: How do you best strip the paint off the stock rims?



bpitas
07-21-08, 07:50 PM
Ugh... Ever start a project and wish you never had? :banghead:

On one of my old 5.0 Mustangs, polishing the stock aluminum rims was as easy as brushing some "StripEze" onto the rim to bubble off the clearcoat, then polish the rim with some Mother's Mag and Aluminum polish, and then bingo - you could easily mistake it for chrome!

So I'm sitting around on vacation looking for some car work to do, and since my rebuilt rear shocks weren't in yet, I decided to polish the stock rims. I figured I had two days of vacation so hell, even if they took 2 hours a piece, I could still get away with it...

Well, about 10 hours into it, I still have one rim 90% there and the other about 75% done, and I'm *really* sick of polishing those damned things!

Actually, it's not the polishing that's the problem - that's pretty easy and relatively satisfying... It's stripping the damned things! What process does the factory use to paint them? It looks like there's a VERY thin layer of metalic silver paint, then some sort of whitish DIAMOND HARD material that looks almost like it's annodized, and then a darker grey layer before you finally get to the aluminum. I tried StripEze and EasyOff (oven cleaner, which is what alot of motorcycle guys use to strip the annodizing off their frames to polish them) and whatever the white stuff is, nothing touches it short of good ol' fashioned sand paper!

So far I've used a 100 grip flap wheel on a drill for the bigger portions of the rim, and then a buffing/stripping wheel on a dremel for the tight spots, and even with that it's nearly impossible to get the white and grey layers off of the inside of the ends of the spokes since it's so tight.

Has anyone out there had any success with some sort of chemical stripper in this situation? I heard someone on another forum mention airplane paint remover, but I've never seen that anyplace...
Any other suggestions? I'm really sick of polishing and my girlfriend is all set with me coming upstairs looking like a coal miner!

:crying2:

PS: I think it's going to look really good when I'm done, if I survive long enough to get there!

CtsVrod
07-21-08, 08:03 PM
Ugh... Ever start a project and wish you never had? :banghead:

On one of my old 5.0 Mustangs, polishing the stock aluminum rims was as easy as brushing some "StripEze" onto the rim to bubble off the clearcoat, then polish the rim with some Mother's Mag and Aluminum polish, and then bingo - you could easily mistake it for chrome!

So I'm sitting around on vacation looking for some car work to do, and since my rebuilt rear shocks weren't in yet, I decided to polish the stock rims. I figured I had two days of vacation so hell, even if they took 2 hours a piece, I could still get away with it...

Well, about 10 hours into it, I still have one rim 90% there and the other about 75% done, and I'm *really* sick of polishing those damned things!

Actually, it's not the polishing that's the problem - that's pretty easy and relatively satisfying... It's stripping the damned things! What process does the factory use to paint them? It looks like there's a VERY thin layer of metalic silver paint, then some sort of whitish DIAMOND HARD material that looks almost like it's annodized, and then a darker grey layer before you finally get to the aluminum. I tried StripEze and EasyOff (oven cleaner, which is what alot of motorcycle guys use to strip the annodizing off their frames to polish them) and whatever the white stuff is, nothing touches it short of good ol' fashioned sand paper!

So far I've used a 100 grip flap wheel on a drill for the bigger portions of the rim, and then a buffing/stripping wheel on a dremel for the tight spots, and even with that it's nearly impossible to get the white and grey layers off of the inside of the ends of the spokes since it's so tight.

Has anyone out there had any success with some sort of chemical stripper in this situation? I heard someone on another forum mention airplane paint remover, but I've never seen that anyplace...
Any other suggestions? I'm really sick of polishing and my girlfriend is all set with me coming upstairs looking like a coal miner!

:crying2:

PS: I think it's going to look really good when I'm done, if I survive long enough to get there!

Cant really help you on doing it yourself... But it probably wont be too expensive to take it to someone to Media/Sand Blast it... Prob take a few hours, and save you alot of time and aggravation, plus I hope your wearing some sort of respirator, or have good ventilation... That stuff prob isnt too great to be breathing.... Either way good luck, and Post up some pics when your done!

Cadillac Tony
07-21-08, 08:03 PM
I used Aircraft Remover to strip the stock wheels on my Autocross car (93 Miata)- got it at the local AutoZone in a tin can. It pours out like thin pudding and stinks to high heaven, but I swear to God that stuff would eat through to the core of the Earth if you spilled it on the ground- it's pretty hard core. I was using a paintbrush to smear it on the wheels, but the brush started dissolving about halfway through. :eek:

Use it in an extremely well ventilated area, and wear serious gloves- I got a little under my wedding ring and it burned like crazy, so use caution. I just gooped it on, let the paint bubble up, then blasted it from point blank range with a pressure washer.

bpitas
07-21-08, 08:10 PM
plus I hope your wearing some sort of respirator, or have good ventilation... That stuff prob isnt too great to be breathing.... Either way good luck, and Post up some pics when your done!

I was outside my garage, thankfully - the StripEze is pretty strong smelling stuff,but I can't *imagine* how anyone can use EasyOff to clean their ovens inside a kitchen!!! :canttalk: Even outside that stuff had me choking from 10' away!!! :ill:

SkullV
07-21-08, 08:13 PM
Takes most professional media blasters 2 hours to do all 4 rims.

CTSV_Rob
07-21-08, 10:08 PM
Sand Blasting works well for stripping the paint but it will take for ever to polish the rims after. I wouldn't recommend beatblast unless you plan to repaint them.

AAIIIC
07-21-08, 10:10 PM
Some OEM wheels are powdercoated. Based on your description of how tough the finish is, I'm guessing that the V's wheels are powdercoated.

type911
07-21-08, 10:15 PM
Aircraft stripper. Always worked for me.

SkullV
07-22-08, 12:23 AM
Some OEM wheels are powdercoated. Based on your description of how tough the finish is, I'm guessing that the V's wheels are powdercoated.

They are painted. Just painted VERY well.

bpitas
07-22-08, 07:00 AM
Maybe I'll try the aircraft stripper. My dad's got a sandblaster, but his compressor is pretty old so it doesn't work as well as a professional one. I do remember when I tried sandblasting something I was going to polish that the sandblasted finish was tough to get back to smooth afterwards.

I actually hadn't thought of them being powder-coated, but that *does* sound possible since the first thing I thought of when I saw the white stuff was that it was anodized.

Thanks for all the great feedback guys!

lollygagger8
07-22-08, 08:45 AM
Go to a paint shop or a machine shop, and get them SODA blasted. That will take the paint off and not hurt the rim!

coolcaddy1
07-22-08, 03:05 PM
The rims are made in Italy. I was told that the paint used has LEAD in it. Nasty stuff wash well and wear a charcole filtered resperator. One of those white tyvek suits wouldn't be such a bad idea. Neighbors might worry a litle tho lol

WarrenMRogers
03-08-12, 09:14 PM
I've been considering doing this lately. The paint on my factories has begun to flake off on it's own. My question is: Once I've successfully removed the OEM coating, what's the underneath like? Am I going to have a bear of a time keeping it clean? Is it just aluminum? I've heard horror stories about keeping bare aluminum looking nice. The wheels are starting to look awful.

rand49er
03-08-12, 11:31 PM
:food-snacking:

EdmundGTP
03-09-12, 01:23 PM
I've been considering doing this lately. The paint on my factories has begun to flake off on it's own. My question is: Once I've successfully removed the OEM coating, what's the underneath like? Am I going to have a bear of a time keeping it clean? Is it just aluminum? I've heard horror stories about keeping bare aluminum looking nice. The wheels are starting to look awful.

Just save yourself the time and trouble and take them to a wheel refinishing place to have them re painted or powdercoated in the color of your choice, or have them polished and clear coated. Shouldn't be super expensive. I had all the curb rash fixed on mine and got them powdercoated for about $100 a wheel. Overnight turnaround AND that included a re-mounting/balancing of the tire that was on it.