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Old 09-17-2004, 01:22 PM
Chris Blanchard's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 221
Cleaning Wheels / Dremel / Clay Bar

I recently got a set of four of the 15-hole wheels for a W124, and set about the task of cleaning them thoroughly before I mount tires on them.

It finally has sunk into my head that cleaning wheels is the same as cleaning any other painted surface with a clearcoat, and that when you take that approach, you can really clean off all the accumulated brake dust that you really can't do with the tire on the rim.

This is the approach I have taken so far and have had excellent results.

1. Clean the wheel with Meguiar's Car Shampoo and H20.
2. Dry the wheel with a synthetic chamois.
3. Clay bar all accessible parts of the "face" of the wheel.
4. Meguiar's Clearcoat Paint Cleaner applied by hand.
5. 3M fine cut rubbing compound applied by a DREMEL with a felt pad into each of those 15 holes and into the lug nut holes. The DREMEL with the felt pad is key here in getting all of the brake dust off. Some wheels required me to use a medium cut compound to get the last bit of gunk off.
6. Two coats of Meguiar's paste wax applied by hand.

The results are really nice, and I plan to start using Kleen Wheels to keep them looking that way. I was surprised how many scuffs and what I thought were permanent marks on the flat center area of the wheel came off with the clay bar and the clearcoat cleaner. The felt pads for the DREMEL are about $3 for a set of 5, I went through about 10 pads doing all 4 wheels.

Many fun new uses for the DREMEL! Now my wife thinks I've totally lost it to put that much effort into having clean wheels. It was less than an hour per wheel, and it was worth the effort.
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Old 09-18-2004, 08:20 AM
BrierS's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Charlestown, NH
Posts: 1,008
Don't you love these projects? I have to do mine and have been reading previous posts on the topic. Seems some have used spray oven cleaner with great success. More importantly is what I read about Kleen Wheels . . . probably not a good idea. Though I may have forgotten some of the issues, change of airflow across the brakes resulting in heat build-up seemed to be the major issue. Several suggested a couple types of brake pads that do not leave the dreaded brake dust we are faced with. I am going to switch (over the winter) to one of these brands of pads. Price, if I remember correctly, was not bad and the reward is no more bonding dust.

Do a search on brake dust . . . best of luck.
'87 300TD - 132K - Soon 4-Sale
'84 300D Turbo - 122K - Driving
'77 VW Type II - 77K - Restored
'08 250EX Ninja
English Bulldog (Brier) - My best friend. Passed away 12/02/04 while in my arms.
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:26 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: MA
Posts: 764
How long does it take to treat the small nooks? There are so many nooks on each wheel.

Does Meguiars Paint Cleaner remove old brake dust well?
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Cleaning Wheels / Dremel / Clay Bar-wheel_picture_ebay_nook.jpg  
1992 300D 2.5 turbo diesel. 319 k miles.
124.128 chassis, 602.962 engine, 722.418 tranny.
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Old 11-04-2004, 08:30 PM
FrankM's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Location: NH
Posts: 329
Smile removing caked on brake dust

I use 000 steel wool.

79 240D my current toy
42 years a Diesel addict

240D sold
250SE sold
220D sold
280C sold
280S sold
300D (2) sold
300CD sold
300DT sold
300SD sold
380SL sold
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Old 12-02-2004, 06:29 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 194
I did a controversial thing, in washing my clear coated wheels with a mixture of "Dawn" detergent. Did a great and easy job of getting both dirt and old wax off. Some have expressed fear that repeated treatment like this will also strip the clearcoat. What do you think?

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