Polished Front Hub & Rotor
By Ron Weiser and the Green Mamba


Polished front hub, photographed with flash 


I started with a sanding pad on a drill. I used the type of pad that accepts sticky backed sanding disks. I made disks out of wet/dry sandpaper coated with rubber cement. The pad needs a light coat of rubber cement too. I started with 80 and100 grit disks to remove all the paint, cut marks and grooves on both sides of the rotor. I only polished the portion of the rotor from the braking surface toward the center of the disk on both sides and didn't touch the surfaces that mate with the pads.  Be careful when cutting with the 80 and 100 grit disks that you only take off enough material to remove the grooves in the rotor surface.  Also, go easy on the back side of the rotor around the bolt holes.  This area mates to the hub.  If too much material is removed from the back side near the bolt holes and the surface is uneven, the rotor may not sit straight on the hub.    What you'll end up with is rotor run out that is unacceptable and the front brake will act like the rotor is warped. 

I used water for all the sanding steps except the initial 80 and 100 grit cuts.   But be prepared,...what a mess,... don't wear white or light colored clothing to do this!  Stuff flies everywhere.   I then used sanding disks of 220, 320, 400, 600 and 1000 grit.   Using successive grades of sandpaper removes all the surface imperfections and the scratches cut into the material by the previous grades of sand paper.  After sanding, I went to buffing and polishing with 6" buffing wheels and buffing compounds. I don't have a buffing machine, so I mounted the buffing wheels on my drill press and used the highest speed setting available, about 3700 rpm.  A sisal wheel and emery compound to remove heavy scratches and give the rotor an initial even shine. Then went to a sewn cotton wheel with stainless compound and finally a loose cotton wheel with a stainless rouge. The last two steps yield a progressively higher shine as all the very small imperfections are removed.  What you end up with is a very bright surface that is nearly identical to chrome.  It's hard to tell the difference.  The major difference is that the stainless is VERY hard.  It's hard to scratch, maintains its shine and doesn't rust or oxidize.  I had most of the materials, so I did it myself. But, I've seen prices of about $75 to $85 to polish a rotor. Was all my time worth $75? I don't know, but the way I look at it,... I don't know what kind of job would have been done by someone else,...I'm rarely satisfied.  But I'm happy with the end result.

The front hub was a little different.  I only polished the areas of the front hub outside the spokes.  The inner hub is too hard to get to to polish and maintain so, I left the factory finish.  Besides, it is clear coated and is easy to wash and keep looking nice.  I did most of the sanding and polishing by hand. I first took medium and fine emery cloth and used rubber cement to attach a light cardboard backing. I then cut out 1.5" sanding/grinding wheels for my Dremel.  I used the home made wheels and a flex shaft attachment to grind all the casting marks, fissures, bumps, manufacturer part numbers etc down smooth. Then I used wet/dry papers and wet sanded with 220, 320, 400, 600, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000 and 3000. I then buffed by hand with Flitz polishing compound and finished with Mother's Aluminum Polish. Again, a lot of work but the results are worth it.

When I was all done, I applied two coats of Xtreem Metal Majic polished metal sealer.  This stuff is great!  The hype on the bottle says that it's not a wax but a chemical sealer for untreated polished metals???  Whatever.   One bottle goes a long way!  It says that it's supposed to last 3 to 6 months then reapplication may be necessary.  All I know is that the polished parts look as good 4 or 5 months after the initial application with just normal washing and maintenance.  If you have to remove any oxidation from the aluminum hub, a quick polish with Mother's Aluminum Polish will do it.  It's just like using Mother's Chrome Polish to shine your chrome.