Yes, your wheels can look this good too!! All it takes is some time and a little bit of cash. You could send your wheels out to a professional refinisher at a cost of big $$$$, but why do that when you can achieve the same result by doing it yourself.
All numbered materials can be purchased from Eastwood at www.eastwoodco.com.
1000 RPM hand drill or buffing motor and flexible shaft
harsh environment gloves - #22010
one gallon of paint remover if the wheels are painted - #34069Z
two 2 natural bristle paint brushes
one package of steel wool
one can satin black wheel paint #10085Z
one can self-etching primer - #16014Z
auto body tape
1000 grit sandpaper
one wheel smoothing kit - #13103
one wheel buffing kit - #13105
three spiral sewn buffs - #13035
three loose section buffs - #13042
one buff rake - #13120
If you already have a drill or buffing motor all of the other items on the list will cost approximately $120.
The Fuchs wheels originally came with an anodized finish on the spokes and edges of the rim and had a machine turned finish between the spokes. As the youngest wheels are now at least 24 years old many are starting to look pretty worn, have been painted, etc. In order to get the same result I have, you must remove the anodization, polish the parts of the wheel that were previously anodized, and paint all of the other parts of the wheel.
If the wheels have been painted the paint will have to be removed before starting. You will only want to work on one wheel at a time. Work in a well-ventilated area where the temperature is at least sixty degrees. This process works best if the tires and any balancing weights are off the rims. If the tires are still on the rim put some tape and newspaper on the rubber so you dont drip or spill any paint remover on it, as that will discolor the rubber. Shake up the paint remover and put about a pint in a chemical proof container. Brush a thick coat of paint remover on the paint and let it sit for about 5 10 minutes. Dont continue to brush it as this causes the paint remover to evaporate. You will see the paint start to bubble. If there are multiple coats of paint on the wheels you may have to apply a second coat of paint remover after 5 to 10 minutes. Put on the gloves and get a piece of steel wool. Use the steel wool to remove the paint. You can unroll the steel wool pads to make them last longer. Once you have gotten off all of the paint that will come off easily, apply another coat of paint remover and repeat the process until all of the paint is removed. A paint scraper and pick can sometimes speed up the process. When you are finished the area between the spokes should be shinier than the spokes. Now the fun begins!
To remove the anodization, polish the wheels and lug nuts, and paint between the spokes will take you from 6 to 10 hours per wheel. The key to doing this project is patience and perseverance. Unfortunately I dont know of a way to speed the process up, short of sending the wheels out and having someone else do it for you.
To get started, put the wheels up on sawhorses of something else about that height. This will save you a lot of backaches from bending over the wheels. This process works best if the tires and any balancing weights are off the rims. You will want to complete each step on all four wheels at the same time so you dont have to go back and change out the buffs a gazillion times.
Put some of the 80 grit grinding paste on a spinning buff. Allow it to sit for a few minutes until it is dry or almost dry. The paste will not cut nearly as well if it is used wet. When it is dry start buffing the anodized areas of the wheel. Only do a small area at a time. Let the drill and the compound do the work. You should only need to apply light pressure. Keep the buffing pad moving, as you dont want any gouges. Only buff in one direction with the 80-grit compound. After a few minutes of buffing you will see the anodization start to come off. The paste will start to wear out and will need to be reapplied to the buffing wheel. It will become obvious to you when you need to reapply the paste, as the cutting action will decrease. Clean the buff with the buff rake when it starts to clog up. Just spin the buff against the rake to remove the used up paste. Cleaning the buff will make a mess if you are not prepared. Keep removing the anodization until it is all removed from the spokes and the edge of the rim. Be patient and take your time.
Move on to a clean buff and the 220-grit paste. Repeat the above procedure but buff in the opposite direction from the 80 grit buffing. Let the paste dry on the buffing pad before buffing. You will be removing rough scratches from the 80 grit and you should see the wheel start to get smoother. Take your time and let the drill and compound do most of the work.
Now you are ready to move on to the 320-grit compound and a clean buff. Repeat the previous buffing procedure but in the opposite direction from the 220 grit. Let the paste dry on the buffing pad before buffing. Take your time with this compound, as you want to get the wheel as smooth and scratch free as possible. At this point you are not polishing the wheel, only removing the scratch marks from the two previous compounds. It will be obvious when you have removed all of the scratch marks and are ready to begin with the polishing compounds.
Now you are ready to begin the first polishing step with the tripoli. The tripoli will turn your buff black as it polishes. Use a new buff on every other wheel. You can buff any direction with the tripoli and it works best if you work the buff in different directions. Spend enough time on the wheel to get all of the remaining scratch marks out. A new buff will last for about two wheels. You will see the shine starting to come up with this compound.
Use a new buff and start buffing with the jewelers rouge. It will turn the buff black and really bring up the shine. It will also make any areas that you didnt get all of the scratch marks out of extremely obvious. If you have to many of those just go back to the 320 grit paste and start over from there. A new buff will last for about two wheels. When you are finished it should be almost like looking in a mirror.
You will want to go through all five steps and polish the lug nuts also. It is easiest to do them at the same time as the wheels instead of going back and doing them later. They will have the exact same shine as the wheels when you finish. It works best if you put the lug nuts in a vise or some other clamping device while you are polishing them. I used a bicycle repair stand with padded jaws so that I didnt damage the threads.
Now you can start to apply the paint. Tape and newspaper all of the polished areas so that you dont get paint on them. Also the tires if you havent removed them. Take your time taping up the wheels because this will really show up if you dont. Spray on a coat of self-etching primer and let it dry. Dip the 1000 grit sandpaper in some water and sand out the primer. Do not allow the sandpaper to dry while sanding. Wipe the primer with a cloth and allow it to finish air-drying. Put some newspaper under the wheel, as you will be spraying primer and paint through the holes in the wheels. Spray on a thick coat of the satin black wheel paint and allow it dry. If you have any places that need a second coat then apply it after wet sanding again with the 1000 grit sandpaper.
When the paint is dry you then have a choice to make. You can just apply a coat of wax to the wheels to protect them or you can coat them with Eastwoods painted wheel clear, #10039Z. I chose to just use the wax so I could easily touch up any damage that might occur in the future.