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Keeping diamond plate on fire trucks polished


Q. Hi I am a municipal fireman in Wisconsin and although our trucks get washed often and maintained well, the diamond plating doesn't always get dried properly. Anyways my question is what is the safest way to restore them so that our taxpayers know they are getting their money's worth.

Richard Carter
Germantown Fire Dept - Germantown, Wisconsin


A. Your local car parts store has some good aluminum polishes -- SimiChrome [affil link] and Mother's Mag & Aluminum Polish [affil link], and there are others, which work well, but they work best when combined with lots of elbow grease.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina


Q. I recently discovered something called aluminum deoxidizer would this be something worth using before polishing?

Richard Carter
- Germantown, Wisconsin


A. I've tried two different 'aluminum cleaners' for a project, namely "Duro Aluminum Jelly Cleaner & Brightener" (phosphoric acid based) and "Burnishine Aluminum Brightener" (contains acids and fluorides), but (on my particular parts) as far as I could tell they seemed to do nothing. Several letters here claim that "Tal-Strip" aircraft stripper is effective, but I haven't tried it. It is reported that it's really strong stuff, requiring every caution, and that it will take the paint off adjacent areas if you're sloppy with it.

It's not really clear what 'aluminum deoxidizer' is; to many industrial users that is slang for 'aluminum desmutter', which is usually a nitric acid based chemical to dissolve the copper off the surface of aluminum alloys.

You may find letter 800 to be worthwhile reading.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


I have a lot of chrome on my harley and to keep it shiny and remove all of the water spots and build up I use a product made by Car Brite. The product is called "Snappy Shine" It is no doubt the best product I have ever used for the final detail on paint, chrome, or alum finishes.

Bill Wilson
- Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

June 18, 2009

What acid should I use? don't want to pay for a name brand when I just know its something simple!

Kimberley Case
home owner - Outlook Sk. Canada

June 19, 2009

Hi, Kimberley. There is one acid that terrifies professionals because they have seen how dangerous it is: hydrofluoric acid (HF). If anyone suggests using that, run away very fast. Other fluorine based acids are somewhat less frightening but still terribly dangerous. But strong fluorides are often what is used to get a shine back on aluminum.

You might investigate whether there is a local truck wash which can accept your horse trailer because they sometimes use these powerful chemicals to help brighten tank trucks. Otherwise, you too may find letter 800 amusing and informative. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Metal Wax

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July 19, 2012

Hi all!

If you need to get your diamond plate restored the best way is to use a 260 grit or higher compound followed up by Metal Wax's Metal Polish. it makes the diamond plate look like glass! -- and stays polished fairly long.

-you're welcome.

Erik Skilbred
- Ester Alaska

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