How to: Polish Exhaust

Discussion in 'SN95 4.6L Mustang Tech' started by 04sleeper, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Since I get so many PM's and questions about this, I figured I would make a thread to help anyone who wants to try this on their own or just see how it's done.

    Items needed for this job:

    1) Wet Sand Paper of varoius grits. 100, 220, 320, 400, 600, 1000, 1500, 2000
    2) 150 Grit Flapper Wheel (Optional)
    3) Drill
    4) Spray Bottle of Water (Add 1 drop of dish washing liquid to full bottle. ie. Dawn)
    5) Cotton Buffing Wheel (Mothers Power Ball will not work nearly as well)
    6) Mothers Mag Aluminum Polish
    7) Towels to wipe off the polish with
    8) And last but not least, a strong arm and shoulder muscles (You'll need it! LOL.....)

    The exhaust I am doing is a Borla system, but as long as it is stainless steel it should come out the same. (Aluminized pipes, such as MAC and Flowmaster or some Bassani's, will NOT come out like this but you can clean it up a little by sanding it.)

    Here are the pipes as they come from Borla. (These are a from new Stinger System)

    Here you can see the dull "Brushed" finish that most cat backs come with. You can see the marks from the mandrel bender as well.



    To help get out some of the marks from the mandrel tubing bender I chose to use a "150 Grit Flapper Wheel" attachment for my drill. This is optional but it may save some of your arm strength for the sanding to come.
    This kit came with 2 wheels. I used the 150 grit wheel.

    Attached to drill.

    After sanding with the wheel you will come up with something like this.


    I started out with 100 grit sand paper by hand. I used some heavy duty rubber gloves I bought at Home Depot to help save my fingers. (Use gloves if you want to keep your finger tips!)

    This is what it will come out like after the 100.

    The paper broke down with the 100 so I went right to the 320 grit then 400. Here's what the pipe will look like after 400. (Ignore the bend that used for testing which was already about done.)


    Next to the stock pipe with the 400.

    Next up was the 600 grit. You can see it starting to shine just a little bit.


    Next to the stock pipe with the 600.

    From there I moved on to 1000 grit. Here's what you should end up with.


    Next to the stock pipe with the 1000.

    Next up was the 1500 grit.


    Next to the stock pipe with the 1500 grit.

    And finally the 2000 grit. It almost looks polished at this point.



    Next to the stock pipe with the 2000 grit.

    For the final step I used a cotton buffing wheel on my drill along with some Mothers Mag Aluminum Polish. This is where the "Magic" really happens!

    View attachment 271865


    Here are the results of all your hard work! :rockon:

    View attachment 271868




    Polished pipe VS Stock.


    And here's what they will look like on the car! You can see the reflection of the ground and now you can blind people from behind you at night. LOL...

    Hope this helps.

  2. looks outstanding! Your hard work definately paid off:nice:
  3. Thats so awesome Kevin...It makes me want to do an IRS swap just so i can do that to my tailpipes....

    One question though, does it ever discolor again like most stainless does from the heat?
  4. Thanks.

    No, it doesn't discolor. I have had my pipes like this for a few years now and they still look good.
  5. Looks great Kevin, nice write up.
  6. after its polished like that, what is the the upkeep. like, how long until it looks like s*** again? i would love to do this to my cobra, but she is a DD and see's winter and salt and summer and rain
  7. wow this is awesome, do u have a job? i mean where do u get the time to do this stuff?? lol great work man
  8. i would like to ask the mods in here to append this to the sticky in 4.6 tech for important threads.

    +1. nice work. absolutely beautiful! :nice:
  9. Moved to 4.6 Tech and referenced in the FAQ sticky. Well done.
  10. Thanks. :cheers:

    That's the great thing about it. You only have to use the polish a few times a year to keep it looking good. It's stainless steel so it holds up well.

    LOL... I do have a job that I put many hours into as well. Some people decide to watch TV for hours a week, or do other things, I enjoy doing stuff like this.

    Thanks. :cheers:

    OK, it is better suited there. Thank you sir. :flag:
  11. I know what u mean man, i have gotten into buying cars from a buddy who owns a tow yard and gets titles, so all my spare time is working on these things and selling them, i never have a free moment but i am making money like crazy, just changed a starter out on one and made $900 in 3 days, my stang is a little neglected tho would like to set out and do something nice from one of ur many writeups. I will say tho this extra money is going into a pot labeled "03/04 cobra funds" coming soon!

    keep up the good work man
  12. lol....I have always wondered where you bought your exhaust!!! Now I know that you made it!!! Nice effin work man! That is a lot of elbow grease. I bet you couldn't lift your arm after that!!

    Did you do all that in one day Kevin?? If so, I bow down before you my friend! That takes it's toll on the shoulders for sure.
  13. That looks really good. I'm stuck with all stainless for now though. Always been a fan of your car.
  14. So is he (except for the tips). This just a stainless exhaust system polished up to what it looks like on his Cobra. It can be done to any Stainless piping on Magnaflow, Bassani, etc. catbacks. :nice:

    I'm also really trying to figure out if I can use this same technique to help restore the polished Stainless tips on my Magnaflow system. They are not chrome, so is there any reason you couldn't use this technique on already polished SS to bring back the shine? :shrug:
  15. I just did an IRS swap and have that exact exhaust. I'm heading to the store after work to buy supplies. I can't wait.
    Thanks for the write up.
  16. That looks very nice!
  17. Very nice write up. I wish I had that much patience to do that to mine lol.
  18. Wow that is insane (In a good way) Looks excellent :nice:
  19. I'm gonna do my mac tips this weekend. I'll post some pics
  20. for the guys worried about upkeep... check with a Powedercoating company near you for clear Ceramic coating ;)