reconstruction.18724/
     
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  13. coupesport

    coupesport Newish Member Site Donor

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    @deQuincey , great suggestion on the holding block. I am in process and following your three posts for center and side panel refurbishment. I saw that you recommending reinstalling the aluminum trim plates by putting threaded nuts on the holding studs in place of the old quick nuts. Do you recall what size nut you use and is it self tapping or..?
    Many thanks, Rob
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  14. deQuincey

    deQuincey Well-Known Member

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    hi Rob,

    i do not remember which is the size of the nut that would go there, if it is not in the pictures i can not help,
    what is certain is:
    -that you should use a threading tool, do not attemp to use a nut to create the thread, the torsion will break the stud on its base
    -that it is a metric size
    check the diameter of the stud, i recall it to be suitable for an M4 or M5 nut
    regards
     
  15. deQuincey

    deQuincey Well-Known Member

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    following your three posts....

    Rob, i would appreciate if you please, when you follow my threads, just add a post to those ones that have provided to be useful to you, this way they will revive and come up from the hidden huts where the lay
     
  16. Frankie123

    Frankie123 Member

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    Hi DeQ
    Any chance of you posting a link to revive the other threads for center and side panel refurbishment?
     
  17. Rek

    Rek Active Member

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    You make a very good point about access to the wealth of knowledge on this forum (disproportionately provided by #DeQuincy and others) but I fear that making old threads current again isn't the best solution. There are a number of threads which are the Gold Standard on certain topics but the search mechanism of the forum whilst good, is not a friendly way to access them.

    Can there be a reference section for renovation and restoration whereby these are indexed with links in a separate section of the forum. The authors or users can populate this with a short description and these could be a depository which turn information into intelligence. It would provide a wealth of information which are currently hidden by time and successive posts.

    It could start with something like this, but a little more user friendly and not a burden of the moderators. http://www.e9coupe.com/tech/index.htm
     
  18. Frankie123

    Frankie123 Member

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    +1 on the “how to section” idea :D
     
  19. deQuincey

    deQuincey Well-Known Member

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    click on my name
    and then again on my name in the window that opens,
    then Information,
    then all threads
    you will find all the threads that i have been producing during these last 10 years
     
  20. Rek

    Rek Active Member

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    Maybe it's there but it needs to easy for tech idiots like me so people can use it. Also - a bit of organising into say Drivetrain, Interior, Glass and Windows etc would help too.
     

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