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Author Topic: ALCOA Forged Aluminum Wheels  (Read 5374 times)

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Offline Too Stroked

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ALCOA Forged Aluminum Wheels
« on: August 21, 2012, 11:17:18 AM »
At the marina the other day, a friend asked if I could help make his RV look a little bit better as it was going up on e-Bay. I just happened to have all of my detailing stuff in the car for another job later in the day, so what the heck.  The RV was in pretty nice shape and he?d had another guy do the whole outside with a rotary. (Man, was I crushed that I didn?t get that job!) But this guy didn?t know exactly what to do with the forged Alcoa aluminum wheels. (Or more likely he?d dropped dead from exhaustion.)

For those of you not familiar with these wheels, they are polished, but not to quite to the same level as most aftermarket automotive aluminum wheels. They?re also not clear coated, but the changes that the forging process makes to the grain structure seems to somewhat inhibit oxidation.

So the request was for me to see if I could make them look at least a little better than they did. The fronts were actually in pretty nice shape, but the rears ? probably because everything flows back to them ? where reasonably oxidized. Since the rears are run as duals, they also presented somewhat of an access challenge because they?re deep dished and even with me sitting on the pavement, getting to everything was problematic at best. Adding to my misery, the chrome center cap really needed to come off, but the only way that was going to happen was if the wheel came off ? which also wasn?t going to happen. Finally, one fills each tire through two stainless braided lines that snake up to the center cap ? further getting in the way. Aaargh!

So I took my trusty DeWalt 14.4 volt cordless drill, a Mothers? Mini Ball and Power Cone and tied one of my favorite metal polishes ? Metal Rx from Justin at Obsessive Detail. This product has always worked well for me in the past and as you?ll see, it didn?t let me down this time either. Here?s what the rear wheels looked like before I started polishing, but after a wash. As you?ll see, there?s mild oxidation, but no pitting.



With my drill set on high speed, I went at the wheel one radial section at a time. Each section was about 10? x 10? because that?s about all I could seem to get before another application of the Metal Rx. As you?ll see in the picture below, I did a test section first to see what effect I might be able to achieve.



Satisfied that I was going to get decent results, I sat down for a long battle. It took me a little over 2 hours to do all four wheels and I went through 3 batteries. (No, I didn?t do the inside duals.) I did the fronts by hand applying the polish with a junk microfiber towel. All polish removal was done with my oldest microfiber towels ? which are now my junk microfibers. At the rear, I did each wheel in sections, and then removed the polish residue. Then I did one last pass trying to go all the way around each wheel in concentric rings so as to eliminate and ?spoke? effect I may have induced with the previous sections. I have a full size Mother?s Power Ball, but didn?t have it with me. Although the Mini Ball was definitely the trick for the deep recesses and oval holes, the full sized ball would have been much better for the final passes. I also used the Mother?s Power Cone in the recesses between the lug nuts and the center cap. Although this attachment has a shorter shaft, it worked pretty well. Here?s the final result after some Hyper Dressing on the tires. Perfect? No, but much better.



Here?s the other side. For some reason I don't have any pics of the fronts.



So what did I think of the products and process? The Metal Rx once again did an awesome job. Both the owner and I were very pleased with the results. The Mother?s polishing tools were great. As handy as the Mini Ball was, it did kind of fall apart on me as I progressed. The plastic sheath on the shaft it great because you can hold that and guide the ball. But the retainer that holds it to the shaft skipped town half way through the proceedings and I now have to hold the thing together with tape until it?s safely chucked in the drill. Quite honestly though, I couldn?t have done the job without it. I?d recommend having one around.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 06:31:33 PM by Too Stroked »

Offline Rollingrock

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Re: ALCOA Forged Aluminum Wheels
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2012, 02:12:11 PM »
nice work man, so did yo wipe the dressing off or did it dry that fast?

Thanks for visiting the Cafe, come back often.  There's always something new!

Offline Too Stroked

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Re: ALCOA Forged Aluminum Wheels
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2012, 02:33:03 PM »
nice work man, so did yo wipe the dressing off or did it dry that fast?

Just let it dry. That other side had about an extra hour on it. Love the way that stuff smells!

Offline UserName

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Re: ALCOA Forged Aluminum Wheels
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2012, 06:06:52 PM »
Nice work! I had a set of 15x10 Alcoa's that I polished up. They had the luster of lead. I actually wet sanded with 1500 then 2000 then used my mother's power ball. Turned out with a mirror finish. I like the mothers powerball but its a pain to clean.



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Offline Too Stroked

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Re: ALCOA Forged Aluminum Wheels
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2012, 05:26:07 AM »
Nice work! I had a set of 15x10 Alcoa's that I polished up. They had the luster of lead. I actually wet sanded with 1500 then 2000 then used my mother's power ball. Turned out with a mirror finish. I like the mothers powerball but its a pain to clean.
Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2

If I had more time - or the inclination - I really think these wheels could have come out "mirror finished" like the ones you did. But having to work on them on the vehicle really limited me. Things like getting the "inside top" of the rear wheels was a royal PITA. I could hardly see what I was doing. And those darn center caps and lug nuts really got in the way of everything. If you look closely at the pictures you'll see where I just couldn't get in there well enough. Again though, I come back to the customer's goal for me to make them look "significantly better." Yea, I guess I got that far. Would have liked to see the ones you did!

Offline Obsessive Detail

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Re: ALCOA Forged Aluminum Wheels
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2012, 01:16:59 PM »
Nice work!  I'm glad you are happy with the Rx!

Offline Too Stroked

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Re: ALCOA Forged Aluminum Wheels
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2012, 06:15:23 PM »
Nice work!  I'm glad you are happy with the Rx!

Thanks Justin. As usual, one of your products helped make my day. And since I used almost half a bottle, you'll be seeing an order for some more shortly.

Offline Blown F-150

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Re: ALCOA Forged Aluminum Wheels
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2012, 08:28:11 PM »
Sure turned out great! I sure the guys was happy!
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Offline UserName

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Re: ALCOA Forged Aluminum Wheels
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2012, 02:05:12 PM »

Here is the only pic I could find of them. A few weeks after polishing. I couldn't imagine having to do them with lug nuts and center caps on. Kudos for sure!

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Offline Too Stroked

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Re: ALCOA Forged Aluminum Wheels
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2012, 03:49:17 PM »
Wow, those look awesome! My customer didn't want to spend the time or money to get them that nice. Apparently, the combination of the buffing our gelcoat guy did on the body and what I did on the wheels worked. A happy new owner drove it away last Wednesday.

 


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