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Old 05-26-2019, 05:15 AM
Chilibadger Chilibadger is offline
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Refinished my 108 Wheels

Thought I’d chronicle my experience of blacking out my 108s with plasti dip. I know many will disagree with dipping the wheels, usually stating they won’t look good or longevity issues. I’ve been needing to so something with my wheels that have gotten a bit beat up over the years and I love the 108s but have really wanted black rims on my ’07 3.0si. I didn’t want to buy new rims and I wasn’t ready to commit to the expense of getting them professionally painted, at least until I know I would like the look of them blacked out. So, here’s my experience. First, here's what I started with:



I degreased the wheels with a citrus product and gave them a good scrubbing. In preparing to disassemble the wheels I deflated the tires as I was worried that the pressure in the tires could damage the rim once the star was removed. The wheel studs were really dirty and I wanted them to pop against the black so I removed them. You have to have an M8 star bolt, I bought this set from Harbor Freight, they were well made and not very expensive.


I hit each stud with some penetrating oil and removing them was a bit concerning as they were in pretty heavy. But they came out without any issues.


I used a buffer with a wire wheel to get the grim off then polished them on a cotton wheel with polishing compound. I really wanted to get the inside of the stud clean since that is so visible so they spent the night in my gun brass vibrating cleaner. Not sure this is necessary but they came out pretty.


The star itself was surprisingly heavy and popped out without any effort.


Here's the back side of the Star and the starless rim.



The next task was sanding down the road rash on the outside rims. I started with 225, 320, then 500. Since I was spraying them I wasn’t trying to repair the damage, just remove the high spots. If I was painting the wheels I’d repair the rash with auto weld or something. That’s in the future once the dip fails. I used a deck of cards to mask off the tire, I could have used tire shine then peel off the over spray but this worked out well.


I'll post the rest of the pics at the end of the narrative. I gave all the surfaces another good cleaning with brake cleaner before spring a light first coat. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos on the plasti dip process (DipYourCar had the best tutorials, thanks Fonzi!). There are three tricks to the trade, so to speak, to getting a nice flat surface: First is to warm up the spray can in warm water for at least 10 minutes, the second is to keep the can pretty close to the target, closer than you would for regular spray paint, and the third is to spray so you get wet overlapping coats. I sprayed it on thick and although I was anxious about drips or sagging I had no problems. You should use one can per wheel and you’ll apply it so you have at least four coats with 15 minutes between coats. I then followed the same procedures to apply a single coat of the glosifier. I let the parts dry for about three hours before reassembly. I used blue Locktite thread locker on the studs and torqued them to 28 ft/lbs, which was recommended on a post I had found in my preparation research. It felt right.




After the glossifier:




The pic above makes it look grainy but it was actually quite smooth. Not as nice as a good paint job or a powder coat but it looked great.

The results:





All in all I'm really happy with the results and hope this is helpful for anyone else considering this option.

Last edited by Chilibadger; 05-26-2019 at 07:22 AM. Reason: Tweaks
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  #2  
Old 05-26-2019, 07:34 AM
luigi524td luigi524td is offline
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Nicely done!! Looks terrific.
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Old 05-26-2019, 07:58 AM
Chilibadger Chilibadger is offline
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Nicely done!! Looks terrific.
Thanks! I was surprised that the all black wheels make it look like its been lowered.
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Old 05-26-2019, 03:53 PM
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You were incredibly fortunate getting all the bolts out without heating them to break down the thread locker BBS uses to assemble them.
If you'd snapped the head off of one, or worse yet stripped it out you'd have been in real trouble.
Glad it worked out for you!
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Old 05-26-2019, 04:33 PM
Chilibadger Chilibadger is offline
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Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
You were incredibly fortunate getting all the bolts out without heating them to break down the thread locker BBS uses to assemble them.
If you'd snapped the head off of one, or worse yet stripped it out you'd have been in real trouble.
Glad it worked out for you!
So I have read and another reason I went with Plasti dip: if one snapped I would have abandoned the project, pealed off the dip and none the worse for wear. I gave each stud a shot of penetrating oil overnight and all of then came out without drama. That first one though... not knowing how much force before failure was an anxious moment. They all felt about the same.
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Old 05-26-2019, 11:06 PM
Andyz4 Andyz4 is offline
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Great job and nicely documented.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:12 AM
Migizi Migizi is offline
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Bravo!!
Looks terrific.

it will be interesting to see how long that plastidip lasts.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:12 AM
Migizi Migizi is offline
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Bravo!!
Looks terrific.

it will be interesting to see how long that plastidip lasts.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:33 PM
Tommyboy1028 Tommyboy1028 is offline
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Saaaweeet!!!
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:53 PM
Chilibadger Chilibadger is offline
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Thanks guys!
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Old 05-27-2019, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chilibadger View Post
So I have read and another reason I went with Plasti dip: if one snapped I would have abandoned the project, pealed off the dip and none the worse for wear. I gave each stud a shot of penetrating oil overnight and all of then came out without drama. That first one though... not knowing how much force before failure was an anxious moment. They all felt about the same.
If it takes more then 2 fingers force on a 24" breaker bar for them to break loose you're in the territory of strip/snap risk. I've done a couple set of Style 108s, one set of Style 5s, and a set of Style 42s. The 108s and 42s use the same titanium bolt to hold the center piece. The style 42s were the first set I tried. First 3 wheels came apart ok with no heat. 4th wheel one stripped and two snapped. Not a fun job recovering from that.
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:33 PM
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Nice job, fantastic results.

All these years, I ASSumed that this wheel was not a 2-piece wheel, but just a cosmetic thing. Nice to see that they are "real". Very cool.
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:33 PM
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Nice job, fantastic results.

All these years, I ASSumed that this wheel was not a 2-piece wheel, but just a cosmetic thing. Nice to see that they are "real". Very cool.
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Old 05-28-2019, 04:35 AM
Chilibadger Chilibadger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
If it takes more then 2 fingers force on a 24" breaker bar for them to break loose you're in the territory of strip/snap risk. I've done a couple set of Style 108s, one set of Style 5s, and a set of Style 42s. The 108s and 42s use the same titanium bolt to hold the center piece. The style 42s were the first set I tried. First 3 wheels came apart ok with no heat. 4th wheel one stripped and two snapped. Not a fun job recovering from that.
I'm curious, how do you recover from that?

My experience was a bit more than "2 fingers" but I never felt I was forcing it hard. I was worried about breaking one and after I did the first wheel without penetrating oil I decided to let the others soak overnight with a shot of WD Penetrating oil. That really helped with all of the other bolts coming out with much less force.
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:57 AM
MileHighZee MileHighZee is offline
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Nice work! It is all about the prep and details. The polished bolts really makes it stand out. Keep us posted on how it holds up.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:28 PM
Youngdavid Youngdavid is offline
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Nice look.
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chilibadger View Post
I'm curious, how do you recover from that?

My experience was a bit more than "2 fingers" but I never felt I was forcing it hard. I was worried about breaking one and after I did the first wheel without penetrating oil I decided to let the others soak overnight with a shot of WD Penetrating oil. That really helped with all of the other bolts coming out with much less force.
4 evenings with a grinding bit in the Dremel tool to get the head off the stripped out bolt. Once I got that one I could get the center piece out of the wheel. Used a cutoff wheel to cut down the center off the snapped off bolts then used a chisel to break each half loose and fish it out.
One would ask why I didn't just drill them out? Because Titanium instantly work hardens to harder then the drill bit if it makes even one revolution without removing metal.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:48 AM
Rob2m Rob2m is offline
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As a cautionary tale, when I had mine done, stripped and dipped, the chap at the shop recommended me to stay clear of the car wash places everywhere that use very strong chemicals to clean the wheels, he said the chemicals just sit in the splits and eat away the coating because they are strong, soap and water only, was his recommendation.
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Old 05-30-2019, 05:18 AM
Chilibadger Chilibadger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
4 evenings with a grinding bit in the Dremel tool to get the head off the stripped out bolt. Once I got that one I could get the center piece out of the wheel. Used a cutoff wheel to cut down the center off the snapped off bolts then used a chisel to break each half loose and fish it out.
One would ask why I didn't just drill them out? Because Titanium instantly work hardens to harder then the drill bit if it makes even one revolution without removing metal.
Yikes! Just about had an anxiety attack reading this! Thanks for the reply.
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Old 05-30-2019, 05:21 AM
Chilibadger Chilibadger is offline
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Originally Posted by Rob2m View Post
...stay clear of the car wash places everywhere that use very strong chemicals to clean the wheels, he said the chemicals just sit in the splits and eat away the coating because they are strong, soap and water only, was his recommendation.
Another reason to never ever take our Zs to a car wash!
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:29 PM
golferguy golferguy is offline
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Very well done. I did mine on my M Roadster and came out really nice, but when the tires are replaced the dip around the bead gets scratched off and you have to touch it up.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:40 AM
Z4530i Z4530i is offline
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Wheel refinish

As a note, BAVauto sold a wheel refinish kit that included everything required; paint, sand paper, epoxy to fill the rashes. BAVauto is no longer in existence, but ECS is selling their remaining inventory, so you might find the kits there. I believe they were around $50.
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