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Old 08-06-2009, 09:45 PM   #1
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Talking How-to: Restore SPI valve cover

I figured I'd try to make a how-to as well as show off my recent work in the engine bay (and the wiper arms/windshield cowls)

To start off, you'll need ONE (1) soiled SPI or other unpolished aluminum valve cover (the more the better though ) such as this:


Get yourself some Goof-Off2 in a spray bottle like this:


Not required (but your hands WILL be black after) are some type of gloves. These would work nicely


Also you'll need a few other supplies, such as a 300 or harsher grit sanding sponge.... I used 320 because that's all I had, but it did well enough. Also a rag or some type of thing to wipe the buildup off with. More than one would be preferred, though not necessary. Also a sheet of 1000 grit sand paper (not necessary)

NOW, to actually get started.... unfortunately I didn't get any pictures during the process, but it's pretty simple and obvious.

-FIRST take the goof-off 2 and generously cover the whole valve cover with it. make sure the oil cap is on tight though (I DID discolor it because of the sanding... it would be wise to put something over that part.) Let this sit for maybe 5-10 minutes (a little excessive, but the longer the better). (NOTE: this likes to remove paint, though I DID spray it on the car, I wouldn't let it sit. make sure to wipe that off ASAP)

-Now soak it again with goof-off, and also any other discolored metal surfaces (I.E both parts on the side of the engine, as well as the one by the belt towards the front of the hood. also the heat shield likes it too.)

-Wipe and rub hard with your rag to get most of the built up gunk off of the valve cover and anywhere else you put it on. It should already look better.

-Repeat as necessary, though not likely

-This is where that lovely elbow grease comes in. Take your sanding sponge, and seriously keep rubbing hard all over the valve cover, taking note to get in the crevices and such, as well as making sure not to accidentally sand any plastic parts like the oil cap, intake tube, breather tube, or the coil pack. Also sand those other metal parts if you need to, at this time.

-After your first sanding, go ahead and soak it all down again, then wipe up with a rag. It should start to look even better now

-Repeat the last two steps as many times as needed/as you desire.... I did it about three (3) times before I finally gave in and it looked well enough to me.

-Again, not necessary, but it would help if you used a very rough grit sandpaper earlier; take your fine grit sandpaper, and do a quick rub down on the metal parts.

-And the final step, do one last coating of goof-off 2 to get rid of any sanding particulates that may have accumulated from your final sanding.

Here's the result, or at least mine. Results MAY vary, ask your physician if you are healthy enough to participate in this activity.


At this point, I'm not sure whether I want to paint the valve cover or attempt to polish it. I'm leaning towards the polishing because I see the potential in it. That and I still want to be able to sell the engine

HAPPY RESTORING!


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Old 08-06-2009, 11:01 PM   #2
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very nice mike....
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:35 PM   #3
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^^ ok.....well I know you guys have seen it, but I've also seen a lot of dirty valve covers here on FF.

CLEAN EM UP!
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:06 PM   #4
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polishing to a mirror finish is too hard with the rough cast marks IMO. I recommend painting it
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:28 AM   #5
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looks good mike. I would have done this and then painted the engine if i hadent dont that spi to zetec swap....
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:37 AM   #6
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you'd still have a focus is you hadn't done the spi to zetec swap....

lol I'm sorry I couldn't resist....UM thanks though lol, I might buy an Escort VC, sand it down completely flat, and maybe do a little "painting"
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Old 08-08-2009, 08:31 AM   #7
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No id still have a focus if that dam power steering line hadnt broke. but i still honestly dont think that was the cause still think someone sabataged the car. because the leak was kinda far from the dumppipe of my focus. anyways.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:15 PM   #8
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Wow never saw this thread.

I actually started cleaning up my SPI valve cover earlier today. Used a 1:1 ratio of simple green and water. Then scrubbed with wire brushes.

Started some sanding as well, I plan on going with a full polish. Ive already done it on the letters to test it out, and they came out to a mirror finish :)

Should be sick when its done.
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