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donalson
donalson SuperDork
3/17/11 12:45 a.m.

I picked up some new wheels for the s10 15x8 weld prostar wheels... I don't think the backside of the wheels have EVER been cleaned (let alone polished) and i'm wondering what the best way is to clean these years (they are '99 date stamp) of brake dust, dirt etc off of these things...

I started with the standard water and soap using a stiff bristle brush, moved on up to degreaser... but we've still got some stubborn spots that just don't want to come up

so what should I use/try to get the rest of this nasty stuff off?

on a plus side the front side polished up VERY nicely (well the small spot i worked)... they should look MUCH nicer than the truck they will go on :)

oldtin
oldtin Dork
3/17/11 1:23 a.m.

I've had good luck with McGuires wheel cleaner and a wheel brush on some pretty nasty stuff.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago Dork
3/17/11 1:43 a.m.

There's always aircraft stripper if you want to get medieval on that filth...

mtn
mtn SuperDork
3/17/11 2:19 a.m.

Get the wheel cleaner/degreaser stuff. Spray it on there. Leave it on there overnight. Then take a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to it.

Also, this thought just came to me... I wonder if oven cleaner would do anything.

mw
mw HalfDork
3/17/11 4:03 a.m.

I would let them soak in a bucket of hot water and dishwasher detergent. Then use a some steel wool. I wouldn't let the front half soak in the detergent.

Ranger50
Ranger50 HalfDork
3/17/11 5:36 a.m.

Strip the whole wheel and powdercoat it black.

914Driver
914Driver SuperDork
3/17/11 5:42 a.m.

Soft media blast like plastic shot or walnut shells.

motomoron
motomoron HalfDork
3/17/11 8:03 a.m.

Don"t use oven cleaner - it strips anodizing and eats everything.

Any of the gnarly wheel cleaners applied to a warm wheel followed by the application of a stiff nylon brush should get most of it. Brake Kleen and a grey scotchbrite pad will get everything given enough time, but will leave a satin finish.

Ultimately, the holy trinity of Brake Kleen / Berkbile 2+2 gum cutter / lacquer thinner will get anything, but always check a small, discreet area to verify that it doesn't eat what you're applying it to.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
3/17/11 8:05 a.m.

soda blasting?

Javelin
Javelin SuperDork
3/17/11 8:10 a.m.

Oven Cleaner works ONLY if you are trying to get down to the bare aluminum for polishing. As mentioned, it will eat and and all paint, anodizing, clearcoating, etc. That said, it works great. (Look at my Profile for the Sold RX-7 and there's some posts on restoring the old wheels).

If you want to leave any of that, it's going to be mild soaps and elbow grease. The "purple" degreasers will not only eat the same stuff as oven cleaner, but they will permanently etch the aluminum as well (ask me how I know ).

Good luck!

Woody
Woody SuperDork
3/17/11 8:36 a.m.

I just cleaned up the back side of a set of 23 year old Fuchs wheels that still had the original cosmoline on them. I used green Scotchbrite soaked in mineral spirits, then washed them with liquid dish soap.

Sofa King
Sofa King Reader
3/17/11 9:13 a.m.

I have had good luck with Etching Wheel Cleaner, on aluminum textured wheels ('90 Miata stock aluminum). It did a great job of getting the brake dust out of the texture. I would be very cautious using it on anything with a finish. I have also used it on a Miata cam cover. It worked well for that also.

donalson
donalson SuperDork
3/17/11 9:17 a.m.

these wheels are just polished alu so no ano or anything... but I do want to be able to properly polish them when i'm all done...

thanks for the info guys i'll try it a little later today

Javelin
Javelin SuperDork
3/17/11 9:33 a.m.

Oven cleaner then.

pirate
pirate New Reader
3/17/11 9:55 a.m.

If you want to get down to really clean aluminum I would use Purple Power Cleaner followed by Eagle One Mag Etching Cleaner. I wouldn't leave the Eagle One on for very long before rinsing with a lot of water. I'd also use some rubber gloves and eye protection. Caution: Only do this if you are planning on polishing again as the Eagle One will etch the wheels. I have used this combo on aluminum intakes, transmisions etc. Doesn't leave as good a finish as media blasting but wil give a very clean surface to polish or paint.

Javelin
Javelin SuperDork
3/17/11 10:14 a.m.
pirate wrote: If you want to get down to really clean aluminum I would use Purple Power Cleaner followed by Eagle One Mag Etching Cleaner. I wouldn't leave the Eagle One on for very long before rinsing with a lot of water. I'd also use some rubber gloves and eye protection. Caution: Only do this if you are planning on polishing again as the Eagle One will etch the wheels. I have used this combo on aluminum intakes, transmisions etc. Doesn't leave as good a finish as media blasting but wil give a very clean surface to polish or paint.

Don't do that! The Purple Power will permanently ruin the wheel! It etches and stains aluminum and never comes out. It will even blister paint months down the road as it outgasses and reacts! It says right on the bottle to never use it on bare aluminum for a reason. I even had a wheel with a ruined bead that would always leak thanks to that stuff!

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
3/17/11 10:17 a.m.

I need to know this two. So if I want to clean everything off and repaint them, oven cleaner is the way to go. What should I do about removing paint? Sand or paint stripper.

Javelin
Javelin SuperDork
3/17/11 11:18 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote: I need to know this two. So if I want to clean everything off and repaint them, oven cleaner is the way to go. What should I do about removing paint? Sand or paint stripper.

Oven cleaner will take off the paint as well. My results:

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/reader-rides/120/new-wheels-and-tires/

donalson
donalson SuperDork
3/17/11 11:53 a.m.

well I spent a bit of time... polished... not a finished polish just a quick polish with a buffing wheel and some polish... few areas that I may one day spend some time on with sanding down and polishing back up... but def turned these wheels into another level of wheel...

back side... the "dirty one" is after I spent a good bit of time with soap water and a stiff brush... ended up using a copper wire wheel on the other one... no plans to polish the back side so it works nicely and cleaned it up quickly...

NewEdgePerf
NewEdgePerf New Reader
3/17/11 8:54 p.m.

If it is a wheel with no clear coat or other finish, use real fine sandpaper (like 800 grit) wet to remove the nasty stuff, then go to the polishing compounds, etc. I refurbished a set of old alum slots this way. Once I had them clean and through the wet sanding step, I used to polish them while I was watching TV. In a couple evenings I had them looking like new. The "Mrs" was less than thrilled about the smell, but she got over it.

triumph5
triumph5 Dork
3/17/11 9:21 p.m.

Flitz and a scotchbrite pad. Not cheap, and use the tube formula, not the spray.

Vigo
Vigo Dork
3/17/11 10:06 p.m.

My lazy no-hands method would be pressure washer first, and paint stripper second. You'd be amazed i never touched it.

Those wheels are gonna look good.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair SuperDork
3/18/11 10:17 a.m.

nice work, Donalson! They'll get stolen for sure!

Ranger50
Ranger50 HalfDork
3/18/11 10:36 a.m.

Nice, very nice. Except Welds will never seem to be blingy bright no matter how long you polish them.

I just can't believe some hamfist pounded on wheel weights. BIG pet peeve of mine, even on used/"new to me" "blingy bright" wheels.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
3/21/11 11:39 a.m.
Javelin wrote: Oven Cleaner works ONLY if you are trying to get down to the bare aluminum for polishing. As mentioned, it will eat and and all paint, anodizing, clearcoating, etc. That said, it works great. (Look at my Profile for the Sold RX-7 and there's some posts on restoring the old wheels). If you want to leave any of that, it's going to be mild soaps and elbow grease. The "purple" degreasers will not only eat the same stuff as oven cleaner, but they will permanently etch the aluminum as well (ask me how I know ). Good luck!

On all the oven cleaners, it says do not use on aluminum or painted surface. Is this just cause it will eat thru any coating on the aluminum?

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