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Getting the shine back on factory alloy wheels

hdkeno

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Joined
Mar 12, 2006
Messages
277
Location
CT
Corvette
2005 Victory Red coupe
Looking for some help on this,

My 81 has the stock alloy wheels,and although they arent too bad, I really would like to get them to shine better.

Ive heard you can pay big bucks to have them professionally done,but would rather do it myself,if possible.

Best suggestion that i have heard so far is to wet sand them,and then polish them with some stuff made by "wizards".

Anyone familar with thier products? or that treatment.
Personally I use Meguires exclusively,but i am willing to try other options.

Like i said,they look good,but can be better.

Thanks Ken
 
J

JimmyS5600

Guest
Ken, Try useing some fine sandpaper first. I usually start with 800 then 1000 to 1500. This works well if the finish isn't too bad. Finish with Mothers
aluminum polish. Takes a bunch of elbow grease but well worth it for the results.
 

Tom Bryant

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Nov 9, 2000
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7,332
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Edgerton, Ohio, United States
Corvette
1959 black 270hp (9/2/69) 1981 Beige L81(10/20/80)
I use Mothers on ours too. I bought one of those power balls and polish a few months ago from Summit. I plan on trying it out this winter sometime. Saves that elbow grease for sanding on my truck.

Tom
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2001
Messages
2,141
Location
Rio Rancho, NM
Corvette
1981 HD Suspension; ZN1 Option
If they are still stock, then they probably will still have the clear coat on them. I am not sure what could be use to strip these wheels, but someone will probably post what would be a very good product to use on the wheels.

Bad side is, though, that you'll have to remove the tires off them.

GerryLP:cool
 

Yoda

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Oct 12, 2000
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4,884
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Amarillo, TX
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1981 UL5
:w Ken,

Take a look at this past Thread about Shinning Aluminum Wheels There are a few others too. If you are interested just go to the "Search" feature in the light blue task bar at the top and enter Aluminum Wheels, or Shine Aluminum Wheels or something Wheel related and you can find some more interested reading ;)

I used Acetone to strip the wheel protectant then used Mothers to shine them up. Other have used different ways including sanding etc..

Good Luck :Steer
 

Tom Bryant

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Edgerton, Ohio, United States
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1959 black 270hp (9/2/69) 1981 Beige L81(10/20/80)
:w Ken,



I used Acetone to strip the wheel protectant then used Mothers to shine them up. Other have used different ways including sanding etc..

Good Luck :Steer

I can't remember what I used. I think I just buffed it off with rubbing compound. I didn't take the tires off. I just cleaned off the polished face of the wheel.
 

wishuwerehere82

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Sep 6, 2003
Messages
2,314
Location
Rochester, NY
Corvette
Red '82 Coupe,Sebring Silver '98 Coupe
Your original process will work just fine.
1500 grit Wet-or-Dry and water to get the oxididation off the surface, then hit it with Wizards polish and buff to a brilliant shine. That's what I use, and it's by far the easiest way to do it.:upthumbs
 

68Roadster

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Joined
Dec 16, 2002
Messages
1,040
Location
Dallas, TX
Corvette
'68 White Vert '05 Silverado SS
I did my '85 with 00 steel wool and lacquer thinner....took alot of work but once they were polished up they looked good.

Good luck!
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
274
Location
Charleston, SC
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1981 Dark Blue Metallic, 2003 AE coupe
Mothers makes two type of power balls, a large and a smaller one with an extension rod. Both are about the same price. I had both and think the smaller with the extension does a better job because I think you get more control and less mess on the tires. Mothers aluminum polish works great. I did mine a few weeks ago and am very happy. I got everything at Advance auto parts. Good luck!

Mike :w
 

srs244

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Apr 1, 2005
Messages
462
Location
the deep south
Corvette
1978 pace car, 04 CE convert
depending on the quality of the wheels you are starting with (ie: the amount of surface damage (small scratches, etc) i suggest that you start with about 600 grit wet paper and work you way up in stages to the 1500. if your whells are just discolored (or less than the bright finish you would like, without the usuall minimum slight scratching), start at 800 wet papper and go up in stages. 600/800/1000/1200 will work wonders followed by a good polishing. both eastwook and griot's garage have the polish made by "wizards" you referred to and both do a great job (they are a bit more gritty than regular polish and work a lot like a polishing compound to really clean and polish). the one from griot's actually claims that you can skip the wet paper part, but the elbow grease required will drive you nuts and make you wish you hadn't started that way, lol! it all boils down to how much effort you want to give. even though having them professionally polished is a bit pricey, you might want to weigh the cost versus the value of your time before you make that decision. check around with several of the better chromers in your area (a good way to find the best ones are to check with your local hell's angel's hang out, lol). check with the local harley dealers for a referral. those guys aere really crazy about perfection and won't deal with just anyone. they should be able to give you an approximate quote per wheel (they will want to see them before giving you a final price because of the work involved based upon condition). and you can go from there.

i have 8 original wheels that i was going to work with to get the best 4 for the car plus a couple of spares just in case, but i am seriously considering having someone do them professionaly because of the work involved. i figure the amount of time i would need to devote to that part of my project might extend the restoration of my interior by a couple of weeks or more and i'm not sure i want to do that, lol!

good luck

steve
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2001
Messages
2,141
Location
Rio Rancho, NM
Corvette
1981 HD Suspension; ZN1 Option
... but i am seriously considering having someone do them professionaly because of the work involved. i figure the amount of time i would need to devote to that part of my project might extend the restoration of my interior by a couple of weeks or more and i'm not sure i want to do that, lol!

good luck

steve

You see! that's how I did mine. I had them done by a professional wheel polishing business in San Leandro, California. I had them do the wheels perhaps in 1988 or 1989 (can't remember :ugh ), but the point is that they're still looking great. Even after all these years, and they have no protecting clear coat either. In all that time, I perhaps used Mother's wheel polish 6 or 7 times. They removed the tires off the wheels, glass-bead blasted the wheels, and then polished them (yes! The entire wheel, mind you). I remember that they had these vibrating vats where they placed the wheels (one at-a-time), and the vibrating media got the wheels smooth enough for the finishing polish.

GerryLP:cool
 

Peer81

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May 21, 2003
Messages
2,497
Location
Netherlands
Corvette
'81 Black
Something like this? :D
IMG_3321.JPG


You feel right away if your rim has clear coat, it's much to smooth and all you polish there is no difference. If so, first remove the clear coat (I would use some good paintremover). Then use sandpaper to remove al the scratches and little holes in the aluminium. Sand it till everything is gone. Then use polish. After that clean the wheel with a dry towl. Left rim unpolished, right rim polished :)
After that depending on the wheater climate your in, just give them a quick polish (5 minutes a rim) ones every 4 to 6 months. I life in a New York kind of climate to compare it to yours.

Groeten Peter.
 

Blu ByU

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Dec 27, 2004
Messages
87
Location
Liberty, Missouri
Corvette
'04 CE LeMans Blue Coupe, 1978 Pace Car
I guess I took the lazy way and had mine done professionally. Mine were very oxidized and the red pin stripe was almost worn away. For $125 per wheel, they stripped them, sanded them, hand polished them, repainted all the pin stripes, repainted the black on the inside of the slots, mounted and balanced them. They look brand spanking new. Money well spent in my opinion.
 

hdkeno

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2006
Messages
277
Location
CT
Corvette
2005 Victory Red coupe
Thanks for all the great advice.

I had some mothers polish,and I just picked up the mini polish ball,that some of you mentioned.

Im going to give that a shot first,then I may take some further action.

Later, Ken
 
Z

zgator

Guest
If you live in a humid area like I do (Savannah Ga)You will learn to HATE alum Wheels.I am going to get mine chromed and be done with it!!!!
 

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