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Unread 09-26-2013, 12:48 PM   #1
Ed209
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Has anyone painted polished alum wheels?

Found a set of 15 x 8 wheels I like except they are polished alum. Would like them semi-gloss or flat black the cheapest way, preferably DIY. What's required? Sanding, bead blasting? Will consider anything except plasti-dip. Or is this best left to the pros?

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Unread 09-26-2013, 12:54 PM   #2
Shadownwpa
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Paint doesn't stick (for very long) to smooth polished surfaces, you'll have to rough them up.
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Unread 09-27-2013, 01:07 AM   #3
Ed209
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Originally Posted by Shadownwpa View Post
Paint doesn't stick (for very long) to smooth polished surfaces, you'll have to rough them up.
Any idea what # fine grit sandpaper to use?
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Unread 09-27-2013, 07:34 AM   #4
Shadownwpa
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I'm not too sure but i'd guess 220 or 180 would be sufficient... like i used to scuff before my monstaliner inside and rustoleum outside the tub. Just make sure you use something that will stick to aluminum and make sure all the greases and oils are gone.
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Unread 09-27-2013, 07:38 AM   #5
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Unread 09-27-2013, 01:36 PM   #6
Ed209
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Originally Posted by Shadownwpa View Post
I'm not too sure but i'd guess 220 or 180 would be sufficient... like i used to scuff before my monstaliner inside and rustoleum outside the tub. Just make sure you use something that will stick to aluminum and make sure all the greases and oils are gone.
Sounds good - I'll try the finer grit. Is the Rustoleum a primer before an outer color coat on your rig? Do you have to use a primer on wheels? I was thinking of just using Krylon semi-gloss black after scuffing without using a primer.
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Unread 09-27-2013, 01:46 PM   #7
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For aluminum, use etching primer or a chromate primer I believe its called. Top coat with whatever you like. There is a wheel paint/clear coat produced by Rustoleum. Let the paint cure for about a week so it doesn't peel up when you tighten the lugs. Should be good to go.
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Unread 09-27-2013, 07:52 PM   #8
Ed209
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Originally Posted by BarelyCivil View Post
For aluminum, use etching primer or a chromate primer I believe its called. Top coat with whatever you like. There is a wheel paint/clear coat produced by Rustoleum. Let the paint cure for about a week so it doesn't peel up when you tighten the lugs. Should be good to go.
I'll check out the primer and Rustoleum - I had no idea Rustoleum made paint specifically for wheels!
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Unread 09-29-2013, 02:26 PM   #9
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Ideally bead blast them first, to rough them up.

An alternative (though not quite as good) is to use a self etching primer, such as Duplicolor Self Etching Primer in a spray can. I buy it at Oreilly auto stores. It has acid in it that etches the work surface (eats into it slightly) as a (partial) substitute for sanding or bead blasting.

Then, over the top of the self etching primer, use paint of same brand (to ensure compatibility).
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Unread 09-29-2013, 02:31 PM   #10
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P.S. - all the Rustoleum products I ever used were OK in Summer (took 3 days to dry in hot Summer time), but very slow drying in Spring and Fall (like takes a week or more to fully harden, if it ever hardens). It never dries in Winter. Don't use Rustoleum, unless you are in a hot dry climate, IMO.

Duplicolor products are much faster drying, and a much better choice in moderate and cold climates. In a cold climate, you'd want to paint in a heated shop or garage, but at least it's possible in Winter with a heated shop.

With Rustoleum in Winter, it's not possible to heat a shop or garage hot enough for long enough to cure the paint.
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Unread 09-30-2013, 11:11 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Charley3 View Post
P.S. - all the Rustoleum products I ever used were OK in Summer (took 3 days to dry in hot Summer time), but very slow drying in Spring and Fall (like takes a week or more to fully harden, if it ever hardens). It never dries in Winter. Don't use Rustoleum, unless you are in a hot dry climate, IMO.

Duplicolor products are much faster drying, and a much better choice in moderate and cold climates. In a cold climate, you'd want to paint in a heated shop or garage, but at least it's possible in Winter with a heated shop.

With Rustoleum in Winter, it's not possible to heat a shop or garage hot enough for long enough to cure the paint.
I appreciate all the inside tips from your actual experience. I almost certainly would have used Rustoleum!
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Unread 09-30-2013, 11:14 AM   #12
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I used Hammered Krylon on some polished Ultra wheels. They were polished, and nicely, until winter came around and the road salt pitted the surface so they looked dull and like a matte finish. Fortunately, about six months of road salt made for a decent surface prep in terms of introducing texture so the rattle can paint job worked great and held up very well.

The overspray washed off at the car wash.

And, I only let the paint cure for about 2 hr. It's a DD and those were my only wheels at the time. Just be careful when you put them back on.
after.jpg

before.jpg

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Unread 09-30-2013, 09:33 PM   #13
Ed209
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Originally Posted by hustler905 View Post
I used Hammered Krylon on some polished Ultra wheels. They were polished, and nicely, until winter came around and the road salt pitted the surface so they looked dull and like a matte finish. Fortunately, about six months of road salt made for a decent surface prep in terms of introducing texture so the rattle can paint job worked great and held up very well.

The overspray washed off at the car wash.

And, I only let the paint cure for about 2 hr. It's a DD and those were my only wheels at the time. Just be careful when you put them back on.
Great idea - just use them as is this winter, and Krylon them in the spring. Your's turned out very nice, although I'd do mine in semi-gloss black. I like the convenience and low cost of this method - thanks.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 08:42 PM   #14
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Low cost is the key - I think I was into less than $20 between purchasing tape and paint.
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