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Old 05-09-2018, 06:49 AM   #15
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Adding my 2 cents - there are many aluminum polishes to choose from. Flitz is excellent for many applications and can be found at rallies or on line. I also use products from griotsgarage.com. They have information on the products / how-to videos etc. It was mentioned before - be certain whether you have coated or non coated wheels.
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:14 AM   #16
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I want to polish the wheels of my coach, but do not know if the wheels are coated or not. How can I tell the difference?
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:25 AM   #17
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I want to polish the wheels of my coach, but do not know if the wheels are coated or not. How can I tell the difference?
Test on a clean and dry wheel. Take a small amount of aluminum polish on a paper towel. Rub a small spot on the wheel and see if your paper towel turns dark/black. If it does, and there is black residue on the wheel where you rubbed, then your wheels are not coated and polish away. If your towel is clear then be extremely careful how you "polish" those wheels because they are coated.

Many coated wheel manufacturers only want you to use mild soap and water. I think there are some wax/polish products that can be used though.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:00 AM   #18
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Test on a clean and dry wheel. Take a small amount of aluminum polish on a paper towel. Rub a small spot on the wheel and see if your paper towel turns dark/black. If it does, and there is black residue on the wheel where you rubbed, then your wheels are not coated and polish away. If your towel is clear then be extremely careful how you "polish" those wheels because they are coated.

Many coated wheel manufacturers only want you to use mild soap and water. I think there are some wax/polish products that can be used though.
FLJOE,
Your instructions/precautions are close. But, in all reality, those coatings that are applied to ANY alloy wheel are seriously stronger than most think. You can attempt to polish your guts out on a coated wheel and, there will be ZERO damage. I know because I've done several times. If those coatings were that weak, that a little rubbing with some mild polish would damage them, then day to day driving, washing, rock chips spit from other vehicles, and more, would also damage them fairly easily. Most (but not all) problems with coated alloy wheel originate from the lug nut area. The lugs littlerally grind the coating off as they are applied and tightened. Then, when water hits that area, you now have rust AND corrosion that will infiltrate UNDER the coating surrounding the lug nuts. This is one primary reason I will not have a coated wheel. Just my choice.

We purchased a trailer that had some chrome wheels one time (that I didn't know they were coated when we purchased the trailer) and, I without knowing they were coated, I applied some polish to see if I could get one of them to come up to a more brilliant shine as, I thought it looked a little dull for chrome. I polished and polished and zero results. It was then that I realized they were coated. So, out came the paint stripper. I wanted to see what it would take to get that coating off the wheel.

Paint stipper almost "ALMOST" didn't touch it. I had to apply it 3-4 times for it to break down that coating enough to remove it. So, yes, those coatings are seriously strong.

One more thing, depending on the wheel manufacturer, i.e. Alcoa, Accuride etc. some of those manufacturers actually stamp or, label a coated wheel with a name. Accuride calls their coated ALLOY wheels "Accu-Shield" and, that will be labeled on the wheel.
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:33 PM   #19
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Mothers makes several different size foam balls/cones that fit a drill. Alcoa used to market a cleaner/preservative (PDQ) for aluminum wheels that was really good but I can't find it now, not even on their US website.
I use a cheap die-grinder and the cotton buffing "wheels" in different shapes and sizes. The RPM makes polishing easy and fast, just don't put too much polish on the buffing wheel or you look speckled rather quickly.
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:42 AM   #20
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A little trick I've used over the years is to sprinkle a little talcum or baby powder on your cotton fiber cloth when removing your polish. It helps to absorb the polish while not affecting the quality of the shine
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:16 AM   #21
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Got the Mothers Power Ball and Mothers Paste and went to work, I like the results. Could not find Flitz in any local stores but plenty of Mothers so that is the way I went.


Thatís what I use, always great results.
As a tip, only use the power ball on two wheels and then wash it. The young aluminum will start to stick in it and scratch the wheels. Clean the polish off with microfiber towels.
Nice job BTW!
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Old 05-14-2018, 09:14 PM   #22
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I'll just leave this here

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Old 05-18-2018, 08:58 PM   #23
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oh i need one
this was in 2012 and it took me a week to polish all of them
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:28 PM   #24
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As has been stated many times, how a wheel turns out when polishing, and the time it takes to get there, all depends on the condition of the wheel when the project is started. And, the use of machinery (mechanized polishing components) vs doing things by hand, also makes a tremendous time difference. I've done it all. On some motorcycle wheels I had, they were so bad when I started that I used 320 grit wet-or-dry sand paper to start the project. Then advanced to 400, then to 600, then to 800 and finally, 1000 grit. From then, it was machine done with two different grades of rouge.

And finally, Mothers did the final application. They looked like pitted old rotted aluminum when I started. They looked like mirrors when I finished. The moral of the story is, if you start with junk, expect a ton of work. If you start with mild to nice wheel condition, then the time frame for ending up with a very nice looking wheel is seriously reduced.
Scott

P.S. In all my career of polishing aluminum and, wheels included, I've never seen one of those machines in the video. I highly suspect they're not too plentiful.
Scott
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:19 PM   #25
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Reviving this oldie.
I just got through using a 10" polishing wheel and a rogue stick. The wheels had been neglected for several months leaving them spotted and pitted a little. The wheel worked well except for the areas around the lug covers. I used a mothers powerball and purple polish there. As has been stated the best way would be to remove the wheels completely, but I do not have a strong enough air compressor or 500lb torque wrench.

I used the brown rogue to cut the main. Once I get home I'll hit them again with a milder polish/wheel combination then coat them with some Zaino synthetic polymer. Perhaps that will protect the shine a little
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:42 PM   #26
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" I've been polishing aluminum for oh, around 50 years. It started with my first motorcycle, a British bike, a new, Norton Commando 750. "

You had a Commando Fire Up? No better way to be an apprentice aluminum polisher! I had several Nortons back in the day. In addition to becoming an Expert Polisher, the Queen of England would send you an Electrical Engineering degree if you could keep it running for 6 months without an electrical breakdown....
I'm presently restoring a '72 Commando and coincidentally am trying to clean up the timing cover. Moving to 60 grit sandpaper to try and reduce the many hammer marks before polishing.

Sorry for the thread hijack! Way off topic.
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:36 PM   #27
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" I've been polishing aluminum for oh, around 50 years. It started with my first motorcycle, a British bike, a new, Norton Commando 750. "

You had a Commando Fire Up? No better way to be an apprentice aluminum polisher! I had several Nortons back in the day. In addition to becoming an Expert Polisher, the Queen of England would send you an Electrical Engineering degree if you could keep it running for 6 months without an electrical breakdown....
I'm presently restoring a '72 Commando and coincidentally am trying to clean up the timing cover. Moving to 60 grit sandpaper to try and reduce the many hammer marks before polishing.

Sorry for the thread hijack! Way off topic.
Hey Dark Sky,
No real hijacking here. It's still about some aluminum polishing, just on different vehicles/motorcycles etc. You have a PM
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:22 PM   #28
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A little trick I've used over the years is to sprinkle a little talcum or baby powder on your cotton fiber cloth when removing your polish. It helps to absorb the polish while not affecting the quality of the shine


Corn starch irks great too.
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