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cleaning aluminum wheels?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by jekbrown, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    I want to get some cheap (used from craigslist) aluminum wheels for my tow rig. 16.5 / 8 lug aluminum rims aren't that common... but I see them every once in a while. Anyway, question is... a lot of these wheels I find look pretty fugly. This ain't gonna be a show rig, but I don't want it to look like chit either. Long story short... is there an inexpensive way to clean up crusty old cast aluminum rims?

    heres some pics...

    http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/pts/193605396.html

    http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/pts/192458031.html

    j
     
  2. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    Get some of this stuff:

    http://www.valco-cp.com/Magic%20Mix.htm It works great with little effort! Can also be found in most truck stops... Really brings a shie out of any type of aluminum! (in the pic on that page, it is the stuff in the small white bottle on the right.)

    Used to use it on the nerf bars on my four wheeler. They were raw, unfiinshed, aluminum tubing. Put a little of that stuff on a rag and use the rag in a shoe shine type motion... Within a minute they shined almost like chrome!


    **Edit - I like those, but they may be clear coated. Either way the polish will work great!
     
  3. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    I've always used Mother's Mag & Aluminum Polish. Takes some elbow grease but it works. I would clear coat them after.
     
  4. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    glass beads..

    If they are extremely dirty, or have that white salty stuff growing on them,the best way to clean them is to sandblast them with glass beads,or a very fine sand,then buff them with Mothers Mag polish using a wheel in a drill at first,then by hand..I've seen them painted after bead blasting,by some too lazy to do all the buffing,and they came out decent too..zinc chromate primer helps the paint adhere well..

    That said,the aluminum wheels on my C10 are needing some TLC..:doah: seems like they turn white overnight around here--and the lug nuts are rustier than any other part of the truck too..:mad:
     
  5. JK5

    JK5 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Yah...the powerball is the way to go..
    Can you say bling bling!!!!!:bow: :bow: :bow:
     
  6. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    yeah, that clearcoat they put on aluminum rims is a PITA once it gets all forked up. Seems like nuttin but bead blasting is gonna get it off. I may just paint them. I like aluminum because its light, not cause its shiny. ;)

    j
     
  7. tiger9297

    tiger9297 1/2 ton status

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    I have a '90 K5 w/ stock aluminum rims that look pretty road worn. I think they also have the clear coat on them. What if you took some aircraft paint stripper (safe for aluminum) and stripped the clear coat, polished, then reapplied clear coat? Would this work?
     
  8. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    light is good!..

    Yeah,I run aluminum wheels to lighten up the unsprung load on the suspension mostly,not so much for "bling"..--I can feel a big difference in the handling between stock steel rims and aluminum ones!..

    You could use that stripper,but be careful--I'd try some on a junk wheel first..I was mistakenly told muriatic acid cleans mag wheels like a charm--WRONG!!!!--it turned them black as charcoal,and they started SMOKING!--maybe in severly dilute form it would have worked,but straight out of the bottle,it nearly destroyed a set of mags I wanted to "clean up"..shoulda left them dirty!..I'm not sure that I didn't weaken them,but they never gave any problems..took forever to buff them back to aluminum color again!..(and for my eyes and hands to recover from the acid burns!:mad: )..

    I'm not sure what kind of stuff the stripper might use to lift paint off,like Lye,and/or some type of acids??..might be safer and cheaper to use elbow grease,or have them bead blasted instead...:crazy:
     
  9. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I've run nothing but Outlaw II wheels since '93. I just use the Alumi-brite, acid wash every once and a while to cut the brake dust and junk. Rub 'em down with a soft bristle brush, then go back out and thrash 'em. Quick, easy and they look OK..............
     
  10. RedBrute

    RedBrute 1/2 ton status

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    I bought some outlaw1's off ebay 3 years ago that were badly oxidized. If they have clearcoat, stripeze or similar product will get the coating off. For the oxidization, I used Eagle1 cast aluminum cleaner, it has phosphoric acid that'll knock the crud right off. Then use mothers mag polish on a power ball and they'll look like new. Also, a cold six pack of whatever you like best helps too...
     
  11. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    bad advice!...

    "Also,a six pack of whatever you like best helps too"......

    not in my case....

    I like Southern Comfort! ..:D

    I'd never get past the first wheel!..... :haha:.....I'd be like ..F*** buffing the wheels,lets DRINK UP!.. :haha:
     
  12. tiger9297

    tiger9297 1/2 ton status

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    I have never heard of Stripeze or Eagle 1. Where can you buy these?
     
  13. RedBrute

    RedBrute 1/2 ton status

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    Stripeze is a commercially available stripper that has methelene chloride in it. Very potent stuff, any hardware store ought to have it or a similar paint stripper. Eagle 1 is also a commecially available aluminum cleaner, they sell lots of wheel care products. Got mine at Autozone.
     
  14. ryan22re

    ryan22re 1/2 ton status

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    Bead blast and flat/semi flat black. That's my vote.
     
  15. k20

    k20 3/4 ton status

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    hah, if I didnt know better I would say those first ones are my old wheels, sold em to a friend of steve_kibbe's who put em on his truck when he moved somewhere out west. Heck, it might be them lol.
     

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