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Old 04-06-2004, 03:02 PM
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How to strip and recoat machine finish wheels?

I have bright natural machine finish clear coated wheels and the clear is crazing, cracking and peeling not to mention the crusty brake dust in the nooks and grooves. What is the best way to refinish them? I have a blasting cabinet and I refinished a set of painted wheels which turned out very nice on this BMW:

but on machine finishes bead blasting gives the bare aluminum a dull matte finish that I want to avoid. (I did buy a case of walnut shells to see how they would work in the blaster, just havenít got around to trying it yet.) I thought about taking them to a stripper and having them dunked but it seems either no one does that anymore due to environmental regulations, or if they do, the chemicals are too strong for aluminum. Anyone have any suggestions besides painting these:

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Old 04-06-2004, 04:38 PM
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If I understand you correctly you want a "bright" finish? You will need to get a fine aluminum oxide (size a) or carbide material - and of course a carbide tip for you blaster.
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Old 04-06-2004, 05:13 PM
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I've heard of people using aircraft paintstripper.
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Old 04-11-2004, 05:08 PM
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Aluminum oxide grit (or any grit) will leave a matte finish with grit blasting.

Aircraft paintstripper is probably the best stripper you can use short of using methylene chloride (a carcinogen).

I'm researching this myself for a set of 13-year-old rims I'd like to restore on my 91 Marquis. There are a number of places that restore aluminum wheels, you just have to search for these places. I heard one technique is to remachine the wheels, which'll shave off a bit of material. I'm not too crazy about reducing the section thickness of safety items such as aluminum wheels.

Matte finish by grit blasting may be the way to go. The BMW wheel you show looks nice, at least in the photo. How bad can the matte finish be?
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Old 04-11-2004, 06:50 PM
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From what I've learned, I need to get the face remachined and clearcoated. Removing a few thousandths to clean up the corroded spots won't weaken the wheel anymore than turning a brake disc as long as it's within reason.

I used the aircraft stripper to remove the clearcoat. Then I tried bead blasting a section and then clearcoating but it looked bad, just as if I sprayed primer on the wheel. The BMW wheel I refinished with German wheel paint. It turned out nice but I never want to do that again. It took hours just to bead blast the old paint off.

I found this place that will redo a wheel for only $109.
Anybody used them?
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Old 04-11-2004, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
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Refinishing machined wheels and re-clearcoating is waaaay beyond that of DIY'er.

The wheels need to be beadblasted, remilled on a CNC, and then clearcoated.

The clearcoat is powder coated for durability.

Check out my thread on refinishing my 1995 special edition machined 8 hole wheels:

Refinishing 8 hole rims
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:21 AM
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Perhaps Plastic bead plasting with a soft to medium grit.

WHen finished you'll still have a milky finish but a machined look may be achieved by polishing to a "semi-shiny" state with a medium polishing rouge. If clearcoating again you may want to consider a clear Powder coat.

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