cleaning corvette wheels



cleaning corvette wheels

Postby grumpyvette » October 15th, 2014, 5:51 pm

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Ive got an older set of similar corvette wheels that appear to have some kind of clear coat flaking off and aluminum surface oxidizing in patches ,and like most of us I,m not rolling in spare cash, so I have a good Idea as to whats going to be required,and its mostly a good deal of elbow grease, time and polishing compound, as a result of allowing the old wheels on my corvette to go un-cared for for several years,on my 1985 corvette.
now Im sure many of you have cleaned up some rather disgusting, old greasy or oxidized wheels some required polishing abrasives and hours or work so Id like you to post what you did what worked and what tools you used, and especially the mistakes you made along the way and ideally with pictures, if you can!



http://www.autogeek.net/tire-wheel-clea ... aQodz44AOQ

http://www.harborfreight.com/4-in-150-g ... 60326.html
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when I mentioned this to my older son, he suggested I buy a few of these and use my drill....that type of idea, stated with a strait face,.....thats one in a very long list of reasons I never let him work on my car!, while it might work, I,m 100% sure he would jump into it with out a seconds testing and just go, OOOPS if it burned a groove in the surfaces


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I had to grin when I saw this picture and thought of my wifes potential reaction
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
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Re: cleaning corvette wheels

Postby 87vette81big » October 15th, 2014, 6:10 pm

I have original 1990 ZR-1 Rims on my 87 vert out back right now Grumpy.
The 11X 17's. Clearcoat has gone bad in a few spots.
Chose to let it go for now. Don't want to lose the original lathe turned diamond cut machined finish.
Or it was machined with CBN Insert bit. Either way gives the aluminum that unique sparkle.

On my 70 TA I have original 1978 Vintage Centerline Rims.
The 2-piece solids with fully riveted construction.
15X10's in back & 15X8 fronts.
Fully polished. They stay clean & shiny for 2-5 years.
Mothers wool pad polish I like best to clean and shine.
They have been on the car for decades. Likely since 1978.
The correct 1-year only wheels cost 4-5 k per set.
Not going to pay that much so I am always looking for them.

The 63 GP has plain jain black steel rims.
Installed. 15X7's from my old 1978 Buick Electra. Free.
5x5 bolt pattern as old Pontiac. Fit perfect.
Last edited by 87vette81big on October 15th, 2014, 6:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: cleaning corvette wheels

Postby 87vette81big » October 15th, 2014, 6:13 pm

I left the factory 1987 Z52 wheels on up front.
Looks strange but I don't care.
Don't want to run wheel adapters to use 1990 17X9.5 ZR-1 wheels.
Those rims in my basement.
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Re: cleaning corvette wheels

Postby 87vette81big » October 16th, 2014, 9:13 am

You need to strip all the clearcoat off your 1985 C4 wheels Grumpy.
I would try a commercial grade Aviation paint Stripper.
Or have them plastic or Baking soda media blasted clean.

I have been told in the past the Clearcoat on C4 wheels. was made by PPG Paints.
Not sure what paint line but its similar to the PPG NCP LINE.
Top notch expensive.
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Re: cleaning corvette wheels

Postby grumpyvette » October 16th, 2014, 9:19 am

Yes ,I kind of figured that it would require both a chemical strip, of the protective surface layer thats failed, and abrasive polish to the surface under it ,to return the wheel to anything like the original appearance
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
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Re: cleaning corvette wheels

Postby 87vette81big » October 16th, 2014, 9:31 am

grumpyvette wrote:Yes ,I kind of figured that it would require both a chemical strip, of the protective surface layer thats failed, and abrasive polish to the surface under it ,to return the wheel to anything like the original appearance

It might be possible to closely duplicate the original finish with a Scotcbrite pad.
The human hand tends to sand in an Arc motion.

A long bed lathe with a Large swing may make it possible to scotchbrite sand close to original finish.
The old South Bend Heavy 10 lathe I use won't work.
Just a 10 inch swing.
Made for Medium sized parts & fine finish cuts if wanted.
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Re: cleaning corvette wheels

Postby grumpyvette » October 16th, 2014, 9:35 am

yeah, my wish list includes a decent lathe, but cash flow while I support my son and his family and medical expenses,along with my own normal expenses, will prevent that for awhile
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
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Re: cleaning corvette wheels

Postby bytor » October 16th, 2014, 9:40 am

87vette81big wrote:You need to strip all the clearcoat off your 1985 C4 wheels Grumpy.
I would try a commercial grade Aviation paint Stripper.
Or have them plastic or Baking soda media blasted clean.


Interesting thread starting up here. I have been wondering the same thing however in my case, I just have a few scratches and nicks in the clear coat on my 87 wheels. I haven't done any research on the topic yet. They are in good shape all and all with none of the clear coat coming off. I have been wondering what the best way is to work on those scratches? Rubbing compound maybe? I do have a few places on the painted part of the wheels where the air stem is that are chipped. Wonder what color code that paint is?
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Re: cleaning corvette wheels

Postby 87vette81big » October 16th, 2014, 9:43 am

bytor wrote:
87vette81big wrote:You need to strip all the clearcoat off your 1985 C4 wheels Grumpy.
I would try a commercial grade Aviation paint Stripper.
Or have them plastic or Baking soda media blasted clean.


Interesting thread starting up here. I have been wondering the same thing however in my case, I just have a few scratches and nicks in the clear coat on my 87 wheels. I haven't done any research on the topic yet. They are in good shape all and all with none of the clear coat coming off. I have been wondering what the best way is to work on those scratches? Rubbing compound maybe? I do have a few places on the painted part of the wheels where the air stem is that are chipped. Wonder what color code that paint is?

Most decent paint shops can custom mix anything you want.
NOT A TA - 70 BIRD MAN WOULD KNOW BEST.
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Last edited by 87vette81big on October 16th, 2014, 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: cleaning corvette wheels

Postby 87vette81big » October 16th, 2014, 9:44 am

grumpyvette wrote:yeah, my wish list includes a decent lathe, but cash flow while I support my son and his family and medical expenses,along with my own normal expenses, will prevent that for awhile

Yes.

Wait. Dream. Shop around used when possible.
Sooner or later...
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Re: cleaning corvette wheels

Postby 87vette81big » October 16th, 2014, 9:54 am

I really like the factory C4 rims Grumpy.
Tires and wheels mounted balance easy.
Often under 1 ounce of lead required to balance to zero.
Bare rim mounted on a balancer shows near zero lateral and radial runout.
Cheap aftermarket 5 stars don't even come close to stringent quality of OEM C4.
Only highend expensive drag or road race wheels do.
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Re: cleaning corvette wheels

Postby philly » October 21st, 2014, 8:25 pm

my 17x11's balance well also, used the factory rears up front 17x9 on my collectors edition. 275 front 315 rear looks like a bulldozer!

vette rear.jpg



sorry for the crappy camera phone picture... its the only one i have at the moment. you get the idea.
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