No, not usually, but removing built up deposits of bitumen/tar with kerosene is a must. If the job is badly stained by red dirt oxidation, We recommend a clean with aluminium brightener/acid to get a clean look in places where an orbital polisher with lamb wool pads are used instead of the grinder and airway wheels. Staining under exhausts can sometimes be removed by acid cleaning, but if it’s badly stained, it usually will need light sanding.
I use 6 inch sand paper pads (preferably with no vent holes in them to minimise “pig tailing” which are little squiggly lines that can sometimes be left when sanding from the velcro loops scratching through) with a 5 inch orbital sander or flexible high speed backing plate attached to a variable speed polisher. I never wet sand, just dry sand only. Please refer to Sanding Info for a more details.
I mainly use a 9 inch grinder for cutting on large areas as it cuts so much quicker. Having said that, Variable speed polishers aren’t as harsh to use when polishing small items with edges. Also the variable speed polishers are smaller in size which make them easier to do bull bar uprights and tight areas. I nearly always use the variable speed polishers for final finishing. However, I often use the 9 inch grinder for finishing tanks and wheels. Don’t stress if you only own either one or the other, as you can do every job with either. Any brand polisher will work fine.
Some jobs may have different grades of aluminium and unfortunately the harder the grade, the harder it is to polish. These grades will eventually polish up, but with a fair amount of perseverance needed.
Yes you can, how ever these items can take a while and can chew through buffing wheels a bit faster than flat surfaces. Zephyr final finish wheels are more suited for chequered plate.
Yes you can cut and finish most stainless items. Some stainless items with minor scuffs or scratches can be sanded and polished in the same steps for aluminium, as described in the Sanding section.
Polish lines are just part of the job. Unfortunately you get them. You can minimise them by cutting thoroughly with Menzerna 439T and making sure you cut all the sanding marks out, then do a clean run over your work by cleaning the cutting wheel on the rake. Another way to minimise lines, is to use a variable speed polisher to do a 2nd cut after using the 9 inch grinder for the initial cut.
Very rarely you may find some traces of polish left on the surface after you’ve finished. These can be rubbed off gently with a soft fluffy polish cloth or in extreme cases, use a sponge with some kerosene to rub over it lightly, then wash off. I don’t recommend cheap microfibre cloths, as they can sometimes leave micro scratches on the job surface.
I use kerosene to remove any polish residue off all surfaces, as it is paint and rubber safe. If you are polishing tight areas or don’t want to get residue on things like number plates, road train signs or mudflaps, simply use masking tape to mask off areas.
Once you’ve polished your truck to a mirror shine, the best way to maintain or prolong the shine is to regularly wash your truck with a reputable wash & wax truck wash (CT20, TRP Wash & Wax or good car wash brands). Please do not use harsh scourer type sponges, as these often scratch your alloys. Chamois your truck as soon as possible once washed to avoid water marks. Also, mains/town water can leave calcium/mineral deposits if left to dry over long periods of time.
The more you clean and care for your item, the longer it will last. But usually you will get 6 months before you need to polish again. If you do regular polishing (every 8 – 10 weeks) with the final finish compound and wheel, it will last for a long time before needing a sand or cut again.
When left in the sun or on hot surfaces, the compounds will go soft. Simply keep out of direct sunlight in a cool spot, as the buffing wheels will flick off soft compound and will waste it. Also, dogs and mice absolutely love the taste of compounds, as they have an animal fat content for lubrication. Store in an airtight container if possible.
Yes you can use these wheels with the supplied adapter, however you will need Safety flanges and a shorter bolt, which will be available in store shortly.
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