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Old 08-03-2017, 09:30 PM   #29
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I took your advice and steps and I decided while the iron was hot to do all my wheels today. They came out awesome. Did they come out as a mirror finish like yours' FIRE UPóno not evenóbut they look 10x better than they did. Thanks for inspiring me and now i can step back and say, "wow, now that looks good!

Again thanks!
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Old 08-03-2017, 11:56 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
You're most certainly welcome. Glad to help.

Outstanding Sir. Yep, you can tell when someone's taken some pride in the way they want their wheels to look. By the way, since Photoshop has dumped all us normal humanoids from the ability to post pics, may I ask how you linked yours on here?

As for the pics, I just click on the "paperclip" icon drop down menu when I am typing a post(up near the font selections etc). It gives me the option to add jpeg files. I choose the file and add it.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:26 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
Hey Marjoa,
Thanks for the nice comments. You were pretty close in your "stages" of polishing. Aluminum is primarily a soft material. That is of course unless it's been treated in such a way that it's NOT soft. Some examples are 3003, 5052 and 6061-T-6. The first is primarily bubble gum aluminum. It's really malleable and scratches very easily. The 5052 is the middle of the grade chain and, is used in many applications for basic industrial support. The T-6 stuff is the bottom of the line in terms of Air craft quality aluminum. There's higher grades than that but, you get into exotic formulas and all that.
The wheels we all use and see on our coaches are a form of a mix of the 5052 and T-6. They need to be strong and hold their shape but, on the non-coated ones, they are soft enough to actually polish and that means, REMOVING material. But, due to the fact that they are that soft, on the surface anyways, it also means they're somewhat easily corrodible.
Metal, as in steel and cast iron, rusts. Aluminum corrodes. Same thing only different.

This brings me to the beginning of the polishing world. Most alloy wheels that come on the coaches we purchase, have a fair to mildly good polish on them from the factory. Not bad but, they can be improved on. If I had to guess, I'd say that more than 50% of the folks that purchase coaches with alloy wheels, NEVER TOUCH THEM for the entire amount of time, they own the coach. When that happens, THEY CORRODE, (unless coated). When that happens, they get dull because, just like what rust does to metal, it OXIDISES the surface.

And, the harsher the environment they're subjected to, the deeper the corrosion is, along with the time frame at which all this happens. By harsh environment, I'm talking a coach with un-coated wheels, living at or very near a beach. The salt air is ugly stuff. Running around back east during the snow and heavy ice season is not good too due to the SALT they use on the roads.

Now, all this leads up to, what kind of condition a set of wheels are in when one wants a mirror finish. Well, if you look at an alloy wheel and, it's pretty dull, but, with your thumb can almost bring a better surface, that's an easy fix. Some regular Mothers paste will do that wheel just fine. But, if you encounter a dull wheel and, no matter how much you rub your thumb on it, it remains dull, you'll have to get down and dirty with a bit more aggression.

There are rouges that are formulated for aluminum. They're formulated in different colors. Brown is normally for aluminum and White, for stainless steel. There's a green and a black too. I forgot what those are for. But, If you watch a pro, and they start with badly corroded wheels, it's highly possible that you'll see them use SAND PAPER on them.

I did. I had a set of GL 1500 Honda Goldwing wheels with 145,000 miles on them and, like stated earlier, they'd never been touched. I had to use 320 grit wet-or-dry to break down all the pits on them. Then, 400 grit, 600, 800, 1000 and finally 1200, all with tons of water to carry away the material. Then, I used a 3" tightly sewn cotton wheel on a 2500 rpm drill motor, along with the BROWN rouge.

That brought them back to the factory finish. I was not satisfied with that. I then used another, clean, cotton wheel with what's called "Semi-Chrome". It's a paste and, for the most part, produces enough of a shine that about 98% of the folks that use it are completely happy with the results. Not me. Once done with that process, I used what's called Zepher 40 and my finger with microfiber cloths. That process alone took me about two hours on each wheel.

All in all, with all the stages of process's, I had about 10 hours in EACH wheel. But, when they were done, they were as close to CHROME as they could get. It's all about breaking down the surface to a finer and finer finish. There are many recommendations as to what to use from folks on here and other RV forums. Different formulas and brands, are sold in different parts of the country. But, for the basics, the brown rouge can be bought at many auto paint supply stores and a few other specialty hardware stores.

As for the pastes and liquids, those too are easily purchased it many auto parts stores, specialty auto paint stores, detail shops and more. Good quality microfiber cloths or, any form of a cloth that is ultra soft is importance too.

Now, once a wheel is brought to the finish desired, it will last a long, long time without any maintenance. But, it's deceiving. You polish a wheel, and, you're real happy with it. So, you keep looking at it as time goes on and, it keeps looking good so, you don't mess with it. Pretty soon, a years gone by and, you THINK it's still good.

But, sit down and with a little Mothers, do a small section. WOW! you'll see that, it has corroded or, "oxidized" to a duller surface than you think. You hit those wheels with about 20 minutes of maintenance, once a year, and they will remain a mirror.
I have the same year Horizon as you that I just bought in December. The wheels are very corroded around the lug nuts. It is bubbled up around the nuts I tried to polish them but I could not remove the heavy corrosion. Any suggestions.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:41 AM   #32
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Fire Up, Where do I send my Goldwing wheels for you to do and do I need to send them with the tire mounted or not?
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Old 08-04-2017, 04:18 AM   #33
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I've got Mothers as well as a can of Flitz that I bought in Quartzsite 10 years ago, and I think I prefer the Flitz overall, but it's not cheap. Personally I think the Flitz is the best single product especially starting where you are.. Polishing these wheels is not a simple process when you get in and around the nuts and under the Hub.. I have all three Mothers cleaning balls (one is a cone) as well as both of the Flitz felt strip balls, and a few microfiber rags to boot. I've found that the best thing to do is apply the paste by hand, and buff off with whatever ball fits best, but the Mothers foam balls are quite a bit more abarasive than the felt. We camp on the beach all the time so I'm always fighting salt and it's amazing how fast the wheels fog (pre-corrosion), even when covered while at the camp site, so the foamies often come out first. In the end you will ALWAYS finish up buffing by hand what the balls cannot get to, especially around the lugs. I don't wax mine but understand that extends the cleaning interval. For me with the salt air, probably not.. it's also an excellent Stainless polish, so I usually hit the exhausts while I'm doing the wheels

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Old 08-05-2017, 07:24 AM   #34
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Polishing aluminum wheels???

Get them polished at a truck stop. The guy that does our charges $10 per wheel. Can't beat the price versus my time. Just my opinion.
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