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Discussion Starter #1
The original owner of my 999S had a loose coolant hose which resulted in coolant spewing all over the front of the bike.
The resulting stains are only obvious when one has a close look at the forks, but it irritates me. I've tried a couple of quick fixes over the years, but never really got to addressing the issue. Now that I have the bike stripped for a valve job I want to tackle the issue for once and for all. Anybody any idea how I can best remove the coolant stains ? I tried regular cleaners (no, I did not make it worse :)), including Never Dull. Did not work. This happened during original ownership (2005-2007). None of the other bike parts seem to have been affected, so these fork coatings must be really sensitive to staining.
Thank you in advance for your help.
 

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You are going to have to remove a thin layer of aluminum to remove the stain. Seems to me I read somewhere that some of the best forks have a special coating, Titanium Aluminum Nitride ? You probably don't have that because it would not have stained, but I could be wrong. If the owner had dealt with it right away WD40 might have worked, with a 0000 steel wool. Try Mothers Aluminum polish, there are others out there.

This guy on a mustang forum seems to have a few suggestions: How can I get antifreeze stains out of polished alum?
 

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For scrubbing alloy I've always used 3M superfine pads.
They are for sanding primer and finishing off top coat imperfections.
They lose the sharpness real quick on metal but continue scrubbing and they are great for polishing.
I removed the anodising with caustic soda on these clip ons and it took about 5 minutes to go over both sets and get rid of the dull/patchy finish it left.
Dry rubbed using a piece about the size of my little finger.
Depending on how deep the staining is you might be stuck with it if the stain has been there for years.
20201213_191145.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you. These are the (more) expensive gold colored Ohlins. The staining is on the upper section of the forks, above the seal.

999988
 

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STOP!
Do not use steel wool, metal polish etc. The coating on the factory Ohlins is so thin it wears away with just regular road use. Attempting to remove staining will remove the Ti coating and leave you with a mess!
I understand your OCDisms i have them myself but rest assured, anything abrasive at all will result in you needing to have them recoated so leave it be and it will likely wear off with use.
 

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I'd try the superfine pads but find a bit of the stain where it can't be easily seen first.
Preferably some where between the tripples and on the inside of a fork leg, if you have a stained spot up there.
Use masking tape to cover the seals and lower legs to ensure no fine stuff can settle there and damage the seals or finish on the lower legs.
The things that could go wrong.
Worst case first.
1. Annodising is stained all the way through.
In this case you would need to remove all of the anodising and get it redone on both legs to ensure colour match.
You'll be stripping the forks completely to do this.
2. If the stain comes off easily it might be a lot shinier where you have rubbed and then you will need to do the entire upper of both legs to make it match.
Loony888 could well be right but if you do try do it somewhere it won't be seen while the fairing is on.
 

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STOP!
Do not use steel wool, metal polish etc. The coating on the factory Ohlins is so thin it wears away with just regular road use. Attempting to remove staining will remove the Ti coating and leave you with a mess!
I understand your OCDisms i have them myself but rest assured, anything abrasive at all will result in you needing to have them recoated so leave it be and it will likely wear off with use.
Ahh, hang on, i'm referring to the Ti nitrite coating on the sliders, sorry.

The Anodising is a little more hardy but still, be very careful.....
 

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Just the upper part, good, the Ti coating on the sliders held off the staining. I think you are going to be miles ahead just having those pieces re-anodized after a good cleaning, if you want to keep it original looking gold and you are really picky about such things.

So disassemble both forks, get the stained one in good lighting and try the WD40 soaking a 0000 steel wool or equivalent Scotch nylon pad - gently rubbing, lot more spray, wipe off with clean cloth and repeat until you are sure its getting better or worse. And if it turns out to just be a small area left, figure out if you can rotate the tube so that its not visible when mounted to the bike. Or put an Ohlins sticker on the stain and go riding,....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I was able to perform a test with the 0000 steel wool and WD40. Seemed to work on the forks. Ironically, I also noticed that the triple clamps were stained in some locations, but the 0000 did not make a difference on the stained aluminum. I will attack with baking soda tomorrow ("hunker.com" link above), since it was getting too dark in my garage.
There may indeed have been an effect of hard water staining. I constantly had to move locations because of my job and some of them had really shitty water (Texas, NJ,...). I spent more time cleaning my bikes than riding them and they ended up worse, LOL.
 

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Yes, the triple clamps will be oxidized instead of stained. So the forks are good now?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes, forks are okay now. This is what I'm dealing with on the sides of the triple clamp. Haven't been able to start working on it today.
1000084
 

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Almost looks like clear coated,... Has the bike ever been repainted? Anyway, you could yank that off there and really polish the heck out of it if you wanted, the surface looks uneven so even when cleaned of oxide, if that is what is spotting it, it's not going to look very good, imo.
 

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Yes, forks are okay now. This is what I'm dealing with on the sides of the triple clamp. Haven't been able to start working on it today.
View attachment 1000084
I was about to ask if you lived on the coast, and then noticed your user name so will assume you are in Atlanta. Regardless, this looks like the clear anodize coat has corroded. If it were me I'd remove it, have it media blasted and then re-anodized.

That's a lot of work however for something that is mainly cosmetic.
 

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I was about to ask if you lived on the coast, and then noticed your user name so will assume you are in Atlanta. Regardless, this looks like the clear anodize coat has corroded. If it were me I'd remove it, have it media blasted and then re-anodized.

That's a lot of work however for something that is mainly cosmetic.
i think he’s in the PNW.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
The original owner lived on St Simons Island, GA. That's where the bike spent the first 3 years of it's life. Since then it's been with me in Atlanta, NJ, TX and now Oregon :). It's moved around a lot, has hardly been driven (I was on foreign assignments for extended periods and i have 3 other bikes) and generally is in excellent shape, with the exception of what we are discussing now. Repainted ? OMG, never.

I did try to change my user name but the administrators found no other option than to start from scratch with a new name and no history.
 

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The original owner lived on St Simons Island, GA. That's where the bike spent the first 3 years of it's life. Since then it's been with me in Atlanta, NJ, TX and now Oregon :). It's moved around a lot, has hardly been driven (I was on foreign assignments for extended periods and i have 3 other bikes) and generally is in excellent shape, with the exception of what we are discussing now. Repainted ? OMG, never.

I did try to change my user name but the administrators found no other option than to start from scratch with a new name and no history.
Thanks for the heads up... exposure to salt air is something that can cause that kind of corrosion of an anodized finish. As others have pointed out, there are steps that can be taken with the triple tree still on the bike, but if you want to do it right, the current clear anodize is going to have to be removed, and the part refinished/re-anodized. I have heard that a bath in oven cleaner will remove anodized coatings, but would not be comfortable with taking the chance of having it start eating into the aluminum underneath.

If it were me, I'd have it media blasted with something fine, definitely not glass beads, and then have it re-anodized. Not sure what the cost of that may be vs just buying another upper triple tree.
 

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I used caustic soda to remove some coloured anodising from my clip ons.
Threw them in, waited a few minutes and brushed them while submerged.
Worked great and didn't produce any noticeable heat.
 

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I routinely remove anodizing from alloy and it's a simple process.
Mix up some caustic soda drain cleaner in a shallow tray just deep enough to submerge the part in.
(usual safety warnings as on the drain cleaner)
Immerse the part in the solution whilst all the time gently agitating the surface of the part with a 1" paint brush, both sides.
Soon as the surface is uniform again rinse the part under running water for 5 minutes or so whilst gently brushing it with a clean brush then wash in detergent.
You can then re-anodise it, clear coat it or just leave a raw finish wiped over occasionally with wax.


davy
 
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