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Silver roof rails need some attention - photo's included

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by danb986, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    Hi folks,

    I'm a newbie that's just bought an '07 A3 Sportback, which has got the silver roof rails.
    The problem is that they look waterstained and sort of flat and patchy. I gave one of them a quick polish with some Zymol I had in the garage, but it didn't really do much. I also asked at Audi and they said they didn't have anything special to clean them with.

    Does anyone know if these are lacquered or anything? I've got some Autosol metal polish, but I haven't been brave enough to use it in case I ruin them.

    Is there anything safe I can use to get these looking less patchy. I'm not even sure if they should be shiny or a more dull aluminium finish. The last photo below shows the end I gave a quick polish with the Zymol.

    Any advice would be gratefully received.

    Hopefully you can see what I mean from these pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. 3.2 Ju
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    3.2 Ju Well-Known Member

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    Mines an 05 and apart from a few light scratches they are in perfect condition, no watermarking like yours just shiny! You could try a fine wire wool, we use it on glass to remove light scratches so should be ok on polished metal.
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  3. rowdyboy
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    rowdyboy Member

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    DONT USE WIRE WOOL!!!
    Use some Werkstat prime, it'll clean them up like new. Google it to find your local stockist.
    #3
  4. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    There seems to be a choice between Werkstat Prime Strong, Acrylic or Carnauba. I was thinking of the Strong, but as it's a fairly large bottle I'd like to use it on the rest of the car too. Which do you think would be best suited to my needs? The descriptions are almost identical on the websites.
    Also, I've got a complete newbie question :blush: - I usually use Zymol to polish the car, would I use this instead, or do I need to Zymol on top of the Werkstat Prime?
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  5. 3.2 Ju
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    3.2 Ju Well-Known Member

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    I actually looked at mine close up this morning and tbh there is some slight oxidizing on the rails, however nowhere near as bad as yours. I used some fine wire wool and it brought it up lovely.
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  6. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    I think the previous owner probably didn't look at after mine as well as you have with yours. Strange really, as mine was owned by Audi before me and the interior is immaculate.

    Are they not lacquered or coated in any way then?
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  7. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    Think I've just found my answer thanks to Google:

    Werkstat Prime is exactly the same as Carlack68 NSC / Klasse AIO, only more expensive (I don't believe that Polished Bliss stock the original Prime).

    Werkstat Prime Acrylic is different in that it has extra sealant added in (around 20% IIRC).

    Werkstat Prime Strong has abrasives added.


    I'd still be interested to know if I then add Zymol on top of this though :uhm:
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  8. rowdyboy
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    rowdyboy Member

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    You need the normal or the strong prime, either will do. The bottles are only 500ml. It's a cleanser/cleaner that will clean your rails and paintwork up. I personally use Werkstat acrylic on top as the prime cleans the surface and doesn't give protection. I'm not sure if the zymol will bond properly but you'll definitely need to put a surface protectant on after prime. If you look on the polishedbliss or Werkstat website, it gives you full instructions.
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  9. rowdyboy
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    rowdyboy Member

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    I would think if Audi owned it, the paintwork has not been looked after properly at all. Look at some of the threads showing how much people have to correct main dealers poor cleaning techniques.

    If they are lacquered, wire wool certainly isn't going to help!!
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  10. FranA3
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    FranA3 events moderator Regional Rep

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    dont ever use wire wool on them it will do more damage than good use a product like rowdyboy has suggested they are meant for cars so are designed to do the job on your car failing that some autosol metal cleaner will do it but i would only use that if nothing else is working but wire wool = scratched = even worse than to start with
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  11. 3.2 Ju
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    3.2 Ju Well-Known Member

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    They're not lacquered and yes wire wool does work without scratching. We are talking metal here guys and not a painted finish. If you don't believe me try it on some cutlery and see.
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  12. FranA3
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    FranA3 events moderator Regional Rep

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    spoons and stuff are stainless steel roof rails are alloy are they not
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  13. 3.2 Ju
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    3.2 Ju Well-Known Member

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    No worries m8, use whatever you are comfortable with. I've done mine this morning so I know it's fine:sm4:
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  14. Cabbyfan
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    Cabbyfan Member

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    My windscreen pillers on my cab look milky too.....lets the whole car finish down. Not found a proper fix yet...
    #14
  15. a9503128
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    a9503128 Guest

    have you though of buying new rails? They are bolt on so once you have access from the roof lining it cant take too long.
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  16. rowdyboy
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    rowdyboy Member

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    £15 for some cleaner that'll bring them up like new or £££££ for new rails!!! Difficult decision!

    Cabbyfan - they are different to the roof rails and from reading other threads, the only fix is replacing them unfortunately.
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  17. Cabbyfan
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    Cabbyfan Member

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    Mmmm not paying that ha ...... Ah well.
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  18. a9503128
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    a9503128 Guest

    #18
  19. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    I just thought I'd report back with my progress.
    My Car-Lack68 arrived yesterday and I gave it a go last night. There are no application instructions on it, but after a bit Googling I discovered you apply it and then leave it for about half an hour to do it's stuff and draw out the oxidization, then just wipe it off.
    I tried this once and it made a little difference, so I gave it a second try. This time I gave it a good rubbing when I applied it and then I made sure there was a thick coating and left it for 45 minutes.
    When I wiped it off this time there was no improvement.

    It's so frustrating. I quite like the alloy effect, but I might have to get brutal with them and get them polished at the place mentioned above, as I'm not far from Watford.

    Has anyone else got an idea's? Or should I just keep going with the Car-Lack?
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  20. Padtwo
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    Padtwo Member

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    My first try would be a paint cleaner as mentioned above, or a finishing polish, something with mild abrasives. If they are not lacquered (I don't have roof rails) then autosol.

    You also say about polishing with zymol, what zymol products do you have? What carlack product did you get?
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
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  21. rowdyboy
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    rowdyboy Member

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    Mate, I've already told you what to use to bring them back to looking like new.
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  22. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    If you're talking about Werkstat Prime, I've tried that and it did nothing except make it feel smoother. All the staining remained.
    I also tried the Car-lack stuff 6 times over the weekend, thinking it may just need persistence, but this made no difference at all either.
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  23. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    The Zymol is the cleaner wax that Halfords do, it's the turquoise stuff that smells like you can eat it :yum:
    And the Carlack was Carlack 68 NSC.

    I don't think they're lacquered because I tried absolutely every cleaning product I own (even some wheel cleaner that is supposed to be safe for unlacquered/chrome wheels) and the only thing that even looked like working was the Autosol, but only with the cotton polishing wheel on my Dremel. I worked on a little area at the back and it looks like it'll come up well, although this took around 10 minutes to do about an inch as I was being really careful.
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  24. AidenUK
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    AidenUK Well-Known Member

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    Mine look just like the OPs.

    Cloudy and water stained, i'm in the process of minting the body work up of my SB, alloy wheel re powder coat, spruce the roof rails up and a swirl removal and wax.
    #24
  25. AidenUK
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    AidenUK Well-Known Member

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    You got a photo of them after?

    I've tried all sorts to clean mine too, it's getting on my nappa now.
    #25
  26. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    You can see that as you get towards the middle of the roof rail it's the original water stained colour, but at the end you can see how the Autosol and Dremel has brought it up brighter.
    The part that's still all stained has had 2 attempts with Werkstat Prime and 5 tries with Carlack 68 NSC.

    [​IMG]
    #26
  27. AidenUK
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    AidenUK Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, i don't think i could be steady enough with the dremel, i'd be bricking it just in case caught the paint. It does seem to have made a very good difference though!
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  28. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    I held a plastic spreader under the bits I was working on with a big enough gap and put masking tape around the rest.
    The biggest worry was with the chuck on the Dremel. The polishing wheel I had was very small, so I had to be really careful not to let the chuck, which is spinning at the speed of the wheel, touch the rail or it'd put a nasty scratch into the metal.
    I think I'll look at getting a bigger polishing wheel before I do the rest.

    The only thing is, it seems to make it quite shiny. I'm not sure whether they're meant to be a matte metallic aluminum colour, or whether they're meant to be as shiny as I've made that end. It seems that the only way to get rid of the staining is to polish them up to shiny though. Or get them wrapped :think:
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
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  29. AidenUK
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    AidenUK Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't get them wrapped on your car, with it being a dark coloured car you wouldn't notice them as much.

    Shiny silver/polished all the way for me!
    #29
  30. melteddrummerr
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    melteddrummerr Member

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    you could try using a fine scotch brite pad after polshing with the dremmell if you want a more satin look, working straight along the length of the rail. This technique is used in s/steel and ally fabrication. you can get different grades of scotch brite depening on the look your after and iff you dont like the look you can always re-polish with the dremmel. Andy.
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  31. danb986
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    danb986 In awe of VCDS

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    Thanks, that's a good idea. I remember people doing this on the 'chrome' interior door handles in the Golfs to make them look like the R32 satin ones.
    I'll see how shiny looks and then I might give it a try.
    #31
  32. melteddrummerr
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    melteddrummerr Member

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    your welcome bud, let us know how you get on.
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