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how to deoxidize aluminum trim?

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by stevehecht, Sep 11, 2009.

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    stevehecht

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    I've got mild/moderation oxidation on my aluminum trim and have had a heck of a time trying to figure out how to remove it, or if it's even possible. I know the trim is clear coated, but I'm not sure if it's anodized. I've been told at Autogeek.net that if it's anodized there's not much that can be done. Does the clear coat have to be sanded off and recoated (as with the BavAuto.com product/Classic TrimCoat product)? I've heard mixed reports about the success of this approach. Or will a fine polish or paint cleaner work? Has anyone had success with this problem on an E30?

    (Full disclosure: This post was submitted to the detailing forum on this site, but there's probably a better chance of getting feedback quicker here.)
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    az3579

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    Well, the solution in my book was to shadowline the trim. :D


    (I have to redo it though because I didn't do it right the first time)
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    stevehecht

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    Yeah I know, but I'm definitely in the camp of preferring the aluminum. This is turning into quite a challenge. Right now I'm pursuing the idea of using a Porter 7424 or Griot buffer with an orange+white pad with some Menzerna Nano Polish.

    M3Driver guest

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    I have heard that the kit mentioned from Bavarian Autosport is quite good and seems to last well... YMMV.....
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    stevehecht

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    I am STILL trying to find out definitively (if possible) whether removing the old clear coat is necessary in order to remove the oxidation. I hear from some that they have been able to polish the clear coat adequately to remove the oxidation, but I hear from others that it is impossible to do so. I am getting frustrated about this. I will call Bavarian tomorrow to get their opinion.
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    John in VA

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    I can imagine what BavAuto's opinion will be! Other than the video for the restore product I don't know anyone pleased with the results.
    I've been dealing with oxidized trim on 2002s, E30s and E28s for 30 years, with limited success without replacing it or painting it black.
    Some have stripped the clear coating with oven cleaner then polished the trim successfully.
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    stevehecht

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    Wow, that's discouraging. You're the guy I was waiting to hear from, so thanks. It had appeared to me that possibly neither alternative (the BavAuto product or polishing) would be effective for this problem. I'll just let it be as Paul McCartney once said. Thanks again.
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    MGarrison

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    Which trim? That surrounding the front & rear windows? If you're talking about that, I guess my approach is, what's your time worth? Spend 2, 3, or 4 afternoons screwing around with it trying to polish it back up, or just replace it for what... $120.00? If you have the time and want to save a few bucks for the hell of it, go for it. Or replace it with the black strips and forget having to worry about it for even longer than the chrome surrounds last.

    Or are you talking about window/door trim surrounds? Bumpers? Grille? Interior trim strips on top of the door panels?
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    az3579

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    He's talking about the chrome window trim that goes around the side windows. The one that most sane people would shadowline. :D
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    stevehecht

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    Yaddayaddayadda. Aside from being a wise guy, Botond is half-correct--it is the ALUMINUM trim around the side windows.
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    az3579

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    Well, if you wanna get technical I can definitely dance... but I'll spare the space in this thread. :)
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    John in VA

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    stevehecht

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    OK, I might have overreached my knowledge base here. Are the E30 moldings chrome plated aluminum or anodized aluminum? My previous reading led me to believe it's the latter, but tell me what you know.
    http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/archives/2003/01/chrome_vs_anodi.html
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    stevehecht

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    To replace the trim around the front & rear windows will cost around $300 from Pelican. For some reason the left front trim is NLA. (I wrote to ask them about that.) But I agree: it's not worth it to spend hours and hours sanding it down and then polishing it. And there's no way I'm bringing oven cleaner anywhere near my car (sorry, John).
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    az3579

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    I have an idea; if you reeeeeally want it to be chromey again, you could, have it sent out to be rechromed... no?
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    stevehecht

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    I have a feeling that would be more expensive than buying new OE parts.
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    BMWCCA1

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    An old Porsche-wheel trick is to smear Vaseline on the aluminum then wipe it off to give temporary relief from spotting. Works on BMW aluminum trim-and bumpers, too. Most any kind of light oil will work, as well. I've even seen people use "oil" like CRC and WD40 to temporarily hide the crazing in Bronzit paint.

    YMMV
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    stevehecht

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    And someone mentioned to me on autogeek.net that "old peanut butter" works as well. I guess it's the oil content...don't know why it needs to be old though.
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    BMWCCA1

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    Most likely because you wouldn't want to waste perfectly good peanut butter on such a fool's errand! ;)
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    stevehecht

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    There you go. You obviously possess a level of technical expertise that I can only aspire to.:D

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