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Super Member
2010 Forester XT 4EAT
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1,118 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have an old set of wheels on my wife's car and we left them on last winter. I think that's part of the problem. The wheels have a polished lip and the lip is supposed to be shiny and silvery of course. Instead, they are cloudy and rough looking and there's some brown spotty clouds that look like rust may be on the way. Does anyway know what's good to clean the lips? Plain old regular wheel cleaner isn't cutting it. I'm thinking I need something special or a buffer or something. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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39,859 Posts
On most wheels with a polished lip, the aluminum is polished to a high gloss & a clearcoat is applied. If the clearcoat fails or is failing, the finish will start to dull. The finish can be treated the same as the paint on your vehicle. If polishing & waxing doesn't help, the only option would be to strip off the clearcoat. Once that's done, you can polish the lip & recoat it with a clearcoat. Kinda sound like a major job to me. :icon_eek:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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Super Member
2010 Forester XT 4EAT
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1,118 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I was afraid someone would say that. I'm sure it's possible, but a pain. If you've ever seen that British show Wheeler Dealer, they have brought back some nasty wheels to a nearly new look. They were just some cheapies that a friend of mine got off Ebay.
 

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2003 2.5x
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645 Posts
Here ya go...some before and after shots of my endeavor into this exact challenge.

Its takes a LOT of elbow grease. If you want to do it right, it must be done wet sanding by hand progressively using finer grit paper and finishing with very fine steel wool and then some Mother's Aluminum and Mag Polish.

In my opinion, applying clear coat once they are clean is a huge waste as they will eventually do the same thing again. I went with numerous coats of high grade wax once I was done cleaning them up

Before...






After....




Best Way To Polish Aluminum Wheels
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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2008 Forester AE
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I did the same for a set of teardrops on my jetta;
these aren't mine, but they turned out exactly the same.

I used aircraft stripper to remove the clearcoat, then wetsanded from 400 up to 2000 using a pc-RO. Finished off with the mothers alum polish and several coats of wax later they were like little mirrors; it took maybe 2 hours each wheel..

They held up through 3 more seasons with just a coat of wax re-applied every 6 months..
 

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Super Member
2010 Forester XT 4EAT
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1,118 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I used a Brillo pad and got the wheel lip really good and clean. No more rusty spots and no more cloudiness. It was a suggestion of a friend of mine and it worked great. It started getting dark so I didn't get to polish them up yet. Hopefully tomorrow they'll look even better after the aluminum polish.
 
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