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Its ugly until it eats all the way threw then its a problem.
 

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That can be taken care of with some elbow grease. Mine were heading that way before I cleaned them up. I like Optiglanz to get the worst off, then a good go with some wet n dry paper before a final round of autosol or similar metal polish. They will restore provided they haven't gone too far.

 

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0000 steel wool and elbow grease to get most of it off. Mine looked pretty cruddy and it knocked down all the spots. The steel wool won't scratch the headers.
 

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It's in your best interest to sand that all off as others have said. If you want to get it to shine again, start as coarse as you need to get it off then go as fine as around 4000 grit. Anything else just buff it with a polishing compound
 

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Use Naval Jelly to get rid of the rust. It is amazing stuff. Then the final cleanup will be easy.
 
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