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#923400 - 03/16/12 12:20 PM refinishing stock wheels  
Joined: Oct 2009
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chazoz86SS Offline
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chazoz86SS  Offline
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bridgeton nj
has any one stripped the clear coat off of their factory aluminum rims? my clear is starting to check and flake of in a few spots. so I was thinking of stripping the clear and repainting, polishing the machined lips and reclearing my rims. Im afraid to put aircraft stripper or any stripper for that matter onto the aluminum. was wondering if anyone has attempted this and if so what did you use to strip them? and how did they come out?

thanks in advance

#923438 - 03/16/12 06:37 PM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: chazoz86SS]  
Joined: Nov 2003
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cj84ss Offline
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cj84ss  Offline
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Jacksonville, Fl.
Yes, didn't use stripper but used media blast and then polished the machined surfaces and the painted silver and then cleared used duplicolor wheel paint and they look real good. Takes some time to do the polishing FYI.


[Linked Image]
1984 SS, w/87 Grand National 2004R, 355 vortec, CCC, Crane XE262.
1969 Road Runner
2003 GMC Serria
#923506 - 03/17/12 06:05 AM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: cj84ss]  
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Kyp Offline
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Kyp  Offline
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Wayne, NJ
Chuck, I refinished my 4 aluminum rims last summer by using aircraft stripper. It did not harm the rim and was a nice (but messy!) way to strip all the clear and gray paint. I then polished the non painted areas by starting with 220 grit sand paper and worked my way up to 2000 grit. The final grit paper really gets the aluminum to shine. Finish with an aluminum polish like Mothers mag polish. I chose not to clear the rim only repaint the gray areas. Since there's no OEM paint code for the gray color, I took 1 of my original rims to a local auto body supply store here in Northern NJ to match the color. They mixed up a custom batch of urethane enamel that is a close match, but not perfect. Here's how mine came out. Since the photo, I did polish the aluminum to a higher shine.
Hope this helps



Family first, car hobby second makes for slow progress but memorable experiences.
HAVE: 1987 MCSS Aerocoupe, 1975 Pontiac Grandville Conv.
#923510 - 03/17/12 10:31 AM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: Kyp]  
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Richie Cat Offline
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Richie Cat  Offline
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Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
Kyp What brand lug nut are those? I have a style of Dorman products like that and some are starting to rust.


83 SC, 355 w/TPI
#923515 - 03/17/12 11:52 AM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: Richie Cat]  
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chazoz86SS Offline
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chazoz86SS  Offline
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bridgeton nj
Kyp those look great. exactly what im looking for. how often do you have to stay after the polish and how quick do they try to corrode if you dont clear them? How did you address the back side of the rim?

#923624 - 03/18/12 12:34 AM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: chazoz86SS]  
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Posts: 156
Kyp Offline
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Kyp  Offline
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Wayne, NJ
Richie Cat, the lug nuts are original GM. They look decent in person and better in pictures.

Chazoz86SS, my car is always in the garage so it doesn't experience the corrosion factor but it's done well during washings. The Mother's aluminum polish makes the water bead off. I didn't strip or refinish the backside just cleaned it using soft scrub and fine steel wool. Looks a lot better. the whole process is very time consuming but if you do 1 wheel per weekend it's not as overwhelming. Hope this helps.

Last edited by Kyp; 03/18/12 12:35 AM.

Family first, car hobby second makes for slow progress but memorable experiences.
HAVE: 1987 MCSS Aerocoupe, 1975 Pontiac Grandville Conv.
#923626 - 03/18/12 12:38 AM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: Richie Cat]  
Joined: Nov 2010
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joeg86ss Offline
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joeg86ss  Offline
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Carroll, Iowa
You can buy the stainless lugnuts at orielly's but I found that rockauto.com has them cheaper if you are going to buy all 20.


Started my restoration in May 2010
#923627 - 03/18/12 12:39 AM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: Kyp]  
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joeg86ss Offline
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Carroll, Iowa
Nice job Kyp.


Started my restoration in May 2010
#923637 - 03/18/12 01:16 AM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: joeg86ss]  
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85_SS Offline
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85_SS  Offline
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Ontario, Canada
Those look great Kyp! I followed the same basic process several years ago and also only painted the non-polished areas (left the polished areas bare). I went with a darker grey for some contrast with the polished aluminum and white paint on my SS:






Only one question for ya: didn't it kill you to have wheel weights installed on the outside of the rim after all that work?


[Linked Image]
1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
5.7 LITRE / TES Headers / SShaker Hood / WC T-5 5-Speed
1970 Pontiac GTO
Orbit Orange Judge Re-creation / YZ RAIII 400 / M21 4-Speed
#923690 - 03/18/12 04:14 PM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: 85_SS]  
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Posts: 156
Kyp Offline
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Kyp  Offline
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Wayne, NJ
Joeg86ss, thanks!

85 SS, Thanks, yours look great too! The darker gray doess look good on a white SS. I got the idea from this forum and I remember seeing your write up which gave the the courage to do it...thanks for sharing. I was getting progressively better at doing each wheel that I had to go back to the first one and wet sand it with 2000 grit one more time. Yes, it does stink to pt the weights back on...Ha


Family first, car hobby second makes for slow progress but memorable experiences.
HAVE: 1987 MCSS Aerocoupe, 1975 Pontiac Grandville Conv.
#923728 - 03/18/12 09:14 PM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: 85_SS]  
Joined: Nov 2010
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joeg86ss Offline
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joeg86ss  Offline
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Carroll, Iowa
85ss where did you get your lug nuts? They don't have the stupid "metric" stamped on them. I like!!


Started my restoration in May 2010
#923757 - 03/19/12 12:47 AM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: joeg86ss]  
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85_SS Offline
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85_SS  Offline
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Ontario, Canada
Jimmy - I think I may have done the same with regards to having to go back and redo wheels or sanding stages I'd done already. It's a real pain to refinish these wheels by hand, but if it's not driven in the winter, they'll look great forever and all you need to do is polish the bare areas once every season or two. FWIW, you can have the wheels balanced on the inside only - this is what I have done with all my wheels to avoid the weights on the outside and the corrosion that later comes along with that. Not as much of a worry on a car that doesn't see a lot of weather, but something to think about smile

Joe - they are just cheapo $1/ea lug nuts from local sellers. I really like the flat top on them and use these on most of my cars. I hate the more common extended round tops that come on most aftermarket lug nuts.


[Linked Image]
1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
5.7 LITRE / TES Headers / SShaker Hood / WC T-5 5-Speed
1970 Pontiac GTO
Orbit Orange Judge Re-creation / YZ RAIII 400 / M21 4-Speed
#1060657 - 02/06/19 01:52 AM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: 85_SS]  
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Posts: 35
88Z65 Offline
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88Z65  Offline
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Posts: 35
NJ

Thanks to those above I got the nerve to try and recondition my SS wheels.

The clear coat was in real bad shape and there was corrosion by the wheel weights. It took about 4 hrs per wheel. Putting the wheel on a swivel shop stool made work a lot easier. See pictures for results.

I started with a Black and Decker Mouse sander with 120 grit to get the clear off and any corrosion. The mouse works great on the rim area because its curved and fits against the rim curve fairly close. I followed that by hand with 220 grit, then 400 and finally 1200, all dry sanded. You can go on to 2000 grit and a metal polish but that ends up looking like chrome. I prefer the satin aluminum look. It looks more original. The silver paint is original. The spokes didn't need much work at all.

After the 1200 I just clear coated it with VHT high temp wheel paint. It's a polyurethane clear coat and takes 7 days for full cure.


[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


stock, 276K, no end in sight
#1060662 - 02/06/19 05:36 PM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: chazoz86SS]  
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upflying Offline
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Reno, NV


86 MCSS Notchback coupe, LS3, 4L65E, QP 9", Eaton Truetrac, 4 wheel disc, column shift, Dakota Digital, silver with maroon bench interior

#1060986 - 03/05/19 03:24 AM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: chazoz86SS]  
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Posts: 156
Kyp Offline
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Kyp  Offline
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Wayne, NJ
88Z65 - Looks great!! It does take hours to complete but well worth the sweat equity.


Family first, car hobby second makes for slow progress but memorable experiences.
HAVE: 1987 MCSS Aerocoupe, 1975 Pontiac Grandville Conv.
#1061004 - 03/06/19 01:04 AM Re: refinishing stock wheels [Re: Kyp]  
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 35
88Z65 Offline
Member
88Z65  Offline
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NJ
Thanks Kyp. I was going to go all the way to 2000 grit and metal polish like you did, but I liked the look I got with the 1200 without the polishing.

You did an outstanding job on your wheels. Congrats.


stock, 276K, no end in sight

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