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View Full Version : HELP: Cleaning Rims :(


BimmerBurger
04-25-2011, 12:17 AM
I drove through some dirty puddles a few days ago and I knew it would be the death of my HRE 549R wheels.

It left an even "grime" all over them. The picture below is *after* scrubbing and cleaning thoroughly. I sprayed a degreaser on it and that changed the overall "grime" dust to the streaky / dripping lines you now see. Those immediately dried somehow and re-stained the wheels.

They wont come off.

Im not going to ship my wheels to HRE again and pay $1,000 and wait 3 weeks for them to refinish my rims. The price is ridiculous, and their service is so unbearably slow that its pointless.

Is there *ANY* product I can use which will fully refinish these wheels for me? If not, is there at least a product which will dissolve and clean *all* the stains you see in the image?

Thank you.

-BB-

TOGWT
04-25-2011, 04:36 AM
What degreaser did you use and how long did it remain on the wheel surface before you rinsed it off? They look to be alkaline / acid stains...

Todd@properautocare.com
04-25-2011, 05:42 AM
The stains are from the cleaner. Imagine the aluminum is like a piece of bread that you dipped face down into butter. The longer you let the bread soak in the melted butter, the more it absorbs. The more it absorbs, the more of the bread you have to scrape away to get down to fresh bread. (Terrible analogy but I should be sleeping right now).

I have polished out many many many stains on aluminum, but you will need professional grade products and time.

Blackfire's Metal Polishing Kit (http://classic-motoring.stores.yahoo.net/blmeposy.html) is designed for the at home user who wants truly professional results, but it does still take practice to get right.

dboy11
04-25-2011, 08:18 AM
You've stained the aluminum, and what will take that out with some elbow grease is a chemical based polish. Most all metal polishes are chemical based. One of the best polishes that I have used to polished aluminum is Semi Chrome (link attached) is expensive but doesn't take a lot of polish to bring out the luster.

you want to use cotton to polish with micro fiber will not get the bite on the metal. As I stated your going to need some elbow grease to work the area up. work in small areas working the metal polish until it starts to dissipate. That will take care of your stains.

When you clean your rims the next time get a good wheel cleaner, the APC that you used is to aggressive on polished non-coated aluminum

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=semichrome&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=4213935415&ref=pd_sl_83le57afgm_b

Swanicyouth
04-28-2011, 10:48 AM
Once you fix this only use car wash and elbow grease to clean your wheels. Most other dedicated wheel cleaners or degreasers will damage this finish long term. The safe stuff, like P21S, doesn't work well enough IMHO to justify the price. Also, Armour All makes a wheel protectant spray that makes clean up much easier. As for waxing them, it's all just short term protection. Check out Opti Coat 2.0 - that is a permanent sealant.

BimmerBurger
05-08-2011, 12:59 AM
Thanks guys. You keep mentioning elbow grease. And *not* using microfiber because its not abrasive enough. Keep in mind these are very very expensive chrome wheels ($7,000) and they get microabrasions VERY easily that are permanent. I am a little uncomfortable using cotton or elbow grease on them, as I have taken something as simple as a paper towel to them in the past, and with one swipe left a nice set of perm streaks on them. How do I use elbow grease without causing "swirling" or abrasions?

Swanicyouth
05-08-2011, 09:19 AM
Check out Opti Coat 2.0. It is a permanent coating for any exterior automotive surface. It is permanent, yes permanent. I have researched this stuff to death an have some on order for my wheel. It is a coating that acts like a second clearcoat, except it is much more difficult to scratch and sheds dirt much easier. Everyone who has put it on there rims pretty much has amazing results. Again, I have researched this product to death, and have some on order for my wheels - I wouldn't recommend it if it was some bogus product. It's made by Optimum technologies, they have an excellent reputation in the pro detail realm and they tested the product 5+ years before releasing it. I have nothing to do with this company. The only short comings of this product, as it was primarily designed to replace waxing your paint, is that it doesn't leave the surface as slick as a just waxed finish. It's more of a clean glassy feeling. Thats the only drawback I can find.

Swanicyouth
05-08-2011, 09:22 AM
Just to clarify, consider Opti Coat once you get the stains out.

RBinDC
05-08-2011, 10:25 AM
Check out Opti Coat 2.0. It is a permanent coating for any exterior automotive surface. It is permanent, yes permanent. I have researched this stuff to death an have some on order for my wheel. It is a coating that acts like a second clearcoat, except it is much more difficult to scratch and sheds dirt much easier. Everyone who has put it on there rims pretty much has amazing results. Again, I have researched this product to death, and have some on order for my wheels - I wouldn't recommend it if it was some bogus product. It's made by Optimum technologies, they have an excellent reputation in the pro detail realm and they tested the product 5+ years before releasing it. I have nothing to do with this company. The only short comings of this product, as it was primarily designed to replace waxing your paint, is that it doesn't leave the surface as slick as a just waxed finish. It's more of a clean glassy feeling. Thats the only drawback I can find.

I'm looking for a good product to put on my wheels after cleaning them. The Armor All product has been criticized for containing Silicone.

Any detailers out there that have used Opti Coat 2.0?

Todd@properautocare.com
05-11-2011, 09:07 AM
Thanks guys. You keep mentioning elbow grease. And *not* using microfiber because its not abrasive enough. Keep in mind these are very very expensive chrome wheels ($7,000) and they get microabrasions VERY easily that are permanent. I am a little uncomfortable using cotton or elbow grease on them, as I have taken something as simple as a paper towel to them in the past, and with one swipe left a nice set of perm streaks on them. How do I use elbow grease without causing "swirling" or abrasions?

I think everybody was under the assumption that these were polished aluminum wheels, not chrome plated. The problem is that the stains have penetrated the metal (or chrome plate) so the only way to remove them is going to remove the stained material (polishing). Luckily most stains are not to deep.

However if you don't want to polish them (which I understand) then you will have to live with the stains or have them re-chromed (at which point its probably best to dry cleaning first).

dboy11
05-11-2011, 09:23 AM
Thanks guys. You keep mentioning elbow grease. And *not* using microfiber because its not abrasive enough. Keep in mind these are very very expensive chrome wheels ($7,000) and they get microabrasions VERY easily that are permanent. I am a little uncomfortable using cotton or elbow grease on them, as I have taken something as simple as a paper towel to them in the past, and with one swipe left a nice set of perm streaks on them. How do I use elbow grease without causing "swirling" or abrasions?

Can you post the model number? I've looked threw the HRE web site and no where dose it mention a chrome finish. In fact they talk about using aerospace-grade 6061-T6 aluminum and finishing with high strength stainless steel or titanium fasteners and lug bolts.

To me that looks like polish aluminum and the reason it stained. :D

dboy11
05-11-2011, 03:06 PM
Thanks guys. You keep mentioning elbow grease. And *not* using microfiber because its not abrasive enough. Keep in mind these are very very expensive chrome wheels ($7,000) and they get microabrasions VERY easily that are permanent. I am a little uncomfortable using cotton or elbow grease on them, as I have taken something as simple as a paper towel to them in the past, and with one swipe left a nice set of perm streaks on them. How do I use elbow grease without causing "swirling" or abrasions?

Thanks for sending me the model as I suspected they where polish non-clear coated aluminum. When I say elbow grease and polish...metal polish especially for soft metals are all chemical based, meaning there are no abrasives, like something you would see with a paint polish.

The Semi-Chrome that I suggested is a chemical based polish with cotton and some pressure on the metal it should lift the stains. Might take some time if they are on the metal pretty good. Once your done polishing use baking soda on a cotton towel and wipe the rim, this will take off all of the polish residue and leave the metal streak free. Its a trick that I learned from a metal polishing guy years ago :thumbup:

POof540i
05-11-2011, 06:30 PM
Thanks for sending me the model as I suspected they where polish non-clear coated aluminum. When I say elbow grease and polish...metal polish especially for soft metals are all chemical based, meaning there are no abrasives, like something you would see with a paint polish.

The Semi-Chrome that I suggested is a chemical based polish with cotton and some pressure on the metal it should lift the stains. Might take some time if they are on the metal pretty good. Once your done polishing use baking soda on a cotton towel and wipe the rim, this will take off all of the polish residue and leave the metal streak free. Its a trick that I learned from a metal polishing guy years ago :thumbup:

Would it be safe for the OP to use a Mother's Powerball and drill, to reduce elbow grease fatigue?

dboy11
05-12-2011, 08:24 AM
Would it be safe for the OP to use a Mother's Powerball and drill, to reduce elbow grease fatigue?

Yes but I won't suggest it at this point, based on his limited experience. Not saying that the PB is dangerous but its the combo of speed and polish that can have a bit of a learned curve.

I've been exchanging PM with the OP and he is saying the finish is real soft and scratches real easy. The reason I am suggesting a chemical based polish.