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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
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Refinishing Phone Dial Wheels

Wow, refinishing these things can be a costly pain. I went the route of using Aircraft Stripper / Steel Whool etc. The refinishing kit sold at many shops and online stores. Well, to say the least about 10 hours later I was less than happy with what turned out of my old rims. I waited, I sanded, I polished, I did just about all I could think of and then quit after spending the weekend and about $200 total in materials on two phone dials. Then I explored other options. I found a place that specializes in wheel refinishing. They quoted me $650 for the four to be good as new. Then I found a body shop that would sandblast those babies and powdercoat them for about $450. Hey thats a bit cheaper. Then I looked into renting a sandblaster myself. By the time you rent the gun, the compressor, the suit and helmet your looking at about $220 without material to blast. I read somewhere that you should use Walnut Chips for the alloys but I'm not sure.

What I'd like to know is have any of yo usand blasted phone dials before. What should I get, do and use. What pressure etc. Anything that could help. Or is there some extremely potent stuff I can bathe these in that would remove the clearcoat, paint and primer leaving me with nothing but raw alloy?

I want a quick fix, something that will work and won't break the bank. HELP!
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:23 AM
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I used glass beads, medium grit, at 90psi. Keep the gun moving.

The best stuff to remove the factory paint is the "aircraft" paint stripper. It looks like a pale brown tapioca pudding. The stuff sold at the local auto parts stores is generally too weak for this. It's best if you put them out in the sun to warm up, pour on the stripper, spread it around with a disposable brush and let them sit for a while to let the stripper work. I didn't have any problems and didn't have to scrub much at all. The glass beads made quick work of the rest. In painting the wheels, unless you want to go back with Wurth, get a good quality metal etching primer and an epoxy paint. Total cost in doing my wheels came to about $250, and that includes everything, but I already had the blasting equipment.
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:46 AM
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I restored mine last year using Griot's garage "German wheel refinishing kit". Total cost: $60.00. I'll try to post some pics soon.
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:00 AM
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I didnt bother stripping as the factory primer is good stuff.
I degreased, wet sanded with 400 grit, then used a red scotch bright pad.
masked the tire off and went over the wheel with a good paint prep / cleaner. Then 3 coats of Duplicolor silver wheel paint, and 3 coats of clear.

The thing to watch is your temperature, humidity and wind.
They look great.
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:22 AM
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I sandblasted mine down to the primer layer (PO had used a can of silver spray paint on them). The primer from the factory is incredibly well bonded. Light sanding, reprimered, sanded, color, sanded, color, sanded, clearcoat, sanded, clearcoat. Turned out very good. In a month or so, I'll apply a coat of wax
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:22 AM
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Old 08-04-2004, 11:04 AM
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I did mine last weekend. I didn't remove the primer either. Painting specific degreaser/cleaner, and followed up with 400 sandpaper. Three light coats of Wurth Silver, and three light coats of clear. Came out great. ~$40 in materials. Couple of hours work.
Old 08-04-2004, 11:56 AM
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This is good stuff...I am now on day three of refinishing a set of 98 Boxster 5 spokes...I used the aircraft stripper, a sanding disk attached to a drill and then proceeded with primer, paint and clear coat...It was a pain...
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:22 PM
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I bought a kit from www.mamotorworks.com cant remember how much but the stripper they provide romoved the paint quite nicely and I was taught a trick by someone who used to professionally polish wheels. After you strip the paint take 600 grit sand paper and wet the wheel with WD-40 and sand away evenly and use that elbow and then clean off with a dry rag. Then u take 1200 grit sandpaper along with the WD-40 again and repeat. After drying up the wheel with a clean rag take some Mother's Mag Polish and apply and buff til u feast your eyes on some Bling Bling.
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Last edited by chitown944; 08-05-2004 at 10:11 AM..
Old 08-05-2004, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by chitown944
After you strip the paint take 600 grit sand paper and wet the wheel with WD-40 and sand away evenly and use that elbow and then clean off with a dry rag. Then u take 1200 grit sandpaper along with the WD-40 again and repeat. After drying up the wheel with a clean rag take some Mother's Mag Polish and apply and buff til u feast your eyes on some Bling Bling.
Sheer genius. It took me 2 applications of the airplane stripper yesterday to remove 90% of the paint. Tried the WD-40/Sandpaper earlier, and WOW... the remaining specks come right off and I can see the shine begging to be unleashed.

Still hallucinating from the airplane stripper fumes today, so tomorrow I'll finish with the clean up, then start the polishing.

Thanks for the tip.
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Old 05-17-2005, 01:19 PM
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I am going to polish up a set of 16" phone dials I plan to use for my winter wheels. I want to see how they come out before I polish my summer wheels
Very good procedures in here, I'll be saving this thread for future reference.

WD-40 and sandpaper tends to work a little nicer than just wet-sanding for some reason.
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Old 05-17-2005, 01:52 PM
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Ditto on the glass bead media, works well.
Old 05-17-2005, 04:45 PM
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livewirevoodoo, i almost fell off my chair, reading your post, and i could see you hallucinating ! reminds me when i had to polish up a flat piece of duraluminum, i had my head down, and i was using a similiar substance. i thought the area i was working in was well ventilated, until i went to get up, and could not walk in a straight line ! i swear i was seeing things too. !!
bob.
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Old 05-17-2005, 05:20 PM
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