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Old 08-23-2011, 03:57 PM   #1
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How to determine what type of wheels you have?

How to determine what type of wheels you have?

Now follow me, wheels are either made from a material and you're working directly on the material, examples include aluminum and magnesium. Or wheels are coated, this means the wheels are probably either steel or aluminum but the steel and/or aluminum has been coated with another type of material so you’re not working on the metal the wheels are made out of but in fact the coating that has been applied.

A magnet will tell you whether a wheel is steel or aluminum and that's a pretty simple test to find out what the material the wheel is made out of that anyone with a magnet can perform themselves.

Below are some tips for testing to determine if there's a coating on a wheel. To do this type of testing you need some clean, patches of soft white cotton cloth. You can cut up an old white t-shirt or an old white hand towel.

Next you’ll need a fine paint polish that is white in color.

Be sure to wash and dry the wheels first so there is no loose dirt, brake dust or road grime on the surface as this could skew your test results and you don’t want to rub dirt against the surface of the rims.



What to do?
Simple, take a clean patch of white cloth and gently rub some white polish softly against a section of the front of the wheel. Then look for these results.


Quote:
Uncoated or Bare Aluminum Wheels - You'll quickly see black residue build up on your polishing cloth

Clearcoated Aluminum Wheels - You might see some dirt residue on your polishing cloth but it won't turn black like you'll see if it's bare aluminum.

Anodized Aluminum Wheels - Same as clearcoated aluminum, you will see a little colored residue come off, usually the color of the anodizing but it certainly won't be anything like what you'll see if you're working on bare aluminum.

Chrome Wheels - You shouldn't see any color coming off chrome except for any built-up roadgrime that didn't come off when you washed the wheel and this will tend to be kind of a dirt color, light brown. After you remove any roadgrime then you won't see any color come off the chrome at all.


Clearcoated Wheels - Since clear paint is clear, you should see no color or pigment coming off on your polishing cloth. If there's dirt or roadgrime built-up on the clearcoated wheel you'll see a little brown color coming off but that will stop once you have the roadgrime removed.


Painted Wheels - If you're wheels are painted a color and not clearcoated then if you rub a little polish onto the rim you'll see the color of the paint coming off onto your polishing cloth.

Testing an aluminum wheel
You can do this same type of test to any wheel using either a light polish, paint cleaner or metal polish. Always test in an inconspicuous area if you think the wheel might be painted, either clearcoated or pigmented paint.





Oxidized Aluminum Comes Off Black

Wolfgang MetallWerk™ Aluminum Polishing System


This is also a chapter in my e-book but the e-book has more info and more pictures.



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Old 08-23-2011, 05:21 PM   #2
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Re: How to determine what type of wheels you have?

Mike
Always a wealth of knowledge.

2 questions

Will Mag wheels produce the same black residue like alum?
I have not dealt with Mag wheels that needed much in ways of polishing.

and When will the ebook be available?
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:35 PM   #3
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Re: How to determine what type of wheels you have?

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Mike
Always a wealth of knowledge.

1 question

Will Mag wheels produce the same black residue like alum?

I have not dealt with Mag wheels that needed much in ways of polishing.

My guess is "yes" just because it's an oxidized metal.

I have never polished out a set of magnesium wheels, I've cleaned them but not polished them.


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Old 08-23-2011, 05:54 PM   #4
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Re: How to determine what type of wheels you have?

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Originally Posted by Rafimos View Post
I have not dealt with Mag wheels that needed much in ways of polishing.
From my experience:

Washing and then using a mag/aluminum alloy polish is a way to clean and remove oxides/acid stains from Mag alloy wheels.

It's hard to "polish/shine" Mag wheels (magnesium alloy) unless they contain less than 20% magnesium. Magnesium is white and will not "polish/shine". Magnesium doesn't "shine".

Bob
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:16 PM   #5
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Re: How to determine what type of wheels you have?



I've been searching for this information but could not find a concise and informative article, until now.

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Old 08-23-2011, 06:25 PM   #6
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Re: How to determine what type of wheels you have?

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Originally Posted by FUNX725 View Post
From my experience:

It's hard to "polish/shine" Mag wheels (magnesium alloy) unless they contain less than 20% magnesium. Magnesium is white and will not "polish/shine". Magnesium doesn't "shine".

Bob

Very interesting, thank you for chiming in Bob...


I just spoke with a guy that has a set of vintage Magnesium Dragster Wheels, these are the rear wheels only and he's asking $2500.00 for them... They are ugly gray like one of my pictures above and would look really cool all polished.


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Old 08-23-2011, 07:30 PM   #7
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Re: How to determine what type of wheels you have?

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Originally Posted by Mike.Phillips@Autogeek View Post

I just spoke with a guy that has a set of vintage Magnesium Dragster Wheels, these are the rear wheels only and he's asking $2500.00 for them... They are ugly gray like one of my pictures above and would look really cool all polished.


NICE FIND!!! You might as well get 'em...they're becoming exceedingly rare.

Then to complete your 'rail's' paw tracks, all you'll need to do is 'pick-up' a set of vintage 2.00X18 Triumph chromed-spoke laced wheels w/spindle-mount for the front.

Bob
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:57 PM   #8
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Re: How to determine what type of wheels you have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike.Phillips@Autogeek View Post
They are ugly gray like one of my pictures above and would look really cool all polished.


As an addendum:


I would like to inject a cautionary: If/when magnesium particles/dust ignite, water can not be used as an extinguisher! An explosion may even occur (hydrogen gas)!

Magnesium fires can be extinguished by removing the oxygen/air source by:
-Smothering with sand
-Dry chemical fire extinguisher
-Mag Flux

Many may already know this...I don't think it would hurt to include this info for those interested, though.

Bob
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:43 PM   #9
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Re: How to determine what type of wheels you have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FUNX725 View Post
NICE FIND!!! You might as well get 'em...they're becoming exceedingly rare.

Then to complete your 'rail's' paw tracks, all you'll need to do is 'pick-up' a set of vintage 2.00X18 Triumph chromed-spoke laced wheels w/spindle-mount for the front.

Bob
I wouldn't pay $2500.00 for two magnesium wheels, plus they are the wrong size. Also, I'm not building a rail but I am looking for a set of "aluminum" slotted mags for my truck. I have one set and two from another set. I need two more to have a second set. Hard to find in 8 lug by 16.5 x 12" wide.



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Old 12-02-2013, 04:27 PM   #10
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Re: How to determine what type of wheels you have?

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Originally Posted by Rafimos View Post

and When will the ebook be available?

It's available now... your choice of format...


E-book - Paperback - iBook



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