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View Full Version : Keeping Polished Aluminum / Chrome rims clean.


BimmerBurger
08-22-2011, 11:01 PM
Hi all -

I have a brand newly refurbished set of HRE 549 R's which I believe are polished aluminum centers and polished chrome rims (could be reversed).

I desperately need a spot-cleaning method for these things. Some solution that is 100% safe and super effective for this finish so that my rims don't sit for 1-2 weeks after a random trip through a dirty puddle.

Such events get me 1 day closer to having to ship these things back to HRE again and have them refurbished and refinished all over again.

I love Zaino products. Do they have something safe for this?

Thanks.

dboy11
08-23-2011, 09:19 AM
They look like polished aluminum the centers are for sure, the lip looks the same to me (hard to tell from the pics) Bucket wash the rims only. Do not just do a brake dust wipe down, that metal is really soft and can mar pretty quickly. For polish you want to chemical based product, designed for polishing aluminum. There are many on the market to chose from.

This is the one that I use when polish rims like yours and the motorcycles I polish


http://www.amazon.com/Simichrome-Polish-8-82-oz-Can/dp/B000FGICHW

BimmerBurger
08-23-2011, 11:30 AM
Bucket wash the rims only. Do not just do a brake dust wipe down

Sorry, the purpose of this thread was to find ways to keep the rims clean between bucket washes. I do a whole car bucket wash once a week, but based on 5 years of experience with these things, I can't be leaving them with even "water spots" for longer than a day or two, or ill regret it. I live in a condo tower and have no access to a hose so I can only go once a week to a self car wash and do the bucket thing.

I know that wiping something that has abrasives on it can cause micro scrapes, so I am trying to find a solution. I have been doing some research and other guys on other forums spot clean with a spray like this Poorboy's: http://www.poorboysworld.com/spray-wipe.htm

Im thinking of something where I am driving with perfectly clean rims, I end up getting sprayed by a sprinkler, and need to do a quick fix when I get home. There must be some solutions, even if I have to take a little plant water-er and pour water onto it to rinse the brake dust first.

BimmerBurger
08-23-2011, 11:31 AM
As a side note can you recommend a tiny non-abrasive cleaning tool for getting around the bolts ? There are tons of crevices on these things. (see pics above).

Thanks

Ilovemycar
08-23-2011, 01:54 PM
Hm, I'm not exactly sure what is desired, but maybe you can pick or choose one, none, or all of the following ideas.

Sonax Full Effect- cheapest per volume I've ever seen was 2 gallons for $130, before promotions, but I think even that might have gone up. Small bottle is $20.

For "waterless wash", I'm a big fan of ONR (Optimum). Use it as QD, clay lube, wash, wash additive . . . spot cleaner . . . even perhaps for some interior and/or glass stuff . . . and as concentrate, it makes it very affordable.

I've been meaning to get some of these "tools", ahem toothbrushes, but helping to clean my friend's 19" wheels on his Z4 35IS, well, that prompted me to finally get this very cheap 24pack:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001LFEF1S

A member I trust in the E9x forum recommended these for the tailpipes, but I think they might* be helpful for these wheels (if in addition to other tools).

http://www.amazon.com/Microfiber-Magic-Sponge--Piece-Pack/dp/B000VSB7YE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314128985&sr=8-1

For alum polish, I use Mother's, it's good stuff but it's mildly abrasive. I know that Menzerna (a respected boutique brand) has a polish that is non-abrasive, and if these wheels are as soft as ddboy says, maybe I'd try that.

Hm for the lugnuts, I have two tools, and prefer my Carrand. However, I'm not so sure that it won't eventually scratch your wheels though . . .

You might also consider a big Costco-sized pack of Q-tips. I had to resort to Qtips without toothbrushes in hand when helping to clean that friend's car.

BimmerBurger
08-24-2011, 08:19 PM
Thanks a bunch.

I understand why the other guy above said simply "Dont do it" ... even with a weekly wash, there is jet black stuff that comes off the wheels with a single wipe. I went and bought an aluminum-safe / unsealed-aluminum-safe wheel spray at the local AutoZone. Its a foam and when I sprayed it on, it literally slid down the wheel leaving a 100% clean path behind it. Pretty cool. But even that says you should hose off the foam with water. Maybe I will get a pour-spout cotainer that is sealable and just keep it in the trunk. This way I can spray the cleaner and rinse with water, then dry with microfiber towels.

Are Q tips non-abrasive enough to do the job without leaving micro scrapes?

-BB-

dboy11
08-25-2011, 08:16 AM
I have been doing some research and other guys on other forums spot clean with a spray like this Poorboy's: http://www.poorboysworld.com/spray-wipe.htm


Now that I understand what you are asking, I have been using PB S&W for years, I buy it in the five gallon container. I bucket wash my car less than a few times a year, I mainly use the S&W to keep it clean.

All that said, use the S&W on a cold rim, spray on and let dwell for a miunte or two. Then with a micro fiber towel wipe the rim clean turning the towel every so oftem

Armor All has a spray out that is designed to cut down on the brake dust. I've done some field testing of it, and have to say its the bomb and works real well. Just as a side note, do a quick search and you will see tons of reviews on it. A few are here on the fest:D

Ilovemycar
08-25-2011, 12:43 PM
Hm. Ok, first of all I would not "guess" about what the wheels are made of- ask the mftr directly. Detailers seem to use different products depending if it's polished aluminum vs chrome.

There is a pretty wide variety of MF types and quality. I have no issue using cheaper MFs on my wheels, but if yours are truly soft, you might think about it.

I like the Sonax, and for you I'd recommend mildly agitating with a quality boar's hair brush. The stuff goes from green to red as it absorbs the sintered iron from your brakes.

I am not going to rant on any AutoZone product right now (they do sell some decent Meg's stuff for instance), but you might want to share what it is that you're using.

I don't recommend Qtips if only because how tedious that would be. They are immediately absorbed with contamination; you'd have to go through a whole bunch just for one wheel. Ok, they might help for fine cleaning the tiniest nooks. The tips do seem to be extremely soft, especially when soaked with anything.

For any cleaning applicator you have, to test for a baseline of softness, use it against a CD. If you can't scratch the CD, it's at least good for paint. Some MF towels are cheaper, hot-wired cut, which means the edges are hard plastic- not all MF are made the same.

The AA spray is the bomb. So easy too. I get 'em at Target, probably have 4 cans or so in the garage right now.

CGdetailing
08-26-2011, 12:00 AM
From the top of my head I can think of 3 PH safe wheel cleaners for all types of finishes. I currently have all 3 and my favorite is p21s because you can let it dwell longer without any negative effects.

Sonax full effect

P21s Wheel gel cleaner

Griots heavy duty wheel cleaner

csmeance
08-26-2011, 12:21 AM
Thanks a bunch.

I understand why the other guy above said simply "Dont do it" ... even with a weekly wash, there is jet black stuff that comes off the wheels with a single wipe. I went and bought an aluminum-safe / unsealed-aluminum-safe wheel spray at the local AutoZone. Its a foam and when I sprayed it on, it literally slid down the wheel leaving a 100% clean path behind it. Pretty cool. But even that says you should hose off the foam with water. Maybe I will get a pour-spout cotainer that is sealable and just keep it in the trunk. This way I can spray the cleaner and rinse with water, then dry with microfiber towels.

Are Q tips non-abrasive enough to do the job without leaving micro scrapes?

-BB-

Call Up HRE and ask them what the finish is exactly. You don't want to use a wheel cleaner that can ruin the surface, esp if it's not raw metal and is clear-coated or has some sort of coating.

Personally I only use a wheel cleaner like Sonax when the wheels haven't been washed in months. If you keep up with your wheels, you can easily just use Zaino Z-7 or a car wash solution to clean off your wheels.

I used to use Zaino Z-7 but now use Chemical Guys Citrus Wash and Gloss Diluted 2 Oz per gallon of water. I hose off the wheels, spray the Citrus Wash on and agitate with a boars hair brush! Then hose off and wipe down!

For those little crevices, you might want to consider getting a few "lug nut brushes" or Detail brushes like this one:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31KfSL-mliL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

http://www.amazon.com/Swissvax-SE1054090-Wheel-Cleaning-Brush/dp/B004TRC5E4/ref=pd_bxgy_auto_text_b

BimmerBurger
08-26-2011, 12:33 PM
All that said, use the S&W on a cold rim, spray on and let dwell for a miunte or two. Then with a micro fiber towel wipe the rim clean turning the towel every so oftem
Well lemme throw you for a loop. Your initial suggestion may have been best. I actually have access to some RO water, even though I don't have access to a hose. So I went and picked it up, tossed it in the trunk, and found myself a nice parking lot to park my ass in and squat.

I drenched the first tire in the RO water getting it nice and wet, hopefully draining off some of the brake dust. I then sprayed the stuff I do have (meguires aluminum wheel cleaner foam) onto the rim abundantly. I let it soak for a minute. I took a brand new microfiber towel and ever so lightly, did a swipe on the "lip" of the rim. What appeared was a jet black smudge. That tells me that rinsing with the RO (just pouring) did little or nothing. It also tells me that I just did a nice micro-scrape across my rim. I was super light about it, super slow, so I am hoping I didnt do any damage, but doing this 2-3 times a week for 6 months is going to result in that dreaded "fog" (millions of microscrapes). Right now my rims are seriously mirror-finish, and I want to keep them that way.

My understanding is that if you do a swipe, especially on a soft surface like this, and you get ANY BLACKNESS at all on the cloth, you *are* causing microscrapes on the wheel, whether you can see them immediately or not. Is that true?

Should my goal to be foaming these things up and wiping with little or nothing showing on the towel?

Armor All has a spray out that is designed to cut down on the brake dust. I've done some field testing of it, and have to say its the bomb and works real well. Just as a side note, do a quick search and you will see tons of reviews on it. A few are here on the fest:D

Is this stuff a sealant for after cleaning? My two front wheels seem to take quite a huge hit. Not only do they get the most brake dust, but they are also 10x hotter than the back wheels, so its almost like stuff bakes onto the finish, especially if I hit a puddle and let it sit 3 days.

Thanks guys for any detailed response to this post.

-BB-

Ilovemycar
08-26-2011, 01:52 PM
To make a long story short, you want the latest great breakthrough in car protection technology, a "permanent" sealant like Opti-Coat or C Quartz. It should last until it is mechanically abraded away (which should take a very long time), will have between minimal and zero effect on the looks (unlike most any LSP), it will release your brake dust as well as or better than anything, has excellent UV protection, and is superior to urethane clearcoat. It rejects stuff so well, LSP won't last, and even another coat of OC/CQ may be impossible to add!

The downside? Cost, as one syringe of OC for example is $60.

You can use it on glass, or the paint too. (But heed the LSP resistance warning, if looking for a sharp looking vehicle.)

If I only had one place to use it, I'd have it on the wheels. It would be great to take all 4 off, clean em real good, and put this stuff on everywhere including the barrels. I'm pretty sure Phil of DD has pictorials of doing this, maybe on a 1er or something.

The AA is a maintenance wheel sealant, a far cry from a permanent sealant. Something that is applied after every car wash. Most important tip is to make sure wheel is dry. I've read others recommend a couple of light coats, as they better than one heavy one. Safe for your rubber, no worries there.

A nut who doesn't have access to the new modern coatings could do something like 2 coats of Rejex (12 hr wait after each coat), then a couple of light coats of AA. The Rejex however doesn't work as well as the AA, and is a much bigger PITA to apply, IMO. However, 4 coats are better than none. Still, one coat of OC/CQ should be superior to even these 4 coats, if for durability alone.

dboy11
08-26-2011, 03:50 PM
Well lemme throw you for a loop. Your initial suggestion may have been best. I actually have access to some RO water, even though I don't have access to a hose. So I went and picked it up, tossed it in the trunk, and found myself a nice parking lot to park my ass in and squat.

I drenched the first tire in the RO water getting it nice and wet, hopefully draining off some of the brake dust. I then sprayed the stuff I do have (meguires aluminum wheel cleaner foam) onto the rim abundantly. I let it soak for a minute. I took a brand new microfiber towel and ever so lightly, did a swipe on the "lip" of the rim. What appeared was a jet black smudge. That tells me that rinsing with the RO (just pouring) did little or nothing. It also tells me that I just did a nice micro-scrape across my rim. I was super light about it, super slow, so I am hoping I didnt do any damage, but doing this 2-3 times a week for 6 months is going to result in that dreaded "fog" (millions of microscrapes). Right now my rims are seriously mirror-finish, and I want to keep them that way.

My understanding is that if you do a swipe, especially on a soft surface like this, and you get ANY BLACKNESS at all on the cloth, you *are* causing microscrapes on the wheel, whether you can see them immediately or not. Is that true?

Should my goal to be foaming these things up and wiping with little or nothing showing on the towel?



Is this stuff a sealant for after cleaning? My two front wheels seem to take quite a huge hit. Not only do they get the most brake dust, but they are also 10x hotter than the back wheels, so its almost like stuff bakes onto the finish, especially if I hit a puddle and let it sit 3 days.

Thanks guys for any detailed response to this post.

-BB-

The Armour All spray is a repellent of sorts. I have to say that I didn't think it would work, until I saw it up front for myself. On your front rims it would cut the brake dust well over 50%

BimmerBurger
08-26-2011, 06:39 PM
On your front rims it would cut the brake dust well over 50%
The problem is that this stuff stops protecting as soon as you wipe your wheels. I would be wiping frequently. As per some reviews, this product really is only good for people who want to put it on and leave it. People who are more worried about a quicker car wash when the time comes, than about keeping the wheels clean on a daily basis, and not let things sit on them which might eventually stain. I guess the question is, which is better? Having less brake dust and having to reapply the sealant every time I wipe? Or having more brake dust and the freedom to quickly spot-clean.

Can you reply to the other question in my post, about what my goal should be with the towel ?

And here's a new one: what do you think about the $60 sealant the guy mentions above?

-BB-