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Making my own whitewalls

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 51chevcoupe, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. 51chevcoupe
    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 110

    51chevcoupe
    Member

    I've been wanting to put whitewalls on my '51 coupe for a couple of years now but the wallet has been saying NO. I searched the internet for different ways to do my own on the cheap and found some good info AND a bunch of crazy stuff like Port-a-Walls (I'd rather keep the blackwalls) and a video of a guy taking a grinder to his tire. To each his own but I want to do the best job I can on my (tiny) budget. Finally, I ran a search for info here on the HAMB and found some good info, including a thread by HAMB member Fat ASS Whitewalls:

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8249

    So I decided to give his method a try and went out today in search of some used tires at the local wrecking yard and some of the paint called for in the thread. $50.00 later I had 4 205/75R-15's and some 180 grit for my DA. I went with 180 instead of the 80 grit he used just because I thought the 80 would be too rough on the sidewall.
    I quickly found that a 30 gallon Craftsman compressor with a 3/4 hp oil-less pump can't supply the DA for more than a minute at a time (duh). So the first tire took me about 40 minutes to smooth the lettering off of the sidewall. I then mixed up a strong batch of Simple Green concentrate and water and scrubbed the bejesus out of the tire, rinsed it off and repeated the scrub. The first photo shows the tire taped off and ready to spray. I misted the tire with the paint then slowly covered the sidewall with a thin coat, gave it about 15 minutes and added a second coat a little heavier than the first. The coverage is great- it doesn't take a lot of paint to cover the sidewall well. The second photo shows the tire immediately after the second coat was applied. I waited about 30 minutes, then pulled the tape and paper. The third photo shows the finished product.
    I'm going to be out of town for the next couple of days so the paint will have plenty of time to fully cure; I'll mount it on Tuesday and see how it holds up. If all goes well, I'll prep and paint the other tires on Tuesday as well and mount them on the rims on Friday (I'm fudging on the side of caution to allow for plenty of dry/cure time). I'm getting the car back from the painter on Wednesday so it should be looking great by the weekend.
    I'll post pix when it is done and I'll follow up on the tire paint as things happen.
    I know the right way to do it is to buck up for the real thing but until the lotto swings my way:D this will have to do.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. krave
    Joined: Jun 10, 2009
    Posts: 45

    krave
    Member
    from Ca

    Looks Good What kind of paint did you use..
     
  3. dirtbag13
    Joined: Jun 16, 2008
    Posts: 2,540

    dirtbag13
    Member

    that don't look half bad ! curious as well as to how it holds up ?
     
  4. pan-dragger
    Joined: Sep 13, 2006
    Posts: 3,187

    pan-dragger
    Member

    looks good now, wait 2 weeks.
     

  5. looks great and sounds like the paint should stick now will the paint expand at the same rate as the tire? hope it works
     
  6. BISHOP
    Joined: Jul 16, 2006
    Posts: 2,571

    BISHOP
    Member

    hahahaha
     
  7. 51fleetline
    Joined: Mar 18, 2008
    Posts: 367

    51fleetline
    Member

    do you think a coat of clear would hurt??? maybe last longer...???
     
  8. I am on the second year of my home ground whitewalls on the lincoln and they are holding up excellent. Grinding RWL LT tires is really the best method I have found. Makes a mess, but lasts the longest and you can get the best look from them.

    I posted about this a long time ago. Bugman did as well. He even had a video on it. let me see if I can find it. Here it is:
    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/xkcm3rh60p0&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/xkcm3rh60p0&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>


    This is a good one. I use my tire machine to spin it, but this works good too...just a little risky:
    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/PPsZATp4I7E&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/PPsZATp4I7E&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
     
  9. 51chevcoupe
    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 110

    51chevcoupe
    Member

    the paint is Krylon Fusion for Plastic Gloss White #2320
     
  10. 51chevcoupe
    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 110

    51chevcoupe
    Member

    The idea of grinding makes me nervous, besides the whitewall width isn't wide enough for my taste.
    As far as durability goes....... we will see. I'm looking at this as an experiment, nothing ventured- nothing gained. If it hold up long enough to get through the rest of the summer I'll look at it as a home run.
    I've always figured "Either ya try stuff or ya criticize stuff". I'm gonna try stuff- it's more fun.
     
  11. BISHOP
    Joined: Jul 16, 2006
    Posts: 2,571

    BISHOP
    Member

    I want to know if it works, because my wife is getting some white walls on her ford ranger. She just don't know it yet.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  12. Alienbaby17
    Joined: Sep 13, 2005
    Posts: 918

    Alienbaby17
    Member

    I tried painting whitewalls also at one point. At the time I was trying to decide if I wanted to spring for the wide whites and painted the tires up to see how I'd like the look on my truck. I used a can of flat white Rustoleum paint I had sitting around. It actually turned out pretty well and fooled most people that looked at it. I think I drove with the passenger side tires with the fake wide whites most of that summer. I occasionally got them scuffed up from parallel parking but nothing a little 'touch up' didn't fix. Other than that they held up really well.
    The real problem came when I tried to get the paint off....

    Jay
     
  13. 51chevcoupe
    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 110

    51chevcoupe
    Member

    Yeah that's why I went and got junkyard tires, when I'm done with 'em they are going to the shredder pile.:)
     
  14. glmke
    Joined: Jun 1, 2007
    Posts: 789

    glmke
    Member


    i agree,well said
     
  15. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,584

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I remember watching my dad paint white walls on one of his cars when I was pretty small. Years later he told me that he had to repaint them every couple of weeks.

    On grinding the tires, I wonder what a guy could do if he turned an old spin balancer into a whitewall lathe?

    I've mentioned this a couple of times before. There used to be a guy in Central Texas who showed up at the car lots with setup that he could cut a groove in the sidewall of a tire and lay a layer of white rubber in the groove for instant matching whitewalls on used cars. This was in the early 70's.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  16. 51chevcoupe
    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 110

    51chevcoupe
    Member

    A couple of the threads that I searched mentioned building machines to "mill" off rubber to expose the whitewalls, sounded expensive and complicated. It would definitely cheaper to buy whitewalls.
    ed
     
  17. BISHOP
    Joined: Jul 16, 2006
    Posts: 2,571

    BISHOP
    Member

    Why couldnt you just mount a spindal in a vice? The grinder will get it turning.
     
  18. I'm still running the set in my original post on my daily driver truck, been on there over 5 years now. I did touch them up once, about 2 years ago. I have a 400 foot gravel driveway that can be hard on the edges. I have two other cars with them too. They don't get driven very much though. I also have a Minibike, and 2 or 3 bicycles with the painted on whitewalls. Hope they work out for you. Dean
     
  19. 51chevcoupe
    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 110

    51chevcoupe
    Member

    I think they will hold up fine, the critics be damned. I think the secret is in the prep on the sidewall, making sure they are VERY clean and smooth. We will see. Thanks for the info and instructions F.A.Whitewalls!!!
     

  20. I missed out on one of those machines a while back, still kicking myself about it.

    Slow spinning works the best. I have tried it fast, it just doesn't work. Also tried cutting with a blade, it catches on the rubber, not a good idea. Slow and steady wins the race.

    Anyone who has ever cut a sidewall to look at it won't be freaked out about making them thinner......cut a tire in half once, you will agree that there is MORE than enough rubber to do the job right. Your taking hardly anything off when you grind them....and they have been grinding white walls for years.
     
  21. 51chevcoupe
    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 110

    51chevcoupe
    Member

    Sorry about the delay in updating this thread, I've been busy as hell for the last week.
    I got the other two tires sanded and painted but used a different method on them than I did on the first two. The first two were painted and then mounted and while mounting I moticed some cracking in the paint as the tire stretched to go over the rim. It didn't show after mounting and inflating the tire but I didn't like it.
    So after sanding the second pair of tires, I mounted them on the rims (making sure to keep the bead as far from seating on the rim as possible in order to have room to paint the bead area so there wouldn't be any visible unpainted areas) and then masked them off and painted them. BINGO. That is the way to go- it takes alittle more time due to the additional masking and making sure you don't get the sidewalls dirty during mounting. (I actually wore rubber gloves to avoid finger oils and such from contaminating the sidewall during mounting).
    Of course Dad always told me to use rubbers when mounting:eek:
    The tires look great and my total investment is under $75.00 including the tires (I love wrecking yards!). I tied up about 6 hours total time into the project, about an hour and a half per tire.
    So here is the short version:

    The sanding was done with a DA, I started off using 180 grit but that was very slooooow so I switched to 80 grit to remove the lettering then switched back to 180 for a finish sanding to smooth the sidewall. Two very thorough scrubs with a strong Simple Green/water mix ( a pint of Green to 2 1/2 gallons water) and complete rinses with hot water, then mount the tires on rims as I mentioned above. Tape off the tires and rims and spray with Krylon #2320 Gloss white. Air them up and install your new whitewalls!
    If they are not the tires you have alreay had on the car don't forget to balance them prior to putting them on the car.
    I'll keep this thread up to date with occasional posts to show how they are holding up.
    Viva La spray paint!!
     
  22. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,129

    Squablow
    Member

    I did this with Krylon Fusion on my '53 Ford and it looked good when done but it started cracking immediately. If you want to paint on wide whites, Snow Seal works the best. The stuff I got is called Seal Best white elastomeric roof coating. It's been on my '55 Dodge for at least 3 years and it's flexible so it doesn't crack. The procedure is the same, but this you brush on.

    After using the Krylon, I won't do it again. I've also done the grinder method, which works but can be tricky, I messed up one tire that I will need to replace.

    My next project will be to make redlines using rubber ink over the white stripe on a regular whitewall. I hope it works, redline radials are expensive.
     
  23. sixfink
    Joined: Jul 26, 2009
    Posts: 87

    sixfink
    Member
    from Germany

    howdy,

    Redlines are neat, and I have tried to make my own for several times.

    The very first batch was done on the fly, quick and dirty. Prep was limited to scrubbing the tires down with laquer thinner and a coarse rag, then giving them a thorough wipe with silicone remover. Piston caliper paint (left over from building a RC slingshot dragster) was all that was within reach, so I masked off the tires and gave each tire three coatings. It looked good for a couple of weeks on a daily driver, then the color started to become brown, and developed cracks.

    Sometime later, I got myself a can of solvent-based rubber paint, the kind used for rubber rafts and flysheets and stuff like that. That particular paint held up really well. With no touch-up, no cleaning, and even accoasional curb contact, the red ring still stands out clearly and looks decent from a couple of yards away. Silly people around here don't know what a redline tire is, though; and mistake them for donuts marked for their limited use with a red ring...

    On a sidenote, heat and distortion due to sidewall flexing will gradually increase towards the outer perimeter of the sidewall. The closer you space the red line towards the rim, the better it will hold up.
     
  24. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,129

    Squablow
    Member

    This is excellent info, thanks so much for posting it! Now I have some confidence that it'll work.
     
  25. Alienbaby17
    Joined: Sep 13, 2005
    Posts: 918

    Alienbaby17
    Member

    Just a note regarding the comment about turning an old wheel balancer into some kind of a tire lathe. I don't think it would be a good idea. Outside of the obvious work and expense of doing it I think another problem would be that most wheels I balance at the shop (on a near daily basis) are slightly bent.
    This spring I bought 4 brand new steel wheels for my car. Three of the four of them had a slight bend to them. It's not enough to feel while driving but you can visually see a wobble to them on the balancer while it's spinning. I'd be afraid that kind of thing would cause problems in cutting a sidewall a uniform depth.

    Jay
     
  26. sixfink
    Joined: Jul 26, 2009
    Posts: 87

    sixfink
    Member
    from Germany

    note quite excellent, as I didn't even provice pictures (yet...!)

    But, I am not fooling ya: the rubber paint still holds up, fifteen months and counting. It IS a bit faded, though, but I have never cleaned the tires or touched up. Besides, I like to take corners fast on a daily driver. If the tires aint screaming for mercy and don't leave a footprint on autobahn (read: highway-) exits, I know I did something wrong.

    Still, a painted surface is much different to (and very much more sensitive to damage than) a vulcanized rubber ring of a different color, be it whitewalls or redlines, or blue streaks, or gold rings (*drool*.... would kill for a set of dual gold ring tires!)
     
  27. How about some photos of the tires mounted?
     
  28. Malibob
    Joined: Feb 23, 2009
    Posts: 503

    Malibob
    Member
    from Pittsburgh

    Just wanted to see how everyones tires are holding up, how does the painted white look today? Any updates?
     
  29. gearhead77
    Joined: Aug 30, 2004
    Posts: 53

    gearhead77
    Member

    I tried this last week. Had the tires mounted and painted the tires with Krylon Fusion Gloss White with them aired down. Then I waited a week for the paint to cure before inflating them. Seems like that was a mistake. I have a ton of spiderweb cracks in the sidewall paint now. My suggestion is to paint the tire by the bead, get it mounted & inflated, then paint the sidewall with the tire aired up. I know I need to do some tape bleed touch-up too. I'm still deciding whether to put on another coat to cover the cracks or just strip off the paint and go bare blackwall.
     

    Attached Files:

  30. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    I think Squablow has it right: USE THE RIGHT PAINT. I did this back about 1971 for my '55 Fireflite, and they looked GREAT mounted. But I did use the sidewall paint available BACK THEN (sorry, don't remember the name).

    There are three things I recommend from my try at this. (1) Paint each tire INFLATED, so the paint cures in place and AS it's supposed to be. (2) I'm with Squablow on BRUSHING it on, if only because that's what worked for me. (3) I went to a junk yard and cobbled together a sort of turntable using some front steering/suspension elements from the same model car (hey the stuff was AVAILABLE and CHEAP back then!). That way, I could SPIN the inflated tire to MARK it for taping. Once taped by hand, I spun the tire again, brushing the paint on. This avoided the choppy brush strokes you'd have painting on a static tire. Smoothed it right on, you might say!

    Good luck.
     

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