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Thread: How to: Paint your wheels

  1. #1
    4.3L moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Prescott, Az

    How to: Paint your wheels

    Hey Guys, I just wrapped up a little project on my car and wanted to share some pics of the experience. Painting the wheels.

    So I needed some new tires....which for me meant I ordered a set of new 18" x 9.5" & 8" wheels (E39 BMW style 37 replicas) and some inexpensive rubber to wrap around them, Nankang NS-20 in 265/35-18 & 235/40-18.

    I am by no means an authoritative on the subject. I'm a gearhead so paint and body is an artform I never understood. But that's not going to prevent me from a DIY project.

    The replica 18" wheels were cool looking. Completely machined in a rough spiral cut surface. As is they are fairly bland looking.

    First step:

    Clean. Brakleen on lint free shop towels. Years ago a friend suggested I use chlorinated brakleen to prep a surface I was going to paint to prevent fisheyes. So I've been using it ever since.

    Once cleaned, I use adhesion promoter/primer.

    For the color, I'm using Duplicolor Wheel Coating in their "Graphite" color.

    Sprayed the color 10mins after the adhesion primer, then sprayed two coats 10mins apart from each other. Starting with the inside of the wheel.

    Once dried enough to handle, flipped the wheel over and began to work on the face of the wheel.

    Cleaning off the face of dust and overspray with a brakleen soaked towel

    Since I decided to keep the lip a machined surface I masked off where I didn't want to paint. I started with masking tape and didn't like the outcome of the paint lines, so then I tried vinyl tape with much better results.

    You can see this wheel design gave me a natural paint line to separate the machined lip.

    Painted 2 coats, 10mins apart:

    Then painted 2 coats of clear:

    Then removed the masking and vinyl tape while the paint was still wet:

    Let it cure for a couple hours before taking a brakleen soaked rag and removing the tape adhesive, over spray and anything else unwanted from the lip. The brakleen soaked rag also lets me shape and clean up the tape line:


    Going to let sit for a couple days before mounting the tire. But here is one I did a couple days ago with the new shoes:

    Hope you enjoy seeing my project pics as much as I enjoyed making them.

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  3. #2
    ┬─┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) triple_l82's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Mykk what car is this? you get a new one? its been awhile since ive been on. You still got that carb swapped saab?

    also you did a fantastic job. wheels look great.
    1996 camaro- Ole Blue. the very very very long time consuming project car
    1997 camaro- VIPER- turbov6camaro, search the forum for more info
    1979 Mustang Cobra - dad passed and left it to me, gonna be a clean street/strip car
    2014 Silverado CCSB 4x4 LTZ diamond white. Daily driver

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