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  #1  
Old 06-15-2005, 11:45 PM
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Help me save these classic Ronals!

I just acquired a set of Ronal R-9 wheels that I intend to put on my '81 300TD. Two are 16x8 and two are 16x7. They are all a bit rough. The black centers aren't bad, but the rims on all four need work. The photo below shows one of the worst ones after quick cleaning with a Scotchbrite pad and wheel cleaner. As you can see, there is lots of pitting and corrosion on the rim. What's the best way to remove this stuff? Steel wool? A special polish? Can I even do this myself? I'm not looking for a mirror finish, just that classic bare aluminum shine.

Any and all help appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Help me save these classic Ronals!-ronal1.jpg  
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Old 06-16-2005, 12:34 AM
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If you're just looking to polish the rim . . . find a machine shop with a CNC to polish the rim. Otherwise, you're going to be spending a lot of time with polishing cones, a Dremel and a lot of polishing paste.
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Old 06-16-2005, 06:26 AM
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This will require a lot of hand work. I would start out with wetsanding with 800 grit paper, then move up to 1000 then finish with 1500.
You can then polish with a ,metal polish like Meguiars NXT metal polish or Wenol polish
Wenol polish
Meguiars nxt polish
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:01 AM
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I once cleaned up an old set of mags....the 5 spake variaty from the late 60's by pulling the valve stem...blocking an axeland putting it on the car..put the car in gear idling in 4th gear and let the car act like a lathe with sandpaper for the heavy sanding...then used a buffing wheel to finish up.
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Old 06-16-2005, 10:58 AM
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There are some new polishing aides out there. I saw one the other day on that TV show with Chip Foose the hot rod designer. It was a large sponge ball that fits on a drill. Put polish on it and go to town. Check the Foose website, it may be listed. Bonehead's suggestion is also good, I used it years ago to polish my old American torque thrusts. Worked OK then, should do OK today. If you have pits on the rims, then spinning while using an abrasive should work them out. Try to keep the machined edges clean and sharp. If all else fails there are wheel shops that restore the things.

If you intend to repaint the centers you may want to abrasive blast them to get the area cleaned off. Walnut shells and plastic media are good and not too aggressive. Check your phone book for metal refinishers, see if there is anyone doing soda blasting. This uses baking soda as the abrasive; works well and does not harm the metal. Local hot rodders may know of this service, it is popular for large metal body panels where sand blasting could cause warping. Do all this before polishing the rims.

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Old 06-20-2005, 12:36 AM
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Well, after a few hours and a lotta elbow grease, I have three out of four wheels looking pretty good. The attached photo is the same wheel I showed earlier. This was the worst one of the bunch, and now it's pretty darn presentable. Curiously, the ones that started out looking the best have been the hardest to get right -- some previous owner took a wire grinding wheel to them and they have a lot of ugly gouges.

I used a combination of medium-grit emery cloth, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper, and 000 steel wool. Then I finished off with "NevrDull" polishing cloth. They aren't perfect, but they look pretty nice. I figure I spent a total of about 2 hours on each wheel. Now on to that fourth wheel (I had to take a break before tackling the last one!)
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Old 06-20-2005, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WannaWagon
I used a combination of medium-grit emery cloth, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper, and 000 steel wool. Then I finished off with "NevrDull" polishing cloth.
Oh yeah, I also used Meguiar's Cleaner/Wax on the painted centers.
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