Save the Labor - Refinish Your OEM Wheels Fast - ZDriver.com


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Old 02-09-2014, 01:07 PM   #1
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Save the Labor - Refinish Your OEM Wheels Fast

I refinished my 86NA wheels about 5 years back - the old-fashioned way. It took me two days just to get the clear coat off. Hours of sanding with 3 grades of sandpaper, then the steel wool, etc. Still made a mess of the orig alum luster. Pain in the butt. But they looked OK when I finally finished.

Last month I refinished all four 86T OEM wheels in less than 3 hours. The key was Klean Strip Premium Stripper in aerosol cans. (Home Depot, Walmart, etc) Just spray it on and wait 10 mins. The orig clear coat floated off with just the pressure of a garden hose. Left the original aluminum shine in place too, no digs or scratches. Dry them off. (Good idea here to wipe all surfaces down with the same solvent used by the clear coat makers in the clear coat.) Then put on no more than two (2) good coats of the best quality clear coat aerosol from the pro auto paint store. They look great! Will post pics as soon as I can dig the wheels out from the last snow+ice blizzard. Or wait for April melt.

Last edited by zxguy1986; 02-09-2014 at 01:21 PM. Reason: forgot the wipe down
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:31 PM   #2
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For my 85T OEM wheels, I got a very small power sander and sanded off the clear coat, Took me 15 minutes per wheel. Used 300 grit to smooth out all the dings, pits, scratches, and other defects, used 600 to take out the swirls caused by the 300 grit, used 1000 grit to take out the swirls caused by the 600 grit, used 2000 to take out the swirls caused by the 1000 grit, used 2500 to take out the swirls caused by the 2000 grit, used polish to take out the swirls of the 2500 grit, and they looked like a mirror when done. Then spray them with 2 coats of clear coat. they now look better than new since when new they did not reflect like a mirror.

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Old 02-09-2014, 06:02 PM   #3
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I love that last picture!!!
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Old 05-23-2014, 03:45 PM   #4
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Quick QWerstion

SHould I remove the tires off the wheels before the chemical paint removal.. ??
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:45 PM   #5
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Working without the tires in the way is easier. But you could work with the entire wheel if you tape the rubber surface off to protect it. I would use plastic sheet. I don't know if the stripper would affect the rubber - but the clear coat would coat it and then probably crack and discolor.

I have problems with the clear coats after a year. They tend to split and peel off the alloy or get cloudy. There are a lot of clear coat products out there and nobody has recommended one over another. The problem may be in getting the right number and thickness of coats when you apply it. They all look great when first done. When I went with more than two coats, it peeled after a bout a year.

But the chemical stripper makes it so easy to start over that re-doing the rims every year doesn't bother me so much. It may be that the OEM clear finish was heat-cured at the factory. Hard to do that in your driveway. Maybe we could find out what the factory used for cure temperature and time, find a hot hair dryer and...

Last edited by zxguy1986; 05-25-2014 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by zxguy1986 View Post
Working without the tires in the way is easier. But you could work with the entire wheel if you tape the rubber surface off to protect it. I would use plastic sheet. I don't know if the stripper would affect the rubber - but the clear coat would coat it and then probably crack and discolor.

I have problems with the clear coats after a year. They tend to split and peel off the alloy or get cloudy. There are a lot of clear coat products out there and nobody has recommended one over another. The problem may be in getting the right number and thickness of coats when you apply it. They all look great when first done. When I went with more than two coats, it peeled after a bout a year.

But the chemical stripper makes it so easy to start over that re-doing the rims every year doesn't bother me so much. It may be that the OEM clear finish was heat-cured at the factory. Hard to do that in your driveway. Maybe we could find out what the factory used for cure temperature and time, find a hot hair dryer and...
Our company does powder coating, it's best to have a clear powder coating applied. if you were close to us we'd do it very cheap. Say $10 a rim for a fellow zdriver. That would just cover the powder cost.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:12 PM   #7
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Powder coat! Man, that's the way to go. That method produces unbelievable finishes built to last, beautiful to look at and touch. (But who knew you were there, omni?)

Great price, too. But what are the logistics if I show up with 4 wheels - still on my Z. How do we do that at your shop - and how long does it take? I bet the cost has to go up. If I remember, powder coating requires heating to 400 degrees. That means I have to remove the tires from the rims - which means I need one or more additional wheels to run on while my originals are being done. Anyway. I'd like to know the cost for powder coating four.

Last edited by zxguy1986; 06-11-2014 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 06-11-2014, 04:19 PM   #8
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Powder coat! Man, that's the way to go. That method produces unbelievable finishes built to last, beautiful to look at and touch. (But who knew you were there, omni?)

Great price, too. But what are the logistics if I show up with 4 wheels - still on my Z. How do we do that at your shop - and how long does it take? I bet the cost has to go up. If I remember, powder coating requires heating to 400 degrees. That means I have to remove the tires from the rims - which means I need one or more additional wheels to run on while my originals are being done. Anyway. I'd like to know the cost for powder coating four.

Hello, yes you'd have to have the tires off the rims. We cure powder at 400 deg for about 30 mins. It's best to have the rims blasted and polished etc before you give to us. if you just want clear the rims should be as you want to see them when finished.

My $10 offer per rim stands for any zdriver member. normally we get $25-50 per rim. The $10 will just cover our cost.

Do you live close to Sheridan IN 46069?
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:29 PM   #9
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No, not close, but that is a great price. Powder coat lasts forever, better than anything you could do at home. If somebody combines the spray-apply stripper with your coating, they could refinish four wheels for $50 total and a few hours labor. Thanks.
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:48 PM   #10
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You may have to do much more than just spray off the old clear coat and then powder coat them. The aluminum underneath has been corroded for almost 30 years. It will take some sand paper and buffing to get the wheels looking good enough to get clear powder coating on them. As the above poster said, the quality of the wheel you give him is the quality of what you get back.

Last edited by FlyingT; 06-11-2014 at 07:01 PM.
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