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Old 04-10-2008, 05:06 PM   #1
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Alcoa Forged Wheels

Has anyone found a way to preserve the finished appearance of the Alcoa wheels that come on the Classic line? Every spring and midway through the summer I polish and seal the wheels with the Alcoa recommended products and every spring I need to start over again removing the oxidation that attacks the aluminum. I don't want to have the wheels clearcoated, but would like a reasonable solution if there is one. Thanks...
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:34 PM   #2
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Ron,

I took delivery in 2005 on my Classic and the wheels haven't required any
thing other than a coat of just normal wax, I am using Mequires on them.
Rejex on the Airstream which I really like. My Airstream is under roof as
we have communicated before. But its been to the beach for over a month
and out in the desert for over a month. No corrosion noted. On a previous
GMC motorhome I had Alcoa wheels that were new and still kept me busy
trying to keep the corosion off and polished. They were stored outside and
covered. I thought the Alcoa wheels were clear coated? Anyway just
thought I would comment and say hi at the same time.

Pappy
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:34 PM   #3
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i just bought my classic and all aluminum was in very poor shape, so ive ended up taking the wheels off to be able to use a buffer and did the grill and both bumpers and emblems... so far they are staying shiny but has only been about 2-3 weeks...so it will be interesting to see how they turn out, or what people have to say. I used busch aluminum polish.
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:45 PM   #4
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hi ron

as you've discovered the alcoa forged 5 spoke wheel used on the CLASSIC line, until late in the 2005 model year...

are UNCOATED aluminum alloy.

the new classics (06+) and other trailer models have clearcoated rims so this info does NOT apply 2 the many other a/s rim styles...

the process u mention (clean/polish/brighten/spray sealant) is reasonable but needs to be regularly repeated based on exposures...

sun, road salt, brake dust, soaps, cleaners, solvents and brushes all affect the cycle...

i've briefly covered the 'alcoa wheel products' in this post, see the pic below.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/376137-post64.html

my experience with the pdq sealant is 4-6 months duration TOPS, but i'm a frequent traveler and washer...

while you may not want to clearcoat the wheels, that is really the ONLY way to alter the routine maintenance of bare aluminum.

there are other 'wipe on' acrylic/resin sealants for bare metals, that claim to last for years...

i'll be trying 2 of them this season and report in the fall about how they hold up...

again, all the OTHER rim models a/s uses on newer trailers are clearcoated,

so they can be treated JUST LIKE AUTO PAINT (wash, wax, avoid solvents or harsh cleaners)

clear coated wheels CANNOT be polished without removing the clear coat.

the simple way to determine IF a coating is present is to dab a small amount of metal polish on a clean wheel,

NO BLACK RESIDUE=clear coat;

black residue= NO CLEARCOAT



cheers
2air'
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:02 PM   #5
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Hi Ron, I use Rejex wax on the trailer, and woody wax on the wheels. We use Woody wax on aluminum parts of boats, (tuna towers, hand rails etc.). The stuff is easy to apply and lasts a resonable amount of time. If the wheels were clearcoated you could just the Rejex and be done with it. Hope this helps. --Mark--
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:32 PM   #6
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ooops.... sorry read the post and didnt fully understand... thought you were talking about the classic motorhome line....
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:27 PM   #7
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hey 'ping...

i think your classic moho wheels are the same bare aluminum alloy...

so the approaches to care should overlap.

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-10-2008, 09:21 PM   #8
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Yep, our classic Alcoas are not clearcoated and are pretty yucky (we got them that way and I have not had time to get to them), plus they have tire weight tape stuck ALL over them from the failed attempts of the local tire place to properly balance the wheels. I am not looking forward to having to clean them all up.

Susan
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:15 PM   #9
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Yeah. i just didnt want to feel intrusive.. haha. Same material just bigger pretty much... which when comes to polishing isnt really better huh?? Well at either rate if yall's are anywhere near as bad as mine were, dont expect an easy job...coming from daytona beach and not very well cared for, I couldnt even make mine budge by hand. But even though they are a pain its worth it all in the end. I have noticed that i havent seen very many if any of the classic mohos have their aluminum shinging.... i guess thats my trucking blood coming out . And if your wheels are oxidixed enough it may take a second for that black residue to appear.
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Old 04-11-2008, 03:42 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for you responses.

I guess I am relegated to a chore each spring. My AS remains outdoors all winter which is long up here in the frozen north (November - Mid April). The road I live on is treated with only sand, but nearby routes are covered with an overabundance of calcium chloride. When it is dry and windy I expect the white dust gets everywhere. Do you think covering the wheels during the winter will help allieviate the issue?
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romap
Do you think covering the wheels during the winter will help allieviate the issue?
It should, because you are putting another barrier between your wheels and the chemical. Not that you get tremendous amounts of sun there, I would keep the wheels and tires covered year around when not in use. The UV rays get to the tires. Every bit of help is good.

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Old 04-21-2008, 10:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romap
... Do you think covering the wheels during the winter will help allieviate the issue?
no, and covers might make it worse.

by trapping moisture or condensation under the covers, which will also attack the brakes/hubs and bearings...

the newest gym-s are labeled to protect against ozone and uv for 5 years, which is the useful life of these tires.

i doubt covers would extend that much, but in humid climates a simple barrier/skirt might be better than full covers.

back to the op....

attached are pix of alcoa wheels i recently cleaned, polished, neutralized and coated with alcoa sealant...

the 1st batch of pics are an unused wheel, new-old stock that's been stored in the garage for 3 years.

it was just cleaned, polished and treated, before mounting a new spare tire this week...

nice and shine-eee !

cheers
2air'

click pix for large views...
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:37 PM   #13
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this 2nd batch of pix is a wheel with 50,000 miles of towing and 3 years of duty...

all the crud, dirt, tar, corrosion and gunk was just removed, while awaiting new rubber...

the face looks as good as new, but the back side isn't quite as shinny/nice as the new wheel in the last post.

as there is still a tad bit of pitting that wasn't removed, with mild polishing...

i'll report back how long the shine lasts and when the process is next done...

overall i'm pleased with the results and

will post the details of the 'how to' and what products/tools were used at another time...

all of the photos in these 2 posts were taken late in evening, and under a cloudy sky...

tried taking pix during sunshine but they were toooooo brite!!!

cheers
2air'

click pix for larger views...
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