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Old 09-27-2011, 04:43 PM   #1
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Aluminum Wheel Prep/Paint tips and pics

I recently purchased my dream Jeep. After 10 years of saving I got a 2012 Wrangler! I'm in love with everything except the wheels. I have looked at purchasing new ones but I'm a bit too thrifty to throw down the cash and I like DIY projects.

If you have ever prepared the S-package stock 17-inch Aluminum Wheels for painting please post your experiences here. This would also be a great resource for others wanting to undertake the same project.

Specifically, what types of chemical cleaners did you use, what grit sanding wheel/paper, primer or no primer etc......

I can't wait to learn from the hundreds of years of experience on these forums!

-Gresh

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Old 09-27-2011, 05:30 PM   #2
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I just did mine this weekend, its not hard just time consuming because i took mine off and painted insides also, imma attach a few pics now if phone will cooperate

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Old 09-27-2011, 05:31 PM   #3
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Take off wheel and wash thouroughly inside and out, tire and rim
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:36 PM   #4
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This aluminum brightener is some strong stuff, sold at carquest, main ingredient is phosphoric acid, wear gloves, and it says not for clear coated rims but since your painting them, who cares??
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:40 PM   #5
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Taping is the most time consuming part, other than drying after washing, but don't skimp on the paint! The 3/4" painters tape will roll right around the edge, and I didn't use any sandpaper, my rims were a little rough feeling anyway and the primer smoothed out nice and flat
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:44 PM   #6
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Now don't get me wrong, krylon or others may be better than the rustoleum, I just don't like the nozzles on the other cans, they spray too much paint, too easy to run, but I went over them twice to get good coverage
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:50 PM   #7
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My local parts store has clear coat in "matte" finish, imma pull em off this Saturday and coat em with that
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:56 PM   #8
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That looks a million times better as Black! nice job. I really hate the stock silver wheels on my sport S / looking to replace them very soon. Prob post on ebay/craigslist / I know if I try to paint them, it will not end good
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfdjason7620
My local parts store has clear coat in "matte" finish, imma pull em off this Saturday and coat em with that
Really nice work! I can't wait to see them with the matte finish clear.

Are your rims steel or aluminum? I want to finish mine in matte black. I'll probably follow your lead and clear coat them in clear matte.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfdjason7620
My local parts store has clear coat in "matte" finish, imma pull em off this Saturday and coat em with that
I'm glad you kept the hardware silver, that looks sharp!
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:24 PM   #11
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Now I have to figure out how to prop the rig off the ground to pull all 4 wheels! I don't own a lift.... Guess I need some stands.....
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:27 PM   #12
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They are aluminum, and I did em on at a time over course of 2 days, took my time and did it right!!
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfdjason7620 View Post
Taping is the most time consuming part, other than drying after washing, but don't skimp on the paint! The 3/4" painters tape will roll right around the edge, and I didn't use any sandpaper, my rims were a little rough feeling anyway and the primer smoothed out nice and flat
I hope it sticks. I would have used some 400 paper to give the paint something to stick to. They look good though.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:02 PM   #14
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Well I did scrubthem with a Scotch brite pad when cleaning with the brightener, but these rims have looked rough ever since I bought it in 05, I always wanted black and have plenty of paint due to these key holders I'm making so I said "what the hell" but yeah I hope it sticks good too!!
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Old 09-30-2011, 02:35 PM   #15
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Those rims look way better black, great job! I'm looking to do the same to my Rubi, I'll try and post some pics when I get it done.
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Old 09-30-2011, 02:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CajunBuckeye
Those rims look way better black, great job! I'm looking to do the same to my Rubi, I'll try and post some pics when I get it done.
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Old 09-30-2011, 02:57 PM   #17
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I bought a set of rubi take offs and painted them. I used the duplicolor wheel paint from autozone. Cleaned the wheels with just water and soap since the were brand new, then let dry for a day. Next tape around the tire or use the index card trick. I sanded the stock rim with some 320 grit sandpaper to scuff it. Then I used some sandable primer. Sanded that smooth with 600 grit paper once dry. IF you use the duplicolor paint I'd strongly suggest practicing on something. It has metal flake in the spray, and spraying to far away will cause a rough texture, but it will run easily if to close. Once I was finished I just put the wheels in the sun for a day.

Mine aren't perfect but who's gonna look that close.

Good luck!

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Old 09-30-2011, 03:02 PM   #18
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I painted my stock BMW winter rims. Same process, different car.



Clean the rim of all brake dust and debris really well.

I used a super heavy duty cleaner. I used a 400 grit sandpaper all over the rims, then 600, 800, 1000, 1500. The sanding is what seemed to suck most for me. You need to get all of your clear coat off and keep it as smooth as possible.

Clean the rims again and let them dry.

Tape up the rims.

Spray a light coat of paint on the rims. I started with the backs of my rims so that I wasn't flipping the good side down when moving to the fronts.

Let the tire sit to dry tacky. Add another coat. Wait and do another. I put down 2 coats of flat black (didn't like the look) and then added 3 coats of glossy black.

Let dry, untape and mount. The entire process took me around 4 hours.

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Old 10-01-2011, 02:16 AM   #19
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Man, great results to all! I can't believe that folks are shelling out hundreds of dollars to buy dark rims?! I'm inspired! When the humidity drops here in new orleans I'm doing it!
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Old 10-01-2011, 05:07 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfdjason7620
This aluminum brightener is some strong stuff, sold at carquest, main ingredient is phosphoric acid, wear gloves, and it says not for clear coated rims but since your painting them, who cares??
You can skip brightener and just use TSP the new alum wheels are painted.
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Old 10-01-2011, 05:13 AM   #21
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Did mine in high performance chysler carbon metalic black and two coats high perf clear coat. Everyone that sees them complement me.
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:19 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by repauli1

You can skip brightener and just use TSP the new alum wheels are painted.
Could you spell it out? What is TSP?
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:20 AM   #23
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Quote:
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Did mine in high performance chysler carbon metalic black and two coats high perf clear coat. Everyone that sees them complement me.
Heck yeah! Those look like exactly what I'm after! Is that pain available in spray cans or is it more of a compression application?
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:08 AM   #24
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Napa Autoparts, not sure on rattle cans
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:10 AM   #25
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Tri sodium phosphate your everyday hardware store carries it in paint dept
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:13 AM   #26
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Little tip, mark your wheel with a crayon where the wheel wieght is, pop wieght off sand and paint wheel, spray wieght, and put back on in same spot, works puuurrrfect!
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:04 AM   #27
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I gotta pull mine off and redo them. But am worried on how they will stand up to MN winters (salted roads!!)
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Old 10-04-2011, 03:11 AM   #28
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Anyone done this and had issues with the paint coming off during washing the vehicle, or having a carwash clean the wheels? I always see posts of people doing this mod, but none of the mod after a long time. Anyone have feedback on having done this a year later or more? regret it? did it last that long? have to retouch it often? What's the long term expected outcome on this mod? I'm thinking of doing this myself, but if it will end up being a headache, I may just leave them stock silver.
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:05 AM   #29
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You need to remember they are painted from factory. No problems with mine at all.
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:10 PM   #30
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Clear Coat Chipping

The stock wheels on my 05 Liberty CRD have started to lose the clear coat ....that's why I've been looking for how I can possibly paint them as I like the look of the wheels and also don't want to shell out the money they want for new wheels! Does anyone know what I may have to do to get a smooth looking paint job because of the areas where the clearcoat has peeled away? I haven't looked into how I could remove ALL of the clearcoat - but maybe that's what I'll have to do ...any input would be appreciated.

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