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Old 09-30-2006, 02:51 PM   #1
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Pitted Alcoa wheels

I have a 1991 Land Yatch and the back wheels have become pitted and grey. Anyone know what I can do to get them looking new? Thanks Sean
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Old 09-30-2006, 03:38 PM   #2
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I have the same problem on my '89 and would like to clean them up. I haven't seen anyone describe a process on the Forum. I spoke with Balrgn and he said first you need to strip the clear coat and then polish the wheels. I don't think there's a quick and easy process to restore the original shine. Sure would like to hear from someone who successfully tackled this project. I would think you would have to reseal them after they were polished. My wheels look absolutley horrible. They look very dirty, but cannot be cleaned.
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Old 09-30-2006, 03:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanWilmNC
I have a 1991 Land Yatch and the back wheels have become pitted and grey. Anyone know what I can do to get them looking new? Thanks Sean
Hi Sean, I have used Mother's Aluminum polish on my Motorcycle wheels and the Alcoa wheels on my classic. It will clean up the wheels nice and bring them to a mirrow finish. You can get the polish at most auto parts stores. The only drawback is the amount of elbow grease needed to get the job done. But you will be more than satisfied with the results. Take care and good luck with the polishing.
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Old 09-30-2006, 04:10 PM   #4
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make it easier...

First, strip the clear coat off.

I'd use the Heavy Metal polish ball in the heavy grit, then go to the fine grit. The polishing ball fits on the end of a drill, making the process easier.
http://www.heavymetalpolish.com

I think Mother's also makes a polishing ball.
Let us know how it works out!
Marc
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Old 09-30-2006, 07:16 PM   #5
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Thumbs up

I bought six Alcoa wheels out of Michigan a few years back. They were in condition described.

Here is process I used:

>100 grit wet/dry to remove remnents of clear coat and work down pitting

>1000 grit wet/dry to work down pitting

> 1500 wet/dry to prepare for shine

> Mother's alum polish to finish

Lots of work and time

Optional...clear coat after 1500

I went with former...look great
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Old 09-30-2006, 09:20 PM   #6
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Dang, Now that sounds like some work! George how many hours would you guess it took per wheel? Thanks for the info. Sean
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Old 09-30-2006, 09:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by peegreen
I have the same problem on my '89 and would like to clean them up. I haven't seen anyone describe a process on the Forum. I spoke with Balrgn and he said first you need to strip the clear coat and then polish the wheels. I don't think there's a quick and easy process to restore the original shine. Sure would like to hear from someone who successfully tackled this project. I would think you would have to reseal them after they were polished. My wheels look absolutley horrible. They look very dirty, but cannot be cleaned.
I did three of the wheels on my Limited before eventually getting all new wheels and tires. I of course had to strip them. Then I used aluminum cleaner from West Marine to get them very clean. I used the red Heavy Metal initially (most of what you're seeing is pitting in the clearcoat, not the aluminum) followed by the green. I didn't have the Mother's ball at the time; if I had, all six would likely have been done. You can get them looking really good, but don't expect a mirror shine since they didn't have one to start with (new).

For what it's worth, my new wheels are polished and uncoated. I've found that as long as I keep them clean, I can polish them when I touch up the trailer each time, and they are no trouble to keep up with, especially now that I use a Mother's ball (and the blue Heavy Metal to maintain them). Takes maybe five minutes per wheel. And the HM has a wax element in it which offers some protection without an extra waxing step.
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:15 AM   #8
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Have a pro do it!

I had a set of aluminum wheels on my truck that were in need of a re-do...pitted and in pretty bad shape. I found a shop here in Sacramento that would made look like new for $50 per wheel. I bet if you ask around at tire and wheel shops in your area you'll find someone who knows of a polishing shop.

The shop here in Sacramento has all the tools and compounds etc to make short work of it.

Mike
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Old 10-01-2006, 08:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by SeanWilmNC
Dang, Now that sounds like some work! George how many hours would you guess it took per wheel? Thanks for the info. Sean
I would estimate 9 hours per wheel. Keep paper wet and you will get DIRTY.
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Old 10-02-2006, 10:54 AM   #10
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Do you have to take he tires off first before stripping/polishing? Are the compounds harmful to the rubber? What do new wheels cost?
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Old 10-02-2006, 11:16 AM   #11
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Do you have to take he tires off first before stripping/polishing? Are the compounds harmful to the rubber? What do new wheels cost?
Let's see....

It's easier to do without the wheels on the trailer, since you don't have to contend with the center cap and lugs being in the way.

Compounds/polishes will probably not hurt the tire, though stripper would almost certainly reduce the life of the tire compound. I would recommend masking off the sidewalls anyway just so you don't have to clean them off afterward.

Price of wheels will vary depending on size, weight rating and composition. I would expect to pay anywhere from $80 on up for aluminum wheels suitable for trailer service.
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Old 10-02-2006, 11:48 AM   #12
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I think I still have some pics at home showing the before/after of my polishing efforts... I'll try to post 'em in here.
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Old 05-09-2007, 08:57 PM   #13
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My 1992 LY Motorhome Alcoa wheels were dingy and not very attractive. I removed the 'clear' factory coating with acetone and lacquer thinner using a coarse rag with lots of rubbing. Be sure to use the liquid sparingly so you do not spill on adjacent surfaces. I also used some 000000 steel wool to remove and polish the aluminum. After removal of the clear coating use Semichrome metal polish, and the wheels will have a mirror surface and shine better than new. Lots of rubbing and time is required, probably plan on about two hours per wheel. But the results are spectacular.
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Old 07-06-2017, 04:57 PM   #14
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Cleaning up wheels

I used Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and it did a reasonably good job. Then I polished them. I'd suggest testing a small area before going wild with your attempt to clean them up.
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