Cleaning Stock Rims

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tr34

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Hi, so I've been looking around the forum trying to figure out how to clean up my stock aluminum rims before I get new tires on them, and it looks like there are different ways to clean them. I got a quote from a shop to resurface them and it was $225 per wheel. Do you think these rims can be cleaned up? I saw from previous posts that aircraft paint remover seems to remove the clear coat but it has a lot of bad reviews on advance auto. I am planning on buying a mother's polishing cone and white diamond polish too. Do you think this will clean them up?

Here's a picture of the worst one:
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someotherguy

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Those will need to be stripped and re-cleared. It's a job. That factory clear is some tough mess. Aircraft Remover might do it, maybe. I think it's been reformulated over the years to be more environmentally friendly..

Richard
 

PlayingWithTBI

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I am planning on buying a mother's polishing cone and white diamond polish too. Do you think this will clean them up?
@kennythewelder has the best looking ones. I think he has a thread about it, I just can't remember.

I took red and green scotch bright pads to get the big stuff off, then a buffing machine with Mothers compounds. Lastly was the White Diamond polish by hand.

Here's an example of "before"
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Here's the "after", the one on the left is with White Diamond and, the one on the right is with Wax. Personally I like the White Diamond better.
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johnckhall

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The area where the lead weights are have chemically reacted over the years with the metal under the clear coat. It's akin to an oxidation process. There's no surface cleaning that. You can chip away at the oxidation, but it's going to leave an area of the rim unfinished. I know this because my rims had the same corrosion over the years under the previous owner. Unfortunately, it looks like the area around the center cap has suffered the same fate. If that corrosion has spread under the clear coat, you'd have to pay to refinish or remove all of the clear coat down to bare metal. At stateed, that clear coat is not easy to remove at all.

My fix was to use an xacto knife to carefully cut away the tough clear coat that was peeling away over the corroded area (where the weights are). Chip, cut, and sand away as much corrosion as possible back down to the bare metal. I then used a silver auto touch up paint pen to paint over the bare metal and the clear coat end to seal it. It's noticeable, but better than the corrosion looked. Those small areas are the only spots bad on my rims, but I've even considered refinishing because of it.
 
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OutlawDrifter

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From the pics, I bet you have surface damage to the aluminum underneath the clear coat.

You'll need to strip the clear and clean that up...that's when it turns into a BIG job. I just redid a set of 17" OEM wheels for my Suburban. Started with 400 grit sandpaper and took them all the way to 2000 grit. Followed with brown, green, and white buffing compounds. They look great now.

I used aircraft stripper purchased at O'Reilly's and it took 2 applications to get it all off, but it works.

What I started with:

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Finished product with 3 coats of ceramic on top:

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The lighting isn't great in the finished pic, but these things blow up in the sunlight...they have a lot of curve to them, and really pop outside.

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kennythewelder

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@kennythewelder has the best looking ones. I think he has a thread about it, I just can't remember.

I took red and green scotch bright pads to get the big stuff off, then a buffing machine with Mothers compounds. Lastly was the White Diamond polish by hand.

Here's an example of "before"
You must be registered for see images attach


Here's the "after", the one on the left is with White Diamond and, the one on the right is with Wax. Personally I like the White Diamond better.
You must be registered for see images attach
You maen like this???
 

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tr34

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Ok so I bought some aircraft paint remover and used that on the rims, and then scrubbed them with green scotch bright pads. Buffed them out with a polishing cone then applied the white diamond.

They look pretty good now, this is the same rim from before. I think I'm gonna put on some diamond ceramic coat too. Thanks for the help and advice!
 

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