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red-beard's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Houston, Tejas
Posts: 37,372
Removing paint from Fuchs

Someone painted my "new" Fuchs. I'd like to go back to the "original" Polished and black painted. Is there a paint stripper that won't hurt the alloys? Or will standard paint stripper work fine?

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the engineer adjusts the sails.- William Arthur Ward (1921-1994)
Red-beard for President, 2020
Old 04-05-2002, 03:34 PM
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bowlsby's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: San Ramon, CA
Posts: 1,182
If you are referring to the 2.0 four spoke Fuchs...

They were never painted at the factory like the 5 lug Fuchs, just clear anodized.

Any sort of chemical will attack the anodizing, you might just BEADblast them. Sandblasting is too abrasive.
Old 04-05-2002, 04:00 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 369
This will take some calibrated fingertips, but people who restore old houses, ie remove layers of paint to get to original murals, etc. will put stripper on a rag and slowly rub the stuff to be removed until the original stuff *starts* to show through, then go to less aggressive methods. Perhaps you could try this with a stripping compound, rinse, then move to rubbing compound. Don't forget your rubber gloves. PS, there is at least one tech article on the fine, but tedious art of refinishing Fuchs'.
Yellow '76 914 3.2
Old 04-05-2002, 05:26 PM
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unclerichy's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 1998
Location: San Fernando Valley, California
Posts: 151
I did mine a couple of months ago and just used run-of-the-mill stripper from OSH. I applied it with a cheap paint brush, let it set for awhile, and then removed the old paint with some of those green nylon dish and pan scrubbers you use at the sink. One of the old postings said not to use steel wool as it reacts with aluminum (I don't know if that's true). Anyway, the results were great and did not remove any of the anodyzing- wish it did.

'73 1.7
'74 2.0
Old 04-05-2002, 06:16 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: augusta, ga.
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I "polished" my 2.0 liter alloys a few months back. Mine were as delivered from factory (no paint) but had their share of scratches, curb rash and a very dull finish.

I'd suggest you read the tech articles here on Pelican. There are at least two excellent articles on refinishing your wheels. As stated in the articles, it is time consuming and allot of work.

After spending about 15-20 hours on each of my wheels, I turned them over to a professional metal polisher. My efforts paid off in that they looked better than when I started but I was not satisfied and knew they could look better...... the pro made my wheels look better than new. My friends still can't believe they were not chromed. The pro did comment on the quality of material used in these wheels and stated that most of the newer cars will not net such a finish due to the process/material used to fabricate wheels.

I started with a polishing kit that contained all the buffing wheels, compounds, metal polish and clear finish to do one set of wheels ($120). Since I did not have the tool to turn the correct rpm for polishing wheels, I was in another $75. After applying the clear finish, I knew I was not satisifed and decided to strip the clear prior to taking them to a professional. I used two different off the shelf paint removers......neither of which harmed the finish.

Bottom line here........I did not have the right tools to do the job. The pro took one of my "already polished" wheels and within seconds polished a small area on one of the pedals to a mirror finish. His polishing wheels and buffing motor looked like the big brothers of what I had. I spent $500 for the pro to polish all four of my wheels. Between the polishing kit, buffer, paint remover and additional polishing wheels I needed, I was in about $250 for the home method. Note: the pro did not recommend clear coating but suggested a special wax. I dreaded what was ahead keeping these things looking like new but to date have not done anything but wash with soap and water.

If you are in fact wanting a mix of polished metal and black paint (I've seen several guys do this to their 2.0L alloys), I would think you should have them stripped, polished and then move on to the paint department.

Keep in mind that when you get your wheels looking like new money, you will probably need new center caps along with new wheel lugs. Those price out at $100 for center caps and about $160 for the lugs. Hard to imagine one spending $1000 to refinish 2.0 liter alloys. Sorry for the long post.......maybe you can learn something from my mistakes.
'73 914
(Renegade V8 conversion)
Old 04-06-2002, 06:27 AM
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3D914's Avatar
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Benson, AZ
Posts: 817

If you're looking to remove the anodizing - as I did before polishing and painting, all you need to due is visit your kitchen pantry and grab a can of Easy-Off oven cleaner. Do this carefully of course, because if the wife sees you know how to use that stuff, guess who gets to do the oven next time!

This works best if you can set the wheels in the sun (preferable to the oven) for an hour or so first. Spray on Easy-Off to generously coat the outer surface of the wheel. Let it sit 10 minutes and wipe off with a wet sponge & hose. No more anodizing!

From there you can polished the raised portion, and paint the recessed portion. Just be sure to let the whoever polishes the wheels know if you're going to paint the recessed portion so they don't polish that - paint won't stick if polished.

Take a look at my sight below, and check out the Project Ravenna. It has before and after of my wheels. BTW, getting the raised outer portion of the wheels polished only cost me around $40 each, since I already removed the anodizing.

74-914 White - Soon to be a custom 3.2L Six 87-924S 2.5L Artic White - SOLD 74-914 2.0L Ravenna Green - SOLD
Old 04-08-2002, 08:39 PM
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