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From digest.v6.n668 Sat May 17 05:39:15 1997
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 07:44:49 -0400
Subject: Re: wheel refinishing (long)

Having refinished numerous aluminum, and magnesium wheel sets over the years, with excellent results, I'll share my experiences.

CLEAR COAT: as applied by many manufacturers is a two part activated polyurethane paint that will bind extremely well until chipped. It is a very hard finish. Not available as a spray can product, as it requires mixing, and then has a short cure time. Spray can clear coats will last for a year or two depending on use, climate and moisture, are not hard and loose their shine quickly from all the road dirt that acts like sandblasting. Some may also discolor, quickly if your unlucky.

SILVERS, & COLORS: (like the centers of some older BMW wheels) on aluminum require that the aluminum be etched with special primer that aids in adhesion, and protects against corrosion, which is what allows properly painted wheels to maintain their luster through several winters and long abuse. The silver paint which is only lightly misted on, is then covered with a clear coat to deepen the luster,and make maintenance easier.Again this clear is like the above, a polyurethane.

Depending on what your desires are , if you want a quicky clean up for looks, then go the spray can route, but if your doing a restoration, I suggest that you have a professional paint them, or visit your favorite professional (not Pep Boys/Auto Palace)auto parts store with a paint dept. and select the correct color to match the original BMW/Wurth silver.Dupont and PPG both make a European type fine flake silver metallic that is identical to the orig. BMW color.

I strongly suggest that a professional apply these paints, as they are an activated poly, that if inhaled will cure inside your lungs, and stays there permanently! Any smart painter today works with a fresh air supplied breathing appartus in a spray both for this reason. The fumes alone would make most of us gag!

A note on glassbeading aluminum, which is the best way to clean up wheels with complex contours, like those from an M5, use clean glass, that has not been used with rust or other contaminents, and do the final blasting of the surface with new glass at a lower pressure, (unfractured glass) the surface can be polished, and the finish will be much smoother, which will result in a set of wheels that look better than the originals!

     Mario L. Langsten
     83 533i   lowered, lightened and modified with a set of M5 wheels yet
to be refinished.
     96 Ford Explorer FOR SALE
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