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Old 03-13-2013, 04:56 PM   #1
VWJoe
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Default Cleaning Zinc running board trim

After reading many, many posts on claening Zinc (i.e. using lemons, rubbing on tomato paste, using vinager, etc, etc.) I tried using some aluminum cleaner I had on hand. It worked great. I brushed on the jelly-like cleaner, let it set for 5 minutes, then scrubbed it with a fine 3M scotch brite pad (red or gray). Very little scrubbing was needed. Then I removed the cleaner with a wet towel. It removed all the white and dark gray corrosion and left the Zinc a dull aluminum color. I then used some Blue Magic chrome polish to bring back the shine. Each running board took about 30 minutes to complete and turned out great.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:07 PM   #2
Mike V. Florida
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

You are right about that, it turned out great!
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

Lemon, tomato, and vinegar are all acids. What you did was remove the protecting zinc coating.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

I thought runningboard trim was solid zinc, not a zinc coating. I think the whitish material that forms on the trim and looks bad was an oxide. I thought the chemicals just removed the oxide coating and not much or any underlying zinc.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

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Originally Posted by wrndln View Post
I thought runningboard trim was solid zinc, not a zinc coating. I think the whitish material that forms on the trim and looks bad was an oxide. I thought the chemicals just removed the oxide coating and not much or any underlying zinc.
Rusty Nelson
Your right as is 59mgaguy. Zinc with create this coating to protect it's self, sort of line the green coating you get on copper.

Your cleaning removed the coating like polishing will remove the green coating of copper.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

Quote:
Originally Posted by VWJoe View Post
After reading many, many posts on claening Zinc (i.e. using lemons, rubbing on tomato paste, using vinager, etc, etc.) I tried using some aluminum cleaner I had on hand. It worked great. I brushed on the jelly-like cleaner, let it set for 5 minutes, then scrubbed it with a fine 3M scotch brite pad (red or gray). Very little scrubbing was needed. Then I removed the cleaner with a wet towel. It removed all the white and dark gray corrosion and left the Zinc a dull aluminum color. I then used some Blue Magic chrome polish to bring back the shine. Each running board took about 30 minutes to complete and turned out great.
Just courious...is the trim original or reproduction?

If repro...do we know if the repro is made of the same substance as the original?

Pluck
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

These were repo running boards that came with the car. They were stored uncovered in a barn since 1995. I think they came from Mac's as most all the other new parts the PO bought came from there. Whatever they're made of (zinc, zinc alloy, chinese steel, etc.) they sure look better than those nasty stains. A power buffer with rubbing compound wouldn't remove them. I'm happy!!!
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

Since you removed the zinc you'll find that the steel underneath will rust a lot faster. So you'll have to keep up with the polishing of the RB trim.
As for the green coating on copper it's oxidation not a protective coating. But I understand what you were trying to say.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

Think I'll try Wright's Silver Cleaner, wonder if it would be "safe" for my nickle plated headlights?? I've never polished them yet. I'm afraid to try "Brasso"! Bill W.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

VWJoe, your garage floor is so clean I'm sure your Model A doesn't spend much time there.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:24 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

Try Never-Dull used it since I was a kid.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

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Originally Posted by ct1932ford View Post
Try Never-Dull used it since I was a kid.
I had forgotten about Never-Dull, Ct, gets smelly when old, but still works well! HMM! sounds like a definition of ME! It originated with the Navy for shining brass & most anything. Would it help my head?? Bill W.
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Old 03-08-2018, 06:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

Bill, I just did my nickle headlights on my 29 2 days ago with brass, and it worked well.
Oh darn, I just realized that I was looking at a 4 year old post.

Last edited by oldforder; 03-08-2018 at 06:46 PM. Reason: age of post.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

Timely question as we just did ours with Mothers Mag Wheel polish in one step. Wonderful product that even shines up plastic head light lenses and other elements as it's not too abrasive. Most local parts stores should have it.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:15 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

"bout" that Duke quote : Really is "A man has to do what he has to do" ...
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:55 PM   #16
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

That did turn out nice! I am in the process of doing the same job, I'm using FLITZ Metal Polish with 0000 steel wool to start and ending with just the polish. Looking almost as good as new. Have had a quart can of this stuff for almost 15 years, got it at Oshkosh WI Air show. Also got the blue buffer that you put on your drill motor.

http://www.flitz.com/
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:05 AM   #17
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

After cleaning, give it a spray-can coat of clear lacquer to keep the oxidizing from coming back.
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Old 03-09-2018, 03:07 PM   #18
BILL WILLIAMSON
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Default Re: Cleaning Zinc running board trim

I've "heard" to clean headlight reflectors, just use a DAMP CHAMOIS???
Bill Shine
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