Painting rims.
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Thread: Painting rims.

  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! Jez 405's Avatar
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    Default Painting rims.

    Just wondering if anyone here has experience prepping and painting/coating steel rims?

    I've aqcuired a set that has some surface rust especially around the stud-holes and lip. Not after a fancy job, just something cheap to make them look a bit more reasonable (and able to hold a bead). There is some of the original clear coat on them - paintstripper or brass brush?

    Thanks!

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    1987 Peugeot 205 GTI S1
    1996 Jaguar XJR X300
    1991 Honda VT250 Spada
    1992 Peugeot 405 S (R.I.P. 31/07/2005)

  2. #2
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've done a few. They take way too long to do if you're fussy. The Renault wheels took about 8-10 hours each, in hands-on time.

    You might want to look into a sandblast/powder coat option. That will save on the stripping, too.

    The key is keeping the finish pretty thin, as this reduces the extent of any chipping that invariably happens. By surface rust on the lip - do you mean pitting inside the lip? There are fixes for that but generally not which work with powdercoat.

    FWIW, last set I painted, used gloss inside the wheel and on the back. Makes for easier cleaning off brake dust; the front I sprayed in a more correct satin.

    Happy to post a "How To" in long form if you are keen to go at them - but from experience I would look hard at interchanges next time, new wheels from Superlite or similar, hub adapters/restudding just for the time/simplicity factor. For a quick cosmetic makeover VHT sell both a wheel silver and also an "Argent Grey" that match many wheel colour schemes closely enough.

    Regards, Adam.

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    Fellow Frogger! sdabel's Avatar
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    I had a pair CX rims sandblasted/powdercoated and they looked pretty good. Ended up selling the car before I could put them on though.

    Very easy process, take them to powdercoat place, pay some money and collect in a week.

    regards
    sean
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    Fellow Frogger! Jez 405's Avatar
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    Thanks for your replies, Sean and Adam

    Quote Originally Posted by addo

    Happy to post a "How To" in long form if you are keen to go at them - but from experience I would look hard at interchanges next time, new wheels from Superlite or similar, hub adapters/restudding just for the time/simplicity factor. For a quick cosmetic makeover VHT sell both a wheel silver and also an "Argent Grey" that match many wheel colour schemes closely enough.

    Regards, Adam.
    I'd have to take you up on your "how to", complete and unabridged version - that would be much appreciated!
    As tempting as it is to take them to a shop and have them sandblasted and powdercoated, I thought I'd take this opportunity to get my hands dirty and gain some much needed experience at "doing car stuff". So if it turns out crap, no sweat, try again. Maybe use yellow paint 2nd time 'round...

    Thanks again!
    Jeremy

    edit: with the rust on the lip, seems like the tyre was stored flat for awhile and some water sat on the bead, causing the rim to rust. The bead wouldn't seal when the tyre was pumped. I'm guessing I just brush the rust off, then polish with sandpaper?
    Last edited by Jez 405; 14th February 2006 at 09:41 AM.
    1987 Peugeot 205 GTI S1
    1996 Jaguar XJR X300
    1991 Honda VT250 Spada
    1992 Peugeot 405 S (R.I.P. 31/07/2005)

  5. #5
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    OK, I'm trying to get out the door shortly, so it may miss a detail. Someone else should speak up if it appears that way!

    First remove all the tyres/valves. Then scrub the rims with a strong solution of sugar soap and warm water. Rinse thoroughly while this is still wet on the surface. Make sure you clean every part - it may take two or three applications.

    Contaminants must be removed before blasting, because there is otherwise the possibility of them being spread thin and impacted into a bare surface during the stripping. That's why you clean stuff first.

    Next is to get the wheels sandblasted and phosphated. Plastic media stripping is the least destructive but glass beads, aluminium oxide or garnet work OK. Regular old sand is way down the list. I seem to pay about $110 for five wheels. The phosphating is typically a product called "Kephos". It etches and seals the surface. This does not mean the parts may be stored outside. Wrap them lightly in plastic masking or similar and store in a dry place.

    The blasting process will have removed rusty build ups on the rim where your tyre seals. If there are deep divots you will need to fill them or polish smooth (use some discretion).

    Work out how you will support the wheels during painting. They're heavier than you think and five wheels fairly tax an old Hills Hoist. How you choose to hold them will allow access to all parts of each wheel. Test your method before the day.

    If you have a hygrometer - good; if not invest the $20 in one. It will make a great conversation starter long after your wheels are finished... "By the way, did you realise it's 47% humidity"... You want to paint while the air is dry as possible.

    On the day of painting, start EARLY and lightly sand each wheel with p180 in straight, even patterns. This will help provide a clean surface for your primer. Use the nearby can of prepsol to remove all pawprints and mount your wheels on the spray holding apparatus. Do not keep them in direct summer sun; surface temp needs to be below 30 for best results.

    Hit with your etch primer. Follow instructed wait times between coats, and do not apply more etch than is needed to cover. Now apply the primer surfacer; typically 3-4 medium coats. Less inside the rim area as that will never be seen. Apply a light guide coat, then allow to dry a few days. After the first day they may spend time in the sun but not in dew or rain. Primer is somewhat porous.

    While the wheels are sitting, tear up some P600 W&D paper into six equal parts and drop them in a bucket of clean water. Allow four sixths per wheel. Invest the 99 in a brand new bucket, and also buy a 2'2' square of neoprene foam (like wetsuit foam with no fabric outside).

    Now it gets messy. Set up an outdoor workstand with the neoprene foam on it. Look for a shady spot to work. Lay a wheel on the foam, and set your garden hose to a "piddle" of water (can't think of a better way to describe the amount). Fold the sixth of sandpaper into three like an A4 letter. Using light pressure, sand in small circles while directing the water trickle with your other hand. As the guide coat is removed and imperfections sanded out, move around the wheel. Remember to give the lightest sand to inside areas covered by the rubber.

    Expect to use 1/6 sheet W&D on the rim proper, and the other three sixths between the front and rear sides of it. The water must wash away slurry before it dries. When it cakes on the surface you need to wet scuff it off again, then rinse extra thoroughly.

    Blow dry the sanded and rinsed rim. Leave it to sit for a day or two if possible including a small stint in the sun. Any sand-throughs need spot priming and an ever-so-light "wipe" with the wet sandpaper/water. Neglect this and there is a decent risk your etch primer will fry at exposed edges, like the white of an egg in the pan.

    For painting the topcoats I prefer to do the rim and back first, then the outside another day. You will need to make sure there is a way to achieve this in your wheel positioning. I've shown a carpenter's approach to this problem... Four three foot stakes, some long chipboard screws, and a few metres of 9035 pine! Mask any faces not being painted.

    As for the primer, pick the driest, least directly sunny time of the day to paint. Apply the paint with adequate dry time between coats, and avoid sunbaking it for a couple of days. If you do leave things in the sun to dry, bring them undercover at night before dew water-spots the soft paint.

    Final stage is to reverse your masking procedure, and paint the other side! Now cringe as the tyre guys gouge up your new work...

    Cheers, Adam.

    p.s. I'm not a fan of using gloves while wetsanding as release agents in the rubber moulds may contain stuff that interferes with the bonding of paint.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Painting rims.-wheelstand_1.jpg   Painting rims.-wheelstand_2.jpg   Painting rims.-wheel_back_sanded_detail.jpg   Painting rims.-wheel_front_detail.jpg   Painting rims.-wheel_back_clearcoated.jpg  

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