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Aluminum Wheel restoration questions??

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by tiger9297, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. tiger9297

    tiger9297 1/2 ton status

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    Have a '90 K5 w/ stock aluminum wheels. In my opinion these are great looking wheels but they do have 15 years of wear. I have heard there are places that will restore aluminum wheels and they will look brand new. I would do it myself but there is a plastic-like film over the wheel. I guess this was for protection but I think this is actually what looks worn. The actual wheel itself may be fine. Don't know what to do with this film or if I remove it how the wheel would be protected in future use. Any ideas??
     
  2. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

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    You can chemically strip that coating off and Eastwood sells a good polishing kit for Al wheels. I have done it before, takes a little time but comes out great if you are careful and take your time doing it.
     
  3. tiger9297

    tiger9297 1/2 ton status

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    Where can I get one of those Eastwood kits?
     
  4. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    If you really want to make them look new I would sand them down first with 220 grit and then again with 320 grit. If you don't have a very good buffer then send them off for a pro. buffing polish. They will come back better than new.
     
  5. tiger9297

    tiger9297 1/2 ton status

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    Where do I send them? Do you have any suggestions?
     
  6. bigblock44k5

    bigblock44k5 1/2 ton status

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    Yes you can strip them yourself, its just basically a clear coat paint. Body shops will reseal them for you, I would deffinetly get them resealed as this will give them the shiny appearance and cleanup will be much easier than bare alluminum.
     
  7. tiger9297

    tiger9297 1/2 ton status

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    what should i use to strip them? MEK?? I can spray the clear coat on myself. I have never done this and I definitely don't want to screw up a good set of wheels? Where can I get one of those Eastwood polishing kits?
     
  8. 86chevybanshee

    86chevybanshee 1/2 ton status

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  9. bigblock44k5

    bigblock44k5 1/2 ton status

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    You can strip them with any paint stripper. Just only let it sit on there long enough to soften the clearcoat so it doesnt hurt the aluminum.
     
  10. camiswelding

    camiswelding 1/2 ton status

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    I had a powdercoating company and I used to do aluminum wheels all the time

    1)strip using plastic media... doesnt dig in the aluminum... you can use aviation stripper but that is messy and time consuming
    2) repolish with a machine polisher... to a mirror finish.... or if you want the satin look just clean them up
    3) recoat with clear powdercoat (of course theres a pre wash etc)

    should run about 100-150...
    some of the polishing guys in L.A. get big bucks ripping people off... the process is really simple
     
  11. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    i don't know who could sand them down for you, you would have to call around and find out who can do it. I would bet that somone local that buffs wheels could also sand them down. As far as the clear coat....sanding them will remove any clearcoat. If you really want them to look better than new and take out shallow scratches then you want to completely sand them down with 220, then 320 grit, and finally a really good buffing job.
    That is how all the shiny over the road Peterbuilt trucks stay looking so good. I have done tanks and 22.5" alcoas with our semis and they always look great afterwords. In fact, non polished alcoas come out of the box with a brushed/sanded finish ready to be buffed.

    But hey thats just the blingmaster's 2 cents. :D
     
  12. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

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    If you are taking about polishing them you need to go a lot further than 320. For a good polish I always go 220 320 400 600 800 1000 grit, then polish in two steps.
     
  13. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    While the stock wheels are pretty nice looking, I think that there is one more thing to consider. Compared to the cost of having them redone, you could probably buy a brand new set of awesome looking aftermarket wheels for the same (or maybe even less) money. :yikes:
     
  14. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    :screwy: A good buffer will easily remove the fine scratches 320 leaves behind and leave a mirror smooth finish, or at least that has been my experience when doing fuel tanks and Alcoas.
     
  15. cybrfire

    cybrfire 1 ton status Vendor GMOTM Winner

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    I have good luck cleaning up old aluminum wheels with stuff called Naval Jelly. Meant for cleaning and polishing aluminum. Mother's alumkinum polish is good stuff too.
     
  16. CARL

    CARL Registered Member

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    Refinishing Plastic Coated Alum Wheels

    I'm in the same boat.....checked out sending wheels out ....$100 or more to strip and refinish.

    Medial blasting is great to polish the spun aluminim.... cost becomes an issue, and plastic coat has to come off w/o scratching the milled look.

    Por -15 has a Wheel Restoration kit to refinish the wheels with a 2 part clear and adhesion promoter to stick to polished aluminum. Have used there products and been thrilled. Have been dealing with Pat Dolla at Por-Can for years....has not let me down yet. there web page is www PORCAN. com

    had thought of scuffing the wheels w/ 400 grit water paper and priming with vari prime to etch to the aluminum. Paint with silver base coat (bright metalic) to match the silver stripe on truck side, and clear coat wheels with Por-15 2 part clear for aluminum.

    Por -15 also has a color kit for polished chrome & aluminum. Have seen the system...looks great! Wild colors that look like colored mirrors!.. Am planning to polish the stainless steel trim on silverado blazer to finish up the street rod look on my 90 silverado for a more retro look.

    Remember polished metals and refinishing are an oxi-moron. Any finish needs to bite to the surace to stick. Open the above web page and make an informed choice.:grin:

    good luck

    carl:cool1:
     
  17. k20

    k20 3/4 ton status

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    Hey, my aluminum wheels arent coated, and therefore oxidize over too quick for as much work as it is to polish them. Do y'all know of any way to protect them? Ive heard of applying a coat of wax to seal them, does this work? Seems to me that the wax would just melt from brake heat and make a nice mess. Im not wanting to drop the $$ to get em coated, just wanting somethin to keep em bling for a little longer than they do now. When I polish em, they look killer (course the primer door kills the look lol), but they just oxidize too dang quick. Especially the rears since I run side exit exhaust, but the front do it almost as fast. Thanks guys.
     
  18. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I guess a clearcoat.

    I wonder if my welds have a clear coat. :thinking:
     
  19. k20

    k20 3/4 ton status

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    if you take mothers polish (what I use) and rub em and it turns black, they aint coated, if it dont turn black, they are coated.
    I might try the wax, I aint got the $$ for clearcoating, maybe after I get it painted, and dethrone RJF as bling bling king :)
     
  20. kyser_soze

    kyser_soze 1/2 ton status

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    Look at these wheels on my Jimmy.


    They were the ugliest aluminum wheels I had ever seen. I purchased some wheel cleaner that acid etches them stripped them down cleaned them to bare aluminum then shot clear coat on them. It took about 20 hours total time to do this but It was worth the effort. I paid $75 fo the set of Hurricane wheels from a friend. He was very jealouse when he had seen what I had done with them.

    Like I said, it will be worth the effort. Good Luck!:) [​IMG]
     

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