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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-01-2011, 05:37 AM
jrmtrhd jrmtrhd is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 E39 Sport
Style 42 Wheel Refinishing

Ok, so I finally removed my winter wheels from my E39 (style 42) and will be refinishing the clear coat issue. I have read some good posts and have gotten as far as removing the 19 triple box bolts. After removal, I tried to separate the center piece from the barrel, but after 20 minutes of pounding gave up (don't want to damage the wheel).

Does anyone have any tips for separating the center piece from the barrel? Is there a good write up for finishing style 42s?

Thank you in advance.
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2011, 07:16 AM
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Josh P. Josh P. is offline
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Try spraying some WD-40 in there, let sit overnight, and then whack with a rubber mallet.

Sandblasting and powder-coating/re-spraying wheels is a professional process. I suppose you could try it yourself, but why bother? You can have it done for $100-$120. If you do it wrong, the paint/clear coat will flake off.

Otherwise it's a lot of work. There are DIYs around on fixing curb rash, but it sounds like you want full refinishing.
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  #3  
Old 04-01-2011, 07:48 AM
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I just refinished my Style 42s without separating the hub from the rim. I didn't want to have to rebalance my wheels after disassembling and then reassembling them. I used various grits of wet/dry sand paper to remove the "skin cancer" that seems to affect these rims. You need to get down to bare metal in most spots. A small tipped chisel help to remove the flaking clearcoat. For the gap between the hub and the rim, I used a single sheet of sandpaper to get in the crack. While not a perfect way for refinishing, it works good enough for me. I plan to put some clear silicon sealant into the gap, from both sides, to prevent salty water from entering the gap (there is residual salt in the spring on every road in NE!). My observation indicates that most of the skin cancer starts at that gap, probably from salty water pooling on the inner side of the rims due to the wheel camber. This just eats away at the clear coat and eventually corrodes the paint too. I am hoping the silicon will prevent water from attacking the transition point between the clear coat and the unpainted rim. I used generic primer, Wurth silver paint and clear coat. It took me about an hour or so of sanding per wheel to get them ready for painting. I taped off the hub and tire using blue painters tape and duct tape. I'll post my pics when I get home.

Last edited by Fudman; 04-01-2011 at 11:05 AM.
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  #4  
Old 04-01-2011, 07:58 AM
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Josh P. Josh P. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I just refinished my Style 42s without separating the hub from the rim. I didn't want to have to rebalance my wheels after disassebling and then reassembling them. I used various grits of wet/dry sand paper to remove the "skin cancer" that seems to affect these rims. You need to get down to bare metal in most spots. A small tipped chisel help to remove the flaking clearcoat. For the gap between the hub and the rim, I used a single sheet of sandpaper to get in the crack. While not a perfect way for refinishing, it works good enough for me. I plan to put some clear silicon sealant into the gap, from both sides, to prevent salty water from entering the gap (there is residual salt in the spring on every road in NE!). My observation indicates that most of the skin cancer starts at that gap, probably from salty water pooling on the inner side of the rims due to the wheel camber. This just eats away at the clear coat and eventually corrodes the paint too. I am hoping the silicon will prevent water from attacking the transition point between the clear coat and the unpainted rim. I used generic primer, Wurth silver paint and clear coat. It took me about an hour or two of sanding per wheel to get them ready for painting. I taped off the hub and tire using blue painters tape and duct tape. I'll post my pics when I get home.
More power to you, that is a lot of time/work. Hope they look great!
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  #5  
Old 04-01-2011, 10:50 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Here are some pics of my wheels during and after. #1 is typical of the sanded regions. I used a little body putty to fill in low spots. #2 is the wheel taped up for painting. #3 is the primer coat. #4 is after three coats of silver. #5 & 6 are after five coats of clear coat. All in all, not bad for about $40 to do all four wheels. Total effort was about 1 hour of sanding per wheel, taping took about 30 minutes per wheel and each coat took less than 5 minutes per wheel. Maybe ten hours of labor total.
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Last edited by Fudman; 04-01-2011 at 11:08 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:05 PM
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16valex 16valex is offline
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Hey Fudman,

That came out looking pretty good! What type of primer and paint did you use? I need to get me some.
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  #7  
Old 04-01-2011, 02:52 PM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Here are some pics of my wheels during and after. #1 is typical of the sanded regions. I used a little body putty to fill in low spots. #2 is the wheel taped up for painting. #3 is the primer coat. #4 is after three coats of silver. #5 & 6 are after five coats of clear coat. All in all, not bad for about $40 to do all four wheels. Total effort was about 1 hour of sanding per wheel, taping took about 30 minutes per wheel and each coat took less than 5 minutes per wheel. Maybe ten hours of labor total.
That is a pretty good job, however, style 42's have bare metal barrels with a clear coat from the factory.
I would do the same as OEM.
Strip, sand, polish, clear.

Look at these threads:
(Style 5's are similar.)
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1156455

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...1204759&page=2

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...996074&page=13
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Last edited by Jason5driver; 04-01-2011 at 02:57 PM.
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  #8  
Old 04-01-2011, 03:16 PM
filon102 filon102 is offline
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So how do you remove curb rash?
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  #9  
Old 04-01-2011, 07:39 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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This was the second time I have refinished my wheels. Both times I have used a generic primer from Wal-Mart and AutoZone. Both times I used Wurth silver paint and clear coat. I got mine from Goodspeedmotors.com, who sell both for $30.
http://www.goodspeedmotoring.com/?pa...fc86b89dd6b9f7

To repair curb rash, follow this DIY:
http://www.audiworld.com/tech/ext43.shtml
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  #10  
Old 04-01-2011, 08:03 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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Nice, I will be refinishing my style 42s soon, but I will be clear coating. I will just sand down the current clear and put some more clear on it.
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  #11  
Old 04-01-2011, 09:57 PM
jrmtrhd jrmtrhd is offline
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So, I knew there was a great bunch of knowledge out there. I also like the idea of keeping the original "stock" polished barrel look, but unfortunately one of the wheels has some minor curb rash, which only leaves me with the painting option.

After seeing the results without removing the center piece, I may follow the same route on order to reduce some of the extra work and avoid the possibility of breaking one of those 19 bolts.

Although it might be a bit slow, I'll update the post with pictures as I progress through this process.
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  #12  
Old 04-02-2011, 02:14 AM
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Shires Shires is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filon102 View Post
So how do you remove curb rash?
As long as it's not too deep, just file it off with a good metal file. Then sand to a flat finish.

Here's what I did with my style 71 wheels, similar process to the 42s I think. I chose to polish the lips and not lacquer which requires ongoing maintenance. Description below. Not for the faint hearted it's a lot of work.






For the rims I first spun them on the car with the rear up on jackstands and sanded with 120 to get rid of the corrosion. This made the dashboard light up like a christmas tree and I had to reset the codes when finished.
I split the rim+center and used a fine metal file to remove all kerb marks, which were no more than 1mm deep.
Then by hand sanded with 120,240,400,600,800,1200,1500 grit, followed by two rounds of polishing with clean cotton flap wheels each time, and Meguiars NXT polish.

For the centers I stripped the paint, sanded, then primed, sanded, primed again.
Three coats of paint and two coats of polyurethane lacquer. I used a slightly darker and warmer paint.
Between each stage I cooked the centers under a domestic grill for 30 minutes. This worked especially well with the lacquer.

Cleaned the bolts with Coca Cola, and re-fitted with threadlock and a torque wrench.

Last edited by Shires; 04-02-2011 at 02:16 AM.
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  #13  
Old 04-02-2011, 05:17 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shires View Post
For the rims I first spun them on the car with the rear up on jackstands and sanded with 120 to get rid of the corrosion. This made the dashboard light up like a christmas tree and I had to reset the codes when finished.
A great idea! I set my wheels up on an old seat swivel sitting on a work stool. This allowed easy rotation for painting and sanding while standing up. But it didn't offer the high speed sanding capability!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shires View Post
Then by hand sanded with 120,240,400,600,800,1200,1500 grit, followed by two rounds of polishing with clean cotton flap wheels each time, and Meguiars NXT polish.
For the centers I stripped the paint, sanded, then primed, sanded, primed again.
Three coats of paint and two coats of polyurethane lacquer. I used a slightly darker and warmer paint.
This is the reason your wheels look as good as new and mine look... well, passable to the casual observer from a distance. Nice job!
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  #14  
Old 04-02-2011, 01:05 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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If you guys need to replace the center cap roundel (mine had salt corrosion on each one), go here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/x4-Ge...item3a5f17dd66

This is an exact fit for Style 42, a BMW OEM part and less than $20 shipped. I paid $30 last week from the same vendor (in Japan) for four. He shipped them in less than one week. Get em while they last!
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:32 AM
jrmtrhd jrmtrhd is offline
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Alright, because the corrosion begins behind/under the center piece I've decided to go all the way and separate the center piece from the barrel. Using some heavy force & a piece of wood to protect the finish, the center separated from the barrel on the first hit.

Notice the excessive amount of corrosion that was exposed once the center was removed. I'm glad I've gone the extra mile. Finishing without removing the center would have resulted in shorter life of the refinish.

Now the next decision was what to use to remove the corrosion. I was going to use the sand paper method, but my younger brother (who owns his Vette performance shop & is a car genius) recommended using a Scotch brillo pad and some air tools. Well, after bout 10 minutes with the tool and pad, I was able to get to the bare alloy! (see before & after below).


Next step will be to remove the rest of the clear coat, sand evenly with a variety of grit sandpapers, and finally determine whether I should paint or clear coat. The determining factor will depend on the amount of pitting that will remain visible. If I need to use filler obviously I will have to paint, but if not I may just get away with polishing & clear coating.

If clear coating, I know I will have to polish until I get a mirror shine. My question is, how do I prep before the clear coat? I'm sure there will be polish residue, which I do not want to interfere with the clear coat. Will washing & a good drying do it or do I need a special cleaner before applying the clear coat?

Thanks to all of you for your valuable input. I hope my feedback can assist others trying to accomplish the same task.

I'll post additional info as I progress . . .
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:48 AM
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Shires Shires is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrmtrhd View Post
If clear coating, I know I will have to polish until I get a mirror shine. My question is, how do I prep before the clear coat? I'm sure there will be polish residue, which I do not want to interfere with the clear coat
I'm absolutely no expert on painting and polishing, however, here's something to consider and perhaps research.. When I did my wheels I knew that I wanted a mirror finish. The reason I didn't clear coat mine was that I strongly suspected there would be nothing for rattle-can lacquer to bond to (i.e. no "key") on on a mirror finished surface.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:12 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrmtrhd View Post


Now THAT'S the way to do this right! Nice job! I think I will go all the way next time around. Before you reassemble the wheel, you may want to put some clear silicone sealant between the center piece and the barrel to prevent water from getting under the edge of the clear coat (if you clear coat).
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:55 PM
jrmtrhd jrmtrhd is offline
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@ Fudman - I really like the results of your work and appreciate your feedback. I think I will follow your advise and use some clear silicone whether I paint or polish/clear coat. As you can imagine, Chicago winters are very tough and any additional protection helps.

Today I tried to remove the swirl marks in a small section just to see the results. I simply used 400, 800, & 1000 grit sand paper, and the results look very promising. I'll take pictures once I do a larger area.
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  #19  
Old 04-04-2011, 10:07 AM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shires View Post
As long as it's not too deep, just file it off with a good metal file. Then sand to a flat finish.

Here's what I did with my style 71 wheels, similar process to the 42s I think. I chose to polish the lips and not lacquer which requires ongoing maintenance. Description below. Not for the faint hearted it's a lot of work.






For the rims I first spun them on the car with the rear up on jackstands and sanded with 120 to get rid of the corrosion. This made the dashboard light up like a christmas tree and I had to reset the codes when finished.
I split the rim+center and used a fine metal file to remove all kerb marks, which were no more than 1mm deep.
Then by hand sanded with 120,240,400,600,800,1200,1500 grit, followed by two rounds of polishing with clean cotton flap wheels each time, and Meguiars NXT polish.

For the centers I stripped the paint, sanded, then primed, sanded, primed again.
Three coats of paint and two coats of polyurethane lacquer. I used a slightly darker and warmer paint.
Between each stage I cooked the centers under a domestic grill for 30 minutes. This worked especially well with the lacquer.

Cleaned the bolts with Coca Cola, and re-fitted with threadlock and a torque wrench.
Wow!
Those style 71's came out better than from the factory!
LOL!
Did you clear coat the barrels?

Thanks!
Jason
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  #20  
Old 04-11-2011, 12:11 AM
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first540i first540i is offline
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subscribed.

need to do this for my style 42's also.
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  #21  
Old 04-22-2011, 01:53 PM
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Shires Shires is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
Wow!
Those style 71's came out better than from the factory!
LOL!
Did you clear coat the barrels?
Cheers.

No clearcoat, other than what the manufacturer put on there. All the clearcoat on the lips is removed, it's down to the polished metal. As I mentioned I didn't think there would be anything for clearcoat to key to on the polished surface, at least using over the counter products like rattle cans.

It makes them a little bit high maintenance at least with our climate here -- tons of road salt and grit in winter as the temperature often hovers around 0C (freezing), lots of water and dirt on the roads. After I wash 'em I wipe them over WD40 which helps to stop stuff sticking to them (although I suspect any oil would do). Then a quick polish by hand once a month.
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  #22  
Old 04-22-2011, 02:36 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
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If you're going to prime, paint or clear coat a bare, polished alloy wheel, you need a conversion coating. Primer, paint or clear will not adhere if you don't. All the paint companies make one. I used PPG DX579 Metal Cleaner, DX501 Aluminum Conditioner, followed by DAU75 urethane clear & DXR80 hardner when refinishing my style 42's. It's been 3 years and they've held up great. You can use a spray bomb also.

Paul S
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  #23  
Old 05-22-2011, 05:34 PM
jrmtrhd jrmtrhd is offline
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Ok folks, here is an update on my wheel project. It has taken some time because I have not been able to dedicate full time to the project.

As mentioned before, I decided to go the long route and remove the center piece in order to get to the source of the corrosion. This is when I discovered that restoring to the original polished look was not going to be possible due to deeply pitted sections. I also discovered that the outer diameter section of the center piece was bubbling and could have contributed to the damage. I had no choice but to also refinish the bad sections.

Here are the steps I took to restore:

1) Remove the 19 bolts from center piece and separate from barrel
2) Use a paint remover (looks like brillo pad) with air tool to speed up the process, and sand down corroded portions down to the bare alloy
3) Remove the rest of the clear coating with aircraft paint stripper
4) Once wheel is down to bare metal and thoroughly cleaned mask tape the tire with blue masking tape in the inner portion and duct tape to cover most of the tire's side wall
5) Since wheel is bare metal, use two coats of self etching primer to assure adhesion of upcoming coatings
6) Apply a very light coat of spot putty to fill in the pitted portions and then sand down until completely filled and smooth
7) The next and final step is to use 3 coats of heavy cover primer, 3 coats of paint, and last, 3 coats of clear coat

I used Dupli Color products and not Wurth because I wanted some contrast in color between the center piece and the barrel. The paint I used is bright silver wheel paint and it did give me the contrast I wanted.

It is obvious that you have to work in a clean environment so that you don't have to worry about particles sticking to the surface during the spraying process.

Pictures coming shortly.
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  #24  
Old 05-22-2011, 05:41 PM
jrmtrhd jrmtrhd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pshovest View Post
If you're going to prime, paint or clear coat a bare, polished alloy wheel, you need a conversion coating. Primer, paint or clear will not adhere if you don't. All the paint companies make one. I used PPG DX579 Metal Cleaner, DX501 Aluminum Conditioner, followed by DAU75 urethane clear & DXR80 hardner when refinishing my style 42's. It's been 3 years and they've held up great. You can use a spray bomb also.

Paul S
BMW CCA 69606
Paul - totally agree in your preparation statements and wish I had been able to utilize the original bare allow look. However, as you can see on my earlier post, I had to do some putty repair which only left me with the option to paint.

I had better than expected results, so I'm a happy camper.
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  #25  
Old 05-22-2011, 05:50 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
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Congratulations. Happy is what it's all about. Only those of that have been through this ordeal can appreciate the time and effort requied. Self etchng primer for all intents and purposes, does the same thing as the conversion coating. Don't forget the photos.

Paul S
BMW CCA 69606



Quote:
Originally Posted by jrmtrhd View Post
Paul - totally agree in your preparation statements and wish I had been able to utilize the original bare allow look. However, as you can see on my earlier post, I had to do some putty repair which only left me with the option to paint.

I had better than expected results, so I'm a happy camper.
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