Wheel painting [pics]
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This is a discussion on Wheel painting [pics] within the Exterior and Appearance forums, part of the Tutorials & DIY category; After seeing gold Tarmac IIs on a blue WRX, I had my heart set on gold wheels. Unfortunately my budget ...

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    Registered User qoncept's Avatar
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    Wheel painting [pics]

    After seeing gold Tarmac IIs on a blue WRX, I had my heart set on gold wheels. Unfortunately my budget limited me to whatever wheels I could find in the forumns for a good deal, rather than buying new from a distributor. I ended up with silver ADR Flite 5's.

    They were still brand new in the box, so prep work was quite a bit easier than if they'd been driven on. I wouldn't recommend painting them with tires on if you want the best results. If your wheels have been on a car for a while, give them a good cleaning with something good at removing brake dust. I've had really good luck with pretty much any of the cleaners -- just spray it on, let it soak a little, and then clean it off with a tooth brush. Don't let it set too long, or it'll stick back on. Rinsing is your friend.

    Once they're good and clean, go over them lightly with some fine grit sand paper. I think I used 600 grit -- you don't want to dig in to it, just make a reasonable surface for the paint to stick to. If your wheels are painted or clearcoated and don't have any knicks or scratches, you can probably skip this. Mine had a layer of clearcoat, but I wanted to be sure it had a good surface to stick to. After sanding, rinse them off and dry them.

    If your wheels have no paint or clearcoat, you're going to have to prime them. A couple of coats of any automotive primer should work. Then, it's time to start painting.
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    Registered User qoncept's Avatar
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    Duplicolor has a line of paints specifically for wheels. The colors are rather limited though, so I used this gold. I did just 2 coats, which took about a can each, as it covered pretty well, but you may need to do more. Take your time and take care to apply it even and not too thick -- if it's too light, you can do another coat. If you go too thick, you're going to have an ugly run and have to sand it out and start over.

    After the paint, I let the wheels set for a couple hours and after they'd dried pretty well, wiped them down with a damp cloth. There was a lot of overspray dust on them that would have looked horrible with the clearcoat.

    Now, check the paint out to make sure you don't have any ugly spots. If there's an area that isn't covered well, or you've had some air bubbles, this is the time to fix it. I had some air bubbles in mine, but I caught it at just the right time that when I ran my finger over it, it would flatten and stick like it had never been there.
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    Registered User qoncept's Avatar
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    Now, on to the clearcoat. This is the most important part. I bought 3 cans of the Duplicolor clearcoat made for wheels. You need to spray it on very lightly. With the clear coat, there's no such thing as too light. It will run very easily and it would be really frustrating to have to fix a run at this point. After you've done a coat or 2, you can start to expirament with how thick you can actually go, but be careful. I ended up with 7 coats. The clearcoat is what really brings out the shine and makes the wheels look great, so don't start getting lazy.

    After you've finished with all your coats, let the wheels set. For a while. I'm leaving mine set for at least a week before I go to get tires mounted. I put too much work in to them to let partially set paint get ruined. Done properly, your painted wheels should look great, and be at least as durable as the stock finish on your wheels. Good luck!
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    Banned dark_rex's Avatar
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    be sure to post pics when mounted!!

    dR

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    Registered User qoncept's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dark_rex


    be sure to post pics when mounted!!
    Will do.. And in case anyone is wondering, I put them on the shelf, so they won't be sleeping with me.

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    Moderator fengshui's Avatar
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    This is a fantastic tutorial. I plan on doing this to my stock wheels when they come off for the spring. I'm not sure If I'll paint them white or gold, but anything is better then the stock color. Thanks for the HOWTO.

    chris
    Moderator: Retired
    2002 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan 5MT - Road Rally - Best 1/4mi: 13.954 @ 97.36mph (3448 lbs)
    2001 Mazda Miata 5MT - AutoX #99 (NNJ Region SCCA 2005 CStock Champion)
    1988 BMW 325 (2.7L "i" conversion) Sedan 5MT - Daily Driver (AutoX soon!)
    "If you can't drive this car fast you can't drive fast." --British Magazine, CAR, on the WRX

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    hm..just a few questions... (i am a newbie here)
    1) u only painted the outside part of the rim ?
    2) how long did it take "totally", meaning the time it took to dry and everything.
    3) did u get the tires out at a shop or at home? is there a way to get the tires out urself?
    thx~

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    Registered User qoncept's Avatar
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    Originally posted by chopchop
    hm..just a few questions... (i am a newbie here)
    1) u only painted the outside part of the rim ?
    2) how long did it take "totally", meaning the time it took to dry and everything.
    3) did u get the tires out at a shop or at home? is there a way to get the tires out urself?
    thx~
    1. Yeah, I only painted the outside. The inside wasn't finished to begin with, so I didn't worry about it. I'm considering painting the inside black, but I'm going to get them on the car and see how they look first.. I don't think I'll need to.
    2. It took about an hour to prep them and about 5 hours of actual painting. I'm not going to do anything with them until next weekend because I wasn't to make sure the paint is good and cured.
    3. I got them brand new so there were no tires. I live on an Air Force base where there's an auto hobby shop, so I could get tires off (or mount them) of a rim myself, but I don't really know how to go about it, and especially since they're painted now, I'll let someone who knows what they're doing put tires on. They need to balance them for me anyway.

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    oh... it looks really nice... but why didn't u just buy prepainted rims? some might be more expensive but i have seen some that are the same price as sliver rims. I really want gold rims but I don't think I will be able to do it myself. So I have to either get new rims or get a body shop to paint my stock rims, which is pretty weird. Has anyone tried painting the 04 WRX stock rims gold? I want to see how it looks~

  11. #10
    Registered User qoncept's Avatar
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    Originally posted by chopchop
    oh... it looks really nice... but why didn't u just buy prepainted rims? some might be more expensive but i have seen some that are the same price as sliver rims. I really want gold rims but I don't think I will be able to do it myself. So I have to either get new rims or get a body shop to paint my stock rims, which is pretty weird. Has anyone tried painting the 04 WRX stock rims gold? I want to see how it looks~
    Cost cost cost. I don't have a lot of money to spend, and wheels are something that wasn't of real high importance to me (plus, with new tires, the cost is HUGE compared to everything else I'm going to do). With what I was willing to spend, I didn't have the luxury of being very picky. I got a great deal on these rims, and they're under 17lbs. If you're willing to spend the money to have wheels professionally painted, I think you might as well use the extra money to get cast gold rims rather than paint them at all. If you DO paint the rims, I'd definately recommend doing it yourself since if you take your time, you really aren't going to screw it up.
    Last edited by qoncept; 02-15-2004 at 06:55 PM.

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    Registered User BoostedBoxer's Avatar
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    wow those look incredibly good. Excellent Job.
    My Car is 100% STOCK!
    Pics

    Originally posted by platano
    At 14???
    shoot , I'd hit it at current age, on roof of the car, with cousin driving , neighbor and town priest in the back seat, and that kid from "N.Korea" riding shotgun.

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    Banned JDM 3SGTE's Avatar
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    that color is amazing.

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    Registered User dcraw6782's Avatar
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    WOW - that looks really good! Nice work, and good luck with them. Maybe post a pic or two when you get them mounted!
    "Let me never be accused of standing between a Charlestonian and his drink" - J. Kuhn

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    Registered User GotWRX03's Avatar
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    good going qoncept!

    good write up!

    qoncept's the ginnie-pig - i told him, if it comes out right, i'll do my stockers dark bronze.

  16. #15
    Registered User qoncept's Avatar
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    Well guys, I got my tires mounted last night. Didn't go so well..

    http://img.reack.com/WRX/IMG_1097
    http://img.reack.com/WRX/IMG_1098

    First, one good thing I found out is that it wasn't my poor painting skills that caused it -- the same thing would've happened if I had had the Rotas I figured I was going to buy, since theyre painted as well.

    Of course, I'm really upset. I had them mounted on base at a DIY shop. I had no idea what I was doing, so they helped me out, and did most of it for me. I know they could have done a better job, but I really don't see how you could get tires mounted on painted wheels without tearing up the lip at least a little.

    Lesson 1: Don't paint the lip! Mask it off and leave it the original color. I suppose if you've already got tires mounted you could do it, but they're gonna get tore up next time you need tires.

    Then we moved on to balancing. Pretty uneventful, except for the first tire, where he missed the weight and hit the paint with the hammer. And, of course, I ended up with 4 directional tires all facing the same way, so I'm going to have to go back and get 2 turned around.

    I'll get them turned around and then touch up the paint. Since they're off the car and I don't need to drive on them, I'm going to continue taking my time and doing it right. So, rather than get some touch up paint, I'm going to sand down the lip and forget about painting it -- hopefully it'll look good as an accent. And then I'll sand down around the other scratches and paint them with spray paint and go over it with clearcoat so it'll (hopefully) look as good as it did saturday when I finished painting them. Wish me luck! More pics to come of course..

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