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Polished the case on my Banshee - now what???

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  • Polished the case on my Banshee - now what???

    I, like the guy polishing up the engine and tranny for his Honda show car, have (or should I say HAD) almost no experience polishing aluminum (or any other metal for that matter) until I discovered the Caswell web site.
    Today was my finest hour (lol) in my adventures in metal polishing.

    Several weeks ago I blew up the engine on my Yamaha Banshee which necessitated a complete rebuild. While it was all apart, I got a bug in my butt to do a complete rebuild of the thing and either plate, polish or repaint every piece on it.

    Welp, today, I finished polishing the engine case with the help of Caswell's fine polishing products and a sacrifical pair of old blue jeans. While it's not a perfect polish, it came out pretty nice considering my lack of experience.

    Now that I've spent the greater part of last week's evenings in the garage throwing black dust all over everything, what's the best way to keep this thing shiny? I really don't relish tackling one of these things again and keeping it shiny as long as possible would be a good thing, especially since tomorrow I start polishing carbs, clutch cover and various suspension and brake parts.. I've heard mention of zoopseal, Por-something and VHT clear. What's the best option? Any of these products or just a good coat of wax every so often like I do with my chrome pipes?

    How about steel? Just for giggles, I bead blasted a foot peg and polished a small section. Shines like chrome but I'm sure it'd rust in a heartbeat without some type of protection. Would the same protection I'd use on the aluminum work as well on steel


    If anyone's interested, here are some link to pics of the finished product. (I apologize for the poor lighting, it was getting dark when I shot these today) They're pretty big so dial-up users may not wanna look.

    Pic 1
    Pic 2
    Pic 3
    Pic 4
    Pic 5

  • #2
    I'm not a metal polishing guy, per se...... but I've seen everybody here talk about this stuff : . NICE pictures by the way. I like the work in a big way! Welcome to Caswell and good luck with your future endeavours...... Russ


    • #3
      I read up on Zoopseal and Glisten PC last night. the Zoop stuff looks interesting, but with a 2-3 year "life" it's kinda short lived. I've already dropped close to $2k on this rebuild and my budget is just about exhausted so the $130 for Zoop is a big negative right now.

      I've got polished aluminum wheels on both my trucks and even the 10 year old set still is nice and shiny. All I do is give 'em a coat of wax a few times of year after a good scrubbing.

      I still wish someone would come up with a definitive answer on VHT clear on how well it protects, how long it lasts etc. One big negative I see with this is if the "paint" ever starts to deteriorate, I'd have to strip the thing and start over. Maybe this stuff would be good to seal the cylinders and head since I think I'm going to keep them bare like in the pics. Does anyone know if it'll hold up to the heat? I used brake caliper paint on 'em the last time I rebuilt this engine and it held up great for almost 5 years. Wonder if I can find this stuff in clear.

      Thanks for the compliment on the pics. My neighbor came by this morning, saw the engine on my bench and said "Wow! That's awesome" so I guess I'm being a bit too self-critical..

      Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to the garage to make more black dust..


      • #4
        [email protected] dust. As a powder coater I can only offer this..... even the BEST of clear coats (even in the powder world,folks) degrade over time. It may take a lot longer but then again..... it's a royal pain in the you know what to strip it down and repeat steps 1-937,245 if you catch my drift. Zoop looks like a good sacrificial top-coat if you will. As for the VHT.... I simply have no experience with it so I can't offer sage advice,sorry . Your query is still fresh so I'd give it a little time. I'm sure a lot of people have done what you have and will no doubt offer some good advice. Good luck with it.... Russ


        • #5
          Yep, that's me. Just call me Dusty. I think the only part of me that weren't black with dust after today's round of sanding & polishing I'd better not mention in public. hehe

          Welp, after a day of sitting on the bench, I went over the whole case with the white compound one more time, washed the thing inside and out with warm soapy water, blew it dry with my compressor (Yes, I have an oil/water separator on it) and put a couple good coats of wax on it until I decide what to do to seal it up. I figure it'd take me about 5 mins to wipe the cases down with laquer thinner to remove the wax if/when I decide to do something else.

          Can't find VHT Clear *ANYWHERE* locally, but the local Napa stores (Which for some odd reason are closed Sundays) do carry VHT products so I'll be on the phone in the morning. Still don't know if I'm gonna go this way, but the only info I can seem to get regarding "real world" experience with this stuff in the forums is from the Caswell folks themselves. Kinda odd that with all the activity here I can't seem to find an answer.

          For giggles, I ran across the street to my neighbor's house (He's an aerospace engineer who works with NASA on various projects including the shuttle) and he did confirm that, on occasion, NASA has used VHT Flameproof coatings on the shuttle with good results. Not sure I'm going to clear coat the polished stuff, but I'm definitely gonna clear coat the cylinders and head once I get 'em painted. Now to decide if I wanna paint 'em silver like bare aluminum, or red to match the frame and suspension components. Decisions, decisions...


          • #6
            Are you planning on taking this thing out and putting it through it's paces as far as riding on dirt trails and through the mud? If so, it's not really gonna matter much WHAT kind of protection you put on the polished parts, because that sand, mud, debris, etc. is kinda eat it away quicker than a jackrabbit on a date. The strongest coating I've heard of, (a little bit more involved though), is to have it anodized. You're actually coating the aluminum with a micro-thin layer of plastic. No matter what product you eventually settle on, this rule seems to apply to them all:

            High Shine = High Maintanance

            Low Maintenance = Low Shine

            Just my 2 cents. Hope that helps.
            "Some people are like sandpaper: they may delight in the misery they inflict by rubbing up against you, but in the end you will come out smooth and polished while they'll just be ugly, wrinkled, and used up." - Beyonce Knowles


            • #7
              I agree, no sealer will protect the polished parts from the elements. A clear coat like VHT will help but using the clear coat does dull the aluminum slightly. If i were you, i would spend the money on zoops seal or something similiar. If you do use the VHT, once the clear starts getting scratches you will need to chemically or phyically strip it, than repolish alltogether. Atleast with zoops seal, you can probally go straight to buffing and not have to strip anything which can damage your finish.


              • #8
                Yep, once I get it all back together, it's headed for the sand. She's not going to be a trailer queen, that's for sure.. heheh

                The sand will be hard on all the finishes, that's for sure, but I'm not convinced clear coat is the way to go.. I bead blasted, sanded and polished up one footpeg and then clear coated it with DupliColor 500 degree clear.. Un coated, the peg looked almost like chrome.. Once it was coated, it didn't have that "jump out at you" shine.. maybe it's just this particular paint, dunno, but it's now what I'd envisioned.

                As for the polished parts, I've opted to just wax them for now until I've got the bigger pieces assembled. I'm sure there will be a few scuffs that need touching up before final assembly. Once I get it to that point, I'll probably bite the bullet and get the Zoop stuff.. $130 isn't a whole lot when I consider all the labor that's gone into this thing so far (And I haven't even started the suspension parts yet) and if I get two years out of it before I have to break out the buffs again, I think I'll be happy.

                I'm still going to VHT clear the cast aluminum parts I've bead blasted.. Between the polished stuff, the new red paint and the nice clean aluminum, it's starting to look really nice.

                I added a couple more pics of my progress at Should have the clutch cover done tomorrow afternoon and I'll add pics of that when it's done along with some better pics of the case.

                BTW: Does anyone know of any retailers that carry VHT products? I'm striking out locally here in So. CA... THX!


                • #9
                  here's the link for all the VHT stuff you'll need.....


                  • #10
                    Perhaps I should have asked for a local retailer. heheh

                    Finished sanding the clutch cover today - started with 200 grit emery paper and a fine file to get rid of casting lines, flash etc.. Sanded all the big gouges and dings out then wet sanded with 220, 400 and 600 wet/dry. Had to touch up a few spots with 400 and then the 600 'cuz the sunlight showed some good scratches. Once I had a nice smooth matte finish all over and from every angle, I went to town with the black compund and a sisal wheel..

                    Within 2 minutes I shut down the buffer 'cuz the [bleep] scratches I thought were gone weren't. Re-sanded the entire thing with 400 (at the cost of some skin and a good chunk of thumbnail) and plenty of "oomph" then did the same with the 600.. Hit it with the sisal wheel - woohoo! scratches seem gone.. Finished up the initial cutting then went to the brown compund and a tight spiral wheel.. Scratches galore! WTF?

                    This is the same wheel I used to do most of the case and I didn't have nearly the problems I'm having now. Possible I need a new wheel? How fast do these things wear out? I assume they load up with gunk as you use 'em. I tried the sawblade trick outlined in the instructions I got with the Caswell kit but still the scratches are there and I can't seem to polish 'em out, regardless of how much I sand. After good success with the case and a few other small pieces, I'm frustrated I can't get the same results today.. Ideas? Suggestions? Pint of Guiness to soothe me?

                    Look at the 3 Clutch cover pics I just put up at the link above. You can clearly see the scratches I'm talking about...



                    • #11
                      Hmm, To me it sounds like you need to spend more time on the black. Most of your real polishing will be done with the black compound as it is the most coarse. I'd say stick with the black longer and see what kind of results you get. Good luck!


                      • #12
                        Went at the clutch cover one more time with the black compound, a new sisal wheel and a bit more "oomph" this time. The scratches seem to be pretty much gone tho I've got a few spots I can't get with the wheel. I'll hit those up with the flex shaft and a felt bob and see how they go.

                        I think the scratches were from the tight spiral wheel.. I think it's loaded up with gunk and even after raking the hell out of it, it still seems full of gunk. I think this one's going to the big buffing wheel house in the sky and I'll try the brown compound on a new wheel.

                        Now I wonder if the 1st piece I polished was just beginner's luck... ehehhe

                        Soon as I get the cover finished, more pics will be posted.


                        • #13
                          Finally got a few hours to myself today so finished up the cluch cover. Looks good this time around. Used a brand new tight spiral wheel and a heavy hand to cut and very light touch to color. A couple spots have what look like casting striations, but they're on the "bottom" side of the cover so I'm not going to try to work them out. Pics have been posted.

                          Just for giggles, I test sprayed a small section with VHT clear to see how it would look. I doesn't look too good. Evidently the clear doesn't have much (if any) gloss to it so it kinda dulls the shine of the aluminum.. Not sure if this is a normal pre-cure look or not, but I didn't want to go through the curing stages so out came the laquer thinner to remove it.

                          Zoops is lookin' better and better...