Originally Posted by brian-nicola
I have tried several wheel cleaners, local stores don't stock Eagle etch cleaner, that coupled with Adams metal polish #1 and #2 this was the best result I could get on the front wheel. I show the rear wheel so you can see the condition. Not happy with results
....sweat equity and power polisher was used!
Input is welcome and much appreciated.
Polishing aluminum, any aluminum, wheels, motorcycles, boat parts, motorhome parts etc. is LABOR. I've been polishing aluminum for decades and, I've used many, many kinds and types of aluminum polish, including all that's been mentioned so far. I presently have about a half dozen different kinds right now in my polishing box.
But, aluminum is just like wood. IF it's rough to start with, then more aggressive polish/rouge etc. is needed to break down the rougher surface 'till it get's to the next stage. Picture sharp peaked mountains to start with. The, after the first bit of labor and the primary polish or rouge, you have low, rolling hills. Then, with the next stage polish or rouge, you have flat lands with tall grass.
Then, with the final polish and rouge, you'll have a "Putting green" surface. I've used the brown, white and green rouges. And, they all have a certain effect.
But, your wheels are close, without knowing what you put on the wheel in the bottom pic, it's hard to tell just what's needed to bring it out of it. But, I will tell you that, (and you most likely already know this) it's much, much easier and more efficient to work on and polish those wheels, OFF THE COACH!
Flitz works, so does rouge, so does a paste and, so does a liquid. Using the right cloth makes a difference too. I've never had to use the "Flour" method of removing the black haze, left from using any form of polish. I simply buff it off with a clean polishing cloth.
But, to get to the fine, mirror finish you desire, it's going to take a couple of steps. If aluminum is scratched, it takes harsh polish/rouge/paste to get the scratches out. Then, what you've created is the "low rolling hills" effect. To get those out, you need to go to a better polish/rouge/paste. I've used Semi-Chrome for decades on my British motorcycles and, even on my present aluminum wheels on my Honda Goldwing and, it still is up there in polishing capability.
But, in all my experimenting to this point, it seems that, for a final, mirror (better than the "putting green") surface, I've settled on Mothers. I've also got some Zepher 40, which was a Costco online product only and, it's a very close second in producing the mirror finish. Once you get your wheels to that point, ANY of the products that have been mentioned will produce the effect you're looking for. But, again, it's LABOR.
You need to do a small bit at a time. DO NOT try to do a large surface at once. You can't achieve what's needed if you try doing too much at one time. When I'm really working on a bad set of wheels or, any other piece of aluminum that's close, I work on about a 2-3" square section at a time. When that's how I like it, I blend in, the next 2-3" square section. Eventually, the entire wheel is done. Yep, it takes time, no doubt about that.
Below are mine. They weren't in too bad of shape when we purchased the coach. But, I still spent around 2-3 hours per wheel, to get them into the shape you see them. Now, as for those that say it only needs to be done one time and, they'll stay like that for years, well, that's not exactly true.
If you get a set of wheels to a mirror finish, and, you don't operate or store your coach near corrosive atmospheres like the ocean/beach etc., they will last for around a year or so. But, one thing that most guys don't realize, aluminum is corroding AS I'M TYPING THIS! It never stops. You just don't see it like you do rust in steel. It just gets slowly progressively duller.
I guaranty that, if you get them to a mirror, let them sit or, use your coach for six months, then hit them again with some Mothers, you'll see them IMMEDIATELY brought back to when you did them the first time. Again, you just don't see the slow-motion corrosion. Anyway, take a look at the ones below. It's just labor, the fine paste/liquid/rouge and, the correct cloth.