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Thunderbird Twin - Technical Talk Technical talk for the big Thunderbird twin

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Old 03-24-2012, 11:06 PM   #21 (permalink)
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It took two cleaning sessions, but I got my wheel looking "presentable." I think my corrosion was deeper than some of yours, and it took more than just polish to get it out.

When I went to the dealer last week they were very helpful. The service manager and 3 or 4 of the mechanics all took their best shots at a fix for the corrosion. One guy recommended "clay bar." I've seen clay bar in the auto parts section, and it seems to be a product to restore the gloss to oxidized paint. Probably not effective on oxidized aluminum alloy. Another guy had some Aluminum Jelly, which is Naval Jelly for aluminum. We smeared it on the wheel and waited the suggested 5 minutes before wiping it off. It was ineffective, except that it left a whitish blemish. I don't recommend it. We tried some very fine steel wool, but that just scratched.

The service manager said that he once had a BMW with the same sort of wheel rot. He spent a Sunday afternoon working his wheels with Simichrome and had excellent results.

I gave him my info and he filed a claim with Triumph.

I got a tube of Simichrome and tried it out. It was about equal to the Mother's Aluminum Polish that I already had tried. It made the wheel shine, but didn't dig deeply enough to remove the spots. So I decided to get tough.

I went to the kitchen and found the bottle of Soft Scrub. Soft Scrub, if you don't know, is a mild version of Comet or Ajax. It is for cleaning fiberglass bathtubs and plastic sinks without scratching.

On my wheel, Soft Scrub was very effective. It was abrasive enough to penetrate the top layer of metal and dig down to remove the spots. Unfortunately, it left the wheel dull. But a couple of applications of Simichrome brought the shine back.

I may have to do one more application of Simichrome or Mother's to get it back to new condition, but I am pretty pleased with the results.

Here are the before and after.


Last edited by Stratofaster; 03-25-2012 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:43 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Talking

What is your definitin of dull? As long as there are no scratches I might be happy with that.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:21 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyBoy View Post
What is your definitin of dull? As long as there are no scratches I might be happy with that.
Dull as in zero gloss. Sort of like the back side of aluminum foil.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:22 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Heck Strato, I think it looks better than stock. I'm not a huge fan of shiny chromey stuff though. I kind of like the matte aluminum look. I'm seriously considering doing that to my rims just for the look after seeing yours...

I've got a tiny bit of that corrosion happening, but nothing I'm worried about.

Nice solution to your problem btw. And thanks for posting your journey / solution.
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:13 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Well, Draeger, I don't want you to mislead you. Maybe the "after" photo doesn't show the shine well enough--the wheel is pretty much close to stock now.

I used the Soft Scrub on the spokes only, because that was where the corrosion was deepest. The Soft Scrub left the spokes pretty dead matte. Two applications of Simichrome polish brought them back to nearly new condition. Simichrome alone was sufficient to remove the corrosion from the hubs and rims.

So in the end, my procedure resulted in the entire wheel looking very shiny and uniform, almost like new. The shine may be just a bit softer than stock, but not at all matte.

Whether you could get the look you are after by using Soft Scrub alone, and how long such a surface would last I don't know.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:57 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Great input, and great illustrations too! My wheels looked even worse than yours; when I took it to the dealership, he said the culprit is a chemical reaction with the chemicals found in garages (fertilizer, gasoline, etc...) I don't know how much of that is true, and I guess it doesn't matter at this point. But thanks for the input on how to address this situation; and I agree with one of the previous posters: if Triumph knows there is a corrosion/oxidation/whatever reaction problem, they should have them coated with a protectant, or at least give us the heads up when we're purchasing the bike. Cheers!
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:09 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I used to use a buffing wheel with the proper buffing polish. Stick it in the drill and away you go. Used to bring up the alloy casings almost like chrome. Not sure that I didn't get more polish on me than the bike though, but that's part of the fun.

Not tried it on the bird yet but a bit of solvol autosol gets the marks off easy enough so not felt the need to sort out another buffing wheel.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:20 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Funny that the thing that did the trick was inside your house, not at the auto store.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:08 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I had a 2008 Rocket before my Storm and had the same problem. One day I tried a antirust product and...magic. I used to apply it every 3-4 months. I coated a part of the wheel, rubbed it like crazy and really hard by hand, rinsed it, sometimes repeated for minor spots, and went on to the next part. The first time I tried it (after about a year) the wheels had so much whitish gunk stuck to the metal, and the metal was a bit pitted in some spots, that I never managed to get back to 100% original looks, but it did get rid of 99% of the fugly mess. I don't even know what brand I used (I used two different brands, after I ran out of the first one) but they were generic non-fancy stuff bought at a hardware store. After 3 years of using it I had the coolest looking R3 wheels around.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:11 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Oh, by the way, I also applied to the brake disks and it also worked like magic. As a matter of fact, that's where I first used it, and then thought "why not try it on the wheels, they look terrible anyways, not much to lose".
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