Remove Finish From Alloy Wheels

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  #1  
Old 11-23-15, 10:11 AM
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Remove Finish From Alloy Wheels

Hi - Hoping for some advice on wheel finishes. I have a 2009 Nissan Murano.

Overall it's proved to be the best car I've ever owned. Super reliable. I have only one aesthetic issue that I'd like to remedy myself.

By about it's fourth year the alloy wheels began to experience bubbling in the finish. You can see what mean from the picture below.

OK - Clearly the wheel needs to be stripped but my concern is that once a wheel is re-finished, that I'll have a life sentence of re-finishing every few years.

My question is - If I were to strip the finish, would I really need to apply a new finish? Could I just leave the bare metal? I don't really know how much aluminum is in these "alloy" wheels. I wouldn't mind the look of brushed aluminum but if I leave them bare, am I in for something ugly? I live in Toronto. We get our share of snow and roads that are salted in winter.

Thoughts?

Thanks

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  #2  
Old 11-23-15, 10:44 AM
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It looks like corrosion under the paint. You can remove the paint but I imagine you will have a pock marked surface. Then if you don't re-coat it with something to protect the aluminum you'll get more corrosion especially in winter.
 
  #3  
Old 11-23-15, 10:55 AM
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might see if you have any wheel refinish shops in your area and maybe get an estimate and what they would recommend.
looks like there may have some corrosion issues wont really know until you remove the finish I'm sure you could maybe clean them up and spray them with a paint or plasti dip finish and get them looking a little better but probably wont result in a very durable finish that will last that long would probably see a shop that would remove tire and valve stem and do what was necessary for a more permanent repair.
 
  #4  
Old 11-23-15, 11:05 AM
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Looks like surface rust in the pictures. To verify they are alloy, see if a magnet will stick to the wheels. If it sticks, the wheels are steel and they must be finished after stripping. If they are alloy, I would rub the surface with lacquer thinner to see if it is paint which you can remove yourself and leave the surface as is. If not paint, take it to a rim repair shop for stripping and refinish. Two types of finishing I can think of are anodizing and powder coating. Good luck.
 
  #5  
Old 11-23-15, 03:51 PM
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Alloy is alloy and I seriously doubt it will "rust". They must have painted it with some aluminum powder paint and it's bubbling now.
OP, this what I'd have done. Sandblust it. Will strip the paint and give you nice sort of dull finish. Pretty cool looking actually.
 
  #6  
Old 11-24-15, 01:10 PM
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Thanks for all the great advice.

I tried to stick a magnet to it and nothing....so its not steel and I guess therefore not rust.

My first thought was to take these to a wheel refinishing shop but I shopped it around and was getting numbers like $600 and $700. I'm far to cheap for that...

As it turns out I have access to a large sandblaster in a neighbors shop. I also like the idea of the bare sandblasted look. As long as we're certain that these these won't corrode. Think they may discolor at all?

Bigger thing.....Think there's any way to do this without removing the tires? I was hoping to do them one at a time but that would be tough otherwise....Thoughts? I don't have the equipment to remove a tire.
 
  #7  
Old 11-24-15, 03:02 PM
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Sandblasted aluminum/alloy that isn't polished or sealed is subject to stains and will be harder to clean, especially brake dust. While a small blaster might be ok with the tire on if you can protect the rubber - that won't work on a commercial sized blaster.
 
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Old 11-24-15, 03:58 PM
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Hmmm. This is a big industrial blaster chamber. It's looking like the only way to do this is going to be to remove all the wheels, and leave the car on stands. What a pain though. Bring to the shop to remove the wheels. Bring back to sandblast. Bring back to the shop to install wheels.....

What do you think this would look like if I used a wire wheel on them? Probably a lot more work....
 
  #9  
Old 11-24-15, 07:06 PM
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No, I am talking about a hand held SB nozzle. I am not sure if a large industrial device will not damage alloy - after all, aluminum is rather soft metal. As all it is it's fancy aluminum alloy.
If I were you, I'd have gone to the place and took a good look at it. How it's done. Talk to guys.
You absolutely need to remove tires and nipples. You actually have TPS showing in pic posted.
It depends. You have a chance of having real cool looking alloys - or ending in uneven finish looking like crap.
So it needs to be properly assessed for applicability for your particular purpose.

And center NISSAN plugs too. Removed. Plastic.
 
  #10  
Old 11-24-15, 08:00 PM
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Chamber I have access to looks sort of like the one pictured. Bigger actually. Plenty of room for a wheel. He's got a 100 gallon compressor supplying it. I also know he has an assortment of media such as silica and walnut shell. I may do a couple of tests. I might even chance it with the tires but true, those valve stems might be too fragile....




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  #11  
Old 11-25-15, 02:31 PM
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You should be fine. It's still a hand job. I assumed you have some huge nozzles blasting heavy streams of agent.
No, take tires off, please. Tires and TPS.
Make sure you have very clean visor glass through the entire process, so stop frequesntly and keep it clean. Sandblasting is very cool when you constantly move, but the very moment you stop even for a second, it will dig a dent in a soft material.
Definitely try different agents. I am only familiar with silica. Also, you do not want a narrow spray nozzle. It will be leaving clearly seen passes. I mean, for experienced hand, it may be beneficial but this is not the case. Wide spray, circular motions, half overlap every time. If I were you, I'd find a chunk of aluminum somewhere and practice on it. Alloys are expensive.
Be careful in corners and tight turns.
 
  #12  
Old 11-25-15, 02:57 PM
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Thanks for all the great advice. Now I just need to find someone to remove and reinstall the tires. Guess the car will be sitting on jack stands for the day
 
  #13  
Old 11-28-15, 09:36 AM
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No, you need to find out how it will work with aluminum, before you go through the effort.
 
  #14  
Old 11-28-15, 05:17 PM
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My plan was to try it on the inside of the rim first. Both to see how it looks and to give me some practice before moving to the visible areas
 
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Old 11-29-15, 07:24 AM
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Wise plan. Measure seven times, cut once, that's the way.
 
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Old 12-03-15, 04:47 AM
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For stripping soft metals like aluminum you have to use blasting media like walnut shells or glass beads...silica will remove the aluminum along with the paint.

Also once the wheels are stripped, if you do not reapply some sort of paint or clearcoat they will corrode twice as fast and it will be ugly.
 
  #17  
Old 12-03-15, 07:21 AM
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Corrosion is a natural process, which converts a refined metal to a more stable form, such as its oxide or hydroxide. It is the gradual destruction of materials (usually metals) by chemical reaction with their environment.
Aluminum being the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust (at 8.2% of the total metals) is never found free in nature. Aluminum is reactive and will react spontaneously with water and/or air to form aluminum oxide. Aluminum oxide, Al2O3, forms a stable passive layer that protects aluminum from corrosion or further oxidation. This layer is about 4 nm thick and will provide corrosion protection as long as this oxide layer is stable.

Bare aluminum has a tendency to oxidize. Oftentimes, OEM aluminum wheels have a protective coating on top to prevent aluminum oxide. In the case of coated aluminum, you'll need wheel cleaners and polishes that are safe on coatings. On the other hand, if your aluminum wheels have no coating, you can afford to use a stronger aluminum polish. This guide is intended for bare aluminum wheels.

Note: You can tell if there is a coating on aluminum by applying a little polish in an inconspicuous spot. As you rub, if no black residue appears, there is a coating over the aluminum. Aluminum oxide comes off as a black residue if you’re working on uncoated aluminum. If you think they may be clear coated, see our guide entitled, How To Clean and Polish Clear Coated Wheels.

How To Clean and Polish Aluminum Wheels, aluminum wheel cleaner, aluminum polish
 
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