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Old 12-23-2014, 11:24 AM   #1
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Best way to polish aluminum wheels?

My wheels are desperate for attention so I thought I would get out my 6" orbital polisher and a foam circular pad dabbed with some Mothers' aluminum polish and giver her a whirl. Any other approaches or polish that you would recommend to do this labor intensive process?
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Old 12-23-2014, 11:38 AM   #2
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Just also get a round red Mother's foam polishing ball also. It is a lot of work, as you know. Finish off with a good polish that has good protection, such as DriWash. It works for me.
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Old 12-23-2014, 11:40 AM   #3
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Orbital polisher and a foam circular pad dabbed with some Mothers' aluminum polish and a beer and you are good to go.
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Old 12-23-2014, 11:45 AM   #4
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Mother's and a lot of patience/hard work
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Old 12-23-2014, 01:05 PM   #5
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Flitz polishing compound
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Old 12-23-2014, 02:32 PM   #6
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I also use Flitz polish. I don't think you can go wrong with either Mother's or Flitz, but I like the Flitz buffing ball better. It holds up better/longer than the Mother's ball.

I polished my rims on my Diplomat for years, yet I always saw some with a higher luster. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. I was polishing like Tim the Tool Man Taylor.....more is better. I would put a large gob of polish on and then spend 30 minutes trying to get the black residue off. Eventually I learned that you can do an entire 22.5 wheel with about a thimble or two of polish. If you're wheels haven't been done in a while, you'll need to do them several times. Polish with a small amount until you buff away all the black residue and then do it again.

Once you get the wheels to shine, the secret to keeping them shiny is using tire covers when the coach is parked in storage. Not only does it protect the tires, but it keeps the weather off of the polished wheels. Once you getting them looking nice, it only takes a few minutes per wheel to polish.

Here are mine after I figured it out.

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Old 12-24-2014, 11:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Flitz polishing compound
X3. Flitz is way easier to use than Mothers. If you have a newer coach, your wheels might be coated from the factory. Using any type of abrasive polish will remove the protective coating
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Old 12-24-2014, 06:45 PM   #8
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Don, did you remove the wheels to do that or how did you get around the lug nuts.
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Old 12-24-2014, 07:31 PM   #9
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Is there an easy way to determine if my wheels are coated? Would an 08 HR Endeavor have the coating on the accuride wheels?
Thank you, Brian.


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Old 12-24-2014, 08:52 PM   #10
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A pro did mine with Mother's all by hand. You can remove the lug nut caps by pulling with a channel locks pliers. If using a buffer, use a slow speed. Like said, sit on a cushioned stool and just go slow.
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:57 PM   #11
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My Accurides have a label affixed to them.
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:12 AM   #12
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My Accurides have a label affixed to them.


They should have the label on each wheel. If they are in really bad shape you may try some Jeweler's Rouge. Once you polish them out be sure to keep up with them.
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:34 AM   #13
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If your wheels are in desperate shape, as you described, then they must not be clear coated.
If they are coated, they just need cleaning and wiping dry.
If they are not, there is no shortcut. Patience is needed, as you polish them.
Have fun.
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Old 12-25-2014, 07:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
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My wheels are desperate for attention so I thought I would get out my 6" orbital polisher and a foam circular pad dabbed with some Mothers' aluminum polish and giver her a whirl. Any other approaches or polish that you would recommend to do this labor intensive process?
Tim,
Well Sir, first off, if what you're using is what I think you're using, a "Random-orbital" polisher,?, It's a very poor tool for you to use, to accomplish the results you'd like to see. The actual tool needed is a rotational pad, not random-orbital. The speed is the key here. Random orbitals are for application and removal of wax on paint jobs and, sanding in other situations.

The Mothers ball and other brands, on a drill motor is what most of these folks are talking about.

You see, aluminum, as in what is the majority of the chemical makeup of your wheels, oxidizes as we speak. When allowed to go un-checked, it becomes more and more dull and, the surface becomes more and more "course" as time goes on. So, by polishing the surface, you rid that surface of the aluminum oxidation and, you are making the surface finer and finer.

Picture it as "Mountains" when you start with really badly corroded wheels. Then, as you work at it, you come to "Valleys". Now, as you keep on at it, you eventually end up with a lake with no wind on it. Otherwise known as a "glass" surface. And that's when it ends up like the pictures below.

Without a doubt, IT'S LABOR, PERIOD! There is no magic elixir in making alloy wheels have a mirror finish. So, there's a number of products out there help with the process. Power is nice, if you have the correct tools and rouges, polishes, pastes and the lot. I've done a few zillion miles of aluminum polishing and, the effort put into it, shows in the end result. I've used Semi-Chrome, Mothers, Zepher-40 (Costco online product at the time), and a whole host of other metal polishes.

As for those that have coatings, there's not much anyone can do about those. If the coating becomes chipped, which is a pretty hard thing to do, and, you'd like to do something about it, "patching" the coating is almost frivolis because once air is introduced into or, under the original coating, it will continue to travel under the rest of the coating, slowly, but it will continue. So, there are chemicals out there that are alloy safe (Aircraft in particular) that will remove that coating and then, you've taken it upon yourself to keep that wheel polished.

Once a wheel is polished to an ultra-high luster, (Mirror finish) it will last considerably longer in between polishing sequences than if it weren't. Of course, that also depends on the atmosphere you reside in. Obviously the closer to the sea, i.e. salt air and saltier conditions, the more rapid the deterioration will progress.

So, in the end, get the right tools, the right pastes, polishes, liquids etc. and, take your time. The results will definitely be worth it. Oh, and one more thing. Removing the wheels for this service is by far, the best way to get the most efficient polishing done without the hinderance of the lug nuts and hub centers in the way. But, not many guys have the tools and equipment to remove those wheels and re-install them with the proper torque on the lug nuts etc. Those that do have the proper tools, know how valuable not having those components in the way while polishing is. Good luck.
Scott






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