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Technical Stripping paint with wire wheel

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by pbr40, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. pbr40
    Joined: Aug 10, 2008
    Posts: 743

    pbr40
    Member
    from NW Indiana

    So as the title suggests! How many of you guys or any at all use a wire wheel on a 4”or 6” grinder to strip your cars? What are the pros and cons to this and if there are any tips and trick please share!
     
  2. I've never done that, seems like the wire wheel & especially the grinder just might damage the metal and make preping for paint a lot more work. HRP
     
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,429

    squirrel
    Member

    From what I've seen others do, it's the last resort method used by folks who really shouldn't strip paint off the car, because they have no way to replace the paint....and the car ends up as a dead project.

    but I could be wrong.
     
  4. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,119

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    I’ve done it for chassis painting
     
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  5. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 9,803

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    A wire wheel will create a great deal of heat which is something you don’t want.

    Sounds like something a real hack would attempt.
     
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  6. Oldioron
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 908

    Oldioron
    Member

    I use an aggressive DA and 80 grit paper or do a chemical strip.

    In 40+ years have never used a wire wheel to strip paint off a body.
     
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  7. pbr40
    Joined: Aug 10, 2008
    Posts: 743

    pbr40
    Member
    from NW Indiana

    I use a wire often at work. Doesn’t seem to make much heat so looking for alternatives to stripe paint that’s all thanks
     
  8. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 1,898

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    A wire wheel works well on a chassis
    Suspension parts etc.
    I use it to remove big flakey rust from body panels before I cut out and weld new stuff on.
    From experience it causes more damage then what it fixes
     
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  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,429

    squirrel
    Member

    I use different stripping methods, depending on what the paint is like. If it's only the original paint, I will use a DA sander. If there are a few layers, I'll use chemical stripper. If there's deep rust pitting, sandblasting is the way to go. I also sandblast around edges, after using other methods, to get the hard to reach crevices that usually have some rust in them as well as hard to remove paint. These areas are the only place I would consider using a wire brush to clean.
     
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  10. The last time I stripped the paint I used a sand blaster followed by cleaning it up with a DA & 120 grit sanding disc. HRP

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Dirk35
    Joined: Mar 8, 2001
    Posts: 1,968

    Dirk35
    Member

    I would say that it has its applications. What I mean is that its good to strip a greasy frame, rear end, engine or transmission that has lots of grooves and different surface areas that would be difficult to get into with a DA with 80 grit. This assuming one doesn't have access to a sand blaster.

    But I don't think its the correct tool for sheet metal and outside body panels as it will heat up the surface possibly causing warp-age, and leave too smooth of a metal surface which your primer/filler will have difficulty adhering to. If you have really bad multiple layers of paint and rust scale, I think that a grinder with a rough grit flapper wheel would be a better tool as long as you're super-super-super careful NOT to heat up the panel.
     
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  12. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 515

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    I only do it to wheels that I want to look nice. The wire wheel has a way of smoothing the steel that makes the wheels look better to me.. If only I could get lacquer paint with the lead in it, then they would really look nice...
     
  13. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 742

    ClarkH
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Purple Scotch-Brite pads on an angle grider. Doing a chemical strip first will cut down on time and pads consumed.
    scotchbritepad.jpg
     
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  14. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 2,915

    southcross2631
    Member

    Stripped this body to bare metal with a wire wheel . No warpage . The body came out clean . There is maybe a cupful of filler on the whole car. 20170330_1512081 (1).jpg
     
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  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,429

    squirrel
    Member

    let the OP know what kind of wire wheel you used, what you turned it with, and what techniques you used.
     
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  16. cheaterslick
    Joined: Nov 2, 2003
    Posts: 778

    cheaterslick
    Member

    No wire wheel, scratches metal and is too hot. No roloc/scotch brite the edge will dig in and will also grind away metal. No DA too slow or leaves scratches in the metal that bodywork will sink into. These stripping disks are the only approach that don’t heat/grind/scratch the metal. They remove everything quickly without damage to the panel. IMG_3268.JPG


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  17. '51 Norm
    Joined: Dec 6, 2010
    Posts: 658

    '51 Norm
    Member
    from colorado

    I found that a wire wheel is great for finding and removing filler. Stripping paint, not so much.
    As others have pointed out it can distort the metal and leaves a really slick surface that needs to be sanded anyway.
    If there are any thin rusted spots a wire wheel can, and often does, dig in and rip up the panel. Of course when that happens the panel needed to be fixed anyway.
     
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  18. Mopar Tony
    Joined: Jun 11, 2019
    Posts: 55

    Mopar Tony
    Member
    from SE Iowa

    Curious question for those that sand blast their cars. Wouldn't this create just as much heat and warp the panels using normal sand?
     
  19. I have used a wire cup wheel on chassis grunge and flaking-works very good-I have used a DA with 80 grit to remove paint-takes a little longer but doesn't hurt anything-for heavy rust a media blaster is the way to go. The method Cheaterslick shows above is also very good. I have friends who have used that method with excellent results.
     
  20. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,429

    squirrel
    Member

    It depends on how you do it. If you use a screw compressor and a 1/4" tip and real coarse sand, then yeah, it'll wreak havoc. But if you use a smaller blaster, and a 1/8" nozzle, and fine sand, and take your time, it doesn't hurt it at all.
     
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  21. Mopar Tony
    Joined: Jun 11, 2019
    Posts: 55

    Mopar Tony
    Member
    from SE Iowa

    Ok that is what I am curious about. I have a small sand blaster and have never used it because I was told it warp the panels. I used to do collision work and a few restoration projects nothing on the scale of stripping full cars. I have used air craft stripper in the past but didn't like.
     
  22. Stooge
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 317

    Stooge
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    for sheet metal/ car bodies, i generally stick to surface conditioning discs and a sander, but I've used the small 3" crimped, ( not the knot type) wire wheels on an old right angle die grinder that's a little underpowered to get into some deeper crevices and its left the metal undamaged and actually leaves a pretty good finish. I don't think I would go at a door or body side with a wire wheel on a 4.5- 5" grinder, but I haven't had any issues with using it in small areas to get rid of some crusty old paint. I would steer clear of any areas that have factory lead in them, that'll heat up pretty quick and leaves a texture since its so soft, ( I was stripping the lead out anyways atleast!)
     
  23. I stripped this ENTIRE truck with a few TWISTED wire wheels. Worked great, but I was in my 30’s at that time. I burnt up at least 2 or 3 4.5” cheap Chinese grinders. They had a free replacement warranty, so $40 is all I spent. In my late 40’s now, not sure I’d have the will power to do an entire vehicle. Probably would hire it out to a sandblaster. Sorry for the OT wheels. 0E8EF06A-EA75-448B-8225-116B2B556C0A.jpeg
     
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  24. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 5,688

    Rickybop
    Member
    from Michigan

    Tips and tricks:
    Don't do it.
    On the chassis, yes.
    But it's not good for much except getting the loose flaky stuff off. It'll only shine up the rest of the rust.
    On the body, almost never.

    Paint stripper
    and/or
    Sanding
    and/or
    Sandblasting

    Sent from my VS835 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  25. HSF
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 40

    HSF
    Member
    from Lodi CA

  26. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 2,312

    Flathead Dave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from So. Cal.

    I actually tried using a wire wheel many years ago. I will not do it again. Just after a couple of minutes I could see that not only was it not removing the paint but it was "melting"(making it gummy) the paint.
    Made more work than what it should have been.
    Use the wire wheel for removing rust and grime.
     
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  27. pbr40
    Joined: Aug 10, 2008
    Posts: 743

    pbr40
    Member
    from NW Indiana

    Thanks for all the input! I guess I’ll stick with the conventional method and maybe try the wire wheel down the road on something less valuable.
     
  28. error404
    Joined: Dec 11, 2012
    Posts: 129

    error404
    Member
    from CA

    And as a side note, those stripping wheels work pretty good for removing mill-scale on new metal, without removing metal (or very little).
     
  29. wood remover
    Joined: Dec 23, 2012
    Posts: 852

    wood remover
    Member

    Last couple of cars I have stripped , I used sindle edge razor blades . Then sand whatever primer is left on the body , surprisingling quik as well .
     
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  30. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 2,915

    southcross2631
    Member

    Mine had 1958 original paint and I tried the razor blade trick with not much success.
    I would have loved to call my Dustless Blasting guy to come over and knock it out in an hour , but the money wasn't there for that at the time.
    So I went to the hardware store and bought a wire wheel that fit my harbor freight grinder and put on some heavy clothes and my welding gloves and my goggles and face shield. It does throw the wires out and they will stick in your face or arms. So be careful .
    I was skeptical at first so I did the rear fenders because I was going to cut and flare them anyway. They came out so nice that I tried it on a door and the next thing I knew the whole car was stripped.
    Granted this is a little car and the panels are small , but there was no warpage. I did not stay in one spot to heat up the panels . There was no filler in the car to remove.
    It took me about 2 days to completely strip the car. I used up 2 wheels. Cost me about $12.00 to strip the car. 20170411_1251141001.jpg
     
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