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Old 12-04-2012, 07:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Polishing tool brilliance or stupidity

Okay, I'm beyond anal retentive when it comes to polishing the paint, mostly because my clear coat is mucked up in areas. But when I decided to follow some leads on this forum, strip the paint on the insides of the wheels and paint them black to help the factory chrome/clearcoat standout, I found that a little power on the sanding side of work would be a good thing.

1/4 sheet orbital meant it hit on the edges of the pad while 90% of the sandpaper was held in the air. I used my "oscillating" tool which worked very good with it's triangular pad. Problem was I only had a couple of sandpaper pads left - so I ended up using elbow grease.

Ended up burning time in a "home center" last weekend (wife getting a "do" done) and picked up more sanding pads when it hit me.

Why isn't there a buffing/polishing pad for these things?

Now I know these things spin like 35 thousand strokes per second or some incredibly number like that, but wouldn't it work on an incredibly "light" basis? Like using nothing more abrasive than a decent wax and light pressure?

Should any of you stop me before I experiment on the paint of my lawn tractor, under the seat where no one will see if I burn the holy heck out of the paint?

Or will you sit silently and await the results? lol!

It just made sense to me that if you could get a very high rate - cycles per minute you could do some serious polishing / cleanup if you took it lightly.

Barring any caution from members.....I'm goin' in!
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Last edited by chickenwire; 12-04-2012 at 07:31 PM. Reason: my grammer sucked
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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orbital polishers run about 1200 to 3000 rpm and work for everyone. 10X will move thru clear/paint really fast. Plus orbitals oscillate the swirl.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm confused, you have chrome outer wheels? and you're working on the inner part of the wheel? taking the clear off, then repainting? And you want to use a high speed tool to wax the inners when you are done?

Aren't the wheels sprayed with clear coat inner and outer, so if you took off the inner clear, won't that potentially peel/chip to the outer wheel if not done carefully?

I don't have chrome wheels, they are polished, so I like just trying to keep the inner part of the wheel clean, seems pretty easy as it appears to have the clear sprayed on it.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi there!

The whole wheel is chrome, but GM's supplier didn't polish/finish the back of the wheel, so they painted them a gray/silver. So, I wouldn't be worried about refinishing the back of the wheel causing a peeling problem.

I wouldn't get too excited about sanding the back of the wheels with a power tool. The paint on the back is very thin. It won't take too long to hand-sand these. I'd probably use 400 grit wet.

For waxing / polishing, I have not tried it but the Mother's Powerball or similar seems like a good setup.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwvess00 View Post
Hi there!

The whole wheel is chrome, but GM's supplier didn't polish/finish the back of the wheel, so they painted them a gray/silver. So, I wouldn't be worried about refinishing the back of the wheel causing a peeling problem.

I wouldn't get too excited about sanding the back of the wheels with a power tool. The paint on the back is very thin. It won't take too long to hand-sand these. I'd probably use 400 grit wet.

For waxing / polishing, I have not tried it but the Mother's Powerball or similar seems like a good setup.
What does that mean? The face of a chrome wheel will be chromed, but "the whole wheel" is not chrome. It's an aluminum wheel with either a chrome outer surface finish or Polished, in either case I believe the entire wheel is then sprayed with clearcoat. They left the inner surface non-chromed, or non-polished, but it may still be sprayed with clearcoat (I think it is), I'd figure this out first before sanding, as again, you start removing the clearcoat on the inner rim it may eventually cause issues with the face clearcoat.
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GM Accessories incl. race pedals, rocker panel clear protective tape, console storage bag, and soft targa top.

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Old 12-05-2012, 04:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi there!

Yes, the whole wheel is chromed. They dip the whole wheel in the various caustic tanks to plate the wheel. They do not dip just the face, or mask the back of the wheel.

To make the front of the wheel look like it does, it is polished after plating. It is more expensive to polish the whole wheel, so they only do the face, then spray a coat of silver paint on the back.

Look through this page to see what I'm talking about:
California Chrome Wheel Inc. - What makes CalChrome the industry leader in aftermarket chrome plating for Original Equpment alloy wheels?

I painted the back of my factory-chrome wheels black to see what it would look like. On the first one, I wiped the back of the wheel down with lacquer thinner. That very effectively removed the factory paint on the back of the wheel, exposing the unpolished chrome. So, I know what's under that paint. The back of the wheel is definitely not clearcoated.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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From what I've read on various threads I think a "not uncommon" issue is apparent - there are various wheels that were "stock" and various treatments within each segment. In my case, the wheels are aluminum, chromed, and clearcoat on the outside. The inside of the wheels were painted, not clearcoated and it was obvious that the paint had given up. I had various degrees of discoloration and even some oxidation and pitting in spots. The oxidation was the main reason for sanding, but it was also to remove some of the remaining gray paint.

I'm not looking to polish the black paint now that it's on. It was merely the act of using the oscillating tool for the sanding that led me to buy more sanding pads for it, that led me to wonder if this little device wouldn't make a decent "detail polisher".

As kw pointed out, most polishers work at a much lower speed and preferrably a "dual action" in that it makes the pad rotate and orbit. This eliminates swirling. I have used a lambswool bonnet on an industrial polisher/die grinder at 4,000 rpm on a production job - a 90 gloss clearcoat over black for the Dodge Viper. Yes, you can indeed make short work of the clearcoat if you're not careful. I did my learning on scrap pieces and developed the "touch" to get some pretty amazing results without screwing things over.

Hence my thought that even though the oscillating tool is basically "vibrating" very fast, perhaps the right pad and correct (light) pressure may be effective without burning the finish.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I did the "trial run" on the lawn tractor paint. Good results! However, it's obviously not a high gloss clear coat. So I'm looking to find a spot on my pickup (or my son's Jeep) to experiment with. lol
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Adam's Polishes sells a "detail" kit that includes a set of pads that are designed for dealing with small areas. For example when using the machine polisher you come across a small scratch that is not cleaned up using the "big" machine. You use the detail pad with some swirl remover and your hand drill to provide more cutting on the smaller spot.

Adam's FOCUS 4" Cordless Drill Polishing Pad Kit

I have a set and use them for challenging areas. They work well for me
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