Polishing/cleaning up ABs - what do you use?

matt5058

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I swear I saw a thread where someone posted about polishing their axle backs and making them look pretty much brand new but my searches haven't produced any relevant results. It is possible it was on another forum I suppose....

Anyways, my Roush ABs are showing their age and whether I keep them or replace them with GT500 ABs, I want to be able to clean them up and make them look shiny and sort of new again. Any suggestions for polishing options? Some quick googling suggested olive oil as a polish for stainless steel but I'd prefer to see what folks who've done it themselves recommend. Thanks.
 

nyuk98GT

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matt5058,

Warm water and carwash soap (Honeydew) and a terry cloth to get most of the soluble dirt off. Next, a wipe down with mineral spirits to remove tar dots and any oily stuff. Last step is Nev-R-Dull and lots of elbow grease. By the time you're finished, the mufflers will look as good as new.

Do not use any nylon scour pads (ScotchBrite) or Brillo or steel wool or the polished surface will be marred.

YouTube will probably have some videos showing how to spruce up mufflers so check out the videos and see what other have done.

HTH,

Chris
 

bceeezy

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P21s Polishing soap or Optimum Metal Polish work really well.

If you want to pick something up from the local auto store, Mother's Mag & Aluminum polish or Blue Magic metal polish work well too.
 
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matt5058

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Six-ish months later...finally going to actually tackle this. I pulled my Roush ABs off yesterday (temporarily running a "mystery" muffler I picked up second-hand). Thanks to the folks that chimed in. I guess I forgot to ever respond when people actually gave responses to my question.

Here's what my Roush ABs look like after five and a half years and approximately 59k miles. o_O

IMG-7745.jpg
 

nyuk98GT

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matt5058,

I'm thinking that the material must be 409 stainless rather than 304 stainless. You've got your work cut out for yourself to clean up those mufflers. :D

I have spent a lot of time ogling mufflers but I do not recall having seen your second-hand mufflers. They seem to have Kooks tips but the muffler body looks like a stainless Cherry Bomb, lol. I sure hope that somebody can identify those mufflers - kinda curious about what brand they are.

Chris
 

matt5058

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I am actually working on a video for my YouTube channel to do a comparison between the mystery mufflers and the Roush ABs. I was hoping that maybe a potential viewer could help identify, lol.
 

CobraBob

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Matt, you definitely have your work cut out for you. With a lot of elbow grease and hours you should be amazed at the before and after. Or....you could ditch those 5+ year old Roush ABs and install new GT500 ABs.
upload_2020-3-31_8-28-28.png
 

matt5058

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Matt, you definitely have your work cut out for you. With a lot of elbow grease and hours you should be amazed at the before and after. Or....you could ditch those 5+ year old Roush ABs and install new GT500 ABs.
View attachment 1631253
Bob, you aren't kidding...I am really considering switching to the GT500 ABs but I'd probably still have to polish the Roush ABs to sell them for a decent price, lol.
IMG-7969.jpg

Car wash soap and metal polish arrived today..now just need to get mineral spirits and I can get started.
IMG-7968.jpg
 

matt5058

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matt5058,

Warm water and carwash soap (Honeydew) and a terry cloth to get most of the soluble dirt off. Next, a wipe down with mineral spirits to remove tar dots and any oily stuff. Last step is Nev-R-Dull and lots of elbow grease. By the time you're finished, the mufflers will look as good as new.

Do not use any nylon scour pads (ScotchBrite) or Brillo or steel wool or the polished surface will be marred.

YouTube will probably have some videos showing how to spruce up mufflers so check out the videos and see what other have done.

HTH,

Chris

Chris, sharing in case you didn't see this posted in my other thread:


Also, someone else suggested using fine grain steel wool (0000 grade) on the mufflers....do you think that would still damage them?
 

nyuk98GT

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Matt,

Thanks for posting the video. You brought those tips back to life! Good work.

Disclaimer: I'm no expert on polishing metal. I rely on a a piece of terry towel, metal polish, and elbow grease. My concern is scuffing a 'plain' metal surface so I don't mind taking the time to get it done, lol.

You're right to be a bit careful about using steel wool on a polished surface (call me a chicken). Having said that, the "four-aught" steel wool is the mildest and is often used by wood refinishers so it is OK to use (light pressure) on the muffler bodies. A little polish will provide some lubrication and minimize the risk of hazing the surface.

Another option is a white or red 3M/Scotch-brite pad. Red is very fine but can still scuff, white is for polishing. I'd start with white to see how it goes and only switch to red (with light pressure) for stubborn spots. Even though Scotch-brite is plastic, the fibers have little bits of abrasive stuff embedded so they can scratch (fine, ultra-fine scratches are still scratches).

That's the sum total of my metal polishing knowledge. I hope there's some info you can use.

Chris
 

matt5058

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So I made a first attempt yesterday....definitely put more effort into the first one (on the left obviously) before taking a break and eventually getting side tracked to do some work on the fox body.
IMG-0495.jpg
So what I'm wondering now, after this first effort, is....the rust spots still showing on the actual muffler, does that mean I need to keep doing the whole procedure - wash, mineral spirits, and polish? Or should I just keep doing the polish step?

Also, the rust on the pipe after the muffler...I wasn't able to make much progress on there. I'm thinking of trying a vinegar mix or maybe baking soda. Any thoughts?

I also picked this up, which I hope will make the polishing a slightly easier process.
IMG-0504.jpg
 

matt5058

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So I’m slowly making more progress on these but holy crap it’s taking a long time lol.

Here is how they looked when I first pulled them off the car:
6ACE9420-6B81-49D1-B9C8-F9A37A925C2B.jpeg

Here’s how they looked after the soap/water, mineral spirits, and polish, a few times
6CF38972-095B-4420-9A0D-1D9F1AA1D9C5.jpeg

And here’s how they look (well just the one on the right) after using some fine steel wool pads, and then polish
3B438B0E-A8FC-49A4-96F5-955CAB6A8B84.jpeg
 

matt5058

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Made a little bit more progress on these....still not perfect but light years ahead of where they were when I first pulled them off, lol.

IMG-1701.jpg
 

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