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Paint the rims?


franc944
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The stock 15" wheels on my 1990 convertible have some scratches and road rash.

I have tried the duplicolor rim paint on mustang pony rims and it came out great.

Would it be just cheesy to paint the aluminum stock rims that are usually just clearcoated?

It's a white car. Would white rims be too fake select 60?

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The rims can be painted as long as they are properly prepped (stripped clean, and chemically prepped to accept the paint) as painting aluminum is a bit different process than steel. Long time ago here, I had posted in a thread on wheel refinishing that had a copy of a GM TSB that suggested what color silver to use. I will need to see if I can turn it up. Of course, you could use any color you chose, but the GM suggested color was meant to approximate the look of machined aluminum.

As to white wheels, I know there is at least one poster here (I believe one of our Canadian contributors) who painted the 5 spoke wheels white, and I thought it looked good from the pictures that were posted at the time. Probably harder to keep clean though, especially with regard to brake dust.

I don't think white would be too "fake select 60" since the S60 cars had the 16" oval slot rims that were stock on 1991 models, only painted white instead of silver. White 5 spokes would be a unique look for sure.

KDirk

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Ronnie,

Yes, that is (mostly) what I had posted. There were two different colors suggested by GM. One was Sparkle Silver (this was high-metallic, to be used on the 91 rims I believe). Corsican Silver had a fine metallic, meant to approximate the look of finely machined aluminum wheels (sans the fine concentric lathe marks of course).

franc944-

Can't say what the painted wheels would do to the car. On one hand, wheels in poor condition (scratched/clouded/yellowed finish) will be a major detractor from the appearance of the car. This would likely ding the value. On the other, refinished wheels that are not bone stock may be an issue to a buyer who wants it 100% "right". Whether or not this will be an issue depends on the buyer, and if your car is in otherwise pristine/near show car condition. A really clean, great condition Reatta is more likely to attract discriminating buyers who would be more concerned about deviations from stock condition.

To the average buyer, probably not as much of an issue, as long as the wheels look good. The only other downside to painting is that if a wheel gets damaged, you will not be able to just buy another original equipment rim and have it match, it would have to be repainted to match the other previously refinished rims. Most typical buyers probably would not give forethought to that so it probably would not be an issue they would try to negotiate price on.

A final thought, since there is no really good way to redo the center caps for stock appearance (and NOS ones are expensive and getting hard to find) it is usually easier to paint them and the wheels to match.

KDirk

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Steve makes a good point here. Non-stock wheels are not like a repaint of the body, they can be "undone". You can always go back (if you can get original parts) so it shouldn't be a big issue. A really anal-retentive buyer may squawk about non-stock wheels, but most would probably not give it a thought unless the replacement rims were really strange or really ugly.

KDirk

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Champaign taste, beer budget. The local place gets $120+ per piece to refinish in clearcoat aluminum.

I can spend that kind of money and still have 15" rims, paint all four for under $80 total vs $480. Or go with aftermarket or newer Buick 5-115.

There in is why I came here for opinons.

I just don't want to cheese out but few alternatives.

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steve, those wheels NCreatta copied up to his post, how exactly is that done? I know they come with a almost color changing aluminum finish that i've seen on alot of older alloys but those are almost like someone did them a chrome even the matching center caps

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Guest steveskyhawk

Recian and all,

The wheels pictured were professionally polished.

Step one is to insure that the hubcaps are free of dings and dents. Any imperfection will be magnified when polished. It is perfectly OK if the clear coat is totally white but no dings, dents or deep scratches.

Next I carefully tape off the center plastic logo to prevent damage during the polishing. These centers cannot be easily removed without damaging them. Sometimes, unless instructed not to, a polisher will remove them for you with disastrous results. Tape them off and the polisher will know enough not to hit the plastic with his wheel.

Most importantly take them to a professional metal polishing shop. This is routine work for them. Harbor Freight does NOT have the tools to do this job. This is not a DIY job.

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How do you tell the difference between a "professional" shop and one that is "unprofessional".

Did a Google and did not find any listed as "unprofessional"

I find the same problem with golf balls........ many say "long", "straight", cannot find one that says "short", "hook", "slice"

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Kitskaboodle polished his 15" wheels himself, but it took a LOT of sweat equity. Here is his thread on it: http://forums.aaca.org/f116/anyone-polish-their-own-reatta-wheels-293680.html

The $120/wheel price is pretty good. Around here it is more like $175/wheel and does not include the center caps. I am probably going to have to bite that bullet one of these days too.

If the wheels are really trashed, you might consider looking for a set of chromed 16" wheels from a late Riv or Park Avenue. They look just like the '91 Reatta wheels, only in chrome. They are the wheels that are in some of the photos that Steve showed above. You might get them for half what getting the original wheels refinished would cost.

Edited by wws944 (see edit history)
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Guest mongeonman

I had the wheels painted white on my white 88 and it looked very nice,i also polished the ones on my 90 convert and it looks also very nice.If you want to see them just click on my name and look at the pics,sorry i c ant post them,i tried....

Edited by mongeonman (see edit history)
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If the wheels are really trashed, you might consider looking for a set of chromed 16" wheels from a late Riv or Park Avenue. They look just like the '91 Reatta wheels, only in chrome. They are the wheels that are in some of the photos that Steve showed above. You might get them for half what getting the original wheels refinished would cost.

theres some nice caddy wheels out there too.

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Guest gotitright

Buy a set of Buick Lucerne 17" Chrome wheels and all the problems are gone. Great looking and modern. Getting away from the earlier "edgy" comments.

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I'm still a fan of the look that Mustang 16" wheels give to the Reatta. To me the wheels give the Reatta a wider looking stance that I like, and I like look of the spokes as well. Best of all they are plentiful and can be had for a reasonable price if you look around.

Yes, I realize the downside is they are Ford.

68836d1288899909-front-end-done-reatta_wheels4.jpg

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What I have done is just look at Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market for wheels. Enter the various front wheel G.M. cars you might want to see wheels of. They give you pictures and when you click on the yard that has what you want, you can see what grade they are. Then just to be sure they are nice, have them email their pics. Pick out the ones you want. Should cost less then $75.00 each delivered anywhere in the country.

I live in Wisconsin and bought a beautiful set of four rims from two different N.Carolina yards [they only had two each]. They were perfect and didn't even have weight marks on them.

If Ronnie has a moment he may post them for you. [i am basicly computer illiterate].

Nicer rim then stock, no elbow grease to "clean up" what you have. You still have the original wheels to sell with the car and wheels you can recoup some of your cost back on later.

Heck scrap aluminum would get you $10-15.00 each wheel.

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Now I really like those 17" chromes. If I had to do new rims again on one of mine, I would probably do the ones Ronnie just posted the pic of. The only I didn't do these already is I had good 16" tire to mount already on hand, and would've had to buy a set of 17" tires (not so cheap) to use the 17" rims.

The only downside is the lack of a Reatta center cap. But I think I could work a solution to that problem as well.

KDirk

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This is the only one I could find of yours Dave. I might have deleted the rest. Sorry.

You deleted something I sent you!?! I am appalled.

Those are the ones I wanted, but I just couldn't pull the trigger due to the price [$700.00 or so for 4, if I remember right].

I ended up with Buick 16" wheels from a Buick LeSabre [i believe early/mid ninty's]. They were also used on Cadillacs [Padgett bought some as well].

Really a beautiful wheel and If everyone remembers I "lifted" some nail polish from my wifes supply and painted the hubs Buick trishield. Very happy with what I have.

I will look at some of my prior posts and see if I can find the pics...

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Now I really like those 17" chromes. If I had to do new rims again on one of mine, I would probably do the ones Ronnie just posted the pic of. The only I didn't do these already is I had good 16" tire to mount already on hand, and would've had to buy a set of 17" tires (not so cheap) to use the 17" rims.

The only downside is the lack of a Reatta center cap. But I think I could work a solution to that problem as well.

KDirk

Kevin you shouldn't change a thing about your car. It's one of my favorites. I have always liked the cool, clean lines of white with white trim. The chrome wheels are icing on the cake. Does your other car have the same wheels?
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Ronnie,

Thank you for your kind remarks! My 88 is now a virtual twin to the 91, as I have had the rub moldings repainted white (they needed painting anyway due to scuffs and scratches) and I do have the very same 16" chrome rims on it as well. Also had the factory red pin stripe re-applied. I just finished putting the new trim pieces on yesterday, so expect I will get some pictures soon.

I do like the 16" chrome rims, and chose them originally because they were close in design to the stock 91 rims. They were also readily available at reasonable cost. The newer 17" Lucerne and Lacrosse rims are very nice, but due to being only 2-5 years old, are much more expensive and harder to find.

I have no plans to change rims on either car right now. If I ever need to, I might look at the 17" ones, but only if I also needed new tires at the same time I was considering replacing the wheels, due to the difference in size.

KDirk

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As mentioned, I do not really care for the stock wheels but mainly because they are only 6" wide at a time when even Fiero (GTs) had a 15x7.

Right now both my drivers have 16x7 Bonneville "snowflakes" mainly because I really like the "bulldog" stance from the back you get with 225x60x16. The gold is OK on the blue coupe with gold pinstripe but would rather have natural or black on the white 'vert.

post-31022-143138768687_thumb.jpg

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