Author Topic: DIY: Polish your rims  (Read 2516 times)

July 20, 2012, 12:04 AM #0

El Dorifto Offline

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So Im in the process right now of sanding and polishing a fellow members rims on here, and figured it would be a perfect chance to make a quick "how-to" on the subject since a few of the guys in the crew have rims with polished lips/ dishes etc.

I do not take responsibility for any damage to your rims or person due to the use of this guide.
The polishing compound I used WILL STAIN CLOTHES and is to be used in a VENTILATED AREA. Also, when cleaning the polishing attachment the polishing by product left on the polisher WILL STAIN BLACK if left to sit on surfaces. So take proper precautions to avoid such from happening.


Now all thats said and done, lets begin.

THE SUBJECT:
Rims I'll be polishing are 2 piece 17x7.5 +43 Professors. The faces have been removed which makes this process a lot easier. I'd give the overall condition of these rims a 7 out of 10 rating. Your rims might be worse and therefore require more work and/ or steps to complete. Please adjust this guide to fit your needs.
http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj619/slidewayzbentley/IMG_2582.jpg[/img]]

MATERIALS I'LL BE USING:
- 1200rpm corded drill (prefer this as its a constant power source and not likely to die on you)
- 220grit autobody sandpaper
- 500grit autobody sandpaper
- 1500grit wet/ dry autobody sandpaper
- coarse, medium and fine steel wool
- 2 microfiber cloths (1 to wipe away sanding dust and 1 to wipe away excess polish residue)
- Meguiars all-metal polish compound (you can use any metal polishing compound you like)
- Meguiars metal rim polisher cone attachment (you can use any type of polisher attachment you like)
- Mechanics gloves (you will be using the steel wool at some point)
- Respirator of some sort (you will be sanding and it does kick up dust, especially the steel wool)
http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj619/slidewayzbentley/IMG_2587.jpg[/img]]
http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj619/slidewayzbentley/IMG_2591.jpg[/img]]
http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj619/slidewayzbentley/IMG_2589.jpg[/img]]
All suited up, lets begin (yes I know a bandana doesnt offer much as a respirator, dont know where my good one is)
http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj619/slidewayzbentley/IMG_2627-1.jpg[/img]]


STEP 1:
- Clean the rims using soap and water. Remove as much grime, dirt, brake dust, etc as possible as it will make the process much easier and you'll see exactly the work needed to sand/ prep your rims.
- The rims Im working on are not to bad in the areas of having no curb rash or huge gouges taken out of them. They do have a couple pits and good sized dings in the lips, but most can be sanded out with a lot of time put in where as the bigger ones will have to actually be filled in, but we are not doing that for these rims.

STEP 2:
Now that you've cleaned up the rims and have let them dry, lets move onto the sanding process.
- I began sanding the lips using the 220grit sandpaper. Take your time and work in ONE FOOT SECTIONS making to over lap each section so you dont make a ridge. I started from the inner lip and worked my way to the outside edge.
- Be prepared to do a lot of work here as your trying to smooth out a lot of the rough edges and any damage on the rim. Take your time and dont rush as the prepping will make the final outcome look the best. This process took me about an hour on each rim.

STEP 3:
Now that we've taken care of all the major rough spots, its time to move onto the first stage of smoothing it all out.
- Im now moving onto sanding the rims with the coarse steel wool. Your basically looking to smooth everything out from step 2. Make sure to get into all the grooves as those will be harder to sand in the next steps as well as show up as dull spots when you begin polishing.
- Again, work evenly over the rim making sure to not miss any spots and take your time. Theres no rush and the end outcome will look much better because you took your time now.
- Wipe the rim clean of any debris as you dont wanna work that into the rim and further damage it
- After you've sanded with the coarse steel wool and the 220grit sandpaper, your rims should look something like this:
http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj619/slidewayzbentley/IMG_2592.jpg[/img]]

STEP 4:
The hard parts are all done now. Lets get to smoothing things out much more on those lips.
- Begin by sanding with 500grit sandpaper.
- Making sure to work evenly over the rim and to get into the grooves.
- At this time your rim should feel somewhat smooth to the touch and resemble the look of hazy brushed aluminum.


STEP 5:
So you've made it this far and your almost done.
- I began smoothing everything out with the medium steel wool just to make sure everything was nice and even and cleaned up.

STEP 6:
The home stretch of the sanding process.
- Finished off the steel wool sanding stages with the fine steel wool.
- Make sure to wipe away any debris from the previous sanding stages. After this your rim should look something like this:

STEP 7:
The final stage of sanding.
- To finish off the rims and make them easier to polish I began wet sanding the rims with 1500grit sandpaper. You'll want to soak the sandpaper in warm water for a minute or two, then begin sanding. Making sure to keep the sandpaper wet as you go along, do not let it become dry at this point or it will show up on the rim when you begin polishing.
- Your rims should start looking pretty shiny at this point.

STEP 8:
Lets begin polishing.
- Using your cloth from before, wipe away any and all debris from the rims and make sure they are dry from the wet sanding process, now disregard this cloth and use the other one from this time on for the polishing steps only.
- Take your metal polish and dab a pea size drop in a one foot section of the rim, about 3 inches apart from each other.
- Using the polishing attachment mounted onto the corded drill, begin spreading the polishing compound onto the rim in each area and begin polishing.
- Making sure to keep a constant speed (my drill has a locking feature where I can set it for certain rpm's, at this point I was using 850rpms).
- Keep polishing the rim in one foot sections, making sure to dab a pea size drop of polishing compound every 3 inches till you've made one complete rotation (use the valve stem as a reference point).
- Polish the rim in each one foot section till you can see that its no longer hazy, then move onto the next section and so forth.
LET THE MACHINE DO THE WORK, DO NOT FORCE THE POLISHER INTO THE RIM. YOU WILL PUT UNDUE STRESS ON THE TRANSMISSION OF THE DRILL AND BURN OUT THE POLISHER AS WELL AS "BURN" THE RIM.

STEP 9:
- Once you've completed your first rotation of polishing, wipe away any excess left over. DO NOT LET THIS MEGUIARS COMPOUND DRY ONTO THE RIM OR LEAVE IT ON THERE FOR THE NEXT ROTATION.
- Once its all cleaned off, begin polishing again following the first set of instructions in step 8.
- Polish the rim with a higher rpm this time (I used a setting of 1000rpms for this step).

STEP 10:
Now you should be seeing some progress of all your hard work.
- Wipe away any excess like I mentioned before. By this time the polishing tool should have become dirty or blackened. The polishing attachment Im using can be cleaned and if yours can be, do so for a better outcome. Otherwise your just pushing dirt around on the rim.
- Now that you've cleaned or replaced the polishing attachment. Begin polishing the rim by following steps I mentioned before in step 8. This time use a higher rpm setting, I set mine to the maximum of 1200rpm and lightly went over the rim letting the drill do the work for me.
- Continue polishing the rim till your happy with the final product. Heres a comparison of one finished rim to the old rim and some close ups of a finished one:
http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj619/slidewayzbentley/IMG_2596.jpg[/img]]
http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj619/slidewayzbentley/IMG_2593.jpg[/img]]
http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj619/slidewayzbentley/IMG_2594.jpg[/img]]

And thats it for this how-to guide. I hope you've found it useful for your current or future applicaiton.

Just some helpful reminders:
- This guide is for rims in moderate shape. I.E: No heavy curb rash and damage etc. So be prepared if yours are a little more beat up as they will require a few more steps for sanding using a few different grits of sandpaper than I have used for this application.
- Your final outcome with the polishing of the rims will not last forever with use. Proper maintenance of the rims with polishing every other day and or week will keep them in great shape and continue to make them look much nicer as you work away at them.
- You can use any type of metal polish you feel comfortable using on your rims. BUT PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS AND MAKE SURE YOU CAN USE IT FOR YOUR APPLICATION.

Total time for each rim was roughly 7 hours labour for sanding and polishing.

If you find you dont have the patience for sanding and polishing your own rims, then feel free to private message me or post a reply on here if youd like me to do the work for you. We can figure out a price dependant on the condition of the rims and work needed etc. I charged pretty cheap to do these rims.



NOTE:
I WILL LINK A FEW MORE PICTURES I HAVE TOMORROW OF THE PROCESS ONCE I HAVE THEM UPLOADED TO PHOTOBUCKET.
I WILL UPLOAD A BETTER PICTURE OF THE FINAL PRODUCT ONCE I CAN HAVE A PICTURE TAKEN OF THE RIMS WITH A BETTER CAMERA. WILL BE DONE LATER THIS MONTH WHEN I GIVE THE RIMS BACK TO THE OWNER.

 
Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 11:03 AM by Ænimal
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    DIY: Polish your rims
    « on: July 20, 2012, 12:04 AM »

    July 20, 2012, 01:09 AM #1

    P_Lav Offline

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    Great write up Evan. I'll take some tips when ever I get around to doing mine. First is having a reliable car... ****ing rotors...
    //Eat/Sleep/Rot8\\

      July 20, 2012, 01:20 AM #2

      El Dorifto Offline

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      Originally posted by P_Lav
      Great write up Evan. I'll take some tips when ever I get around to doing mine. First is having a reliable car... ****ing rotors...
      Thanks man, yeah I was reading about that on your FC. ****ty deals.
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        July 20, 2012, 08:41 AM #3

        jordisonjr Offline

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        Damn man nice writeup!
        What would you recommend for polishing, on a regular basis for maintenance? This entire process?
        Originally posted by Madbuzz41
        I'm not a fan of blowing for a long time anyways ; )


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          July 20, 2012, 09:08 AM #4

          boostfreak Offline

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          Great write up! I don't have wheels that need polishing but this is useful for really any aluminum part.
          BNRJAMZ
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          Originally posted by: Igor
          i don't know why you would want to say its an sti, especially around people that know what they are looking at. like buddy, its a wrx, who cares. personally i find it insulting that he calls it an sti

            July 20, 2012, 09:29 AM #5

            El Dorifto Offline

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            Originally posted by jordisonjr
            Damn man nice writeup!
            What would you recommend for polishing, on a regular basis for maintenance? This entire process?
            For basic maintenance basically just the end process of using a polishing cone and compound. And of course cleaning the rim before hand. Taking your time while polishing. It is a lengthy process. And thanks. Figured everyone on here would appreciate it and as well use it for anything aluminum as just mentioned.
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              July 20, 2012, 10:37 AM #6

              ACiFiC Offline

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              Great write up. I have to do this on one wheel
              Originally posted by Winter Beater
              If a car is shows that a solid effort was made, and the car is reasonably well executed I can respect that. Even if it's not my cup of tea..

                July 20, 2012, 10:43 AM #7

                Igor Offline

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                Are the products you used enough to seal the rim for a while? I know that i had issues where the polish i was using didnt last long enough and would leave water stains in the aluminum
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                  July 20, 2012, 11:10 AM #8

                  barrett Offline

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                  Assuming that Paul's lips don't fade or anything after daily use, I might end up doing this to my Stark's during the winter. Except doing the entire wheel
                  93 Del Sol Si - B18C1, YS1 cable GSR trans, Work Stark II's, Powerslot rotors, Hawk HPS pads, Momo Millenium steering wheel
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                    July 20, 2012, 11:33 AM #9

                    El Dorifto Offline

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                    Originally posted by IgorCabrilo
                    Are the products you used enough to seal the rim for a while? I know that i had issues where the polish i was using didnt last long enough and would leave water stains in the aluminum
                    As far as I know it will seal just as good as their wax/ polish compounds that they offer, do on a cars paintjob. This is the polish compound the customer offered and wanted me to use. Ive never used it personally as Ive used other compounds.

                    Originally posted by barrett
                    Assuming that Paul's lips don't fade or anything after daily use, I might end up doing this to my Stark's during the winter. Except doing the entire wheel
                    Right on, they'll look great thats for sure. And I imagine they wont fade over a weeks of driving. Especially if regular polishing is kept in check. But time will tell and after the month of August we'll see how the rims and polish faired, then I'll do a review in our review section of the polish.
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                      July 20, 2012, 11:41 AM #10

                      evo1 Offline

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                      A regular wash and wax (yes you can wax wheels, after polishing of course) Will help your wheels come clean easier (dirt, dust, salt, snow), and shine longer.

                        July 20, 2012, 11:45 AM #11

                        El Dorifto Offline

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                        Originally posted by evo1
                        A regular wash and wax (yes you can wax wheels, after polishing of course) Will help your wheels come clean easier (dirt, dust, salt, snow), and shine longer.
                        He is correct, thats also another little trick to do.
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                          July 20, 2012, 12:18 PM #12

                          jordisonjr Offline

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                          Yea tahts usually what I use, is the wax.
                          Was just curious if you'd simply use the polishing compund on a microfibre or something, rather then the drill for maintenance
                          Originally posted by Madbuzz41
                          I'm not a fan of blowing for a long time anyways ; )


                          [Mar 31 23:03:18] Basil:Dan go outside without your pants and let your beef curtains flap around in the wind like a windsock

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                            July 20, 2012, 12:22 PM #13

                            El Dorifto Offline

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                            Originally posted by jordisonjr
                            Yea tahts usually what I use, is the wax.
                            Was just curious if you'd simply use the polishing compund on a microfibre or something, rather then the drill for maintenance
                            You could use a microfibre if you wanted to, totally your choice. But personally I would use a polishing  drill attachment, less time and its just a quick pass over each rim surface. No more than 10-15 polishing each rim.
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                              July 20, 2012, 01:05 PM #14

                              jordisonjr Offline

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                              Good point.
                              I dont have polished wheels, but its stiill useful info
                              Originally posted by Madbuzz41
                              I'm not a fan of blowing for a long time anyways ; )


                              [Mar 31 23:03:18] Basil:Dan go outside without your pants and let your beef curtains flap around in the wind like a windsock

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                                July 20, 2012, 03:40 PM #15

                                evo1 Offline

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                                Originally posted by jordisonjr
                                Yea tahts usually what I use, is the wax.
                                Was just curious if you'd simply use the polishing compund on a microfibre or something, rather then the drill for maintenance
                                Smooth 100% cotton would be a better Material for applying polishes/ wax etc in most situations. Microfiber is great for removing the dust/haze afterwards.

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                                  How To: Polish your rims
                                  « Reply #15 on: July 20, 2012, 03:40 PM »