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I was thinking of trying to clean up my stock OEM aluminum polished 18" wheels.
The car was my daily driver for about 90K in the midwest, and they did not handle the salty winters well even though I tried to keep them cleaned up.
The inside walls of the wheels aren't even shiny anymore, and the outside has some odd looking white spidering and corrosion.
Overall, they got kinda roughed up over the years.
I looked a while back, and buying these wheels new are something like $800 EACH WHEEL, totaling about $2400 for a set. I already purchased some new style wheels. But, I love those OEM wheels, and I want to try to restore them.

I did a bunch of research a while ago on restoring the OEM wheels. I watched some videos of cleaning and polishing using coarse to fine grit sandpaper with multiple polishing passes.
Anyone have any success with cleaning up some corroded wheels ? I am worried I will start to use sandpaper and realize that no matter what I do, whey won't be polished like new.

I don't have photos right now to show the condition of the wheels, but I plan to put the new wheels on this weekend, and I can take some photos of the OEM wheels.

I am hoping for some feedback on anyone's success (or failure) on cleaning up aluminum polished wheels.

Thanks in advance!
 

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It's all very doable! Most of the oem wheels had a clearcoat spray finish over them, but it sounds like that is all but gone. IMHO, you can either assemble your own buffing/polishing kit (ie, #00000 steel wool pad, sewn cotton buffing pad & a powerful drill, & a dremel tool with flexible extension, purchase polishing compounds at your local OSH) or purchase one from Eastwood...


https://search.eastwood.com/search?w=aluminum wheel polishing kit


I'm showing my age now, but, when I was in High school we had real magnesium rims....... and we use to use "polishing wads" and then were thrilled when mothers came out with their mag wheel polish.....


Assuming they are really tired as you described, figure the better part of a day to restore each one....but it's not killer type work, just patience.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's all very doable! Most of the oem wheels had a clearcoat spray finish over them, but it sounds like that is all but gone. IMHO, you can either assemble your own buffing/polishing kit (ie, #00000 steel wool pad, sewn cotton buffing pad & a powerful drill, & a dremel tool with flexible extension, purchase polishing compounds at your local OSH) or purchase one from Eastwood...


https://search.eastwood.com/search?w=aluminum wheel polishing kit


I'm showing my age now, but, when I was in High school we had real magnesium rims....... and we use to use "polishing wads" and then were thrilled when mothers came out with their mag wheel polish.....


Assuming they are really tired as you described, figure the better part of a day to restore each one....but it's not killer type work, just patience.
Good to know !!
I don't think these wheels ever had a clear coat. There was never any flaking. The spider webbing was confusing....
And when I googled the wheel, I found reproductions to be a lot less money than I remember. Not sure how reproductions compare to the original. Specs look the same...
Looks like the forum is not letting me post photos.


I do have pnuematic tools. But I have nothing in regards to polishing pads/kit.
I may have to check out that polishing kit you referenced.
 

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hmmmmm . . . I thought that "spidering" was corrosion under the clear coat; so to get rid of it you have to go through the clear coat first. If there is no clear coat then it's a relatively straightforward - but time consuming - polishing job and it sounds like Beechkid gave you the key info
 

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My polished 18" Bullitts looked bad when I bought the car (they are clear coated by the way). I opted to buy Ford Racing chrome Bullitts from an E-Bay seller. Less than $200 per wheel. Just something to consider.
 

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I'm showing my age now, but, when I was in High school we had real magnesium rims....... and we use to use "polishing wads" and then were thrilled when mothers came out with their mag wheel polish.....
Showing you're age alright.
 

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