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Prepping/painting wheel

Discussion in 'Wheels & Tires' started by az3579, May 2, 2009.

    • Member

    az3579

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    I'm preparing a spare basketweave for painting. I've read tons of articles and how-to's on how to paint a wheel, so it's not the process that I'm not familiar with.

    It's the sanding. People say use this-and-that grit sandpaper, etc., but my question is; how much does the wheel have to be sanded? Do sections have to be sanded to the bare metal or can I just scrub over a section with 320-grit sandpaper a couple of times and move on?

    I ask because basketweaves aren't a walk in the park to clean, nevermind to sand, so I need to know if this is going to take me an hour of sanding or all day.

    So, how much does it have to be sanded?

    I've got the essentials; sandpaper (320-grit, sanding block and regular paper variety), acetone, shop towels, primer-sealer, the paint I'm using, and clearcoat. I have no idea if the wheel even has clearcoat on it; the lip used to be polished, and now it isn't, so it looks like trash. This is why I'm repainting in the first place. How can I tell if there's clearcoat on it? How much scrubbing is usually involved to get clearcoat off?

    Or am I better off using that aircraft stripper stuff? It looks like it really strips everything down to the metal, and for some reason that scares me. If I use that, then perhaps only a light sanding will be required?

    Should the sanding be wet or dry?



    Do I sand this far:

    [IMG]


    Or this far?

    [IMG]
    • Member

    granthr

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    Sand blast it and be done with it! :D I local body shop might be willing to do it for a reasonable price.

    320 grit sounds kind of course to me, you will probably scratch the metal. Go with something finer like 1000.
    • Member

    az3579

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    With 1000 I'll never strip the clearcoat off!
    I bought a dremel to get this done faster. I don't really care about minor scratches; I'll use self-etching primer, and it's like not my car will ever be concours-grade. I seriously doubt anyone would mind the absolutely minor scratches if they were to buy the wheels off me, if they're Nogarosilber with a silver lip. :D
    • Member

    az3579

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    OK, I have finally "finished" the spare wheel project and now have an idea of whether or not I'm going to do the other 4.



    I have taken lots of pics of the different stages of the process. I get the feeling I have overdone it because the finish of the wheel is very rough and not smooth at all. But, I now know what I did wrong (wire brush after stripper!) and will not be doing that again. In fact, I won't be stripping the paint at all on the other wheels; I'm only going to scuff it with the 3M pad, prime it (3 coats) and then paint it (3 coats), applying clear afterwards (2 medium coats should do it).





    Where I left off:



    So, here is the wheel after about 97% of the paint has been removed (the rest I simply couldn't get off):

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    • Member

    az3579

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    Time for the lip to be repainted. I did the lip a standard metallic-like silver, pretty much the same color as regular wheels only more metallic-like. The metallic was a bit unintentional, but I think the lip is the thing that turned out the best, overall. Not paint-color wise, but finish-wise. It was absolutely smooth, with the exception of the 'patches' that I was unable to remove. The lip was previously polished, and there were black scuffs around the lip. So, those sections are a little rough but the rest of the lip was smoooooth.



    All covered up:

    [IMG]



    First coat of primer:

    [IMG]

    [IMG]
    • Member

    az3579

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    I forgot to take pics of the subsequent coats of primer on the lip... but, here is the end result after the silver has been sprayed.



    [IMG]

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    [IMG]
    • Member

    az3579

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    At this point, the sun was shining directly into my work space, so it's hard to see the difference in sunlight. Sunlight shot and shade shot following:





    [IMG]

    [IMG]



    Sun/shade comparison:

    [IMG]



    Time to tape up the lip and paint the center!

    [IMG]
    • Member

    az3579

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    Ghetto taping on the inside...

    [IMG]



    All primered up:

    [IMG]

    [IMG]
    • Member

    az3579

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    And after the 2nd coat of paint. I didn't apply anymore as I realized this project was compromised, but it will still pass as a 5-foot job, which is good enough for a spare.



    [IMG]

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    • Member

    az3579

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    [IMG]

    [IMG]





    And to help me visualize what it would look like on the car, I put the wheel next to the cleanest wheel on my car (haven't washed in over a week) :



    [IMG]

    [IMG]
    • Member

    az3579

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    The unpainted center cap really makes you realize the color difference, even if it doesn't seem all that obvious at first:

    [IMG]





    Overall, I'm pleased with the painting result. Not so much with the paint-stripping method, but hey, for a first-time wheel painter, I now know what to expect with my other wheels!
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    mooseheadm5

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    Duplicolor granite? I hope so because I just bought 2 cans of that last night for my (chromed) E38 wheels which I will be putting on the M5 for a while. I won't have to polish the lips because they are already shiny chrome!
    • Member

    az3579

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    No. The paint is actually some kind of trim paint, or so the description says. I only got it because it was the only thing the store had that matched the color I needed.

    Dupli-Color
    Truck, Van, & SUV
    * Duplicates Original Color
    * Ideal for Trim Accessories

    Silver top with metallic flakes. ;)

    [IMG]
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    mooseheadm5

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    Which color for the lip and which for the center?
    • Member

    az3579

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    Brian A

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    If you remain unhappy with using sandpaper, you might reconsider using paint stripper. Paint stripper IS extremely nasty stuff though (rubber gloves, long sleeves, no wind, away from any other painted object etc). It is available in aerosol cans likely at the same place where you got the paint.
    • Member

    az3579

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    The finish of the wheel is very rough because of using paint stripper and using a wire brush to remove the paint. I was following an article on how to do it and it showed to use a wire brush that was exactly like the one I have. In the end, the wheel in the article didn't appear to have any scratches, only bare metal, while mine is completely screwed up. Not fair!


    The next time around, I will be using a 3M scotch brite pad to scuff it up and I won't bother removing paint. The stripper method proved to cause too many problems, such as leftover paint that still can't be removed even after a 2nd application, scratches in the metal with whatever is used to remove the paint, and the issue of the can stripper to clog up and be useless.
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    It seems like if the original paint is still well adhered to the wheel, just scuffing it up with the Scotchbrite pad should work fine. When do you think you're going to try the other wheels? I'm getting ready to repaint/refinish a set of wheels so the timing on this thread was perfect! I definitely know I won't try to strip the existing paint!!
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    mooseheadm5

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    Actually B, it looks as though you have not gotten all the primer off the wheel. Sometimes it takes repeated applications of the stripper, particularly for very well adhered coatings. That would definitely account for the lumpiness. However, since it looks like the primer and paint adhere so tenaciously, you might just as well skip the stripping step.
    • Member

    CRKrieger

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    With adhering patches of paint like that, I would seriously get them sandblasted to make them smooth. But you already know that.

    My own suggestion is, don't mask twice unless you need to (like, if your paints are incompatible, in which case you probably shouldn't be using them together). You're painting darker silver over lighter silver. The first masking leaves a raised demarcation line and the second adds to that and it may not even match in places, so you get a doubly-deep line. Paint the first silver without masking the edge. Then, mask it over to paint the second color. You will have only one masking line and it should be less noticeable.

    If you're doing contrasting colors, you want to paint light first and cover it with dark.

    Edit: One more thing I'd do with the centers is paint the center 'lug nut' with a transparent ('candy') color like red - or maybe solid black- so it looks more like a separate center lug that comes off. After all, that's the look they were trying to simulate, so go them one better.

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