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Old 07-15-2013, 09:11 PM   #1
CHMSC
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How to fix your polished aluminum wheels..........lots of pics!!

THIS IS FOR POLISHED ALUMINUM WHEELS ONLY!!!!!!!!

This process could apply to other wheels with some modifications to the steps since there will be painting or others things involved.

Ok guys and gals, I had an unfortunate idiot come into my lane almost running into me. I moved over as much as I could, literally against the curb at 45 mph. Luckily the moron missed me be an inch.

Needless to say both right wheels looked pretty bad

I called around to get quotes to have them repaired and was about to take them to a local shop but decided to give it a try myself. Worst case, I screw up and take it to the local wheel repair shop.

This is the first wheel I did. Granted I could have done a better job but I was under a huge time crunch. I am not a professional, just an average joe that would rather do what he can himself.

I am not responsible or liable if you try this yourself and screw it all up!! Do this at your own risk!!

Don't rush like I did, your project will come out even better.

This project cost me around $50 and about 4 hours of elbow grease.

If you are looking for even better results I would suggest using aircraft grade stripper and strip the whole clear coat off the wheel.

1. What I used to get the results I did. Dremel, sand paper, polish, mothers buff cone, drill and clear coat in a can. For the Dremel I used one of the rough grinding stones and the fine round sander bit but you could also use the wire wheel. Always use eye protection!!

2. First I washed the wheel. Then I used a rough grinding stone to get the major damage ground down. Take your time and only grind what you need to in order to get it somewhat smooth.

3. Use the bit with the sand paper. The finest grit there is to smooth it down even more. Once again only remove what you need to. Don't leave the bit in one spot very long or you will gouge pits into the wheel which will be hard to remove. I used long smooth strokes to try and leave the smoothest finish possible.

4. I used 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper. I used it with my thumb since I couldn't find anything that would work well on the wheel edge. Yes your thumb will feel like you hit it with a hammer but to me it was worth it. I used a gentle stream of water while I was sanding.

5. For fine scratches that usually come from putting new tires on I used 600 grit very quickly till the scratch was gone with water. Then went over it with 2000 grit with water to get it smooth. I also used 2000 grit over any and all areas I used 600 grit on. For really fine scratches you could get by with just using 2000 grit. I always used a small steady stream of water during the sanding process, except when the Dremel was being used.

6. After all grinding and sanding is done I washed and dried the wheel. I used flitz polish with the mother cone wheel thingy with my drill. I used plenty of polish and took my time to make the finish as shiny as possible.

7. You may have to grind through some of the clear coat depending on how deep a scratch is or how much damage there is. I just used a brush and some clear coat from the auto part store and touched up the areas I went through the clear coat. The best way would be to strip the whole wheel with aircraft paint stripper and redo the whole clear coat. I will eventually do this, but for now it will do since I was working with a very limited time frame that I had to have these done in.

I will add exactly what I used later. If you guys have any questions feel free to ask. They are not perfect but they are way better than they were before. I would say about 90% done.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:11 PM   #2
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This is how bad the damage was. It went all the way around the wheel
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:12 PM   #3
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Another shot of the damage.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:12 PM   #4
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Initial grind with the rough stone dremel bit.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:12 PM   #5
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Forgot to take a pic after the round fine sandpaper dremel bit. This is after sanding with 600 grit.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:13 PM   #6
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A different angle with the edge sanded and the area I am working towards.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:13 PM   #7
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After you are done sanding with 2000 grit there will be a haze over the areas you sanded. Ya I know I was
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:13 PM   #8
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Another hazy pic
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:13 PM   #9
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All polished up and done. What do you guys think for my first time and under a huge time crunch.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:45 PM   #10
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What pic's?
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:28 AM   #11
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Another shot of it done.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:33 AM   #12
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What pic's?
Those pics lol

I was just saving some spots for pics man. Now you can check it out.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:42 AM   #13
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Looks great Doug, you did an absolutely awesome job
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:46 AM   #14
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Thanks Joe. I am very happy with the results for the limited amount of time I had to redo them.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:52 AM   #15
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Wow, you did a great job! I have curb rash on mine that was caused by the previous owner I would love to try this, but don't know if I'd have the guts to
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:56 AM   #16
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Wow, you did a great job! I have curb rash on mine that was caused by the previous owner I would love to try this, but don't know if I'd have the guts to

Thank you!

I was hesitant at first as well but figured what the hell. Like I said worst case if it doesn't come out good take it to a wheel repair guy.
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:41 AM   #17
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Wow, what damage? They look great
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:55 AM   #18
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Wow, what damage? They look great
Ha ha thanks man. Crappy phone can't get the bad spots. It really is hard to see the areas that are not perfect even in person. Like I said with more time you could get them perfect or darn close.
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:57 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Those pics lol

I was just saving some spots for pics man. Now you can check it out.
Ok. You did a very good job of repairing your wheels. They do not even look like they where damaged.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:05 AM   #20
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What curb rash? Great job
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:00 AM   #21
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Nice job..I've used a dremel before too and wheels respond pretty well as they are soft. More should try this, nothing to lose...you really can't make it worse!
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:16 AM   #22
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Looks great. I have a wheel that needs a little attention. I wonder how difficult it will be to do with the tire on?

The polished wheels have a clear coat on them, right? I wonder what's going to happen in the areas where you ground, sanded and polished the clear coat off?
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:41 AM   #23
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I thought the RS wheels were painted?

http://www.camaro5.com/piant-code-for-the-rs-wheels/

I had some small road rash (previous owner) and tried to sand it down such as what the OP did. It appeared the wheel was made of clear coat, midnight silver paint, dark primer, alumimum.

just wondering if this is same same.
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:40 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caddyroger View Post
Ok. You did a very good job of repairing your wheels. They do not even look like they where damaged.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Casperadub70 View Post
What curb rash? Great job


Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen e View Post
Nice job..I've used a dremel before too and wheels respond pretty well as they are soft. More should try this, nothing to lose...you really can't make it worse!
ya more people should try it. Especially with the polish wheels or even MS wheels with light scratches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eich View Post
Looks great. I have a wheel that needs a little attention. I wonder how difficult it will be to do with the tire on?


The polished wheels have a clear coat on them, right? I wonder what's going to happen in the areas where you ground, sanded and polished the clear coat off?
post a pic of your damage. It depends on where the damage is and how bad it is. I was surprised how much I was able to remove scratches without going through the clear coat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marine_142 View Post
I thought the RS wheels were painted?

http://www.camaro5.com/piant-code-for-the-rs-wheels/

I had some small road rash (previous owner) and tried to sand it down such as what the OP did. It appeared the wheel was made of clear coat, midnight silver paint, dark primer, alumimum.

just wondering if this is same same.
My car is an RS but I added the polished aluminum wheels, so I do not have the midnight silver wheels. Yes the MS wheels are not just clear coat so there is a lot more work involved. You would have to get primer and the paint and clear coat to fix them properly.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:49 PM   #25
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:
post a pic of your damage. It depends on where the damage is and how bad it is. I was surprised how much I was able to remove scratches without going through the clear coat.
If you're grinding with a stone dremel tool, I think you're through the clear coat before you start. But maybe it doesn't matter that much on the edges of the wheel.

I have some damage similar to what you show in your first picture but not all the way around the wheel.
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