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Aluminum valve covers



Does anyone out there know what to use on aluminum valve covers for a small block mid year. Mine are original and they look like ----. I was told not to bead blast them. Also, I have the original alternator and was told not to bead blast it as well.
I've tried the heavy duty aluminum etching wheel cleaners and I even tried ultra-sonic cleaning with various recipies and with poor results.
Aluminum Restoration

I have read some posts on the NCRS web site on using "Simple Green". I purchased some this evening and I am going to give it a try on my 65 aluminum light motor housings. I also stoped at a welding shop and purchased a commerical aluminum cleaner-brightener. I will post a reveiw of the products in the aluminimum restoration posts.

Here's a procedure I used some years back, as best I recall, but it requires removing the valve covers for an extended period...

I first cleaned the valve covers with carb cleaner solvent. Then I used an "Aluminum Jelly" product... I forgot who makes it, but it's sold alongside the "Rust Jelly" product in a small plastic bottle. I applied the jelly using rubber gloves and scrubbed it in with very fine (000?) steel wool (do NOT be tempted to use coarser steel wool, you don't want scratches). Let sit awhile, then rinse & dry. Repeat until the surface corrosion is pretty much gone. At that point the aluminum surface looks TOO bright & shiney, so the trick is to then leave the covers sit out in the weather, preferably during the spring or fall rainy season, for a month or two, until they develop a very nice "patina".

Is that the stuff called "Naval Jelly?"
It has been some time since I bought Aluminum jelly. It is made by the Naval Jelly company. In fact when I just went out to check the name on the product it was dried up. Oh well, time to move all of that stuff into the new cabinets so I'll be filling the trash cans.

It works well as I remember but I'm excited by the product that Ray is using in the "Aluminum Restoration" thread in this forum.

If you're really interested in achieving the original finish on aluminum parts like valve covers, intakes, alternator and A.I.R. pump cases, etc., the best approach is to have them "re-skinned", like ASL used to do before they closed up shop. This is a proprietary "tumbling" process which will clean the part and restore the original surface texture/appearance. I've had all my aluminum parts "re-skinned" on all my cars by Jerry MacNeish ( www.z28camaro.com ), and they look terrific. Here's a recently-done rare low-script staggered-hole valve cover - the link may or may not be clickable (photo-hosting server upgrade in process) - just cut-and-paste it into your browser address window and you'll get the photo:

Ray, for your info, I tried some aluminum cleaner from my weld shop and it worked well on my alternator case.. However it turned the aluminum valve cover BLACK. The best I can tell is that maybe the alloy used in the manufacturing of the valve covers contains some copper. Anyway, I did resort to bead blasting with excellent results. I used ultra fine glass beads and set the air pressure at 35 psi. No pitina effect! and when observed under a magnifier showed NO signs of pitting. I'll try to get some digital pictures and post it. The results a truly outstanding!!


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