I painted my stock YJ wheels a while back. It is really easy to do and it looks GREAT. Its held up for weeks so far and withstood pressure washing.
^^^^ In the pics above it appears the center JEEP logo was painted over but its just cause I forgot to remove the tape I had over it. IF you look close you can see its taped.
People aren't lying about this....Prep is key.Do it once and do it right.
The paints/primers I used were:
Rustoleum Self-Etching Primer
Rustoleum Hammered Black
Rustoleum Clear Coat Enamel
You can use whatever you want. Some argue the clear coat is overkill. Do what you want. Its YOUR rig!
I would like to add I did this with the wheels and tires ON MY RIG. It is my DD and couldn't afford to do it over a few days. It came out really nice and took me roughly 5-6 hours to do by myself. Most of the time is just waiting between coats.
1. Wash the wheels. Scrub them with soapy water and clean them up as much as you can. Allow them to dry.
2. Next I scuffed them up really good. I personally used a FINE 4" wire wheel. This is major overhaul. All I did was briefly hit the wheel to get off any gloss still left on them. You can use a Scotch Brite pad to do this, it will just take longer because you're doing it by hand.
3. Next I scuffed them up just a LITTLE bit more by hitting them with 100grit sandpaper.
4. After that I used a rag to wipe the wheels with ACETONE to get the invisible crud off. You will see the rag is dirty you want to get the wheel as clean as possible. Acetone is almost like vapor, it will dry instantaneously so you must do a small area at a time. You'll see when you use it.
5. This is perhaps the best tip I ever received: Use some old playing cards or index cards and insert them in between the rim and the tire. Insert them horizontally.Make sure you overlap them so no area of the tire is exposed. The way the cards contour around the wheel make it look almost like a direct funnel around the wheel. This way no over spray gets out at all. This is a very cost effective way to do the job. Painter's tape is expensive and will just all be wasted. This does a good job of securing your tires and ensure all angles of the rim are hit with black.
This takes about 10 minutes to install the cards. You will need roughly 1.5 decks of cards. I picked up a cheap pack from a liquor store for $1.
Here is a pic I found online.
Note: I left my wheels and tires on my rig when I did this. You can do it either way.
HOWEVER: If you want to keep your lugs silver/chrome you will need to remove the tires completely. I elected to paint them and therefore left them on.
6. Make sure wheels are completely dry. At this point you will need to tape off any area you don't want painted. I covered up my cap with the JEEP logo but wheels will vary from rig to rig.
7. Now its time to prime. Using the Rustoleum Self-Etching Primer apply the first coat to the wheel. Don't be nervous about the color of the primer it is a non-issue. It will come out looking like olive drab and actually looks pretty cool!
The most important thing to remember when painting these is patience and well- timed coats.
The first coat of primer should be very light. Holding the can 9-12 inches away from wheel cover roughly 80% of the wheel. The previous color of your wheel should be visible through the primer.
Once you finish the first coat of the first wheel move onto the next wheel. By the time you are done with all four wait 5 minutes to do the second coat. The second coat should be a little heavier. If the first coat was LIGHT this one will be MEDIUM.
One of the trickiest parts to this process is getting every angle. With most spray paint cans you cannot hold the can upside down for very long before it drips and/or stops spraying paint. You will need to spray from weird angles for a few seconds then shake it and "reload" What I mean is. Spray it somewhere else in a different direction from the Jeep for 1-2 seconds until the black sprays out again. Then you can proceed to spray at odd angles again. You will need to reload every so often.
Shake the can very often while painting. Whenever it isn't being sprayed, shake it. Shake shake it. shake it like Polaroid pic--- ahh sorry.
After applying your 2nd coat repeat the process. Wait 5 minutes after the second coat and apply a third. This one wil lalso be MEDIUM coat.
8. Now its waiting time. Sit back and relax. Wait about 20-30 minutes here. IF YOU CHOSE TO USE A DIFFERENT PAINT / BRAND IT IS IMPORTANT TO READ THE WAITING TIMES ON YOUR RESPECTIVE CAN. THEY VARY FROM CAN TO CAN/ BRAND TO BRAND
9. We are now ready to apply the black paint
At this point grab the paint you want. I chose the Rustoleum Hammered Black and I LOVE IT. It does turn out almost like a dark charcoal color. If you want a deep, dark black go with a flat black.
10. After making the sure the can is ready to go start with the first coat. Again we want to apply a LIGHT coat spraying from 9-12 inches away from the wheel. You should be able to see the primer underneath the black paint. Continue with all four wheels and then wait another 5 minutes.
11. Now the 2nd coat. Like the primer, do a MEDIUM coat. It should be a little heavier than the first. By the end of the 2nd coat only a little bit of primer should be showing. Don't worry- it will get covered! Some people may get the urge to bring the can close and ensure it covered DO NOT DO THIS! It could potentially run.
12. Repeat step 11 once more. I did 4 coats on mine. You can do 3 if you wish.
13. Upon completing as many coats as you wish now the waiting starts again.
13.5 Here is where you will need to make a decision. Some people may opt to just continue as is. Another option is to let the wheels dry/cure completely overnight and then to apply more coats of black paint. This is up to you. Note that I did NOT do this and I LOVE the results.
14. Some people may opt to skip this step and that is fine. I did it for extra protection.
15. After waiting 20-30 minutes for the black paint to dry a bit we will apply the Clear Coat. In the same way we did the primer and paint. We will cover the wheel with a coat of Rustoleum Enamel. This will provide a clear coat of protection. Now before the paint gets scratched it needs to go through 3 CLEAR COATS, and several layers of black and primer.
16. After the clear coat is applied OR you decided not to clear coat it the next step is WAIT. Wait AS LONG AS YOU CAN. If you can afford to leave it overnight do it. If you can only leave it for a short time you CAN do this. But I don't suggest it. At the very least allow 2 hours for the paint to dry up before wheeling it.
17. ENJOY! They look awesome. Make sure you don't wash the wheels directly for about a week or so. They can get wait but let them air dry and try not to apply too much pressure on them for a week.
I say this because for the first few days you're going to want to clean your tires. They may look faded next to the new paint. After a week or so wash the tires and then hit them with some tire shine. The wheel/tire combo looks AWESOME.
18. Take a look at whats next to paint black!