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Old 09-12-2016, 11:54 AM   #15
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Hey Rooster,
If you get a chance, and if there's one in your region, stop by an Automotive paint supply store. About 99.999% of the time, they have all the chemicals/paint removers specifically for aluminum. Using regular paint stripper not intended for aluminum has a high possibility of "ETCHING" the aluminum. Not good! If that happens, you're in for some serious work, just to get it back to a point you can start to shine it, waaaay tooo much work.
Once the Urethane coating is off, this is where it determined on just what to start with. If there's no real scratches, marring, pits, severe corrosion, I might just try a power ball, obtained at your local Auto Zone or, Oreilys auto parts. The compound to use can be just about anything, in terms of either a paste (Semi-Chrome or Mothers) or, a more liquid form, i.e. Flitz, Wicked, and more. Most of what you see in my pictures is all done by hand and Mothers.

The 3" x 1/2" tightly sewn buffing pads can be obtained in many places. Home Depot, Harbor Freight, Lowes, Automotive Paint supply outlets, Some Hot Rod shops and of course, places like Ebay and Amazon. Like I advise Rooster, just about any compound can work with those pads. But, also, keep in mind, those are primarily for small objects that one is polishing using a stand-alone motor on a tool stand. I advise using them on a drill motor only to blend in, problem spots that are smaller. Once the problem area/spot is gone, cease the use of that on large "in the field" areas.

From that point on, it's either a power ball or by hand (fingers). I myself, have never used Wicked but, it's been widely talked about on here and other forums. I've used just about anything I can get my hands on locally or, in a possible hot rod car show event.

Below are a couple of pics of the wheels on a 1994 Honda GL 1500 Aspencade SE that I purchased quite a while ago with 145,000 miles on it. The wheels had NEVER BEEN TOUCHED in terms of polishing or, even just wiping them off. You might as well tried to polish a brick. They were in the worst shape of any piece of aluminum I'd ever came in contact with. Pits, scratches, SEVERE CORROSION and more.

Well, long, LONG story short. It was a TON of labor. Briefly, I started with washing them with a scotch brite pad, some Commit Cleanser and soap and water. From there, I started with 320 wet or dry sandpaper with lots of water. From there, 400 w/d sandpaper again, with tons of water. Next, 500, then 600, then 800 and finally some 1000 grit wet or dry. Once I started with the 1000, they actually started to shine. They should, 1000 is almost like typing paper.

Once completed with the sanding, I hit them with the 3"x1/2" pad I'm advising you on. I used two different rouges, a course blend and a finishing blend. Then, I did the final with MY FINGERS, and Semi-Chrome and Mothers. All in all, those two wheels have about 8 hours in each of them. I do not have pics of the starting condition. But, the steps close to the end and the end are pictured.

P.S. Picture one is at the end of the sanding process
Picture two is after the 3" x 1/2" pad on a drill
Picture three is after a hour or so of hand and Mothers or, Semi-Chrome (and a few other pastes and liquids)

In all reality, most liquids and Pastes are of the same blend of grits and solvents. I have done a test or two on a perfectly shined wheel by using different polishes and cloths. In some cases, I actually dulled a spot on a wheel that was previously shiny by using the wrong compound, paste or liquid. Some are actually formulated for "tear down" and some, for intermediate and some, for final gloss. I've also never done the "baking soda" or "Flour" trick to remove the black residue left from polishing. I just use my microfiber towels for that.

I will add one more thing here. As some of you know, once a wheel, or any piece of aluminum is highly polished, even if it is constantly exposed to the elements, it will be quite a while before it needs a touchup of repolishing. It will degrade, no doubt about that. In fact, even the minute you're done with all your efforts and, your wheels are gleaming with that mirror finish, THEY ARE DEGRADING INSTANTLY. It's called "Oxidation" in aluminum. In steel, it's called RUSTING. But, unlike steel, which shows rust rather quickly, polished aluminum won't actually show it to the naked eye for quite some time.

Then, you have to have a photographic memory to be able to recall each days degradation. You really won't notice the oxidation, even over months. But, what will surprise you is, you think your wheels are still holding the shine you put on them months ago, and you sit down and do a touch up with some Mothers, you'll realize "Wow", they're not as shiny as I thought they were. Good luck.


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Old 09-12-2016, 01:10 PM   #16
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Thanks for the info mine is to expensive of a wheel not to try. I believe it's just the coating.

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Old 09-15-2016, 08:59 PM   #17
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Over the years I've tried all sorts of polish, A while back somebody suggested this Metal Polish - Polish Metal, Chrome, Aluminum, Brass, Plastic | California Custom Products Inc.
possibly the easiest and best stuff I've ever tried.
Here's where we are
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Old 09-16-2016, 11:23 AM   #18
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"Purple Metal Polish is in a class of it's own. This is truly a no-rub metal polish. When you see just how easy it actually is to polish aluminum, chrome, brass and even plastic, you will be totally amazed."

It always cracks me up when something like this is written on one of these products. it's theirs is the ultimate magic elixir that cleans with little to no effort. Well, nothing can be further from the truth. Polishing aluminum, ANY aluminum on wheels, motorcylces, anything, takes LABOR.

Now, once you get it to a mirror finish, (with a ton of labor), then yes, from that point on, it's not very hard to "touch them up" every once in awhile. I do mine about once every 6 months to keep them looking like you see in the pics I posted earlier. I have never tried Purple Metal Polish but, I'd bet my house it's formula is ultra close to about a dozen other liquid polished out there for aluminum and other metals. Maybe some day if I see some, I'll grab a bottle and give it a whirl to see for myself. Thanks for the link.
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Old 09-16-2016, 11:32 AM   #19
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I have always been a Mother's man, but after the education from Fire Up, I feel like I've been wasting my time. Thanks Bud, good stuff.
Once in a while you get shown the light, In the strangest of places if you look at it right
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:05 PM   #20
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Polish them with what ever works for you, I happen to like Mother's & Flitz too. But I don't like making a career of running a power ball around rims. When I get them like a mirror, its time to apply a couple coats of AluGlow and just hose them off for next couple years. Why waste all the effort polishing and not protecting with temporary clear coating product. Lets face it, naked aluminum is pretty susceptible to stains and corrosion. jus sayn
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:28 PM   #21
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8-10 hours labor per wheel--now I see where I was going wrong[smile].....
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Old 09-16-2016, 01:51 PM   #22
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I used that purple stuff from California Custom. It isn't that great and, yes, you have to rub just as hard as you do with any polish.

I would not buy it again.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:01 PM   #23
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Polished aluminum, will not degrade, decay, corrode as fast as some think. Even without a clear coat, if an aluminum wheel is polished as nice as mine or, several others on here, and not protected WITH ANYTHING, it will stay very close to that nice, for over a year or more, with just regular washing and drying. The nicer you leave the surface of aluminum, the longer it will last and the stronger it is against the elements. Hard water of course, will deposit stains on ANYTHING, much less aluminum.

Now, if you live where the surf will pound against the wheels, well, yeah, the corrosion factor is seriously accelerated in environments like that. But, so is the rest of the coach.

I don't make a "career" out of it either. It just takes a bit to get neglected wheels to the point at which you see them in the pictures. From that point on, as stated, it's a touchup about every 6 - 10 months. And that takes a whopping 20 minutes a wheel, IF, I'm goofing around. Besides, I really don't care how long it takes me. It's the fun of keeping the big girl up and looking nice.

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Old 09-16-2016, 02:21 PM   #24
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A lot of the Accuride wheels have clear coat on them so you can polish away with no results
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:40 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Tha_Rooster View Post
Accuride makes the wheels.
Accu-Shield is what Accuride calls the coating.
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Old 09-25-2016, 11:13 PM   #26
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I've been using Flitz since I bought a quart can in Quartzsite years ago. I usually apply by hand and buff with a Mothers ball if I need to work on the shine. If not I have the Flitz large and small felt balls that are way more robust. And I think nicer on the metal

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Old 09-26-2016, 06:44 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
Accu-Shield is what Accuride calls the coating.
Accu-Shield; soap & water, wipe it down & it looks like new!
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:33 PM   #28
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