Polishing your Brake Pedal - Amazing Results! - A How To Guide - GL1800Riders
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Polishing your Brake Pedal - Amazing Results! - A How To Guide

In another thread here I asked if anyone had any pointers / tips on polishing their brake pedal. I promised to provide a how-to guide with pictures when I finished mine. So here you go:

Materials Used.
Source: Walmart Automotive Department
1. 1 Pack of 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper (used 2 sheets)
2. 1 Pack of 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper (used 1 sheet)
3. 1 can of Mothers Wheel Polish for Aluminum Wheels (just used a few dabs on a paper towel for polishing)

Tools used:
1. Bench vise to hold the pedal while filing and sanding on it.
2. Red Shop Rag ( to keep from nicking the pedal while clamped in the vice)
3. Some fine mill files small and a medium size.
4. Scissors for cutting the sandpaper into strips.

1. I got a used brake pedal off ebay for a few dollars so I could spend all the time I needed to get the job right. It was worth it as I still have my original pedal in case I ever want to return the bike back to stock. (like thats ever going to happen )

2. Placed the red rag so as to insulate the jaws of the vice from the pedal, I positioned the pedal to begin the seam removal. The pedal is cast from aluminum and the mold seam is clearly visible on the sides. When you polish the pedal, it looks a whole lot better if you remove the seam first.

Here is a picture of the seam removal process. I used a fine mill file to work this part. one direction strokes, and try to keep it flat so the file doesn't chatter the metal.

Keep working with the file till you wear down the seam and it blends in with the sides of the pedal arm.

When you've gotten the seam removed, it's time to start with the sanding. Cut a long strip off your 1000 grit sheet of wet/dry paper and start working it back and forth holding one end in each hand, like you were polishing a pair of shoes. Work up and down, back and forth to get the three exposed sides of the pedal arm. You will be generating alot of aluminum dust. The 1000 grit will bite and remove some of the surface imperfections along the seam area. This make take a while, and use multiple strips of the 1000 grit paper. I also went around the pinch bolt (clamp area) with the 1000 grit paper by using my fingers to get into the irregular shapes. The idea is to smooth out the pedal arm as much as possible of any bumps or irregularities.

This picture shows most of the seam smoothed away after sanding with the 1000 grit paper.

Keep at it with the 1000 grit paper. You will use quite a few strips to do the whole arm. It's easier to use the 1000 grit now and then follow up with the 2000 grit later to get that final smoothness that will polish up.

Remember to evenly sand every bit of the pedal arm that will be visible when installed on the bike, I did 3 sides including the bottom and clamp area. Probably overkill.

After sanding, you can see that the arm is almost perfectly smooth and the seam is gone.

After you have gone over the arm with the 1000 grit follow over it again with the 2000 grit. That will tend to remove any of the surface marks that the filing or the 1000 grit sanding caused. You will be pretty amazed at how much dust the 2000 grit generates and the overall smoothness it creates. This step is crucial to getting a smooth, even shine.

Now you are ready for Mothers! I used a high fiber paper towel, but the blue shop towels or a red shop rag would work just as well. It's time to put on the mothers mag wheel polish. Dab a little on your towel and rub like your polishing your shoes. Same principle anyway.

You are going to go over and go over the pedal arm getting the compound into every area of the pedal you want to shine. I choose to leave the grooved / foot area natural so I didn't mother's that portion but I did the rest of the pedal multiple times.

One thing I did, that I didn't get a picture of was after I polished it, I hit it again with the 2000 grit strips. This got the last bit of evidence of the seam and smoothed out the last ruff spots. Then I hit it with the polish for the final time.

The final application of Mothers polish.

The final results

Ready for a shot of clear coat with lacquer.

This is the backside, the side that faces towards the lower side cowling.

Awesome! I'd do it again without hesitation. Well worth the effort in my opinion.

Good Luck on polishing your pedal!
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 11:32 PM
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Looks like a lot of work but it looks great, I bought a chrome after market one, I guess I'm just lazy.

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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 11:34 PM
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Pretty snazzy looking. How much time you think it took you? I may have to get an extra one to play with, that looks goooooood!
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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It took a couple of hours on a rainy day in the garage. I probably wouldn't have done it if I didn't have a spare pedal and lousy riding weather though.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 12:45 AM
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I have tried every aluminum polish out there. Boms Away is good. Bushs to me takes to much work. I always go back to MOTHERS. Been using it for 30+ years now.

2002 GL1800 Stream Silver
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I am not totally useless. I can always serve as a BAD EXAMPLE
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 07:23 AM
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Very nice work.

Now that's my kind of customizing. You must have been a hot rodder back in the 60s or 70s. Those were the days of real customizing, where your ride was the result of a lot of sweat, bruised knuckles, and dirt under your fingernails.

We need to see more of that here, not the instant gratification of stick on, chrome plated plastic.

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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 08:39 AM
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That is exactly like I suggested in my earlier post. EXCEPT! It makes the job much faster if you use wet or dry sand paper and sand it under a trickle of water from a faucet. It took me maybe an hour or less to do mine. I start the sanding with a piece of 320 wet or dry and then 1000 and next 2000. The water will let the sand paper cut faster and not fill up the paper with aluminum crud. Good Job!
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the complements. The time factor isn't all that long, it looks like a more involved process because of my instructions than it actually is. I got a surplus pedal to work on for two reasons. 1. I could still ride my bike while I worked on the spare pedal. 2. If i messed it up, my original pedal was still on my bike and the spare could have been tossed. Of course, using Mothers, makes it hard to mess up

Here is a picture off ebay of a polished pedal for sale by a dealer for around $60 with shipping. They didn't remove the seam. To the right is my pedal for comparison. I think it was time well spent.

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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 05:34 PM
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Shure is purdy, but, does it stop any faster?

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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 06:06 PM
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OK, I give up...mine is too scratched up from the road while leaning too much. I also gave up bike shows when the second closet got to full.

Now go ride!
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