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One of my "waiting for nice weather" projects has been to polish the wheels on the new Pantera. They looked great from 20 feet, but close up they had some noticeable pitting, scratches and an overall dullness to them.

Here's a "before and after" to give you a basic comparison:

Here are the supplies I used. Nothing terribly fancy and not a power tool in sight.

As you can see, there was a LOT of road tar and crud stuck to the inside of the wheel. Since the spokes are fairly open, this was quite noticeable from the front side.

The first step was to use Bug & Tar removal to get the large chunks of crud off the wheel.

Step two was to (gasp!) WET-SAND the wheels with 2000 grade paper and a clay-bar lubricant. This is a very fine finishing paper used in body shops. I went at the wheels long enough to cut through the pits and scratches.

Next was to use paste polishing compound (I skip using rubbing compound) on a hand-held buffer with velcro-replaceable foam pads. The pad-holder really helps make the job easier.

Once the wheel look very even and smooth, I move on to Mothers Aluminum Wheel paste (the small red tin) and a soft cloth for application/buffing. Work the paste into the wheel until the surface starts to turn black and then buff to a shine.

The finished result as a LOT cleaner and shinier (and my shoulder a lot more sore).

Here's a close-up showing the transformation. It took several hours on a cold, rainy day to do this but now the wheels look awesome and ready for the nice weather.

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Wow, impressive is all I can say.

That is my most hated job, which is compounded by the 3 piece wheels with exposed bolts I have. Next time it will be one piece or blind bolts for sure in an effort to retain what is left of my knuckles.

Damn those came out real nice. The only sad part now is once you drive them, those inner parts of the wheels get pretty dusty soon. Whenever I do my innards, I almost hate to drive on them, but then I break out the martini, polishing cloth and cushion to sit on and get er done all over again. But now that you did all the tough work, then reaching in and cleaning isn't all that bad. On a more serious note, whenever I have done lots of wheel work by hand, I was getting dizzy and almost sick (not from the martini), and always thought it was just from bending down and doing too much work, but one day figured it was probably either from the polishing fumes or with it being on my hands. Just using the usual hand polish, nothing special.
Funny you should mention that Jan, I felt EXACTLY the same way, although I attributed it to the 3 large glasses of red wine I drank to kill the shoulder pain. But you might be on to something. My fingers and nails are still black in all the cracks and crevices. Gloves next time (or barrier cream).

And, yeah, it is one of my least favored task, but it really does make a difference! Not sure I'd tackle Julian's wheels.

Originally posted by Joules5:

That is my most hated job, which is compounded by the 3 piece wheels with exposed bolts

Originally posted by Mark Charlton:

And, yeah, it is one of my least favored task,

Nice work Mark, the wheels came out very nice.

I used Mother's polish too on the 17" three piece Etoile wheels that were on 6018 when I purchased it. I'd clean up the outer rims with Mother's as often as needed to keep them shiny, I drove the car weekly. Then twice a year I'd use a wad of q-tips cleaning around the heads of the 40 bolts (per wheel) that held those three piece wheels together. Talk about a time consuming job.

That's why my new three piece HRE wheels have painted centers, chrome plated outer rims and hidden hardware. No polished aluminum, no bolt heads. The guy who sold the wheels commented "you REALLY don't like cleaning wheels do you!" Smiler

I don't sleep on a bed of nails either.

I've tried the cone, the large and small PowerBalls and also the "flapping" cone by Black Magic. Honestly, I've found that none do a good enough job at getting into the tight corners, and in the end didn't really save me much time (especially after you include the time spent to go buy the damn things plus the time to wipe the splatter off everything else after using them).

Great job Mark! Now to keep your wheels looking great use Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths

Available on ebay for even less!

I had my DeTomaso valve covers professionally polished and they look like jewelry now. I asked the old guy who owns the shop what I should use to keep them looking this good and he turned me on to the Cape Cod cloths. He used to use another product but found these about 10 years ago and swears you won't find a better product. He told me not to waste my money on any ZoopSeal type product either - just rub them down once a month with the Cape Cod Cloth and they'll stay looking great for years to come.
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