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Bumper Refurbish

Mark92131

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The car has been sitting inside at Bavarian Rennsport in Ramona for a couple of Months while Bill works on cleaning out some of the backlog.  The windows are in, front lights, grills, front turn signals, marker lights and seals replaced, but the bumpers needed some attention before re-installation.  I picked them up last Friday, brought them home and was planning on sanding off the annodized finish and re-polishing.  After cleaning them up, they were in remarkably good condition, so I waxed them and will be returning them for installation and a tuck job.

 

 

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So I wanted to see if I liked the shiny chrome vs the anodized satin finish on the top of my bumpers, so I decided to try it out on the bottom surface.  Breaking down the anodized coating with a sander is no easy task.  I started with a Jitterbug orbital air sander with 60 grit and after about an hour, I started to make some progress.  I cleaned it up with 6 inch dual-action sander with a 60 grit pad to remove the stubborn stuff.  Once the anodized layer was off, I hand-sanded the bumper with progressively higher grit dry sandpaper (up to 600), and then switched to wet and dry up to 1200.  The final step was Mother's Aluminum polish and a coat of wax.

 

So this is what I learned...

 

If you have pits or scratches that are deeper than the anodized layer, it is very difficult to clean them up.  I had an issue with the bottom of the rear bumper that had pitting from the exhaust gases from the center muffler.  After hours of sanding, I couldn't remove enough material to remove the pits completely.  When comparing the satin finish vs the polished finish, I think I like the satin anodized just as much as the polished aluminum, especially when thinking about repeating this process on the tops of the bumpers.

 

Here are some pictures comparing the two treatments, the satin finish on the left and the polished version on the left.

 

I also learned a hard lesson on safety during this process, while sanding off the anodized layer I caught a edge with the dual-action sander and it jumped on my leg, 2 hours at the emergency room is no way to spend your Saturday afternoon.  Please use my mistake as a cautionary tale.

 

Mark92131

 

 

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