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Best Way To Refinish Aluminum Trim?

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Old 03-20-2013, 10:24 PM
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Best Way To Refinish Aluminum Trim?

As many of you know, I'm in the "transformation" stage on Dad's Truck Build. And one of the things I'm realizing that I'm going to struggle with is the best way to refinish the aluminum trim on it. That includes the windshield trim, fender trim, and wheel well opening trim.

For example, I have collected trim from several different trucks to put together one full set of windshield trim that has no dents. However, since those pieces came from different trucks which led differing lives they don't match. I'm not sure what they looked like originally, but I doubt any of them are "right" and some of them are "wrong". But, this stuff is anodized aluminum, which means that you can't just use chrome polish and expect it to clean up. In fact, if you polish too much you'll go right through the anodizing and be down to the soft aluminum.

I've searched the forum for "the way" to solve this problem, but haven't found it. So, I'm coming to the conclusion that I may have to powder coat the trim to get it consistent. Here are a couple of options that I see in Eastwood's catalog:

Reflective Chrome:


Silver Base:

I don't know about you, but I really can't see much difference in them, so if I decide to go the powder coat route then I'll need to call them and discuss the options. But, I would like to hear your thoughts. Are there better ways?
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:50 PM
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I think about powder-coating my trim with satin black, and getting the blackout front end to match (headlight doors, etc.).
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:55 PM
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I actually thought about that. And I haven't ruled it out. But, I think I want to go with something close to what the truck had originally. However, there were those trucks from Ford..... And, if I don't like it I can do it again.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:12 AM
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You could strip the anodizing, then polish all the pieces to a nice shine. This is what I plan on doing to all the aluminum trim on my truck once the weather gets a bit better
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:37 AM
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What about polishing off the dull anodized coating (getting down to shinny aluminum) and then top coating that with something like POR-15 Glisten. GLISTEN PC-POR-15 Inc.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:53 AM
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You cant polish anodizing. You have to strip the anodizing from the base metal so that you can polish the metal.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:41 AM
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What do you use to strip the anodizing?

And, you do know that once it is off that it'll dull quickly w/o a coating?
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:03 AM
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Oven cleaner works ok for stripping the anodizing. Use out side.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:21 AM
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What do you use to strip the anodizing?

And, you do know that once it is off that it'll dull quickly w/o a coating?
Just keep it polished or use one of the many sealing products on the market. I have heard that ZOOPS seal products last 6 around 6 monthes.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:34 AM
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I don't want to have to polish the many pieces of aluminum trim that are going to be on the truck every 6 months. So I'll probably powder coat it clear like I did the wheels after I strip the anodizing and polish it - assuming I strip it. But, it might be easier to just PC it from the get-go and not strip it. And, there's always satin black.....
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:44 PM
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This is a major problem with the old Chevy impalas,(I have a 64ss) and they strip the anodize off with oven cleaner, and then usually keep it polished every month or so. Like was mentioned there are several ways to deal with the raw aluminum after you strip it, but that's generally the only way to get it to look good, you have no way to deal with the anodize thats on there now.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:35 PM
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I was watching West Coast Customs on the Velocity Channel the other night. They actually painted a car chrome, using silver deposition technology from SpectraChrome. It was very cool. I don't if there are places that do this with trim, but it might be worth looking into. It's covered with a regular clear coat, possibly several coats. I wonder if a chrome paint covered with clear coat might work, too. Just another possible approach to achieving "the look".
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by 86fordtruck View Post
I was watching West Coast Customs on the Velocity Channel the other night. They actually painted a car chrome, using silver deposition technology from SpectraChrome. It was very cool. I don't if there are places that do this with trim, but it might be worth looking into. It's covered with a regular clear coat, possibly several coats. I wonder if a chrome paint covered with clear coat might work, too. Just another possible approach to achieving "the look".
Interesting. Actually, that's basically the same approach as with the chrome powder coating. It has to be top-coated with a clear to protect it, just like that paint.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:37 PM
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Can they do a chrome wrap? I saw a car wrapped in chrome on fast n loud.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:48 PM
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Who "they"?

Hmmm, there's a guy advertising carbon fiber wrap.
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