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Tech... Making Wheels Purdy

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Chaz, May 11, 2006.

  1. OK I figgured it was time I did something around here other than bitch and moan so once a month I'm gonna post "Tech from the Strange Days Garage"
    This is all gonna be low dollar low tech stuff so that if you dont have a lot of money or tools you can still play.
    Oftentimes there are better more precise and higher dollar ways to do this stuff, but that is not the point. This stuff works and is cheap.
    Todays lesson is cleaning up those swap meet wheels and making them look spiffy.


    This is a before and after shot of the wheels we got at a swap meet. We got six of them for a hunnert bucks. There were a few problems. There were no dust caps, and the holes were too small for standard mag lugs, These are old Crestlines from before the days of Torque Thrusts.

    The first thing to do was remove the old wheel weights. These are stick ons, and once removed you hafta use a lot of lacquer thinner and elbow grease to get the glue offa the rim.
    Now the fun begins. Use a weak solution of muiatic acid to clean the wheels.

    You can buy expensive magwheel cleaner , but its a weak solution of muriatic acid. Use rubber gloves, and eye protection. Work outside. Once the wheels are scrubbed hose them off and bring them in.
    This is the part where someone will say "You shouldn't use acid, you should beadblast those". Yeah, right We've all got beadblasters in our shop.
    Then wipe the wheels down with lacquer thinner. The wheels will still look like crap at this point, but they really are clean

    Now on my wheels I had to make the holes larger to accept standard lugs. Before I even post this pic I can hear the wailing of those that tell me this HAS to be done on a drill press with an indexing table. I have a drill press and indexing table, but if you have a sharp bit with accurate flutes, a hand drill works just fine, The bit will self center.


    To make the rims shine I use 180 grit paper on my DA sander, Go deep enough to remove all the old scratches.If you dont have a sander this can be done by hand. Its gonna take a while though.

    Then go around the inside by hand with 180 grit as well. Go over the rim where the DA was used to make the sanding grain follow the circular rim.


    Finally, tape off the rim and spray the spokes.I use plasticote wheel paint, and it works pretty well Dont spray it on too thick. just enough to cover. If you put it on real thick, it could peel



    Remove trhe tape and you've got er done...

    Once again, I know this is real basic shit, but it was intended to be . Hope someone thought it was worthwhile.
  2. burger
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 2,347

    from burbs

    Do you follow the polishing past 180 grit or is that all the further you went in the finished pic?
  3. I stopped at 180 . I like that look. You could take it farther if you wished I really dont think they'd show much better at a finer grit....
  4. atch
    Joined: Sep 3, 2002
    Posts: 4,734



    cool post. good stuff.

    what happens if you just start sanding the outter rims without the muriatic acid bath first?

  5. The acid will dull the shine of the outer rim if you do it after the sanding.
  6. Automotive Stud
    Joined: Sep 26, 2004
    Posts: 4,171

    Automotive Stud

    Damn, wish I could find a set of those for that price. I've actually been looking too.
  7. atch
    Joined: Sep 3, 2002
    Posts: 4,734


    what happens if you don't ever do the acid cleaning? i.e., just do the sanding only?
  8. SimonSez
    Joined: Jul 1, 2001
    Posts: 1,632


    It will be fine if you just sand the outer rim.

    That's what I did on my American Daisies and it worked good. I sanded with various finer grits and ended up with mag wheel polish and came up with a good presentable shine.

    You would probably want to give the wheels a good scrub with soapy water if you are going to paint the spokes.

  9. Mojo
    Joined: Jul 23, 2002
    Posts: 1,862


    I used a couple different scotch-brite pads on a drill, it worked well. I used wet and dry sandpaper in soapy water on the outer lip, it was a lot of sanding but it cut the metal pretty quick. I went 150, 250, 400, 1000. It's not dead smooth, it has a good vintage look to it.

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