Aluminum Wheel Polishing/Repair

ron6468

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#1
I bought a set of C6 - 5 spoke wheels for my C5. Mostly they are in very good condition except for a few scratches and some slight curb damage on two of them. There are no tires on them so cleaning them will be easier.
I know I can get the curbing damage down to a smooth finish with tools and emery cloth but any ideas on effective aluminum polishing?
Any other ideas welcome too about refinishing these back to original - or close? I'm assuming these are also clear coated so that adds a level of complication I'm guessing.
 

Black 03 Z06

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#2
Ron, there is or was a member on here by the name of Toque, Nova Scotia native who lives in Texas. He had a 2004 Z06 with CCW wheels and he gave a great tutorial on maintaining them. He has moved on from Corvette's. I cannot link to the site, a no no, so here goes.

Start by cleaning the wheels throughly
Using wet sandpaper and lots of water start the process with 320 grit working up to 600, 1000, 1500, 2000 finishing with 3000
Then use Adam's Metal Polish Part 1 and the Part 2
Finish with your favourite wax/sealer.

Lots of work, a bit brainless perhaps but good beer sipping work. I had a hard time finding the higher grit papers but I eventually got them from Lee Valley Tools, they were hiding in the polishing section. The Adam's polish I got from their Canadian distributor in Winnipeg.

Wear gloves when you work on them, those blue surgical gloves are available most anywhere. Take your time inspect constantly and do not get too rough with the heavy grits of sandpaper. Lots of water.

I made up a jig to make it easier, think it cost me $40 bucks or so from the rollers but you can probably do it cheaper. If you are using a similar jig it allows you to keep a hand on the wheel or tire while you rotate them for a even polish. Takes a great deal of the effort out of doing it.

I was really pleased with how my CCW wheels turned out, looked better than new. Time, sandpaper and beer.

Good luck


 
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nascar03

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#3
Nice jig man!

Graham
 
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ron6468

ron6468

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The OEM C6 wheels are not high chrome but polished look. They also have a clear coat. This makes it a bit more challenging I think to blend the blemish into the rest of the wheel.
 

Riley P

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#5
Here are Toque's How-to's: Note, this is on bare alumimum so you'll have to strip the clear, but I'm not sure how far your resto is going.

Mark's 2004 Corvette Z06

Mark's 2004 Corvette Z06

My factory thin spokes started taking a crap kicking from debris on the road and the clear was starting to haze. Fortunately and unfortunately (As I really liked them) I found a set of C7 wheels that I put on my car and so I sold the old ones. But anyway, at some point in the future, I still want to go polished so I'll be watching this thread!

Are you putting wheel spacers on the rear wheels to bring them back out? I put 20mm spacers on my car, which required trimming the studs a bit, but it looks way better with the wheels flush to the outside of the car.
 

Black 03 Z06

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#6
So I typed all that stuff for nothing?:Biggrin:

Toque's video(s) is really good but I did not think I could post it here. He has sold his car and moved on to Cadillacs but his modifications to his C5 Z06 are really well done. I was really happy with how mine turned out. The reason for all the work was 100% my fault. We had taken a late season cruise and the roads department sprayed that brine on the road. We ran into a heavy snowfall so they were probably right to have done so. Just looked odd to see so many Corvettes covered in snow and slush. I did not do a good job of cleaning the stuff off.

Thanks for posting the links Riley.:thumbs:
 
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ron6468

ron6468

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#7
Here are Toque's How-to's: Note, this is on bare alumimum so you'll have to strip the clear, but I'm not sure how far your resto is going.

Mark's 2004 Corvette Z06

Mark's 2004 Corvette Z06

My factory thin spokes started taking a crap kicking from debris on the road and the clear was starting to haze. Fortunately and unfortunately (As I really liked them) I found a set of C7 wheels that I put on my car and so I sold the old ones. But anyway, at some point in the future, I still want to go polished so I'll be watching this thread!

Are you putting wheel spacers on the rear wheels to bring them back out? I put 20mm spacers on my car, which required trimming the studs a bit, but it looks way better with the wheels flush to the outside of the car.
I have 1/4" spacers which I'll try first. Doesn't seem like much but that's what many suggest. Anything more and I'll need longer studs or use an adapter all of which I'd rather not do.
 
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ron6468

ron6468

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So I typed all that stuff for nothing?:Biggrin:

Toque's video(s) is really good but I did not think I could post it here. He has sold his car and moved on to Cadillacs but his modifications to his C5 Z06 are really well done. I was really happy with how mine turned out. The reason for all the work was 100% my fault. We had taken a late season cruise and the roads department sprayed that brine on the road. We ran into a heavy snowfall so they were probably right to have done so. Just looked odd to see so many Corvettes covered in snow and slush. I did not do a good job of cleaning the stuff off.

Thanks for posting the links Riley.:thumbs:
That jig looks great. The wheels I bought don't have tires so much easier to work with. My problem is that they are OEM C6 with what looks like a clear coat. Getting the scratches and a few curb marks off is challenging because the clear coat doesn't match the new shiny repaired surface.
 

KevinB

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#9
That jig is a great idea!
 

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