refinishing wheels

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Jan 10, 2007
Portland, OR
I've been searching all over the internet about how to refinish wheels so they are back to stock look, once the clear coat or protective finish starts to chip off.

Does anyone have any experience with this? From what I'd gathered so far, it's possible to sand down the wheels to remove blemishes and restore shine, then hit it with some good clear coat. But then I read about clear coating bare steel and how it can rust underneath the clear coat.

Are, our stock rims made of steel? Has anyone restored their stock rims to glory using the above technique?

I'd like to find out the proper technique before I start to sand, because I've heard if the wheel isn't sealed properly afterwards, you'll get rust and/or the rim will discolor after a short time.
You can get clear powder coat

Rust is a non-issue unless you actually have steel wheels. MOST are aluminum.
There is a thread here on using airplane stripper to strip them, but I've not seen anyone redo the clear coat.
Find a powder coating shop in your area and show them your wheels. Chances are they can get them looking new again. If you have any damage, get in contact with Nu Wheel (Nu Wheel - Aluminum Wheel Repair - Factory Replacement Wheels) They are miracle workers and can repair and refinish your wheels back to better than new condition.
Are, our stock rims made of steel?

Technically, yes the "stock" rims for US spec 80-Series were steelies. However, almost none (maybe 1%) were imported with steel wheels. The optional alloy wheels are forged aluminum.

If you'll post pictures of yours then we can tell you if you are part of the 99% or part of the 1%.

Cool. Well, I'm thinking I might scuff up the wheel with some sand paper, clean, apply some adhesion promotor and the clear coat.

Has anyone worked adhesion promotor before? I see that duplicolor has some, as well as SEM. What do you think?
If you want to spend a few bucks for a professional resto check out Wheels America. They do alum wheel resto with lifetime warranty. Mine were done in Chicago shop by PO and are absolutely brand new. Locations across US. Free shipping.
Here are before and after pictures my rims. About $90 in paint


Get them blasted and then buy some eastwood 2k urethane spray cans (expensive) if you don't have a shop. You'll have about $250 into a nice looking set of wheels.

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