Cleaning rusted chrome bolt heads? - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum

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Old 09-21-2012, 08:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cleaning rusted chrome bolt heads?

Many of the chrome plated bolt heads on my bike have some rust on them and it has streaked a little bit, too. Apparently the PO did not dry it off well or its just the nature of a 12 year old bike. I've searched all through the archives and haven't found any specific answers to my question, which is:

How do I clean the rust off the chrome in these bolt heads? Most are the allen head type and are too small to do the coke and aluminum foil trick (which works beautifully on bigger surfaces). Has anyone mastered a trick for this? I'm toying around with using CLR, but don't want to get it on surrounding surfaces. It can be pretty harsh.

The weather is supposed to be spectacular on Saturday. I want to take advantage of it to detail the bike. We also are having a Bikers Day at church on Sunday and I don't want to have the ugliest bike!
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Surface rust removal of chrome 101:

The finest steel wool you can find. Steel wool will not scratch anything but the rust off as it's not as hard as chrome.

However! The flakes of rusty chrome that come off can sometimes be hard enough to scratch up the rest of the chrome, so cycle often and still just focus on rusty areas.

Follow up with a bit of never dull chrome polish.

When they're looking good take a dab of clear coat to help prevent the area from re-rusting all over again. The clear coat will not polish the way the rest of the chrome will, so it's best to use as little and as targeted as possible.

The only trick for bolt heads is what you can use to get in there and still get sufficient pressure to remove it. A Dremel and a sanding bit immediately comes to mind...
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The easiest way is to remove them, throw them away and replace them with stainless steel fastners. They'll never rust again!
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I use either a wire wheel on a Dremel tool, or the wire wheel I have mounted on my bench grinder. In fact, the lower part of my triple tree on my recently acquired Shadow had surface rust, so I sat down with the Dremel and the wire wheel...five minutes later and it looks great!
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Agree with Chicago, gad I hate Chicago, they kicked the s$#t out of my Canucks a few years ago lol.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicago View Post
The easiest way is to remove them, throw them away and replace them with stainless steel fastners. They'll never rust again!
Agreed but not as shiiiiiiiiiny. There are complete polished stainless steel bolt kits available on ebay for $50-$75 for just about every bike ever made. I bought one right after the latest bike and set it in the garage, figuring to replace as I need to unfasten things over the years. So far I've installed 10-20 pieces.... only 200 or so to go!

Even polished they're no comparison to chrome as far as sparkle goes, but they sure do kick the crap out of rusty chrome
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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One trick I learned from my sailing days - never use steel wool. Use bronze wool. It's softer and won't scratch, and if you happen to leave behind a small fiber or two, it won't rust and make the problem worse. The downside is that it's rather pricey compared to steel wool. Marine supply stores will have it.

The other thing I use is a small brass brush. You can find these little brushes in the plumbing section of your local hardware. You can ruin a couple of them in cleaning the whole bike, but they're cheap and come in packs. You can get down in the corners quite well with them. I've had good success cleaning bolt heads with them.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicago View Post
The easiest way is to remove them, throw them away and replace them with stainless steel fastners. They'll never rust again!
+ 100

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Old 09-21-2012, 07:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Tooth brush and chrome polish
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