1974 Z28 Aluminum Valve Covers

Discussion in '1974 Specific' started by Chet 74, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. Chet 74

    Chet 74 Member

    Aug 7, 2012
    Santa Fe, NM
    Is there anything out there on the market that will bring out the brillance of these covers and remove oxidation. The originals are oxidized and dull looking. Would like to clean them up with out having to buy reproductions.
  2. 1971zed

    1971zed Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Aug 31, 2010
    Retired in Ottawa Canada
  3. David79Z28

    David79Z28 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Oct 22, 2009
    Greenville, TX
    I wet sanded mine with 1000, 1500, then 2000 grit sand paper. That removed the oxidation.

    Then I polished with rubbing compound, car polish, then Mother's aluminum polish.

    After polishing I applied Blackfire's metal sealant.

    Mine looked better than new.
  4. flowjoe

    flowjoe Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2006
    You can sand them first is they are really oxidized but generally a high speed buffing wheel is the best way to go. This method, of course, is if you want a full shine. If you want them to like like original that takes another path that does not involve the buffing wheel. I did a set a while back. I have photos that I will post a little later.
  5. flowjoe

    flowjoe Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2006
    Here is what I started with:


    Then I sprayed it with the rinse off (bare) aluminum wheel cleaner and used a scotchbrite pad to work the surface a little:


    Then I wet sanded up to 1000grit IIRC:


    then buffed it out:


    In the last photo I still needed to clean the residue from the rouge but you get the idea.

    On the 2nd cover I only used the wheel spray with a scotchbrite and then wet sanded with 320 (as it was pretty grungy) and then buffed. Came out the same as the one I sanded in steps up to 1000 grit.
  6. Z28PILOT

    Z28PILOT Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Oct 8, 2009
    Emerald Isle , NC
    Mine looked like they had been at the bottom of the ocean for 20 years. , more white than alum color.

    I brush off as much crud as I could then started with like 220, 360 , ect sandpaper and keep going till with finer and finer paper till I got to steel wool #0000 . Then I used "Mothers" alum wheel
    polish and finished them off. It was a heck of alot of hand polishing, worked several hours over a week or so period . But I was really careful and tried to polish out 95% of the scratchs totally .

    They shined just like a new set would have from the parts counter.

    I decided "not" to seal them , just let them start to age a bit . Been two years and they still look fantastic .

    The fake repros are made of a magnesium alloy and will have a mirror shine and a lighter metal finish. There is quite a big difference in finish when the two are held side by side. Not to mention they are built sorry , I had a set and sold them a week latter.

    Its just alot work , but the result is worth it.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  7. x77-69z28

    x77-69z28 Veteran Member

    Feb 5, 2010
    long island, new york
    jerry mac neish reskins those as well! his work is amazing. www.z28camaro.com. you can check out his work. he does carbs, distributors intake manifolds, exhaust. his work is amazing!
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  8. RMTZ28

    RMTZ28 Member

    Mar 29, 2015
    Alb. nm
    I went for some taller aftermarket ones and cut out for the emblem. give it a tougher look. Resized_20170226_144057.jpeg
    Kricka likes this.
  9. COPO

    COPO Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Sep 15, 1999
    Ontario, Canada
    Correct finish.
  10. 70lt1z28

    70lt1z28 Veteran Member Gold Member

    Oct 3, 1999
    Beavercreek, Ohio, USA
    I started off with Mothers Mag and Wheel cleaner to get most of the dirt-tarnish off. I then went to the blast booth and with very fine grit glass bead at low pressure, went slowly so not to alter the skin. It took awhile, but came out pretty good. I finished them off using MetalBrite Satin to seal them from oxidation. I had to put this on in two very thin coats to prevent any glossing.

    If you have access to a wheelabrator that's the way to go. That's what the factory did when the covers were removed from the die-caster.
    If you are trying to get a "as new" OEM finish I would not use steel wool or any other abrasive by hand. Its too easy to get a polish on the sharp edges like the tops of the fins. Mine started out polished and painted (between the fins) and I had to try to undo that which wasn't easy.

    Attached Files:

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