First time restoring aluminum wheels

Discuss anything after that final masking comes off.



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:08 pm
People,

Have 4 wheels on a Sunbird GT, 1987, which need restoration. Some curb rash, of course, and general oxidation. Here is the wheel:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/01368-Refinishe ... ky&vxp=mtr

Am I on the right track thinking I start with maybe some coarse steel wool for the contoured/profiled edge, and 180 grit paper for the rest? Of course, I would run the strokes in the direction of a circle following the wheel , never back/forth.

Then, does one just spray with clearcoat? I wish not to fuss too much over the inside, just the face/surface. The insides is soooo much work, and hardly even noticeable.

Advice appreciated.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:42 pm
I'm not a big fan of using steel wools on aluminum surfaces. Micro shards of wool can embed themselves and you can get stain/rusting on to the aluminum under that pretty new coating. Just stick with sandpapers and only go as low in grit as you need to remodel your surfaces. I work up in grits until I reach compounding/polishing level. I then switch to Airway style wheels on a buffer....like these....
http://www.ebay.com/itm/airway-Buffing- ... xy2HFSX3I-
As far as clear coating, just remember, nothing is going to be permanent (not counting industrial level epoxy powder coat) and most clearcoats are going to somewhat dull your final look. Personally, for that style of wheel I think it's just about as easy to use a renewable polymer on them like Rejex or even just a high quality wax. I've seen that style wheel polished to a chrome appearance at car shows. If you want to see examples of guys using those airway wheels get on you tube.
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... www.furniturephysicians.com We can restore the irreplaceable!



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:49 pm
So good to get feedback!! Thanks! Airway wheels- never heard of them, I need to check out some youtubes for sure. Wax is a good idea, and easy to do. But Darrel, will that $60 kit be enough for all 4 wheels? ALSO, I played around with a spare wheel I had under the bench (I have a bunch of those wheels....LOL), and yes, steel wool can be messy as well as leave a kind of greyish metallic residue.

Last thing I should mention- shouldnt one sand in the direction of the concentric wheel? I mean, sand in an arc like motion, so as to leave any streaks in that same circle radius, If I explain this right............



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:36 am
I think I just answered my own questions from watching a youtube on buffing with air wheels. No need to fuss too much about sandpaper "lines" as the buffing shouyld remove those(?).

Anyway, only thing now Im worried about is that the instructional video I saw mentioned that it is important that the rpm's of the grinder be kept below that which is suggested. I have a Ryobi from H Depot, and it is not adjustable rpm's. So now, I have tio find out exactly what is that max rpm, and maybe Im looking at buying ANOTHER grinder. So, saay I buyy that ebay kit, $60, then a grinder, maybe $100. I really want to do this myself as I enjoy this stuff, but how much would a local shop usually charge for all this?

Thanks

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:35 am
You might look into an external speed controller for that unit you have. Years ago we had a large job that called for some really superduty random orbit sanders. The models we found had no speed control so we found small external boxes that allowed us to dial the speed up and down as needed. I want to say they were in the $15 to $25 range. Here is some examples, most of the ones that say they can control a router will work.... http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R4 ... l&_sacat=0
That kit I mentioned previously would probably do a set of wheels. Check by just asking that vendor on ebay.
As for having a company do it for you.... I would expect it would run $75 to $125 per wheel. Even if you could afford that I would still be inclined to do it myself because you want to know how to "refresh" these wheels now and then, if using wax.
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... www.furniturephysicians.com We can restore the irreplaceable!



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:54 pm
Thanks, Darrel! I had no idea of such a tool to control speed on a grinder. Its a bargain price. Also, thanks for the input on the cost of having someone else do it- I will proceed to get this done myself for sure. Why misss out on all the fun!!

I will report back here as things progress. Thanks so much for your support!! I need it.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:56 pm
Yeah, you can do this....That used to be a fairly common wheel many years ago. They finish out nice and you can always stop at what "stage" of polish you like the best. I've seen them buffed out to almost look like chrome and sometimes just left at a semi-satin kind of look much like you would see on a Centerline type aluminum wheel.
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... www.furniturephysicians.com We can restore the irreplaceable!



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:39 am
DarrelK wrote:Yeah, you can do this....That used to be a fairly common wheel many years ago. They finish out nice and you can always stop at what "stage" of polish you like the best. I've seen them buffed out to almost look like chrome and sometimes just left at a semi-satin kind of look much like you would see on a Centerline type aluminum wheel.


Thanks for the confidence, and encouragement, Darrel. Yes, I will leave them at a semi satin, no tacky chomish look. Also, what's that car in your picture? Some 1980's ferrari? Dont tell me thats a 512BB!!! Pic is too small for me to tell.......

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:44 pm
Nope, Ferrari is out of my wheelhouse (and wallet). That's my supercharged 13B twin rotor Bremen Sebring. Yeah, it's a little too small to make out in that pic......
Attachments
IMG_20170122_123055059_HDR.jpg
The business end....fresh rebuild with upgrades by Defined Autoworks... 320+hp less than+ 2000 pound car= FUN
IMG_20170122_131240299_HDR.jpg
It's a little different......linear actuators raise the canopy top
IMG_20170122_132125617.jpg
1983 Bremen Sebring
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... www.furniturephysicians.com We can restore the irreplaceable!



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:47 am
Niiiiice. Why have I never heard of a Bremen(?). The front of the body looks so much like the classic F 308, The "Magnum PI" car. But Nicer, in my opinion.

Anyway, Back to my wheel, Im concerned that once I buff the metal to my preferred sheen, that if I dont spray clear coat it will oxidize, like aluminum does, and loose it's look. I Mean, done these wheels, made of alum alloy (not sure what other metals are alloyed) develop that powdery dusting of oxide? Does that alloy produce oxide enough to wory about?

Wax was mentioned. I like that option. Easy, and just rewax every so often. Wax should prevent oxidation.......

Thanks!
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