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Semba Semba is offline
1982 911SC
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Charleston S.C
Posts: 50
Rim Reconditioning

There are two reasons why I started this project on my 1982 911 SC, both of which can be seen in (Photo 1). The obvious removal of the Anodizing by an unknown liquid prior to my purchase of the vehicle, and the other is simply the dullness of all four rims. Before you begin this process I will tell you that this is completely a manual labor project. I tried mechanical means with poor results. “Hands On” and sweat simply produced awesome results. By the time I had the second rim done, I was already down to 2.5 hours per rim. The first was a lot of trial and error and a whole day. There are two things that will make this job easier, the first is have the tire and valve removed (I did not do this) and the second is ship them off and let someone else do it (I obviously did not do this). In any case, take the wheel off the car.

What you will need: (Photo 2)
1. Easy Off oven cleaner
2. Latex gloves
3. Sponge with the green scotch brite pad attached
4. Lots and lots of CLEAN, SOFT rags. (3 inch strips for polishing, larger for buffing)
5. Meguiars #4 Heavy-Cut Cleaner
6. Meguiars #9 Swirl Remover 2.0
7. Meguiars Gold Class (or your favorite) wax
8. 800 grit wet or dry sandpaper (3M)
9. 1500 or 2000 grit wet or dry sandpaper (3M)
10. Masking Tape
11. Thick paper to cover painted portion of wheel
12. Mothers Mag And Aluminum Polish (not in photo)
Step one:
Clean the tires with a brush, both sides, and get all the crap out of the backside. Why go through all this and have a filthy rim?
Step two:
Mask off the painted portion of the wheel (Photo 3), although it will be getting wet and eventually come off, it will save the paint from the Easy Off which in my case did not affect the paint.
Step three:
Liberally spray the anodized portion of the rim with Easy off, wait about 10 minutes, and then start scrubbing with the sponge I mentioned. At this point, you may regret starting this procedure as you will now see what your own two hands and some chemical will do to your baby’s rims. Keep scrubbing with moderate, even pressure following the curve of the rim. Mostly the anodized area will now look white as though it is stained and it is ruined, I know I did. But at this point you are now committed and no one except maybe myself would touch it with a ten foot pole. Wipe it all off with a wet, clean rag. You will now see where all of the anodizing did not come off and has a mottled or spotted look (Photo 4). Spray it down again with easy off and start scrubbing again, but now you will see that larger areas of the horrible mottled look is starting to just plain look really dull. Keep scrubbing with the scotch brite pad and repeat until the entire silver part is evenly dull and the mottled looking areas are gone. O.K, the scariest part is over; it gets pretty easy and less scary from here.
Step 4:
Remove the making paper and tape, wash the rim down with soap and water and get it back on the bench. Dirt and sand will now be your enemy so get it nice and clean. Have a clean water drenched rag handy as well as a bucket of clean water and a piece of the 800 grit wet or dry sandpaper. Start sanding the area, again, sand with the curve of the rim, and do not do tiny areas nor hard pressure, you want to apply even pressure, over say one fourth of the rims diameter. Also, don’t spend a lot of time in one spot with one finger; you are liable to permanently gauge into the aluminum. Sand the entire area down, wetting the paper frequently. You will see black reside begin to appear immediately. This is good; you are starting to remove a slight amount of surface metal and getting the surface nice and smooth. Now is the time to sand out any areas that still have some anodizing left. Keep it up, get it all nice and evenly dull (Photo 5).
Step 5:
Wash the entire rim down again with soap and clean water. Again, dirt and sand is now the enemy, especially since you are nearing the end. Sand the entire area down again with the 1500 or 2000 grit wet or dry sandpaper as in step 4, keep it good and wet while sanding, covering one section about a fourth of the rims diameter. Again, nice even pressure, not hard, and this time be really thorough. This will save you a lot of hand rubbing when it comes time to polish the shine back on this baby.
Step 6:
Yes, once again, wash the rim down, dirt, sand, sludge, all enemies. Dry the rim good. Now you will get to see the rewards of all you have done up to this point, this step is what it was all for. Use the small strips of rag, folded over into pads, load it with Meguiars #4 and put some on the rim too. For this step you will at first want to do small areas, roughly six inches long. Rub it in good, nice even pressure back and forth with good moderate even pressure. The rag will be completely black. With another clean larger rag, buff it clean. Yes, you should now see it start to shine and maybe feel the first smile of the entire project on your face (Photo 6). Change to clean areas of the little rag every time you start a new section and continue on until you have gone all the way around. Go over the whole rim again, but this time back off on the pressure and do larger distances, it will go pretty quick. Keep switching to clean areas of the rag very frequently (Photo 7) shows why. Clean sections of rag used here with the polish will polish much better and quicker each pass.
Step 7:
Make another small pad using a clean rag, and repeat step 5 using the Meguiars #9. Now you will really see the brilliant shine like I did. I now knew this was all worthwhile.
Step 8:
With another clean small rag, go over the entire rim again with the Mothers polish, and the brilliant shine will now astound you.
Step 9:
Wax the entire rim really well, I did mine twice, and was absolutely amazed with the shine (Photo 8). My girlfriend though I bought new rims.
I will add that my rims did have some minor pits and a few somewhat deep scratches. I was too afraid to try and sand out the defects completely as I did not want to ruin the overall finish. This process of course will now require you to take the time periodically to clean the rims thoroughly and periodically rub them out again from time to time to keep the shine using the Mothers, but I feel it was all worth it as my pictures speak for themselves. Keep in mind that you have now directly exposed the aluminum to the elements since we have removed the protective anodizing.

This was a very worthwhile project for me, and I am sure you will agree if you give it a go. You can always email me if you have questions at

Old 06-03-2009, 02:24 PM
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