Body and paint

Wheel repair and polish

    When I first got the truck, the factory Alcoa aluminum wheels had a nice shine to them but it looks like the wheels seized up on the hub and someone took a hammer to the wheels and left some pretty nasty dings in them.  Since the dents were so deep there was really no way to repair them.  The wheels had stickers designating them front and rear wheels.  I shot off an e-mail to Alcoa's tech department and according to them there is no structural difference between the fronts and rears and they could be interchanged, the only downfall is that the wheels are only polished on the outside so when i swapped the fronts with the rears i ended up with a set of dull looking wheels.  After a little research and talking with a couple guys that polish fuel tanks and wheels on big trucks I found the fix.  I tried this method on a small section of the wheel just to test the results.

    I started by sanding the clear coat off by wet sanding with 400 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper.  This took quite awhile to get down to bare metal so when I do the rest of the wheels I think I will try some kind of power sander or drill attachment to take the clear coat off.  I then continued with the 400 grit until I removed all the pitting on the wheel.  Next I wet sanded with 600 grit paper until all the scratches and swirl marks from the 400 was gone.  Then finished off with 1000 grit paper, this takes alot more water than the coarser grits and took quite awhile before all the scratches were gone.  After I dried the area I hit it with a Mothers Power ball to do the actual polishing.  When I wiped off the polishing compound I was really surprised at how well the process worked.  The area I picked was one of the worst spots with some pretty hard pitting and the clear coat was bubbling and peeling, and now the area looks like a brand new wheel!!

    I am thinking about a surface prep pad attachment for my drill and using a green pad on it to remove the clear coat since that was the hardest part of the whole process.  I will post up after I try it and let ya know how well it worked.  Once I find a quick and easy way of removing the clear coat I will do all 4 wheels and I will post up pics and possibly even a video for a how to.

    On a side note, this was the first time I have ever used one of these Power ball's and now I don't think I will ever go back to hand polishing again.  I bought the smaller one that was about 3" in diameter and came with a 6" extension.  I figured it would fit inside the small holes in the wheels and the extension would work well to reach into the rear wheels.  It worked rather well and i think I will try washing it and using it with some headlight polish to restore the headlights, will post more info on that later.