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Old 05-05-2010, 04:44 PM   #1
USARice
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One down, three to go...A how-to of sorts

So I started with this:



And after about 10 hours of trial and error ended up with this:






Supplies:

Sandpaper - 180, 400, 600, 1200, and 2000 grits (400-2000 wet)
Microfiber cloths
Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover
Rust-oleum Wax and Tar Remover
NeverDull
Mothers Mag and Aluminum polish (comes in paste form)
Mineral Spirits
Lots of elbow grease (you could use power tools but there's a certain sense of pride that comew with doing something with your bare hands)




Step 1: Clean wheels.
I used Rust-oleum wax and tar remover in between steps and Turtle Wax bug and tar remover before starting. One is a spray and one is more like a liquid wax. Both are useful.

Step 2: Sand, sand, sand, and sand some more.
I have aluminum wheels that either weren't coated on the inside or the coating has just worn off in the 11 years they went from hand to hand. In the case of machined aluminum wheels, always sand in the direction of the machine marks; in a circle. I went from 180 to 400 to 600 to 1200 to 2000. Everything except the 180 was done both wet and dry. You'll make a mess. Use the spray in between sandings and make sure the wheel is clean before you start the next grit. I went through all of the wet paper in a total of 3 cycles. Better safe than sorry.

Step 3: Clean and polish
First completely clean the insides with mineral spirits. Then, I used NeverDull (I love this stuff, always have a can on-hand for stuff around the house and my SAP muffler tip) and Mothers Mag and Aluminum polish in cycles until I was satisfied with the finish. I used some microfiber cloths I bought at Menards for a steal and LIGHTLY polished the Mothers in and buffed it out. Use sparingly and rub lightly to acheive best results. I did half a wheel at a time to make sure the Mothers didn't dry out. If it dries out it dulls the finish, not what you want.

Step 4: Have a beer and enjoy your beautiful wheel.


Step 5: (Optional) If you have access to white rouge you can use a microfiber cloth to very lightly buff this into the surface and it is supposed
to produce a mirror finish on aluminum. I couldn't find any locally although the paint/body supply shop knew exactly what it was and what it did. I may order some online.

Step 6: (Optional) At this point you could clearcoat the inside of the rim if you liked. Theres a company that sells something like a high gloss clear herculiner for wheels that's supposed to be impermiable by solvents. You could have them clear powder coated. Or you could just spray bomb them. Whichever option you choose will definately add some major shine if you did all of the steps above right. Me, I'm probably going to stay with machined aluminum rather than going to polished.

I did all of this by hand. The only time I used my buffer was on the face of the rim which I didn't do any refinishing on. I may later take a small file to some of the worst curbage on the lips but the faces actually were in great shape for the age.

Peace!



Last edited by USARice; 05-05-2010 at 06:11 PM. Reason: can't do simple math
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:40 PM   #2
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That looks incredible. Nice job.

Let us know how your arm feels when you finish the set :)
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:31 PM   #3
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Very nice work man.
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norcalfocus01 View Post
Very nice work man.
Coming from you that means a lot. Thanks!

The 10 or so hours was spread across several days. Each wheel will be done the same way but now that I have it down if I really wanted to I could probably do it in 3. It's a slow process and my arm is tired at the end of each stage but the results speak for themselves. This is my first set of rims so to speak (even if they are still Ford wheels) and I want them to look as close to new as possible when I put them on. Nobody will probably ever see the insides unless they look close, but I'll know....

(and someday they'll be on the car, but I only want to buy one set of tires for summer DD and light AutoX duties and tires matching that don't come cheap.)
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Old 05-06-2010, 06:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norcalfocus01 View Post
Very nice work man.
Nice enough to sticky I'd say.
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Old 05-06-2010, 06:20 PM   #6
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Nice write-up and great results!
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:06 PM   #7
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Added to the suspension sticky
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Old 05-08-2010, 01:45 AM   #8
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For Aluminum polishing materials of all kinds try the nearest Truck Stop! - red green & white rouge usually avail. in small sample kits and large bars...
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
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For Aluminum polishing materials of all kinds try the nearest Truck Stop! - red green & white rouge usually avail. in small sample kits and large bars...
Yeah, next time I'm on the road. I went to one a few miles away that I used to stop at on my way to Rochester that used to have EVERYTHING including kitchen sinks knowing they would have it after seeing that tip somewhere else but it'd been bought out by KWIK Trip (think midwest 7 Eleven) and they didn't carry any truck accessories anymore. I was shocked. Seriously, this place used to be a huge dirty dim truck stop. Thats big business for ya....
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:33 AM   #10
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Ever heard of Poorboys?

About a year ago some post introduced me to a product called "Poor Boys" and it worked wonders to "preserve" our wheels in the 120in of snow and ice we get here in NE Ohio off lake Erie. It won't clean your wheels, but it will stop you from having to turn every wheel cleaning into a project. Its like a paste or cream for wheels - Petroleum Distillates.

I cleaned up my wife's Lexus RS300 wheels and applied this product and it was amazing how well they held up and how easy they were to clean. The sweet smell of this stuff reminds me of Bazooka Bubble gum. Look at it here: http://www.poorboysworld.com/wheel-sealant.htm Note: I can't imagine why anyone would buy the large jar of it, unless you clean hundreds of wheels for a living.

One SMALL jar will last years (for me at least). I put on in the fall and the late spring. I'm going to use it on my ZX3 Foci this week after a brake job and some new tires.

This stuff really works! People that know about this stuff swear by it, so I thought I would pass it on.

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