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Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased a Pit Crew Racing Clubman exhaust system used on eBay. I was aprehensive about purchasing it since the picture was not very clear and it looked heavily tarnished. So I passed. As did everyone else, apparently, because there were no bids and the seller relisted the item. To increase curb appeal the seller did a quick silver rattle can paint job. You couldn't tell anything from the pics other than it was now bright colored instead of brown like before. I didn't know whether it had been cleaned or painted or what? Not wanting to let this one get away a second time I pulled the trigger and won the auction. I figure I got a pretty good deal given this exhaust costs near $1000 new not including shipping from Japan.

Sure enough, when the exhaust system arrived in two separate boxes, it looked decent enough (minus the broken exhaust hanger that was absent from the auction description). However, I knew that the cheap paint job wouldn't hold up well and would quickly look like crap. So today, I sandblasted (more accurately, glass bead blasted) all the paint off exposing the tarnished 304 stainless steel surface beneath. What to do?

Searching around the internet I came across several posts that said if you're worried about some discoloration on your exhaust system you're spending too much time polishing and not enough time riding/driving! However, several people suggested Bar Keepers Friend to remove the brown tarnish and spotted stains common on stainless steel exhaust systems incluiding headers.



I picked this product up in the cleaning supply aisle of my local Giant supermarket for $1.89. Using the shop basin as a good place to work I sprinkled some BKF on the exhaust pipe and scrubbed away with a red scotch brite pad. The directions say to add water to create a paste for more agressive stains so I did. A little bit of elbow grease and all the discoloration and dark stains were gone. The exhaust system returned to a nice brushed satin silver look just like new. It's not mirror polished, but looks just like a really clean stainless steel sink. I did the same for the rear muffler section, although I used a white scotch brite pad on the twin mirror polished tips as the red scotch brite is too harsh and left minor scratches that had to be polished out with mother's mag polish.

Overall I'm very pleased with this product. I don't know of any other products that remove discoloration as well as this does without being too aggressive. So if your once golden blue stainless header is now dark brown and crusty looking try scrubbing it down with some Bar Keepers Friend to bring the shine back to new.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't have a camera but I do have the before pics from the eBay auction description. I'll try to borrow the digicam from work and snap some after pics for comparison purposes. The writeup would've been perfect with pics.
 

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Let us know how it hangs and sounds....I thought the pics that were posted (on the second round) looked like the guys polished the crap out of it - kind of like this:



Therefore I was shocked to head that it was painted (did I read that correct)?

Also, this stuff will do exactly what you are trying to do - and can be found at any auto shop: http://www.rspeed.net/miata/item.asp?dept=10&cat=21&prod=819-028
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I tried Mother's Polishing Wad (which is essentially the same thing as Luster Pad) and it wouldn't even touch the tarnish that I had. Polishing wads are good for maintaining chrome and other bright work that's already in pretty good shape but it wouldn't do a thing to remove the brown hue and dark stains that I had. Stainless steel is very hard and requires special compounds and buffs to really shine. I did try the polishing wad again after I had cleaned the pipe with BKF and it didn't do much. Normally the wad picks up contaminates and turns black very quickly but not on my newly cleaned exhaust!
 

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That exhuast is all stainless? You lucked out! From the pics on Ebay- it didn't look like it was the stainless version.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, all stainless. It really is beautifully built if a bit heavy. My racing mate quadrifoglio gives me all the luck I need. I'm in the process of making the obligatory before/after video complete with sound at startup, rev, drive by, in car top up and top down.
 
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