Second Try at Refinishing Wheels
The first try at cleaning up the wheels failed. I tried again.
The wheels were absolutely disgusting. Corrosion, curb rash, scrapes and flaking clear coat. Something had to be done, so it was time to put the car up on the jackstands and get a couple cans of Duplicolor High Performance Wheel Coating. I had originally wanted Graphite, but when I was at the store looking at the paint caps, I decided to go with the Silver.
I also picked up some sandable primer (Brite Touch I think was the brand, it is made by Duplicolor), 600 grit wet sanding films, and drop cloths. Then I set up my garage with the drop cloths and got to work on doing a test of the paint to see how I liked it.
I had originally planned to sand things with 100, then 220, and then 400 before priming, but I figured that I would do a test and see if I could get away with just doing 100 grit. So for one of the hub covers, I did to 400 grit, the other to 100. Primed them both with two coats of primer. Then wetsanded the primer to a fine finish with 600 grit film. Applied three coats of the wheel paint, and at the end, both looked the same, which was great news for me, because my planned workload just got cut in 1/3.
I started on the curb rash around the edges. The aluminum is pretty soft and quickly clogged one of my Dremel tools' stones. I switched over to a 60 grit sanding drum, and that let me shape the material easily. Once I had all of that taken care of, I got to work with the 100 grit sandpaper and my random orbital sander on the wide center portion. That was real quick. Then hand sanded the rim edge and spokes. The corrosion/oxidation comes off a lot easier than the rest of the metal, so it is easy to judge when it is all off. All in all, it took me 6 hours to do all of the sanding.
Next, I washed the wheels very thoroughly with regular dish detergent and masked them up to prepare for priming.
And, finally, it was time to begin painting.
I found that four thin coats looked pretty good. The paint is very fast drying, and recoats must be done within 2 hours. I waited about 20 minutes between coats. The paint has a nice metal flake/sparkle look to it. I am very happy with how this turned out.
This was cheap (under $25), and easy, though time consuming. Anyone else who has wheel corrosion should at least consider this; it's a lot easier than polishing. Do it!