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Old 07-12-2009, 08:35 AM   #1
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Cleaning Velvac Mirrors

After years of admiring other peoples' shiny mirrors, we finally replaced the chrome mirror shells[not the inside assemblies] on our 2003--Valvec is proud or their replacement mirror parts and the swap-out process does involve a few factory secrets.
Question: what is the secret for getting all the bug-do/road grime off the chrome shells without messing up the delicate finish?

Old Scout
2003 40' MDTS
Garden Ridge, Texas
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:06 AM   #2
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Try at wet "Bounce" cloth. It's the stuff one throws in the clothes dryer to make the clothes less wrinkled when they come out. It seems to work pretty well.

Rick Coleman
'05 Alpine 36MDDS
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:30 AM   #3
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Bar Keeper's Friend

<< what is the secret for getting all the bug-do/road grime off the chrome shells without messing up the delicate finish? >>

I am uncertain on your question. If the exterior mirrors are just like most rear view mirrors, buy Bar Keeper's Friend at the grocery store. Using water and the dry powder, make a paste . It can be used to clean chrome. It is used by the chrome plating shops to put the final touch up on bumpers and other items. It is used by car restorers to return old glass like windshields to like new condition.
Mike Stephenson
Lubbock, Tx
1999 Beaver Patriot Thunder
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:49 AM   #4
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I was looking closely at mine and I came away thinking that the arms were chrome but the shells were paint. I saw wrinkles in the finish near edges, like failing paint. Guess I'll try polishing them with mag cleaner and a soft wheel. Hopefully I don't start pulling paint.
2003 Alpine 40FDTS (400HP)
Long Beach, CA
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:09 PM   #5
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Takepride--you are probably correct, the outside shells are plastic with either chrome paint or a thin chrome film. I messed up my shells early on with what I thought was a soft washing mitten--followed later by a gouge on the PS. Again, Ive seen fellow WRVers with fairly old coaches and nice shiny chrome shells and wondered what they used for cleaning materials/process.
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2003 40' MDTS
Garden Ridge, Texas
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:10 PM   #6
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I use Windex, but let the bugs soak for a while. If they don't wipe off w/a paper towel, I soak em again and use a fingernail.
Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
Alpine: The Ultimate DIY'er Project
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:19 AM   #7
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I believe they are chrome, but unlike metal surfaces, which use nickel/coppper underlayment, plastic uses a different process under the chrome layer. It does seem like chrome plastic is more delicate.

You may want to save the old shells for re-chroming the next time. In fact, if you have them and wish to start an Alpine member mirror makeover exchange, I'll check on re-chroming to see if it's possible and priced attractively.

I use Pledge and a microfiber (both available in judicious quantity at Costco, cheap) for chrome, 3M and paint clean-up. I let it soak on the bugs a little and softly swipe most of the bug guts off and then use a clean portion of the towel for final cleaning, trying to avoid scratching during the cleaning process.
2004 Alpine 34 FDDS
Anaheim Hills, CA
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:44 AM   #8
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I have had good results using Prestone Bug Wash on the windshield, front cap and mirror chrome. I use the combination cleaning tool that WalMart sells with a bug scrubber on one side and a squeege on the other. It has an extension pole. This works good in the windshield washer container. The chrome usually requires some final wiping with a microfiber cloth.

2005 38FDTS
2011 Ford Edge
Fredericksburg, TX
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