Ok, so today I ventured to get two of my wheels looking a tad better than they have recently. One of the rears has had the lacquer stripped from it at some point probably with something like Wonder Wheels being left on it too long or road salt etc. Because of this, brake dust had nicely engrained itself into the rim.
These are 18" ZT Straights, but the process and principle are the same for an alloy wheel. Unfortunately I didn't get to remove the tyres from the rims although it would have been a nicety, its not an essential unless you want a fully pro job.
Materials I used are:
- Multigrades of Wet n Dry paper ranging from 80 - 1200 (Halfords project pack is good here)
- Cataloy filler (flexi filler although normal filler will probably do)
- High Build grey Primer (Halfords)
- Vauxhall Metallic Star Silver (Halfords)
- Clear Coat Lacquer (Halfords)
- Pain Thinners (Halfords)
So, this is what the bad alloy looked like, both had severe kerbing but this alloy was the one I really wanted to get sorted.
As you can see, pretty messy here.
So, a whip over with the 80 grit dry paper and we get something like this.
You can see the kerbing here as well. Remember, unless you are picking up severe brake dust that doesn't remove under normal washing conditions then this step is probably not for you.
So, on to the filling, I ended up using a knife for spreading with as it allows to give you a good thin film which is what you want. You can build this up with 30 minutes inbetween but dont go too mad or you'll regret it when you come to sanding. Also, give your primer the benfit of the doubt, it can mask a lot of imperfections.
Give this 45-60 minutes to fully harden, it was a scorcher today so this was a great benefit. Then crack on with the sanding to achieve a smooth finish. Again, don't worry if there are some slight imperfections, primer will hide this later, like so
I made three fairly thick passes with the primer and only sanded between coats two and three with DRY 800 grit (DO NOT WET SAND PRIMER). Don't worry about overspray, thats easy to sort.
Halfords actually sell a specific Alloy wheel silver spray but it really is cack. Its very dull grey and has no sparkle in it which is why I went for a metallic silver. I'm sure most will be an accurate match but the Vauxhall one is very good indeed.
3 coats of Silver with WET sanding inbetween coats 2 and 3 with 1200 grit paper. I would usually advise a curing time of 24 hours before painting on primer but this was not an option for me today and fortunately in the 24degree weather it was not too much of an issue.
After coat 3 of paint has dried it will be looking very sparkly. Sand it. Yes, thats right. BEFORE applying lacquer, use 1200 grit and WET sand around the wheel. Wipe down with a clean cloth then apply two coats of lacquer with 15-20 miunutes between coats. No sanding between coats necessary.
End results - sorry for dark pictures but the sun was starting to go down. Colour match with the centre cap is amazing. I'll take a brighter pic tomorrow, but in the mean time.
To remove overspray from the tyre grab your thinners and a cloth and rub. It can be stubborn but it comes off ok in the end. Use a damp cloth after you've removed the overspray to wipe around the tyre.
Hope this helps some people in the future.