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handmedownreatta

Refinishing Aluminum Wheels

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: handmedownreatta</div><div class="ubbcode-body">has anyone removed the clearcoat from the 89 wheel and polished the aluminum?pics?mine are milky white. </div></div>

Try starting a new thread, info available. cool.gif

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Handmedownreatta. I have completed two of my four stock 1990 reatta wheels and I have to tell you this is a dirty time consuming job. If I was doing it over I would have the wheel collision center in Bath,Pa. do the wheels. If I remember right they charge like $115 a wheel exchange and do a beautiful job. When you do it yourself, you need to get "aircraft paint stripper" to get the clearcoat off,then you use 400,600 and 1200 grade wet-dry sandpaper,soap and water to clean the aluminum wheels,a lot of old rags for polishing and then two coats of clear to finish. Allow a lot of time on each wheel. I detail cars and boats in my retirement and I would rather do a 4-5 hr detail than restore these wheels. Frank

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I did the aircraft plastic remover thing and just used a Mothers power ball with polish and it brightened them right up. Very easy, polishing about 5 minutes a wheel.

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Did Ratty's wheels using methods described above. It is dirty work but the results are worth it for me. I used ordinary paint remover as it was cheaper. Did not clearcoat, but waxed the wheels- that way I don't have to put up with stripping them again.

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Guest BJM

On a side note - I wonder if Reatta wheels can be polished to better then factory standards. Either 1. Fully polished as you see on some new cars wher eit looks like Chrome or 2. just finer grained and better then OEM but still not "fully polished"

Didn't 91 have a polished or chromed wheel option?

My 2004 Pontiac Bonneville has factory chromed aluminum wheels and that's a BAD idea. The chrome has flaked off the inner part, bubbled, etc - so if 1991 Reattas had "chromed" wheels instead of polished aluminum, then they are probably in bad shape by now.

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When I did my wheels there were parts where the plastic coating was missing in spots and the metal was oxidizing but it polished out nicely.

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No worries, fixed. For future reference, you can edit your posts by selecting the edit button at the bottom of the post in question.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: BJM</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

Didn't 91 have a polished or chromed wheel option?

</div></div>

No. The '91 wheels are painted. There are similar chromed wheels on other models. They look great on Reattas. cool.gif

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Maui-

Correct on both counts. I have in my possession a set of 4 take off [like new] 2002 LeSabre chrome rims, made from the same casting as stock 91 wheels, but chrome plated instead of painted. These are really sharp, so I am looking forward to putting these on the car.

I need to get the chrome Reatta center caps (will drop a line to steveskyhawk shortly, just getting the $ together for this) and new tires and will be ready to roll.

The stock rims actually are part painted, part machined. The outer edge of the rim has a machined aluminum surface, clear coated. The balance of the wheel is painted sparkle silver and clear coated. White instead of silver was an option, but seems very few cars were ordered this way.

Actually, I think the stock 91 rims (painted) look really good too. I plan to refinish the set I have and keep in storage for probable use on a second Reatta at some point in the not too distant future (I hope).

Still trying to decide if I do the refinish myself, or send them out to be done professionally. I have the tools and know how to do my own, but lack the time and motivation with so many other projects already in waiting.

KDirk

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Has anyone removed the clearcoat from the 89 wheel and polished the aluminum? Pics? Mine are milky white.

Yes, I recently polished mine. (I have a 90 coupe)

I thought I posted some pics on this Forum somewhere.

Anyways, just a few comments here about this job:

1) Getting the clear coat off took quite a few applications of paint stripper.

(I couldnt find aircraft stripper locally)

2) It's best to use wet-sandpaper to get out the nicks and scratches that you

will probalby have on your wheels. I started with 400, then went to 600, 850 then 1000.

3) I used Mother's Aluminum wheel polish and a Mother's Powerball for polishing.

4) Wear your old clothes and dont be in a hurry to get this project done.

5) Some people clear-coat when they're done but I havent done this.

(I just polish them up with some more Mother's or some Semichrome and a clean, soft rag)

Kit

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Have any of you guys heard of Ask Patty? Just found out - and look at this article! (all about refinishing aluminum rims!) - How to Refinish Aluminum Rims - Ask Patty - Automotive Advice for Women hope that helps others in this forum :)

she says sand off the clear coat...i think that might make a mess.i used the aircraft stripper.it worked fast.i think it came from advance auto.

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this is what it look like when finished.No clear coat,just hand polish it 2 times during summer.Did the same on the rear bumper.

post-49406-143138463891_thumb.jpg

post-49406-143138463906_thumb.jpg

post-49406-143138463921_thumb.jpg

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this is what it look like when finished.No clear coat,just hand polish it 2 times during summer.Did the same on the rear bumper.

Exactly what did you do to your bumpers? They look great!! :D

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What brand(s) of polish? Grits of sand paper? I could use just any paint stripper I suppose.

Sorry for the ignorant-sounding questions.. they sound ignorant because.. well... they are! :P

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Did same thing as the wheels,paint stripper,sand and polish.

Bumper looks amazing. Did you remove the bumper and/or the trim or did you just mask it?

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I completely removed it,its easy to remove,i used wet sand paper,800,1000 then 2000.for the products i used look at the older posts,yuo will have more info on how to do it,the posts date from about a year.

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