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  #1  
Old 03-07-2005, 11:12 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 482
Wheel cleaning... Any suggestions?

My wheels look like they're in pretty bad condition. Is it possible to get all this damn brake dust off? Here is a picture:



Bigger version:
http://dano.pocketrubbish.com/images/photos/cars/IMG_0789.JPG

Recently put the spare on to compare. Any possible way I can get it to look somewhat like this without refinishing?
http://dano.pocketrubbish.com/images/photos/cars/IMG_0790.JPG

I'm pretty handy with a dremel, and I have to reapply a clear coat, I have no problem with that. Hopefully this is something that a clay bar + dremel + felt tips + 3m rubbing compound can fix.
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2005, 05:43 AM
ksing44's Avatar
1995 E320 SE
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downingtown, PA
Posts: 658
Easy-Off

Some people have had great results with easy-off oven cleaner. It sounds like it is very easy. You can just search through the forums for tips and cautions. In addition, be careful when spraying the cleaner, because there have been recalls for bad valves that sprayed cleaner into consumerís faces.
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I just couldn't give up on my 1995 E320.

I think it might be like always going back to that same bad relationship with an ex girlfriend.
You feel you love them too much, or you are just too stupid to know any better.



Flickr slideshow of my 1995 E320
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24145497@N06/sets/72157616572140057/
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  #3  
Old 03-08-2005, 09:17 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Ashland, KY
Posts: 365
Your wheels are painted just like your car. Don't use anything on the wheels that you wouldn't use on the paint on your car. I won't use any of those wheel cleaner type crap products. If it seems too good to be true then it is usually something that will eat the finish and/or damage the metal. Anything you have to wear gloves to keep from eating up your skin is too caustic for your car's finish!
I use regular car wash and warm water to start. I wear rubber gloves (hospital type) to keep my hands clean and a good soft cloth. I do it by hand with lots of rinsing. Takes quite a while the first time or when the brake dust is really caked on. You will probably have to wash the wheels several times. Be sure to get into all the areas inside the 15 holes. I have also removed the tires/wheels from the car and cleaned them - getting the crud out from the backside of the wheels helps keep the fronts cleaner.
When you are finished be sure to wax the wheels as you would the car. It takes time but is worth it. The finish on mine was not the best to start with and they look o.k. but I am looking for a couple of good wheels as we speak.

If the wheels are shot then spray them down with SimpleGreen and then scrub them really well. I have spray painted some with the wheel paint from Griot's Garage and had good luck. Be sure to put several coats of clear protectant (polyurethane?) to seal them.


The MOST important thing to make your job easier is to always work with cool or cold wheels. It sure will make it easier.
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  #4  
Old 03-08-2005, 10:32 AM
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Location: Southeastern PA
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danwatt, I take it that the picture of the wheel is after it's been washed and the black residue is somewhat permanent. If so, I'd try some polishing compound applied with a toothbrush ... better to take the wheels off the car one at a time so that you can work with each wheel laying on its side. Get comfortable because it's going to take you a considerable amount of time to restore the finish of each wheel. After the polishing compound use some Meguiar's Cleaner/Wax and follow it up with some Carnauba wax. Plan on spending several hours on each wheel to do the job properly, and then you may not be satisfied and need to have them bead-blasted and repainted. It all depends on how nice you want the wheels to look.
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  #5  
Old 03-08-2005, 04:54 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,255
wash your wheels with car wash soap or siimplegreen whatever?
Then clay your wheels, spend an afternoon with each wheel. I use Mothers Clay Kit. Inexpensive comes with lubricant and an O.K. sized piece of clay.

Michelin seems to have out a new tire and wheel clea regimen, once you get the wheels clean Michelin may have something to maintain them.
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  #6  
Old 03-09-2005, 01:19 AM
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Yeah, these pictures were taken after a wash. This is as good as it gets. I bought some of the Eagle One A2Z Wheel Cleaner, the Mothers Clay Bar kit, and I've already got a dremel with plenty of felt tips and polishing compound. Hopefully the A2Z and clay bar will get the job done, I don't feel like using the dremel for ages. I tore off 1/3 of the clay bar to use for the wheels, the rest is for the paint. I'll probably tackle the wheels Thursday.

It's really nice working at an auto parts store, I get everything really cheap, so I have the freedom to experiment with different chemicals (hah!).
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  #7  
Old 03-09-2005, 04:39 AM
ksing44's Avatar
1995 E320 SE
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downingtown, PA
Posts: 658
Try Easy-Off on the back of wheel

I still think you should try the oven cleaner. Just donít leave it on too long and wash with plenty of soap and water when you are done. A coat of wax after the cleanup would also be a good measure to make cleanup easier the next time. I think you might be totally amazed at how well it works and how easy it is. It is a strong base that is specially formulated to remove baked on carbon residue, without damaging the painted surface of the oven. It is true that your wheels are painted, similar to the car finish, but wheels are exposed to all kinds of nasty stuff that the rest of your car doesnít see. Do you have brake dust baked onto the rest of your car at very high temperature? I wouldnít make it a common Saturday cleanup ritual, but it may be good for removing baked on dirt from years of neglect. It has to be worth a try, compared to using a dremel and clay to get in all those little holes.

If you try it on the back of one wheel and I bet you will be a convert.
__________________
I just couldn't give up on my 1995 E320.

I think it might be like always going back to that same bad relationship with an ex girlfriend.
You feel you love them too much, or you are just too stupid to know any better.



Flickr slideshow of my 1995 E320
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24145497@N06/sets/72157616572140057/
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  #8  
Old 03-09-2005, 09:19 AM
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Location: Ashland, KY
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Someone I know (can't remember who) bought one of those Black and Decker Scrubber things to use specifically for his wheels. It works great to get inside the holes of the wheels.
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  #9  
Old 03-09-2005, 09:35 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Simple Green Concentrate...you can get it at auto-zone....but make sure you get concentrate, not degreaser. THe Concentrate, you are supposed to mix with wter to get more uses out of it...but i found that if you spray directly on nasty ass wheels...it cleans the piss out off them.
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  #10  
Old 03-13-2005, 02:35 PM
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Well, I ended up using the Eagle One A2Z Wheel Cleaner. Amazing stuff. I would've gone with the oven cleaner, but like I said, I work at a parts store so this was easier for me to pick up.

Scroll up for a before pic, here is after:

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  #11  
Old 03-13-2005, 04:07 PM
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looks excellent, was there a lot of scrubbing involved?


do a close-up like in your earlier post.



Scott
Baltimore
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  #12  
Old 03-14-2005, 03:17 AM
ksing44's Avatar
1995 E320 SE
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downingtown, PA
Posts: 658
Eagle One is on my shopping list

Your wheels look great. If products made for your wheels can do the job, then Iím sure it is a better choice than the oven cleaner. The oven cleaner is only necessary when all other treatments fail.

I fell in love with Eagle One Wax As You Dry. It just gets all nice and creamy as I dry my car with a chamois and it dries with a wonderful nice silky shine. I also just switched to their car was soap, since I liked the other product so well. I know everyone loves Meguiars products and they have great customer support, but the Wax As You Dry worked so well I just had to try more of their stuff.
__________________
I just couldn't give up on my 1995 E320.

I think it might be like always going back to that same bad relationship with an ex girlfriend.
You feel you love them too much, or you are just too stupid to know any better.



Flickr slideshow of my 1995 E320
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24145497@N06/sets/72157616572140057/
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  #13  
Old 03-30-2005, 11:52 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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well i heard that putting wax on your wheels such as the wax you put on your paint.. its not great as most will start to heat up as your start driving and the wax will wear off after one drive down the highway. and some of that might spin off into the inside of the car... so just clean the wheels often is my advise
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  #14  
Old 03-30-2005, 01:13 PM
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Location: east coast
Posts: 1,255
about wax and heat, your paint can reach high temps sitting in the sun and wax is used to protect the paint from fading.

when your car is moving a flow of air over the outter wheel I would think keeps the surface warm enough to prevent the wax from evaporating.

I actually coat the inside of my wheels with petroleum jelly to act as a barrier and protectant for the inner wheel surface. Once a year or so I clean the inside of the wheel and the petroleum jelly wipes clean with some effort but leaves a surface easier to get shiney than without any protection.

In hot wet conditions the petroleum jelly may migrate to the outside of the wheel but only a few inches and always from the brakes.
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  #15  
Old 03-30-2005, 01:21 PM
ksing44's Avatar
1995 E320 SE
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downingtown, PA
Posts: 658
A little crazy about your cars

I think some of you guys are a little crazy.
__________________
I just couldn't give up on my 1995 E320.

I think it might be like always going back to that same bad relationship with an ex girlfriend.
You feel you love them too much, or you are just too stupid to know any better.



Flickr slideshow of my 1995 E320
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24145497@N06/sets/72157616572140057/
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