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From digest.v6.n594 Mon Apr 28 18:49:23 1997
From: Don Eilenberger <>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 15:32:15 -0400
Subject: RE: Alloy wheel refinishing

DE = Don Eilenberger = DM = Don McMahon = ??

Ware asks:

>From: Ware Adams <>
>Date: Mon, 28 Apr 97 10:22:03 -0400
>Subject: Alloy wheel refinishing
>Does anyone know of a place in the Washington, DC area that can do a good
>job refinishing alloy wheels. I've got a set that need to be painted and
>have some minor scuffs dealt with (no bends or anything like that).
>On a related note, I remember a while ago someone (Don E.?) posted a
>summary of how to refinish a wheel (e.g. what color Wurth paint to use,
>etc...). Does anyone know the details of this?
>The reason for these questions is that over the last month I've come into
>a set of both the early and late style 2002 alloys (I must be living
>right), and the latter need refinishing.
>Thanks in advance,

Ware - this is more or less a no-brainer, very little you can screw up.

Since the rims are off the car - it's even easier, and easier YET if there aren't tires on'em.

Steps to take:

  1. Get the correct paint, which is Wurth Silver Wheel paint and Wurth Clear Wheel Lacquer - Eurasian has it at about $13/can. Order 2 cans of silver, one of clear (you'll have some of each left).
  2. Remove wheels from car
  3. Clean 'em - they do not have to be stripped! I use some agressive wheel cleaners, followed by a scotchbrite pad and Simple Green. Sand down using 320-400 grit sandpaper any brake dust that didn't come off with the above technique. Use the paper wet.. (simple green also works as a good lubricant). You should try to avoid sanding through the primer on the wheels (it will appear whitish in color).

DM>3a. I'm pretty finicky with respect to unprimed anodized wheels and used
DM>an acid bath - I have used the product: Alumi-Prep.

DE>Yup - in this case I was assuming stock wheels (which were what was
DE>mentioned) which are painted and primed.. Alumi-Prep will remove
DE>any corrosion on anodized or unanodized wheels (it's popular with
DE>the Beemer crowd for cleaning up BMW's rough aluminum castings..).

4. Clean'em again and rinse very carefully!

5. Let'em dry.

6. If tires are mounted - mask them off. I use the easy-stripping blue masking tape available at paint stores and boat-supply houses. This tape will come off after long periods of exposure - even hot sun - without leaving any residue behind. Use the lip of the rim as your template and mask well using tape/newspaper.

DM>6a. Place the wheel to be painted on a rotating support device that holds
DM>the wheel at a high enough level to allow good visibility of the areas to
DM>be painted - illuminate if indoors. This really helps with wheels with a
DM>lot of spokes (e.g. E3 wheels) and tiny areas to paint.

DE>Good advice if you have such a beast. I've had good success circling
DE>the wheel, and rotating it on the garage floor between coats.

7. Lay'em down on a surface you don't care about (ie - I kinda like the patterns on my garage floor.. but you may want to use newspaper. Make CERTAIN the surface is dust-free!)

8. Shake-shake-shake that can'o'silver! Give it about 5 minutes the first time - or until your arm feels like it's gonna fall off.

9. Practice your spray technique if you are unfamiliar with this. Your goal is light, evenly covered layers of paint. You are not gonna do the finish job with the first coat.

DM>9a. Get a painter's mask and put it on nice and snug. Even with the mask,
DM>avoid the fumes. It only costs a few bucks and will save bronchial tubes
DM>and alveoli.

DE>Very good advice! And we don't mean a dust-mask (white paper) here.. we
DE>mean an organic vapors mask - available at Sears and other fine home
DE>do-it-yourself stores! Bronchitis is no fun (BTDT)!

10. Start spraying. Light, even strokes, end the stroke OFF the area being painted - and start it OFF the area being painted. If you see any blobs - you are either too close, or it is too cold or too humid. A warm dry day is best!

11. Figure on 2-3 coats of the silver. When done you want it even looking without drools or blobs. Follow directions on can for dry times and recoat time.

12. When completely dry - do a coat of the clear on top. You do not need a HEAVY coat of clear - you do want even coverage.

13. When completely dry - after a few days - put a coat of wax on'em.. it will help keep the brake-dust from eating up your new paintjob. You can remove any masking tape/paper you used, or have your tires mounted!

Congratulate yourself - they look just like new don't they?!


Don Eilenberger, Spring Lk Hts, NJ
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