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Discussion Starter #1
Heya. I was noticing my rims yesterday are really starting to peel. I know they are clearcoated, so since they are peeling I decided I'll strip it all off and polish them a bit. In the faq Greg Giacchi suggests using Zip-Strip's brush on Gel type. I couldn't find this exact brand but I found a few types. Most say not to use on aluminum but some don't, most do say they contain chemicals which WILL cause cancer / birth defects! lol. crazy stuff.

anyways. two questions.
One-
Is this stuff safe if it gets on the tires? I don't want it eating away at the tire thinning it and causing a blowout in the future. Last time I used this stuff for my valve covers it actually disolved the end of a foam brush!
I can't take the tire itself off the rim (dunno how to get it off and on or if that's possible at home anyways) so I was just going to remove the wheel from the car and work on it with the tire still on.

Two-
how do you remove the center caps off the rim? don't want to get the gel on them or anything.
 

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Center caps...... (assuming that you are talking about those P-Type wheels that are in you avatar).

REALLY SIMPLE!!!!!

If the wheel has been removed from the car, put "something" (the jack handle will suffice) into the backside of the wheel & calmly tap the center cap out. It will come out very easily w/ not very much effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
oh well duh! *slaps his forehead* That was easy.
I'll try not to ask stupid questions in the future, lol.
 

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If you have a pep boys near you I believe they sell a spray can of aircraft aluminum stripper. I've used that. Also, most body shop supply houses will have Tal-Strip, also an aircraft aluminum stripper. Neither should hurt the tire, just wipe it off promptly to be sure.

Phil D.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks alot. I'll try looking for that stuff, no pepboys around here that I know of but I'll search around.
 

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I also decided to refinish my wheels. I read this through this topic and decided to run down to pep boys and pic up the aircraft aluminum stripper. I followed the instructions on the back of the can but it won't remove the clear coat. Is there something else I need to do, or am I doing something wrong.
 

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You have to make sure that you leave the stripper on long enough for it to "wrinkle". The stuff you bought might be a little on the weak side. I'd try a few extra times. Safety Klean makes a great "Aircraft paint stripper". The stuff should lift the clear almost on contact. You should be able to find this at many auto body/paint stores.
 

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I've already done it multiple times and no matter how long I leave it on it won't wrinkle or remove anything. So I'll probably go out and search for the safety klean paint stripper and just save myself the trouble of trying to get this one to work. Thanks for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I haven't gotten the stuff yet cause I've been sick but when I did it to my valve covers with the other stuff I had to apply a really thick mess of the stuff with a brush, then I let it sit for half hour. The first time I did it I put a thin coat and it didn't do too much.
 

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you sure your wheels even have clear coat on them? The earlier year mk2 wheels didn't have any. Once the clear is off, or if there was none, you'll have to wetsand them to a nice smooth finish then polish the hell out of them.

Guys, I'd really recomend having the tires removed from the wheels if your going to make a serious effort of refinishing them. Alot easier to work on, and of course you don't have to worry about getting stuff on the rubber. The real reason to do it though is that your going to need to recoat those wheels with something once you've removed the clear coat unless you want to have to repolish them every 2 weeks. Bare aluminum oxidizes if its uncoated. You have a few choices, you can..

1. Just repolish every few weeks. Aluminum wheel polish works. Try waxing your wheels with paint wax after you polish them, this will help protect the bare metal and fight off the oxidization, but its only a matter of time.

2. Rattle can clear coat them or just color paint them if you like the look. Finding paint that goes on nice is tough, I'm spoiled, I'm used to autobody clear that you mix and spray on with a compressor. Heres the last set of ptype wheels I did that way....

http://www.pbase.com/image/16142782

I've yet to find a rattle can clear that looks even half as good. Now this will give you a finish equivelent to the stock finish on the later wheels, the problem is chips and scratchs will make your life miserable. Once you get a chip the aluminum underneath will start to oxidize, and that oxidization will spread like cancer underneath the rest of the clear coat, causing little white hairline looking growths everywhere (you can see a couple of these on the top left rim in the pic). Theres not much you can do about it except refinish and repaint them every couple years.

3. Powder coat clear them. This is a nice way to go, you get wheels that look just like the ones in option 2 but with the powder coated clear your paint will be super rock chip resistant. Just make sure your wheel mounting guys know they're stuff, the machince can still sometimes nick the edge of the rim when mounting the rubber. Cost is typically around 40 bucks a wheel.

4. Clear Anodizing. This is what aftermarket aluminum rims with nice lips come with. It looks just a little different then pure polished aluminum (just polished http://www.pbase.com/image/3483088), but still looks nice (anodized http://www.pbase.com/image/4691357). Price is a little bit more then powdercoating, and there can be no paint on the wheel due to the temps involved, so no black inserts if you go this route. It is possible that powdercoated paint may survive the process, but I've yet to try and that would be a little expensive doing both.

Why so much work and money involved you ask? Well I'm lazy, I hate cleaning bare aluminum wheels, its so time consuming and difficult. Good coated wheels are so easy to wash, just hose off or lightly wipe with a sponge. Anyways, hope that helps.
 

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I have an 85 so I do have a clear coat. I went out today and bought the best stuff I could find, Tal Strip aircraft paint stripper and the clear still wont budge.
 

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just because you have an 85 doesn't mean the clear is still there. It seems to wear off with age and may have been removed before in the past. It should be obvious by looking at.
 

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pdupler said:
If you have a pep boys near you I believe they sell a spray can of aircraft aluminum stripper. I've used that. Also, most body shop supply houses will have Tal-Strip, also an aircraft aluminum stripper. Neither should hurt the tire, just wipe it off promptly to be sure.

Phil D.
I've used that same stuff, and it works great. One application took off from factory finish to bare metal, with only some minor touch-up needed... Don't get it on your skin tho... burns you fast and hurts like a s-o-b.
 

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I would say I applied a "liberal amount" and the wait wasn't too long... maybe long enough to drink a beer without it getting warm... just follow the directions on the can and you should be ok with it.
 

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the directions on the gel stripper can or the beer can? :lol:

Directions: Pop top and sip slowly.
 

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If ya need directions on a beer can, I think you should maybe put the can down and never pick it up again :wink:
 

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I've used the paint stripper ( following the exact instructions on the can) many times now, and on multiple wheels too. Anything else I could try? Would sanding be a good idea?
 
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