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Sportster Motorcycle General Discussion and Problems For discussing problems about your Sportster motorcycle that don't fit anywhere else.

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  #1  
Old 8th November 2019
eskimo619 eskimo619 is offline
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Default Engine cleaning tips

I skimmed through the categories and didnt find anything that answered my question so I figured I'd try here. Just got a 2007 sporty 883 low yesterday. It's in fantastic shape with 3k original miles. Was a bit dusty and chrome parts were a little dull so I polished them up. I'm having trouble figuring out the best way to clean the parts of the engine/bike that arent painted or chrome. Things like the heads, primary cover, rightside case, headlight cover, triple clamps, parts of the wheels etc... that appear to be aluminum with maybe a clear or clear anodizing on them? They arent in bad shape by any means but are a little dull. Tried just washing as well as a metal polish but nothing seems to work. I've read that some just hit those parts with a scotchbrite and whatever cleaner they like. I'm not liking the idea of that possibly ruining the overall smooth finish. Rest of the bike looks great, paint and chrome and fins on the cylinders, wanting the rest to match.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/185408116@N04/?
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Old 8th November 2019
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Have tried Gunk engine cleaner, a brush and hot water?

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Old 8th November 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopalong48 View Post
Have tried Gunk engine cleaner, a brush and hot water?

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
I havnt tried gunk specifically but have used a waterless wash product, foam degreaser and a basic spray wax. They left the surface smooth and felt clean but the overall appearance was still a bit cloudy. This is what has me wondering if theres a coating over the bare metal surface.
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Old 8th November 2019
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Looks really clean as is to me...

But Gunk works great. I like the foamy stuff if the engine isn't gross. The gel works better for that, but the foam knocks down all the little oily spots and evens out the color on my silver powder really well.

If it's not dirty and greasy, it could just be little spots of uneven oxidation. As far as I know nothing is coated. My trees and levers certainly weren't. Everything should polish up nicely if needed. I have to do my clutch lever every few months to keep it looking like the chromed brake lever since I can't be bothered to actually match the two.
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Old 8th November 2019
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On my 1996, the rocker boxes and engine covers are plain polished aluminum, no coating. It takes quite a bit of effort to make them shiny from dull.

A Mother’s power ball and power polish will get you part way there. They will look a lot better.

To make them very shiny, you have use real polishing wheels, cones, and balls (firmer ones) and use polishing rouge. Then you can achieve a mirror finish. After that, regular application of polish will maintain the shine.

If your covers and cases are growing white crust, “Barkeepers Friend Cleaner” mixed to a thick paste with water and applied/scrubbed with a toothbrush will remove it before you start polishing.
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I'll have to try and get some close ups, I may not be giving it quite enough elbow grease to bring back that pop due to little bits of oxidation as you mentioned. When I tested a spot with mothers mag and aluminum polish it did turn black indicating it was polishing but maybe I didnt spend enough time rubbing it in. I won't be going for a mirror shine but a nice smooth clean finish as it would have looked when new. It really is in super nice shape though. The chrome just has to much pop in comparision to the rest of the metal surfaces so hopefully I can bring it back a bit. Of course getting all these pieces in chrome is an option down the road as well. Bikes spent most of its life parked as shown by the very low mileage. Just glad it was stored indoors and well cared for despite not being ridden much.

Edit: Another forum I posted in someone said there is in fact a protective coating over the aluminum surfaces. It's there because if it wasn't then lots of time would have to be spent maintaining the raw aluminum right from the factory. The coating can dull over time as well as oxidize. Either way I'll do my best to get those surfaces really clean and wont go to crazy on them. Would hate to cause any extra dulling or swirls.
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Polishing


You won’t use a 10” wheel on grinder (and shouldn’t need to start with sandpaper unless really dull).

You can see how he uses two pads, stiff and then softer, two grades of rouge, brown and then white, working the black line across the metal.
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