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Polished Aluminum Wheels needs a Major Restoration

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Finishing up my '73 Camaro Z28 after a fresh engine build and it needs massive detail. The wheels in particular.  They're polished aluminum wheels and they just look dull and will need a lot of elbow grease.  What products do you guys use on polished aluminum wheels?  

 

Also is regular Wheel Cleaner safe on an uncoated Aluminum Wheel just for the initial deep clean? What about sealing the wheels with H2O Guard and Gloss or similar? 

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What brand of wheels?  I am guessing they are not OEM as I remember those to be painted centers with some sort of bright metal ring.

 

And also wondering if they are vintage if they are actually aluminum and not magnesium.

 

Starting to drive in the 70s I have been through a ton of aftermarket wheels and have had good success with about every polish out there. Adams metal polishes works well and I have used it to polish a few aluminum pieces with good results. If the wheel allows it I would try one of those mothers powerballs and powercones to save some elbo grease. I have not used them but would think having a faster tool than a cordless drill would help.

 

I don't know about Adams wheel cleaner but I would avoid  most aluminum wheel cleaners (acid) if you plan to polish them later.   Dont be afraid to wet sand the dish if needed.

 

 

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2 hours ago, LSX Maestro said:

They’re American Racing Torque Thrusts. They’re about 18 years old. It’s a full Resto-mod. 

B4A33D73-3304-49B8-B13E-CD0F27BAFB0D.jpeg

No advice for the wheels because no experience. But let me take the opportunity to say: Oooo she’s purdy! :wub:

You should take it to Camaro SuperFest in Ypsi in a few weeks.

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Thanks guys. Might have to look into that Camaro Super Fest. 

 

I picked up the mother’s cone and power ball and will try some aluminum polish I have for now. 

 

Jig is still out on using the WC on them. 

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I would stay away from using the original WC on those if they are raw Aluminum.  I believe the new ECO WC was developed for use in this situation.  

 

You'll be glad you got the Cone and Power Ball.  I had a set of Alcoa wheels on a '96 F350 and the Power Ball was the ticket to keeping them like new.   

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I wouldn't use any wheel cleaner but you can test the Eco. Spray the smallest amount possible in an easy area to polish (flat spot) and if it starts to foam up rinse away immediately. It is stripping the polish (can polish back out). If it does not foam up you are good to go. If you are polishing I would skip it though. Polish will get them the cleanest. I would just use soap and water before. Use to have a set of those on a 454SS Silverado. Had them super shinny at one point but took about 4 hours per wheel. Did one a day. Powerball works but only if a 'freshening' is needed. Anything more has to be done by hand. Good luck!

Edited by SlammedRT

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Our resident wheel polishing expert is Dave (BRZN).  The info below is from a past thread.  The pictures may not longer be available (thanks Photobucket) but the methods used are in the threads.

 

Quote

Use the search feature, you'll find quit a bit of info on polishing raw aluminum. You'll quickly learn there is no short cut to nice looking polished aluminum. They are labor intensive to maintain.

Here's a few of my posts on the matter:

http://www.adamsforums.com/topic/23540-my-turn-restoringpolishing-billet-aluminum-rims/

http://www.adamsforums.com/topic/27542-polishing-forged-wheels-continues/

http://www.adamsforums.com/topic/29799-2006-honda-vtx1800-raw-aluminum-wheels/

 

 

 

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Thanks for those links! I didn't even think about searching on here, my bad.  

 

Yes they're a lot of work.  Last time I polished these out with my dad probably 10 years ago, my arms ached for weeks, haha.  

 

I'll order up the Adam's #1 and #2 and will see where that gets me.  These wheels have been babied and seen less than 3000 miles so they shouldn't be that bad, hoping I won't need any serious compounds or similar.  

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