Refinishing Aluminum Wheels? - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 10-05-2012, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Refinishing Aluminum Wheels?

Since I have gotten my new truck their is one thing that has really bothered me. The previous owner took great care of the truck itself. The interior is immaculate and the paint is near perfect, but the wheels....they are just terrible. I don't know what happened but the wheels were defiantly neglected for whatever reason. I love the wheels and don't have the money to spend on a new set of wheels so I started to look into a way to refurbish them myself. I found a few articles online.

The first one is about how to refinish aluminum wheels. It involves sanding them, using steel wool, and lots of Brasso along with some other things. Here is the link.

How to Refinish Aluminum Wheels | eHow.com

The second is about polishing aluminum wheels after the refinishing process. It involves using "Aluminum Bright" and clear polish? Here's the link.

How to Polish Aluminum Wheels | eHow.com


What do you guys think about trying these processes out? My total of materials wouldn't be much, just a lot of labor and time involved, which I don't mind.

I'm open to any ideas so please chime in! Just don't have a lot of money to spend on this. I plan on selling the truck after I graduate college (2016) and getting a new Ford diesel (whatever that may be in 2016) so dropping $2K on a new set of wheels just isn't worth it. I'd rather save up the money for the new truck fund

Here are pics of my wheels. They don't look terribly bad in the full pictures but when you get a good look in the sides of the wheels they are just terrible. Looks like corroded over brake dust. Keep in mind these pics below are of clean wheels!

















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Last edited by mazsecond; 10-05-2012 at 11:04 AM.
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post #2 of 28 Old 10-05-2012, 11:11 AM
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Wow! Are they clear coated aluminum or raw?

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post #3 of 28 Old 10-05-2012, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Wow! Are they clear coated aluminum or raw?
I do not know but I am guessing they are raw from the looks of them. The refinishing process I found calls for "Clear Coat Spray For Wheels" so I'm guessing that will make them look good a lot longer

If I do decide to go ahead and do this I will post my progress on this thread and see just how it goes and what they turn out like


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post #4 of 28 Old 10-05-2012, 11:23 AM
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its gonna take a lottt of sanding and I might would use more grits than just the 5 and 200 your link stated. The smaller the jumps between grit will give you a better result I think.

You can skip the gym on arms day, this will beef em up ha

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post #5 of 28 Old 10-05-2012, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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its gonna take a lottt of sanding and I might would use more grits than just the 5 and 200 your link stated. The smaller the jumps between grit will give you a better result I think.

You can skip the gym on arms day, this will beef em up ha
I KNOW!!

My arms could use a good workout

So maybe start with 200 then 300, 400, 500? Something like that should be good?


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post #6 of 28 Old 10-05-2012, 11:41 AM
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I feel your pain with the whole college budget (graduated last spring from Oregon State) but if I were you I would go find a set of stock wheels that would have came on your pickup when it was new. You can usually find a set for 200 bucks at a large tire retailer. If you are set on the wheels you have, aluminum brightener works very well. I started a small pressure washing business while in college and have came across some nasty wheels on dump trucks and this chemical takes care of it. Literally spray it on and pressure wash it off. Be careful not to leave it on too long or a white color will occur. If you do leave it on too long, just polish the wheels and they will look brand new. Won't fill pitting but when the wheels are shiny you won't notice the pits.

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post #7 of 28 Old 10-05-2012, 11:42 AM
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It looks like someone sprayed those with alumabrite and let it sit too long. You prolly will not be able to get all the nooks and crannies looking good. If it were me, I'd look into having them powder coated. Way less maintenance in the long run.
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post #8 of 28 Old 10-05-2012, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 96stroker19 View Post
I feel your pain with the whole college budget (graduated last spring from Oregon State) but if I were you I would go find a set of stock wheels that would have came on your pickup when it was new. You can usually find a set for 200 bucks at a large tire retailer. If you are set on the wheels you have, aluminum brightener works very well. I started a small pressure washing business while in college and have came across some nasty wheels on dump trucks and this chemical takes care of it. Literally spray it on and pressure wash it off. Be careful not to leave it on too long or a white color will occur. If you do leave it on too long, just polish the wheels and they will look brand new. Won't fill pitting but when the wheels are shiny you won't notice the pits.
Thanks, but I really do like these wheels and they are 10" wide on 13.5" wide tires so I don't think stock wheels would like having 13.5" wide tires on them...I will defiantly try sanding and the aluminum brite and see how it goes.


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Originally Posted by Rexter View Post
It looks like someone sprayed those with alumabrite and let it sit too long. You prolly will not be able to get all the nooks and crannies looking good. If it were me, I'd look into having them powder coated. Way less maintenance in the long run.
I've thought about this too. How much do you think it would cost to have all 4 wheels powder coated? What color do you think would look good on my truck? I really like the look of the polished aluminum, not too sure about black considering the chrome on my truck and the chrome toolbox...Can they be powder coated a polished aluminum color


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post #9 of 28 Old 10-05-2012, 11:59 AM
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I polish a lot of aluminum. Get a couple bricks of green rouge compound. A cotton buf on a nine inch grinder. Figure 2 hours each for a newbie. Then just keep up on them with a meguires or something like that.
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post #10 of 28 Old 10-05-2012, 12:40 PM
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Get a can of Blue Magic Aluminium and Mag wheel cleaner and buy a small (red) Mothers polishing ball that attaches to a cordless drill, not electric need the slower rpms, and follow the directions on the can, prolly take about 1/2hr per wheel if you remove them and lay them flat on the ground, lots easier to work with, at least it has worked wonders for me.


If the wheels are not clear coated, go to an RV store and buy 1 gallon of Reliable black streak remover, it will clean raw aluminium like no other, just spray on full strenght and wipe with rag and rinse.


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