Clean, Clean Again
|original Honda rims|
Assess the Damage
Two of the rims were in fairly good condition. There wasn't much in terns of curb rash around the outer edges, and there were only a few scrapes from what looked like applying snow chains. The other two rims, however, had been in a few fights. There were some small chunks chipped out nearest the rubber, and many many gouges in that outer edge as well. Sadly, there were some deeper wedge-shaped scrapes in the face where, again, it looked like the rubber strap for tire chains had been put on possibly wrong such that the loops dug into the rim.
Plan the Work
The damage, though, was purely cosmetic. I was able to add air, and the air held in all 4 tires. Since the damage was surface, I knew I could repair it, but I felt I would need to paint rather than restore to plain aluminum. I'm sure there are others out there who can repair aluminum such that it looks like the damage was never there. That's not me.
|paint concept (upper right)|
So, I planned to repair the chips and gouges with Lab Metal, and paint the outer lip and the mag-face, leaving an inner rim and the insides of the mags the original aluminum. This would bring out some of the chrome while not having an overwhelming amount of it. I mocked up a few options in paint so I could get a sense of how it would look and then I got started. First, you need to get down to the bare aluminum.
Take off that Clear Coat
|on-car paint concept|
For the other 3 rims (and I came back and did the sanded rim too), I used airplane stripper. C had some from when he was stripping the paint off the 280ZX, so I knew it worked and worked well. At least on paint. I knew that it didn't damage rubber when little drips got on it. I laid out the three rims, and brushed stripper on one wheel at a time. Once I got done brushing the third rim, the first was about dry, so I applied a second coat. Doing all four wheels would have timed out just about perfectly. Once the second coat was dry, I attacked the rims with steel wool. The clear coating scrubbed right off, leaving the bare rim with little flecks of clear coat left behind. To get completely cleared, I used a razorblade scraper. The airplane stripper was significantly faster and left behind a better surface. I hosed the rims off, and they were ready for the next step: fixing the damage. I'll get into that next time.
Thanks, as always, for following along. More next time-