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 How can I clean chrome wheels with a little rust on em??

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JRS9C1



Posts : 434
Join date : 2009-01-20
Age : 26
Location : Bethel ME

PostSubject: How can I clean chrome wheels with a little rust on em??   Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:41 pm

I have some chrome wheels with a little rust that needs to come off, not a whole lot though. What should I do, steel wool, scotchbrite?
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GasTT



Posts : 2675
Join date : 2009-01-19
Age : 28
Location : Treasure Coast, FL

PostSubject: Re: How can I clean chrome wheels with a little rust on em??   Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:50 pm

Soak with wd40 and use 0000 steel wool.
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Guest
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PostSubject: Re: How can I clean chrome wheels with a little rust on em??   Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:08 pm

GasTT wrote:
Soak with wd40 and use 0000 steel wool.
I was going to say the same thing. Works like a charm. Very Happy
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8bud



Posts : 626
Join date : 2009-01-23
Age : 45
Location : Salem, NH

PostSubject: Re: How can I clean chrome wheels with a little rust on em??   Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:13 pm

GasTT wrote:
Soak with wd40 and use 0000 steel wool.

That's good to know. I've used an SOS pad in the past and it has worked well, but I was always afraid it was too abrasive on the chrome. I'll do this next time. BTW thats a sweet ZR2 you've got there, Billy.
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bowtiepimp



Posts : 1564
Join date : 2010-06-19
Age : 31
Location : working a corner near you

PostSubject: Re: How can I clean chrome wheels with a little rust on em??   Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:33 pm

8bud wrote:
GasTT wrote:
Soak with wd40 and use 0000 steel wool.

That's good to know. I've used an SOS pad in the past and it has worked well, but I was always afraid it was too abrasive on the chrome. I'll do this next time. BTW thats a sweet ZR2 you've got there, Billy.


SOS pads are pretty close to 0000 grade steel wool.... back up if you run out of the real stuff.

....... even 3M or most heavy cut compounds will work too ( more elbow grease)

also helps cut out any light scratches from the steel wool
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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: How can I clean chrome wheels with a little rust on em??   Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:45 am

I have to do this all the time on my Impala's wheels, the rust pretty easily and sometimes it gets out of hand. Especially if cats pee on them. Shocked
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Machine-De-Zine



Posts : 512
Join date : 2010-11-16
Age : 60
Location : Wrentham

PostSubject: Re: How can I clean chrome wheels with a little rust on em??   Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:14 am

JRS9C1 wrote:
I have some chrome wheels with a little rust that needs to come off, not a whole lot though. What should I do, steel wool, scotchbrite?

I have owned very few chrome wheels in my life, painted (powder-coated) steel with either clear-coat, or bare polished aluminum wheels mostly.
Steel wool (0000 grade) will clean the physical build up pretty well, but here's why I would avoid using it:
Steel wool will become embedded into the "nooks & crannies" of the tiny pits in the chrome and will begin to re-rust immediately.
Industrial Hard-Chrome is "harder than the hinges of hell", but show chrome is relatively soft, and may easily scratch with certain types of steel wool.
Some people like vinegar on a rag, but I have not tried that. Note: Wash off the vinegar thoroughly afterwards if you DO use it, as it is mildly acidic.

If the wheels are chrome plated aluminum, and there are no blisters or peeling, you are lucky.
However the presence of any rust on an Alloy wheel (plated or not) would certainly be from the accumulation of cast-off "ground-up" brake rotor and pad dust.

I use a mixture of diesel fuel and/or "Gunk" (Engine-Brite) combined with "Trizoil" or "Rust-Buster", because rust penetrant is specifically made to break down rust.
Then I use a "Teflon safe" kitchen scrub-pad to apply the concoction.
The diesel or Gunk works amazingly fast on built-up, cooked-on hardened grease, oil, brake dust residue, etc. {Gunk is very similar to diesel fuel}.
Then if the pits still show through after cleaning and drying, you can rub the surfaces with aluminum foil: its the "right color", and more resistant to turning rusty-brown like steel wool.
The aluminum foil gets torn from the piece in your hand as you rub and gets wedged/jammed into the wheel's chrome imperfections to improve the wheel's surface appearance.
A VERY good cleaner polish is "Flitz", I use it on many things besides crappy chrome.

Next, the wheel should be sealed.
If there are any breaks in the chrome (even microscopic holes), new rust will begin in earnest with the first moisture that reaches it.
Finish up with the application of some carnuba wax to seal it up, and it will greatly resist/inhibit the adhesion of iron particle-laden brake-dust build-up thereafter.
I know my posts are often painfully long, but I hope some this info helps you. -

Also, I stumbled across this, might be helpful.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3Iw631UsbI

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bowtiepimp



Posts : 1564
Join date : 2010-06-19
Age : 31
Location : working a corner near you

PostSubject: Re: How can I clean chrome wheels with a little rust on em??   Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:25 am

Machine-De-Zine wrote:
JRS9C1 wrote:
I have some chrome wheels with a little rust that needs to come off, not a whole lot though. What should I do, steel wool, scotchbrite?

I have owned very few chrome wheels in my life, painted (powder-coated) steel with either clear-coat, or bare polished aluminum wheels mostly.
Steel wool (0000 grade) will clean the physical build up pretty well, but here's why I would avoid using it:
Steel wool will become embedded into the "nooks & crannies" of the tiny pits in the chrome and will begin to re-rust immediately.
Industrial Hard-Chrome is "harder than the hinges of hell", but show chrome is relatively soft, and may easily scratch with certain types of steel wool.
Some people like vinegar on a rag, but I have not tried that. Note: Wash off the vinegar thoroughly afterwards if you DO use it, as it is mildly acidic.

If the wheels are chrome plated aluminum, and there are no blisters or peeling, you are lucky.
However the presence of any rust on an Alloy wheel (plated or not) would certainly be from the accumulation of cast-off "ground-up" brake rotor and pad dust.

I use a mixture of diesel fuel and/or "Gunk" (Engine-Brite) combined with "Trizoil" or "Rust-Buster", because rust penetrant is specifically made to break down rust.
Then I use a "Teflon safe" kitchen scrub-pad to apply the concoction.
The diesel or Gunk works amazingly fast on built-up, cooked-on hardened grease, oil, brake dust residue, etc. {Gunk is very similar to diesel fuel}.
Then if the pits still show through after cleaning and drying, you can rub the surfaces with aluminum foil: its the "right color", and more resistant to turning rusty-brown like steel wool.
The aluminum foil gets torn from the piece in your hand as you rub and gets wedged/jammed into the wheel's chrome imperfections to improve the wheel's surface appearance.
A VERY good cleaner polish is "Flitz", I use it on many things besides crappy chrome.

Next, the wheel should be sealed.
If there are any breaks in the chrome (even microscopic holes), new rust will begin in earnest with the first moisture that reaches it.
Finish up with the application of some carnuba wax to seal it up, and it will greatly resist/inhibit the adhesion of iron particle-laden brake-dust build-up thereafter.
I know my posts are often painfully long, but I hope some this info helps you. -

Also, I stumbled across this, might be helpful.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3Iw631UsbI



Steel wool 0000 and wheel cleaner...... thats it! I clean cars every day for a living! it works the best.

the steel wool wont scratch the chrome as long as your not using it like sand paper!!!
affraid

and yes you should wax the rims after or us a some type of clear coat/paint sealer.

.... not saying his technics wont work, but 0000 steel wool is the easiest way to get it done...
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Machine-De-Zine



Posts : 512
Join date : 2010-11-16
Age : 60
Location : Wrentham

PostSubject: Re: How can I clean chrome wheels with a little rust on em??   Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:06 pm

bowtiepimp wrote:
Machine-De-Zine wrote:
JRS9C1 wrote:
I have some chrome wheels with a little rust that needs to come off, not a whole lot though. What should I do, steel wool, scotchbrite?


Steel wool (0000 grade) will clean the physical build up pretty well, but here's why I would avoid using it:
Steel wool will become embedded into the "nooks & crannies" of the tiny pits in the chrome and will begin to re-rust immediately.

I use a mixture of diesel fuel and/or "Gunk" (Engine-Brite) combined with "Trizoil" or "Rust-Buster", because rust penetrant is specifically made to break down rust.
Then I use a "Teflon safe" kitchen scrub-pad to apply the concoction.
The diesel or Gunk works amazingly fast on built-up, cooked-on hardened grease, oil, brake dust residue, etc. {Gunk is very similar to diesel fuel}.
Then if the pits still show through after cleaning and drying, you can rub the surfaces with aluminum foil: its the "right color", and more resistant to turning rusty-brown like steel wool.
The aluminum foil gets torn from the piece in your hand as you rub and gets wedged/jammed into the wheel's chrome imperfections to improve the wheel's surface appearance.
A VERY good cleaner polish is "Flitz", I use it on many things besides crappy chrome.

Next, the wheel should be sealed.
If there are any breaks in the chrome (even microscopic holes), new rust will begin in earnest with the first moisture that reaches it.
Finish up with the application of some carnuba wax to seal it up, and it will greatly resist/inhibit the adhesion of iron particle-laden brake-dust build-up thereafter.



Steel wool 0000 and wheel cleaner...... thats it! I clean cars every day for a living! it works the best.

the steel wool wont scratch the chrome as long as your not using it like sand paper!!!
affraid

and yes you should wax the rims after or us a some type of clear coat/paint sealer.

.... not saying his technics wont work, but 0000 steel wool is the easiest way to get it done...

Absolutely YES, 4X0 steel wool does clean a wide range of neglected chrome plated steel very quickly. The finer grades are safe if, as you say, you don't bear down too hard.
We did have some concerns with the fact that in many cases - where there were permanent imperfections in the chrome (porosity) - rust staining would occur after cleaning.
This was definitely attributed to the small particles of remnant steel wool left trapped in the imperfect (porous) chrome plating.

I looked into this 35 years ago and found that you could buy three grades of Stainless Steel wool.
It was available in ANSI 316L and ANSI 434. Fiber thickness is: fine=50 micron, medium=80 micron & coarse=120 micron.
Using these grades effectively curtailed the rust issue.
I just did a quick look and found that several sources still sell exactly these same materials and grades.

Also it should be known that steel wool manufacture is not always on US soil and therefore, we can't be sure of the purity, or consistency of the sourced steel.
That means we are not assured that the grades are safe for all surfaces. It's supposed to be low carbon mild steel.

At my current job, when I'm "doing wheels" (changing tires) for an 8 hour shift, I have to R&R a dozen VERY cruddy 22" bus or truck wheels.
They have to be thoroughly cleaned upon replacement, so it's a VERY LONG DAY when you don't have a really good cleaning method.
We tried everything you could think of to make the job faster/better.

There is a KILLER steam-jenny (pressure-washer) system at the depot that is used in the undercarriage cleaning and engine-wash department, and that sucker will completely take the paint off of a vehicle, if you're not careful.
We have tried just about every H.D. industrial cleaning product you can think of to lessen the work load.
4X0 steel wool with Kerosene IS the standard restoration shop method to clean chrome, and since we have easy access to diesel, which is possibly better, thats what we use,
but it is also not very healthy to breath into your lungs, so I wear a V.O.C. respirator mask.
I added the rust penetrant to the diesel because it helped soften the iron component (from ground up brake drums) in the built up crud on the wheels.

After seeing how well this has worked there, I have used it at home. If I buy a used set of wheels, often the previous owner neglected the back side of the rim from when it was new.
Anyone who has had to spotlessly clean this multi-year build-up of baked on dirt, brake dust, grease, dog/cat spray, iron dust etc. will appreciate an effective shortcut here.

But for a dirty chrome wheel that has zero imperfections in it's surface, 4X0 plain steel wool with kerosene applied gently is THE BEST.

So, it depends on where the rust is coming from. Is it the steel from under porous chrome plating coming through, or is it simply from brake dust/rotor particles?
If there IS damage to the chrome, the aluminum foil trick works well, especially when followed up with an application of hard wax, Mother's Carnuba is one good choice.

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PostSubject: Re: How can I clean chrome wheels with a little rust on em??   Today at 11:12 am

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