As some of you will know i have recently been refurbishing a set of Compomotive alloy wheels. They have came off a few different cars, but are now a set and in terrible condition so i decided to compile a guide that others could maybe follow if planning to do it themselfs.
All will be done with rattle cans, and im expecting a better than factory finish.
So, i left the worst one until last, which has actually been on fire, just to show that it can be done if you have the patience, and that you dont have to pay a specialist £60 per wheel.
This is the wheel the guide will centre around. Its been confirmed as straight so i proceeded to prep it for its paint job.
So i start by rubbing it down with a 120 grit. I know it seems rough, but believe me this one needed it.
Needed to use some nitro-mors and a short wire brush to get the old paint and burned rubber out of the "Compomotive" and "made in england" writing
Then once happy that the finish has been well and truley rubbed down i give it a wash off with hot soapy water, Then wipe off and dry properly with a heat gun, Which i find is perfect for getting in the hard to reach areas
A coat of zinc primer just for the areas that have gone back to bare alloy
And then some white primer on the inside rim, which will show what still needs to be sanded out
So now i move up to a 400 grit which will blend those areas in nicely, then another spray of zinc on the bare alloy
Now its time to start putting the primer on. Im using white, and spraying one really thin coat and allowing it to go sticky before a heavier coat. I find the first one acts as a sort of gripping coat to stop runs in the second
At a glance its starting to look ok. But in all honesty its still shocking, all the primer does is highlight what still needs to be fixed.
This wheel has considerable damage around the lug mounting to, where the locking nuts had to me smacked off before i got them. (although i too had to remove locking nuts but decided to weld them off instead which is a lot cleaner
So now to start addressing the areas where the primer didnt stick, most likely due to a reaction occuring with the previous finish
With both the inside and out having a clean coat of primer i use a high build to eliminate any low spots that i can get away without filler'ing
Again, a very light coat to start with, then a heavier one after which should sink into the smallest chips and scrapes
Its good to a degree, but dont expect it to work miricals, you will still need to fill the bigger chips
So i mix up a small batch of Isopen p38 filler and set about every single blemish i can find, Then leave it to harden for 12hrs
Leaving the filler proud is fine to a certain degree, as its easy sand. So what i do is to use a fine metal file to get the worst of it off, then about a 400 grit to get it flat
Going over the whole wheel again is a pain, but definately worthwhile as if you are like me you will want it perfect
Time now for another thin coat of primer, I decided to use the putty as its good at removing scratch marks from the rough paper
Again a thin coat to start with followed by a heavy coat
If you are happy with the wheel, like i thought i was then flat the primer off with a wet 800 grit
But as always i found a few things i wasnt happy with, so did a bit more rubbing down
Once happy a final coat of white primer
Anyone who knows me will know im a perfectionist, So again there were a few areas that needed a bit more filling
After another coat of white to get it all uniformed i start to apply the silver. Im using Simoniz 5 wheel silver (which i preffer to call 1 wheel silver), I buy it online for about £25 for 6 cans.
I have a very handy tin of spray which suits the 57mm centre bore perfectly, so its ideal for mounting the wheel on so it can be rotated distributing the paint evenly
About 3 coats on the inside, then turn it over and do the same agin to the face. Again, a light coat first then getting heavier as the paint thickens
Once the paint is on and i am happy there are no defects i rub that back down with a wet 800 grit, which gives a nice smooth finish,
That gets washed and dried, just like before, then i spray a really fine mist of silver over it, which admittedly is a bit backwards, but it works well for me.
Now comes the fun part. Laquering. I use halfords 700ml cans because my trade card makes them about £6.30 as opposed to £7.99. First off is to do the inside. The reason I do the inside first, as if it was done the other way you would risk a drip making its way onto the finished face. And we dont want that
Once you are happy with this you can turn it over and start on the face. I personally use the very finest spray of laquer to start with, as again, if you leave it to go tacky it provides the next slightly heavier coat with a nice bit of grip which stops it running
Slightly heavier coat (heart beating like mad)
And a small tip. When a can starts to run out, dont try getting the last bit out of it as it will ruin the finish by spitting out big raindrops. Insted tilt it backwards and only use it to do the rim of the wheel. This way it will spray evenly right to the end as it can be held upright the whole time
And finally another 2 or 3 deep coats on the face, around 30mins between coats, and just pray it doesnt run
I then leave to dry for at least 48hrs, and then go and have a look at the finish, which will almost certainly look like orange peel. Some would leave it like this, but i preffer not to.
I use a 1500 grit sand paper to very very very carefully rub the laquer down. I use a flexible lamp to shine right on the wheel to show where i have and havent been, and dont stip until there are no dimples atall left in the wheel
Here is the difference. Pic one before wet sanding
And pic 2 after wet sanding
Then once happy you can rub it over with a G3 compound on a wet rag, then clean it and polish just with Auto Glym super resin
This is the finish i managed to get, and you can more or less read whats on the TV from around 1 meter away
And the finished set (well there are 2 at the top that aren't wet sanded but you cant tell form my camera) The other 2 will be getting done, just not yet.
I hope this will go some way into inspiring somebody else to give it a crack. I am by no means a painter, and agreed i could have had them blasted and painted for £100, but he wouldnt have been able to sort out all the dings like i did, and i would expect the finish to be nowhere near as good.
All in all i spent about £100 on paint and paper, But i would expect that if you werent as picky you could bring a set of 4 wheels in for around £60. I was using 1.5 cans of lacquer on each wheel and 1.5 cans of silver on each too, when in all fairness half that would have probably done just fine.
I hope its been a good read, Have been quite looking forward to putting this together and i hope it helps someone at some point.