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The cheapskate's guide to alloy wheel restoration!


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#1 minivanman

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 12:06 AM

I thought that now I have restored 3 sets of alloys, I could write a pretty good guide on it. So, here we go...

This is the stuff I use - nitromors to strip and old paint and lacquer from the wheels, rubber gloves to protect you from the nitromors, sandpaper - medium grade up to wet and dry, wire wool, paint, alloy polish (autosol)

1. Stripping the existing paint.
Put the wheel in a big container, and pour nitromors on it. Use an old brush to work it into all the awkward areas. it does take a bit of work, but in the end, you should see someting like this:
Posted Image
When all the paint is bubbling up, I pour a few kettles of boiling water on it to neutralise the paint stripper, and put a board on top of the tub, to let the steam get all round it. For some reason this seems to make the paint much easier to get off. When its done steaming get an old knife and scrape all the paint off, so it looks like this:
Posted Image

2.Painting.
I've tried two ways of painting wheels, and both worked pretty well. The revolutions I did with hammerite and a brush. It took three thin coats, but they really came up well. The hammerite levels out fairly well, leaving a smooth coat. I used the same method with the 100+ ones, because theres no way you could spray them in between all the spokes.
Posted Image

When I did my superlights, I sprayed them using halfords cans. It took 2 cans of colour and 1/2 a can of clear lacquer. Instead of masking them up, I made a circle of aluminum I could swap between each wheel as I painted them:
Posted Image
Each wheel had about 4 coats of paint, then another 3 light coats of lacquer. I only lacquered the paint, because I don't like putting it on the alloy, as it still corrodes under the coating and you have to strip them again.

3. Polishing
Then start bringing the shine back up with the sandpaper. Starting with a medium grade go all over the alloy, then again with the finer grades, until its really starting to shine again. Then I give them a going over with a fine bit of wire wool, which seems to really make them shine. Finally, give them a good polish with autosol. You should end up with something looking like this:
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Or this:
Posted Image

Hope that helps. If a mod could make this a sticky, or put it in FAQ's I'd appreciate it, so I don't have to write it again! :-

#2 Retro_10s

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 06:31 PM

Crikey mate that's good. I was gonna do a wheel refurb 'how to' but yoiu beat me too it!! :- I refurbed my cobra supaslots last year but want to change the paint type on them this year.

i'll post pics.

#3 joeinaus

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 04:14 PM

Excellent advice mate. I'd like to renovate my Mini Ritz wheels but there are scratches in them that are just sooo deep. Any ideas?

#4 minivanman

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 02:03 AM

Not really I'm afraid. One of my 7x13s is pretty badly kerbed, all I did was clean it up a little with a dremel and left it at that.

#5 Retro_10s

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 02:59 PM

if you're painting the wheels you 'can' use filler!

#6 1984mini25

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 08:11 PM

You can also get metal fillers as well.

#7 Snakeii

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 12:36 AM

does primering the wheels work as a anti corosion technek or does it still happen?? if so would doing a coat of znic 182 work?

#8 minivanman

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 07:51 PM

Depends if you want to polish the alloy up. If you are just going to paint it all it will probably work. The main problem is with the lacquer - for some reason it just corrodes really badly under the lacquer.

#9 Snakeii

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 06:49 PM

i was after a full black rim untill i can afford some deepdish's. no pollished sides just full black and full white i just dont want the wheel corroding again

#10 oscarthegrouch

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 09:57 PM

Hello there,

I'm brand spanking new to this forum so I hope I get this right with posting replying etc! Great forum you have here, I've just bought an '87 mini mayfair with a spare set of minilites that are possibly beyond repair so could do with recovering.

I do possibly have access to a sandblaster that I could take the old paint off with, would this be an alternative to your nitromors process or is this likely to disintegrate the wheel?

Also (there could be a few of these "also's"!) when you're painting them as far as I can tell your using just a standard wet paint, is that all it is, nothing special? Through work I have a good connection with a powder coaters, would this be more suitable? Presumably is this all it needs onto the bare metal no zinc plating of primering etc? You suggest refraining from putting a layer of lacquer under the paint but make no mention of what goes onto the bare metal first?

They've been stood outside for a while (under a tarp, but outside never-the-less) so is it worth having the tyre removed to see what the condition's like under there or is this likely to be free from corrosion?

...and that's me done!

Oh one last thing do you start doing the sandpaper finishing after the lacquering or does it need one last coat of lacquer after the polishing?

That's it this time...promise!

No rush in getting back but I'll look forward to hearing from you!

#11 minivanman

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 06:36 PM

Sandblasting would work as well as nitromors, but I wouldnt use it if you want to polish the alloy up - it will make a lot of hard work for you. If you're just painting the whole wheel then sandblasting would be ok. I sprayed mine with halfords touch up cans. I didn't prime the alloy though and they do seem to chip quite easily. I think an etch primer would be a better start. I wouldnt use powder coating - when it chips or cracks it lets water in and it flakes off. You cant touch it up as easily either. With the lacquer, I only do the painted surfaces. Bare alloy always seems to corrode under lacquer, then you have to strip them again. Give them however many coats of paint you want, then a load of clear or gloss lacquer. The sandpaper and wire wool finishing is for the polished alloy surfaces, not the painted bits. If the outside of the wheels are starting to corrode, then the insides may well be the same. If you're doing a proper job on them it would definately be easier to take the tyres off. Then it gives you an excuse to get a nice set of yokos for them whne you're done :wub:

#12 william

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 07:27 AM

:thumbsup:

Great stuffs...and many thanks

#13 Scruffs

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 08:57 AM

Sandblasting would work as well as nitromors, but I wouldnt use it if you want to polish the alloy up - it will make a lot of hard work for you. If you're just painting the whole wheel then sandblasting would be ok. I sprayed mine with halfords touch up cans. I didn't prime the alloy though and they do seem to chip quite easily. I think an etch primer would be a better start. I wouldnt use powder coating - when it chips or cracks it lets water in and it flakes off. You cant touch it up as easily either. With the lacquer, I only do the painted surfaces. Bare alloy always seems to corrode under lacquer, then you have to strip them again. Give them however many coats of paint you want, then a load of clear or gloss lacquer. The sandpaper and wire wool finishing is for the polished alloy surfaces, not the painted bits. If the outside of the wheels are starting to corrode, then the insides may well be the same. If you're doing a proper job on them it would definately be easier to take the tyres off. Then it gives you an excuse to get a nice set of yokos for them whne you're done >_<


Good thread! :withstupid: I was going to shotblast but might go down the nitromors route now! Is it a nasty environmental terrorist though??

I've got a question about lacquer tho - I don't understand why the alloy corroded under lacquer? What brand of lacquer did you use and how many coats?? I've polished a few aluminium alloy parts in my time (admittedly not anything as exposed as a wheel) and they have remained shiny for ages with plain ol' halford's clear...

I ask because I'm going to be refurbing a set of alloys soon and was going with the black-and-polished look. Was planning on finishing with laquer to keep the furryness at bay...I can't say I like the thought of either stripping them again if it corrodes underneath, or alternatively polishing away the rot every other day if I was to leave it bare...!

Surely theres some product out there that will protect bare alu alloy?? What do polished off the shelf rims use??

Cheers!

Al

#14 Scruffs

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 10:47 AM

Found this link if anyone wanted to get a bit deep...it's aero related but nonetheless includes how to prep/etch/paint/finish aluminium

http://www.auf.asn.a...r/coatings.html




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