DOES ANYONE KNOW THE BEST WAY TO CLEAN AND POLISH ALUMINUM WHEELS. I HAVE A 1980 CORVETTE AND I AM WORKING MY FINGERS TO THE BONE TRYING TO SHINE THESE THINGS... IS THERE ANY PRODUCT THAT WORKS WELL FOR THIS
Have you removed the protective coating? There is a clear coat on the wheels that yellows and/or dulls after 20+ years. You will not be able to shine the aluminum until this is removed.
Acetone, tooth brush and soft rags works really well to remove this protective coating.. Once the coating is off then "Mothers" Aluminum polish would be my recommendations.. This topic has been discussed in the past, but a revisit is always nice. I'm sure one of the others here will find the link and post it, if not I'll look later for it and post it for you... Or you can search in this section and enter Acetone and probably find it too.
Follow all precautions when using any chemicals, ie Acetone.
I had trouble getting mine to shine...until I realized I wasn't getting all of the Mother's off the wheel. I found that after you have rubbed the compound into the section you're working on, the best way to remove the Mother's is with a damp rag. I used a squirt bottle of water to spray the section before rubbing it off with a clean rag.
Someone also responded to a post of mine titled: Details, details, details about there being grooves on the wheels and how to remove them with sanding to improve the shine.
Good luck, there's nothing for it, but elbow grease!
Are you following the directions properly?
When I first polished mine, I found I was not rubbing the polish enough to get it black. When it turns black is when you know it has removed the oxidation, then you can remove the polish with a clean, damp rag.
I also had no shine at first, that is when I realized I had not removed all the polish. I found spraying water onto the area helped remove the polish. Use a clean white towel, so you can see when no more residue is coming off.
I've seen pic of Bud's Rare81, and I'm certain my aluminum wheels do not shine like that, either...maybe I don't have the clear-whatever removed on mine?
Try the water and white towel...
The first step is to establish whether there is any clearcoat left. If you are polising, it stands to reason that there is none. The horsehair scuffy pads do a great job of cleaning and finishing the aluminum surface. Each color stands for a different "grit" with white being the finest or polishing pad. Red is the roughest.
The "Scumbuster" by Black and Decker is a geat little machine for that stuff because it comes with the pads and you don't wear out your fingers. A Dremel with the 90 degree adapter works well with small horsehair pads. If you want chrome-like polish you need to use some sort of turntable to turn the wheel like a lathe. A finisher in my area uses a modified brake rotor lathe. He polishes back and front for show cars. After he has used every grade of abrasive he rubs cigarette ashes on the wheel to make it glow in the dark.
1959 black 270hp (9/2/69) 1981 Beige L81(10/20/80)
Another trick for removing all black residue.
Take a soft cloth or shop towel and dip it in a bolw of dry flower. (The kind in your kitchen for baking not the kind you give your wife when you are trying to make up for working on the Corvette too late every night). Wipe the wheel down with the rag with the flower on it and it will clean off all of the black residue left from polishing and leave a bright finish.