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Davy

Repairing Alloy Wheels (Curb Damage)

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Hi Guys,

Posting a DYI again after quite some time. :)

After I got new wheels for my car, the stock rims have been lying around and I thought of repairing them. Two of the wheels had nasty curb damage thanks to the previous owner who was careless when parallel parking (wheels with the most damage were the ones on the left). When I was looking for a set of used BBS rims for my car, 90% of the rims I found had curb damage. So the problem is pretty common and getting these professionally repaired and resprayed can cost a lot. If you are keen on doing this on your own, you might find this post useful. 

Things you need:

  • Alloy wheel repair putty (eBay Link): This is a specially formulated putty to work with alloy wheels and I found it to be very effective.
  • Sandpaper (200, 400, 800 wet, 1200 wet)
  • Masking tape, scissors, old newspapers to mask
  • Clean rags
  • Water for wet sanding
  • Wax and grease remover/Degreaser
  • Old toothbrush
  • Rubber gloves

For illustration purposes, I have selected one area of a rim where you can see curb damage. This is what I’ll be working with.

IMG_20161211_174501_zpsk1uqnqe8.thumb.JPG.ae35a4d5fe2f7839852bec0fbf68265a.JPG

Step 1: Prepare the surface for repair
Using degreaser, toothbrush and a rag, scrub and clean the area and get the grime out of the damaged area. As you can see from the above photo, there’s a lot of grime in there.

Next, use the coarse dry sandpaper to remove any material that maybe protruding out of the surface of the wheel. We need a smooth surface and the alloy wheel putty needs to fill in the scratches.  The following photo is after sanding and washing the area.

IMG_20161212_214436_zps4opdgvww.thumb.JPG.47991459fd1ecec4e612aad0a5cb75b9.JPG

 

Step 2: Apply the repair Putty

IMG_20161212_214231_zpsilcjrm7c.thumb.JPG.e6d3b5b5606f55322e87593585e95ecf.JPG

The putty is a stick and has the texture of crafting clay. It’s a two-part putty and you need to knead it between your fingers for the two parts to mix up (wear gloves for protection). Then roll it on a flat surface to form a very thin bead. Place the bead on the damaged area and press firmly. As the two parts start to react, you can feel the putty heat up.

It hardens up rock solid within about 15 minutes. You can start sanding in about an hour. Remember not to apply excessive amounts of putty, because a lot of effort will be needed to sand it down if you do. The stuff is a bit harder to sand than regular body filler.
 

IMG_20161212_220142_zpsdxcnmqqp.thumb.JPG.fb044933531bd1709e2f04bf0c576570.JPG

This was the first spot I applied the putty to, I applied a little too much and had to spend a lot of time sanding it down. So once again, VERY little. This photo is probably a bad example of how to apply it, but you get what I mean. :)

 

Step 3: Sanding

Start with 200 grit dry sandpaper and work your way to a smooth surface. Use masking tape to prevent damage to the tyre. If you plan to do only a touch-up and not paint the entire wheel, you might need to mask the wheel as well, to avoid scratching it up. Run your bare fingers on the edge of the rim from time to time and feel the smoothness, you should be able to tell if there are imperfections.

IMG_20161212_220920_zpsfaumyase.thumb.JPG.ede6e85c218a6372205f077d8c9add31.JPG

IMG_20161212_230325_zpsdncfncnd.thumb.JPG.b6c94e8818a025af4c9c646e5418538d.JPG

When the surface is smooth, move to wet sanding (first 800 grit and then 1200 grit to remove the fine scratches). If you plan to paint the entire wheel, water sand the wheel with these two papers so that the surface has a “blunt” texture. The new paint will stick better this way.

After the sanding is done, the surface will look nice and smooth, no more curb damage! :)

IMG_20161212_230839_zpsgg0ogban.thumb.JPG.9cc3595fd1d8f152f6be8477eafe190d.JPG

It’s important to sand the putty down so that there is no excessive putty between the tyre and the wheel, you can insert the sandpaper into the gap and sand away, the original curve of the wheel needs to be maintained.

As you can see from the above photos, I have sanded the putty all the way down to the rim so that the only bit remaining is the putty that fills the scratches. This is exactly what we need. If you feel like you need one more pass, go ahead and repeat step 2 and 3 again.

This is it for the repair. All that is left now is to paint the area. I will cover that in a separate post. Let me know what you guys think and if you know of other ways of DIY methods to repair wheels.

Thanks for reading! Cheers!

IMG_20161212_230817_zpszblpfkjw.JPG

Edited by Davy
Fixed broken image links
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Continuing the painting...

I used some playing cards to prevent overspray onto the tyre. This was much easier than using masking tape and having to mask many times after wet sanding. The should be tucked in the gap in between the tyre and the rim, they stick out and don't touch the edge of the rim at all, so they don't stick to the rim when painted over.

IMG_20161218_185702_zpsylxpzqy8.thumb.JPG.121ddf64f453e7c2873baa5b4190d9d7.JPG

Apply a tack coat of spray filler primer and leave to dry. Apply a heavier coat of primer next and leave to dry before wet sanding. Make sure you clean the rim well with a wax & grease remover before applying primer. This is after:

IMG_20161218_192202_zpssju1qzqp.thumb.JPG.1d4e91792353879ae1632b3935fa5e44.JPG

Next, use the 400 grit sandpaper and start wet sanding the primer. I sanded the primer all the way down and at the end you can see how it fills in small scratches dings.

IMG_20161218_202158_zpsjahcclwf.thumb.JPG.235ec399c08846b5e4cf76693ba4afa9.JPG

Use the 800 grit wet sandpaper next and sand away the very little scratches. After this step, the surface of the rim should be really smooth. Now the surface is ready to paint. 

Give the rim a good wash and let it dry. Apply wax and grease remover again to remove any primer left on the surface from sanding and clean the rim well.

Apply a light coat of paint (I masked the rim again with playing cards to prevent overspray). Follow instructions on the spray can and apply 3 to 4 coats. Make sure you rotate the rim between coats and during painting to make sure you cover the entire surface.

The colour I picked was a metallic gunmetal grey. This is the colour that is used on the rims for the 2014+ RalliArt. Looks way better than silver IMO, so went for it. :)

This is after the first coat:5_zpszdlyqwvy.thumb.JPG.90522ecdc712a27962285a018a0544d3.JPG

The centre cap also had to be painted in my case and I wanted to leave the embossed Mitsubishi logo in silver as this is how it is in the newer models. So I masked the emblem carefully. This took quite a lot of time.

4_zpsnvghq9xu.thumb.JPG.16693084824faf993aec466641d45954.JPG

After heavier second and third coats, leave the rim to fully dry for a couple of hours and then apply a heavy coat of clear. You can skip this step if you don't want the extra shine, but clear will also act as a protective coating for the paint when rocks and debris strike against the rim.

This is the end result. I am thrilled with the result. :)

3_zpsdrecpqvq.thumb.JPG.e0e4438eb0fb5657be87b37f8b5592ae.JPG

This is the spot I took as an example to repair in the first post. No sign of curb damage! :)

2_zpsbzm8wrfq.thumb.JPG.8796359a54403593f0563e92c5c2e940.JPG

An optional cut and polish also can be done to give it that smooth and extra shiny look. I haven't done that yet. I think I'm going to leave it like this. At least for now.

Edited by Davy
Fixed broken image links
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Updated second post with content. The paint job is done and this is what the final result looks like :)

1_zps9lsc4j9i.thumb.JPG.fe12414c1fdb6af754a2e6a43566386c.JPG

 

 

Edited by Davy
Fixed broken image links
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6 hours ago, Sierra Charlie said:

That's one fine looking rim job (Pun intended!) there Davy! 

lol. Thank you @Sierra Charlie.

Edited by Davy

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17 minutes ago, iRage said:

@Davy...the baas is strong in you !

Sorry....just been dying to say it every time you create one of these threads :D

Thank you @iRage. I'm totally taking this as a compliment!

"The baas is strong in my family. My father has it... I have it... " :D

 

8 hours ago, Iced-T said:

@Davy Very neat indeed :) 

 

Thanks @Iced-T

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Hi Davy @Davy

very nice job,

I have lancer CS 3 and rim having same kind of damage, 

interested to do same kind of DIY job.

Could you pls give me the brand and type of paint you use for this?

(if giving brand name is violation of rule, appreciate if you can PM me.

Is this putty can buy in Sri Lanka?

Thanks

regards

Amila

Edited by amilaart

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5 hours ago, amilaart said:

 

Hi Davy @Davy

very nice job,

I have lancer CS 3 and rim having same kind of damage, 

interested to do same kind of DIY job.

Could you pls give me the brand and type of paint you use for this?

(if giving brand name is violation of rule, appreciate if you can PM me.

Is this putty can buy in Sri Lanka?

Thanks

regards

Amila

Thanks!

If you don't have an air compressor and painting equipment, you can paint it using aerosol paint cans like I did. I used about 4 cans - 1 per wheel. 3 coats. I used primer out of an aerosol can as well. You can source all of these locally. Try brands like TOA and Leyland. They're available in local paint shops.

As for the putty, I'm afraid you will have to source it from eBay or somewhere. If the damage is very minor, you can even use body filler (cataloy paste). Just make sure it's a type of cataloy that is safe to be applied on Alloy. 

Good luck! You're welcome to post your DIY on this thread. :) 

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Ma man! Of course you could also clear up a murder very easily with a plastic covered bathroom. Just putting that out there...

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