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Refinishing Fuchs for Dummies

Well after some interest in another thread I will post a method I developed to refinish Fuchs that do not involve harsh chemical strippers, worn out fingers, or a grinder. I have read about every post and method to do this on the web and I could not find a safe relatively easy way to do it. Don't get me wrong this will still take you about 2 hours per wheel to do, but most other methods take about 4-6 hours per wheel. So here we go. DISCLAIMER if you want perfect wheels with absolutely no fine scratches then send them to AR or HW. The have the experience and tools to do this perfect everytime. The first time you do this they will look nice, but not be perfect. YMMV

To begin with you will need all of this stuff. The most important piece is the 3M light rust remover wheel. You can get them from WalMart in the auto section or by the drill bits for $6 per wheel. DO NOT GET THE BLACK PAD it is too rough and will scratch the aluminum too deep, only get the brown pad. You will need about 1 per wheel if you intend to strip the entire wheel, 1.5 per 2 wheels if you are doing the pedals and lips or 1 per 2 wheels if you are just polishing the lips. I also got some small 3m twist on polishing pads for my drill. The set was $10 and again available in the auto section at Wallies World. The blue pad is used for taking out scratches in metal and is very forgiving. You can buy them individually at auto paint stores as well.

Then you will need a buffing wheel for your drill or bench grinder and some hard and soft polishing compounds. Usually you can get that stuff at hardware stores or Harbor Freight(where I got mine) for about $20. The hard compound will be used to take out the heavy scratches and even out imperfections. The light compound will just be to shine it. However you will probably want to get a softer wheel to use with that compound as well. Just read the directions of the stuff at the hardware store. Anyway, here is what I used.


Next you will need a very good high speed drill. Cordless drills don't have the rpms or torque, so they won't cut it. I used this one.


Here is what I started with.


So now load the 3M wheel in the drill and start stripping. You will notice how easilly the pad will strip off the paint and then the anodization. Just work away at it until you have it all off. I just did my lips and pedals. I didn't waste too much energy stripping the center black below the pedals. However it doesn't hurst to just lightly go over it to scuff it for painting later. The brown pad will leave some surface scratches, but don't worry they will come out later. This is how my wheel looked after 30 minutes.


Note when you are done there may be some spots you missed, but load that 3m quick pad into a cordless drill and you can remove small spots with it as you go along. So now remove the brown pad from your drill and put on the polishing pad. Spin it up and load on some rough compound. The trick here is to heat up the metal to take out the scratches. It will take a little practice and muscle, buy you will get the hang of it. I think I went over each wheel 3 times with this compound. If you find a spot that just is not polishing out, there is probably some anodization you missed. Just grab the cordless drill with the 3m quick pad on it and work it out. Then go back to polishing. This will take about an hour per wheel to do.


At this point you can either go directly to painting or do a final polish. I took my soft pad and soft compound and did a final polish on the wheel before I went to paint. It doesn't take much pressure or effort to get the high shine so this goes pretty quick. So now clean the wheel and yourself up. Use some paint prep cleaner to make sure the wheel is very clean. Then scuff the surfaces you are going to paint. Next mask it off. I used a self etching primer I purchased from a auto paint supply store for about $10. At the same time I got a can of compatable gloss black. Read the directions on both and do your best. Here is my final wheel.


Some final notes. I suggest for safety reasons to use ear plugs, saftely glasses and a dusk mask. There is a lot of dust and mess created by this process and you don't need it in your eyes or lungs. Well hope this will help some people along. I actually enjoy doing it and my wheel turned out pretty good. Not concours perfect, but I am very happy with them.
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Old 11-17-2005, 02:27 PM
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Kevin, they look great, thanks for the post.
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Old 11-17-2005, 02:39 PM
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Yes very nice!
Old 11-17-2005, 02:49 PM
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Great write-up Kevin! Thanks for all the details and pictures.

Your dog even approves...
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Old 11-17-2005, 02:50 PM
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Thanks for the write-up.

You have inspired all of us cheap b*stards that like to do everything ourselves.

Ian
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Old 11-17-2005, 02:55 PM
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That's what I'm talking about! Thanks for the winter project inspiration Kevin.
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Old 11-17-2005, 02:59 PM
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great post very informative

Thanks!

Fred
Old 11-17-2005, 03:02 PM
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Kevin, very nice work, I have been working on a couple rims by hand and have a lot more hours in than that without coming close to those results......
What did you do to the rear of the rims?
Old 11-17-2005, 04:20 PM
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They look great! Nice job!
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Old 11-17-2005, 04:28 PM
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That was my helper for the entire project.

That 3M stripper pad really is magic because it literally leaves a nice dull finish without very deep scratches in the metal. The backs of the rims I just sprayed black when I painted them. They get break dust on them anyway so I didn't waste too much time back there. I just hope this write up helps some others who want to do this project themselves. Please add to it if you have any other tips.
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Old 11-17-2005, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by quaz

That was my helper for the entire project.

That 3M stripper pad really is magic because it literally leaves a nice dull finish without very deep scratches in the metal. The backs of the rims I just sprayed black when I painted them. They get break dust on them anyway so I didn't waste too much time back there. I just hope this write up helps some others who want to do this project themselves. Please add to it if you have any other tips.
Thanks,

Let's see what the car looks like with those wheels on it.

Don
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Old 11-17-2005, 06:23 PM
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Here is how they turned out on the car.
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Old 11-17-2005, 06:29 PM
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Kevin, good job and thanks again for the write-up.

Freddie
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Old 11-17-2005, 06:36 PM
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what kind of polishing compound did you use? when I do the wheels and fuel tanks on my truck I usually use jewlers rouge.
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Old 11-17-2005, 06:38 PM
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Jewlers rouge will not get the deep scratches out. You have to use a harder compound. The jewlers rouge is great to finish them off and get a final shine out of them. The compound on the left is the rouge and the one on the right is the rough compound. There was no name on it, just finishing compound.
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Old 11-17-2005, 06:42 PM
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Nice work!

To get a bit more technical the buffing/polishing compunds come in different grits. The link below shows what's available from Eastwood.

When done it might be a good idea to finish off with a polish like Simichrome or (better yet) Hochglanz Alu-Politur P21S to give a deep final shine and protective coat. "Wheel Wax" is another option as well.

http://www.eastwood.com/jump.jsp?itemID=444&itemType=CATEGORY&iMainCat=439&iSubCat=444

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Last edited by RickM; 11-17-2005 at 07:33 PM..
Old 11-17-2005, 07:27 PM
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I'm new to the P car so sorry if this is a dumb question but are all Fuchs the same? Could I do this polishing with the ones off of my 78.
Old 11-18-2005, 05:45 AM
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Great post, thanks for all the details.

Rich
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Old 11-18-2005, 06:25 AM
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Great thread, good info, thanks.
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Old 11-18-2005, 06:27 AM
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Eck, this process should work for any aluminum wheel, not just Fuchs. Fuchs just seem to be the most common polished wheels around here. So to answer the question, this should work for any year real or fake Fuchs in theory.
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Old 11-18-2005, 06:36 AM
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