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Technical Cleaning wheels with vinegar

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 55chieftain, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,186

    55chieftain
    Member

    I have a pair of M/T wheels i would like to remove all the rust before i have the fronts bead blasted. I was thinking of soaking in a water and vinegar solution. Is that going to be safe enough for the aluminum? This is an aluminum center in a steel shell. Or just blast the whole wheel, just seemed like the soaking would remove all of the surface rust better ? 20191017_194035.jpg
     
  2. I wouldn't. Vinegar does not play nice with aluminum...
     
  3. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,913

    stuart in mn
    Member

    Aluminum wheels corrode but they don't rust.
     
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  4. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 3,283

    Flathead Dave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from So. Cal.

    Why not just sand them down or at least enough to be media blasted??
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  5. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,533

    deathrowdave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from NKy

    I think the answer for best results is sanding then blasting . I would tape off the “ rim “ area as not to blast it while working on the center .
     
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  6. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,391

    southcross2631
    Member

    Had a set of aluminum wheels done by a Dustless blasting guy. It took less than 5 minutes per wheel and the looked like new. Just needed to tape them off and paint them after wiping them down with prep sol.
    He was already at my shop and had just done a Chevy p.u. for me. Charged me 5 bucks a wheel.
     
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  7. The wheel pictured sure does,nt look like a steel shell/rim from here. Anyhow as the others say, just beadblast the whole thing.
     
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  8. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,022

    Joe H
    Member

    Try some backing soda in a sandblaster. I got a big bag from Harbor freight for a decent price, dumped it in my sand blaster and went to town on some parts. It leaves a nice finish on aluminum, doesn't do much for rust, but takes paint off easy enough. Soda will kill grass, so stay out of the yard with it!
     
  9. Tri-power37
    Joined: Feb 10, 2019
    Posts: 510

    Tri-power37
    Member

    I also think that wheel is ALL aluminum. I used to work in a plating shop and they would polish or glass bead aluminum rims constantly. We would strip the paint off in a huge vat of paint stripper that wouldn’t hurt the aluminum at all. Then the rim would get a 5 second dip in the lye tank - remember lye will eat aluminum away to nothing if left on to long.
    But a few seconds cleans the oxidation right off! Rinse real well afterwards . It leaves the aluminum a dark gray color but preps it well for polishing or blasting.
    You could get the same results at home with brush on paint stripper - and easy off oven cleaner - it contains lye which will clean the oxidation off.
    Check the part of the wheel you think is steel with a magnet - you may find it is aluminum.
     
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  10. pirate
    Joined: Jun 29, 2006
    Posts: 615

    pirate
    Member
    from Alabama

    There is a product called Eagle One Etching Mag Cleaner that is available at Walmart and most auto stores. It doesn’t strip paint but does a nice job cleaning the aluminum. As others have I think the best way would be media blasting or wet soda blasting. Overall doing the less harm.
     
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  11. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Pretty sure that's an aluminum "front", with casted-in steel lugs, they are then welded to a steel rim (similar to Cragar S/S rims). Blasting is really the only effective way; the media used will make the most difference.
    I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
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  12. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 3,283

    Flathead Dave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from So. Cal.

    Use some elbow grease and sand them down. I do it all of the time.
    No reason to media blast them at all.
    Do it like a paint job. Sand using gradual steps and finish with fine grit emery cloth.
    You can smooth out the curb rash and you'll be glad you did it.
     
  13. LM14
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,937

    LM14
    Member
    from Iowa

    I restored a set of those about 20 years ago. Steel rim with an aluminum center pressed/welded in. Several companies made them that way, mine were ET's.

    The only way to clean them completely is blasting them. I used glass at 90# and they looked new when done. Then polished outer rim, masked that area off, painted spokes then masked the whole front of the wheel off and painted wheel backs black epoxy. Lots of time masking but it was worth it.

    SPark
     
  14. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,186

    55chieftain
    Member

    Rims are still soaking, and yes i know the differance between steel and aluminim lol. I just wanted the fronts blasted and take them to work and throw on the lathe and wetside and polish outer rim. I had a set of et wheels just like this, but like these better because of the shank lugnut style.

    I just wish someone made a nice front racing tire. Not sure if the coker repo tires are great at 130 mph. Dont know if i 20191109_144323.jpg want to spend 400 to find out either. My et wheels i smoothed off the sidewall on some radials i had.

    The surface rust came right off after soaking for 4 days, no damage to aluminum.
     
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  15. Now i see whats going on, never seen a wheel like that before. So the front face can,t be removed then ? Would,nt the vinegar seep through between the outer aluminium face and inner steel face ? Whenever it gets wet inbetween there in the future by rain or washing would,nt that cause rust stains on your tires ?
     
  16. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,564

    low budget
    Member
    from Central Ky

    Ive saw a bunch of old mags like this with the steel hoops, Ive got a couple non mates out in my garage, not counting all the cragars,
     
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  17. J. A. Miller
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 1,552

    J. A. Miller
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Central NY

    Keystone made wheels like that with the steel hoop. I bought a set from Western Auto (remember them?) in 1969.
     
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  18. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,186

    55chieftain
    Member

    The middle section can't be removed without cutting it out. It looks like the casting is made with the steel insert inside to weld it together. I wish there was a 15" shell with a 12 1/4" od. I was half tempted to cut it out. But these are straight as an arrow.

    On the Et wheels i had like this i removed an inch from backside of wheel. That helped clear disc brakes also.
     
  19. I remember Western Auto use to go there when I needed some
    junk for my Lawn Mower.
    Haven't heard that name in a Long Long Time.

    Just my 3.5 cents

    Live Learn & Die a Fool
     
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  20. Tickety Boo
    Joined: Feb 2, 2015
    Posts: 1,326

    Tickety Boo
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Been running the Moroso front Drag Special tires, Jegs part number 710-17050,
    Vintage looks and light,
     
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  21. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,186

    55chieftain
    Member

    Sorry didnt mention these are 14 x 6
     
  22. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,186

    55chieftain
    Member

    This was after 5 days and a soft bristle brush. I just wanted less time in the blaster. Im having a friend blast them so just saving him some work. I had to rinse and dry them off thick or they would have starting rusting right away. 20191120_203143.jpg
     
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  23. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,564

    low budget
    Member
    from Central Ky

    They sure look a lot better.
    We also have to see the before and after pics after the sandblaster if you dont mind.

    ....did the vinegar also help clean the exposed aluminum much?
     
  24. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,186

    55chieftain
    Member

    The aluminum is still dark, i would've rather kept it that way but didnt like the black in the center so thats why im blasting it off and redoing the wheel.
     
    low budget likes this.

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