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How to polish the metal parts of a motorcycle

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Once it was verified that the Ducati started and that it did not present significant mechanical problems, in the absence of checking the gearbox and alternator, I decided to start cleaning and beautifying the motorcycle. It was time to polish the bike. Today we are going to tell you how to polish the metals of a motorcycle.

Before continuing to tell you how to polish the metal parts of a motorcycle, if what you are looking for is to remove rust, we have written an entry where we explain how to remove rust from a motorcycle .

I am going to detail step by step the process of polishing any metallic part of a motorcycle:

1) Cleaning and pickling

The poor condition of the entire engine was striking. It appeared to have been repainted with a brush and the top coat was cracked or chipped in many places. The cylinder fins were equal parts rust and dirt and the lettering could barely be seen, which effectively determined that the bike was a Ducati.

Polished Ducati Forza engine
Polished Ducati Forza engine
Polished Ducati Forza engine

The most beautiful part of this Forza 350 was the engine, so I decided that to get the most out of it, I would have to immerse myself in the daunting task of stripping and polishing it completely . Since I did not dare to disassemble the engine and I was afraid of losing any part, I decided to tackle the task piece by piece.

I started with the crankcase covers. When disassembling them I could see that the Allen screws that secured them were in very bad condition, some had even been replaced by normal screws, so they would have to be changed.

One of the covers is rough and matte, the one corresponding to the starter motor, probably because it is a Mototrans addition to the Italian design of the engine, while the other, repeated in many models of the brand, is smooth and shiny. However, with both I decided to apply the entire polishing process.

I started with the left cover, that of the starter motor, applying a flux and scraping with a spatula, scalpel and brush. The first layer came out perfectly, since it had been applied after the fact and probably with a low quality paint, however the layer that the bike came from the factory had a hard time removing it.

Ducati Forza engine stripping

2) Metal sanding with water sandpaper

After pickling, I followed a thorough process of sanding with water sandpaper , first with a coarse grain to remove scratches and irregularities in the pieces, and successively with increasingly fine grain. For the use of water sandpaper it is essential to wet it a little, to avoid scratches and for the sandpaper to work.

Polished Ducati Forza engine

3) Polishing of metals with a felt disc and brown paste

To complete the metal polishing process for the bike, I got myself a complete Wolfcraft polishing kit that included a felt disc, a cloth disc, and blue and brown pastes. With this I would have plenty to polish the whole bike.

When I decided the surface was smooth enough, I moved on to polishing with a felt pad and brown paste .

Polished Ducati Forza engine

4) Polished with a cloth disc and blue paste

After cleaning the surface well and observing the results, I ended up with several passes of the cloth disc and blue paste .

Polished Ducati Forza engine

This was the result of polishing the starter motor cover:

Polished Ducati Forza motorcycle

Although the results with the matte piece were as expected, with the smooth piece they seemed impressive.

The before…

Polished Ducati Forza engine

…and the after.

Ducati Forza motorcycle polishing
Ducati Forza motorcycle polishing
Crankcase covers, gear and ignition side, polished

You can see that you still have to sand a little more with very fine sandpaper. This is the result of my lack of patience, but with a few more hours you will achieve a total mirror effect.

Since I had gotten involved in this “fregao” I decided to use the knowledge I had learned to polish the rest of the parts of the motorcycle, such as the tires, the valve covers or the kingpin axle cover. I polished everything I came across, I think even the dogs feared that in my madness I would polish them too.

Polished Ducati Forza engine
intake and exhaust valve covers
Polished Ducati Forza engine
 Initial condition of the tires
Polished Ducati Forza engine
polished rim

Summary of the procedure to polish any metal on a motorcycle

I summarize the process for polishing metals of a motorcycle:

  1. Stripping and cleaning of the metal part: stripper, steel wool and Dremel with abrasive discs.
  2. Sanding with water sandpaper: start with coarser grit to eliminate imperfections and go on to increasingly finer sandpaper.
  3. Cleaning the piece with alcohol or solvent.
  4. Polished with a felt disc and brown paste.
  5. Cleaning the piece with alcohol or solvent.
  6. Polished with a cloth disc and blue paste.
  7. Cleaning the piece with alcohol or solvent.

In each of the seven points you will have to apply a significant dose of patience , because only with it will you get a good result.

To maintain the polish and in general all the chrome on the motorcycle, we use Autosol , with a small amount on a cotton cloth, wonders are achieved. It is very cheap and never runs out.

After a weekend in which I had left my arm and hands in the workshop, I had a good taste in my mouth that the results of my first experience with polishing had been very good, however, I was able to polish the rest. of the engine without disassembling it was going to be an almost impossible task. Let’s see what happened to us!

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