OK, I know that the Mythbusters didn't invent this idea, but that's where I heard about it.
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Step 1: Have some rusty chrome.

I'm sad to say that I've been a bad daddy to my little bike. These pipes were new a few years ago. The originals were completely rotted out, so I got these replacements on e-bay. Par for the course with aftermarkets the chrome ain't that thick.

It doesn't help that I haven't so much as pulled the cover off for weeks at a time.

Step 2: Supplies!

You will need:

"Cola" - I used Wal-Mart diet cola. I'd heard that diet is less sticky. 54 cents for 2L.
Aluminum foil
warm water
paper towels

Step 3: Pour 'n Scrub

Pour the Diet Coke on your rusty chrome (is there any better use for this stuff, lacking Mentos?) Crumple up some foil and use it to scrub the nasty rust away.

Rinse with warm water and wipe dry.

Step 4: Gawp at the Results.

I was really blown away. In some of the pictures the flash makes it look more scratchy than it really is. I don't think I'd use this on a top dollar bike, but I hope a top dollar bike would have better chrome (and better care).
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WilliamM34 months ago

There is always one time when we need to turn our bikes into a new look. My bike was as same full of rust that need to be removed any how. Therefore we got plating done on our motorcycle parts from Douglas Chroming. Every part of my bike is shining and I love its new look. Saying about Douglas Chroming, they are the specialist in Motorcycle Chroming. They can chrome any individual part of your motorcycle. Take a look at some of their projects and get in touch for a free quote.

mrlunna133 years ago
I have a 1975 Honda Goldwing GL1000 with a LOT of chrome, and the very best thing I have ever used is a product called "Brasso". It is a liquid, but also comes in a paste. It works on EVERY kind of metal.
Always used a combination of Brasso, Autosol and Elbow grease... and worked well on all the Wing's from 76 thru to present... in fact, brasso is smooth enough (not that abrasive) that it can be used to polish the frame etc!

However, i was introduced to a product recently (the name of which evades me at the moment - I'll check back when i remember!) which put all of those to shame. It was test proven to me on a REALLY rusty bin, literally a splash of this stuff and 3 minutes buffing with a bit of jean material and this thing shone... I mean, really shone, I never seen a bin shine quite like it. Tried it on my stained and pitted GSX400T casing and it came up SHINY, for the first time since I've owned it, and it only took about 10 minutes to do the hole case!
what is name of that last product you mentioned?
I think he was talking about a product called "BLUE JOB" chrome polish/cleaner.
it is a powder, you can add water to make a paste, and polish with a piece of jean material. It is very expensive in my opinion.

xchef95x5 years ago
so just scrub with Dt. Pepsi and Aluminum foil? That sounds to easy, whats the catch?
The catch is that i will rust immediately when it comes in contact with water.
Those spots that rust, are pinholes in the chrome coat. By this or other polishing methods you remove the rust and then you you have the bare steel on the surface. You'd need to clear coat it, but there are not too many clear coats, that can handle high temps on exhaust pipes.

When you remove rust with phosphoric acid, you are converting it to a compound with a single oxygen atom. It's black, and inhibits rust. Unless the pits are severe, it won't rrust easily
Captain Pedantic (author)  t.rohner5 years ago
Like I said in the Instructable, the chrome wasn't great from the start. Of course the rust is coming from microscopic holes in the chrome. It's not very helpful to say to clear coat it, but then say clear coat won't hold up (it won't).

As with any polished metal, the answer is to simply keep after it. This method works well, quickly and cheaply.

There are other chrome plated parts that don't get hot... it may be helpful for that.
Hi Temp engine paint is available in colors, shines nicely, and gives a custom touch (black for eggsample)
Captain Pedantic (author)  Phoghat5 years ago
But then it wouldn't be... chrome.
Why no, it wouldn't be. But, given the choice between shiny slightly scratched chrome and a color which looked custom, I think I'll take the color.

Rich99 xchef95x5 years ago
that's how we did it up az\t the gm plant in tarrytown, ny., to the hundreds of cars sitting in inventory. (in the 60's) 
abadfart3 years ago
fast orange works well to
sunofgod3 years ago
To protect the restored shiny chrome carefully spray with your favorite lubricating oil spray and then polish with an old cloth. This leaves a protective film on the metal which repels water. This is good for cleaning, polishing and protecting
and only takes a few moments effort every time you clean the motorcycle
to keep it looking good.
OK I have tried this before with just soap and water and aluminum foil. I didn't use the cola. the foil rubs off the rust and polishes the chrome or rather the foil particles fill in the rust spots and polishes to a sheen. after doing this it is a good idea to either clear coat or wax to protect the new finish.
both clear coat or wax wouldn't last the heat of the exhaust pipe, unless there's some high temp clear coat i haven't heard of...
abadfart4 years ago
i have been riding an orange cb 350 but im moving up to a cb 750 with a windjammer
Iw-Munt4 years ago
Great Im gonna try this on my Monkey bike.
I own a pristine 1972 Honda 350.. Great work on your Instructable
erikals5 years ago
i did this with my dad's bike before he (my dad) sold it and the buyer was really impressed (he left $100 more) and now with the money we may just buy ourselves an iMac - know the best model to buy?

Great Instructable
ironlizard8 years ago
Odd thing about cola, it contains phosphoric acid. Other sodas don't. FYI: much stronger phosphoric acid can be purchased at the auto parts store for about as much as a three liter coke. It also works wonders on non chromed rusty metals.
Captain Pedantic (author)  ironlizard8 years ago
I've used Ospho (a phosphoric acid surface prep) for other purposes, but I'd say it's hard to beat two liters for 54 cents!
PH down for hydroponics is also phosphoric acid and a much more concentrated solution as well. Its possible to mix it with polymers to create a gel that sticks to things.
ronmaggi5 years ago
The phosphoric acid in the cola is what does the trick. I have used regular cola without the foil on engine parts. The sugar helps hold the phosphoric acid onto the parts while soaking. After seeing what cola can do to rust you may want to try
ac7ss ronmaggi5 years ago
Diet cola has no sugar... :)

and it would be the Carbonic acid you are referring to.
ronmaggi ac7ss5 years ago
 I was referring to what I was taught, that the sugar in regular cola helps hold the phosphoric acid to the parts your cleaning. Carbonic acid does nothing to rust. We sell dedicated rust removers that are phosphoric acid. If you read the ingredient list on most commercial colas, Phosphoric acid is right there. 
You might want to read the ingredients on cola some time...
Carbonic is a very weak acid, the phosphoric acid makes the cola "tart".
Pepsi has citric acid as an added ingredient...
Linksep5 years ago
As a former professional detailer I can tell you the best method I've ever seen is "0" or "00" steel wool and glass cleaner. Cola has nothing to do with it. When I saw that episode I was (once again) disappointed in the Mythbusters for totally botching the results of something they tested.
Linksep Linksep5 years ago
I forgot to add... With "0" or "00" steel wool you will never scratch REAL chrome, but if it's simply polished metal (or god forbid) chrome painted plastic, you will scratch the heck out of it!
Phoghat Linksep5 years ago
I"ve alwys heard NOT to use steel wool, as it embeds itself in the chrome. Totally anecdotal
criggie5 years ago
Save your elbow grease - take the pipes off and spin them in a lathe (watch out for protrusions)  while holding polishing thing of choice against it.
Captain Pedantic (author)  criggie5 years ago
That sounds impractical and terrifying (and I have a lathe).
Aside from a little elbow grease what makes this method better than chrome polish ?
Captain Pedantic (author)  old n grumpy5 years ago
I tried them chrome polish, this worked better (and is cheaper).

The polish wasn't very effective on the rust spots. It seemed to be intended to shine up solid chrome.
abqjohn5 years ago
This came up recently on one of my motorcycle lists I subscribe to.  It's the foil, not the coke.  Try it without the coke, and you'll see.  My mom recently gave me my grandfather's F-150, and I tried it with just water for lubrication, and got the same results.

Maybe the coke enhances the process, I don't know.  Just that water & foil worked pretty much like magic for me.
paulm abqjohn5 years ago
 there is a good chance that cola acts as a catalyst in this situation
Lynn Marie5 years ago
I have heard of this method but think there are much better ways to clean rust from all metal.  There is a product called PRISM POLISH ( check it out -  Use it on all metal, fiberglass and plastic (like headlight lenses and wind screens).

I found it works better than anything else I tried.
bigbadchevy7 years ago
I have a question. I have a custom truck with some polishing of the wheels in need. My question is in regards to the last few photos (after). Were those hairline scratches already in the finish or is that to be blamed on the foil?? I know the cola will work but i dont want to scratch up the chrome
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