Painting Steel Wheels Part 1


The wheels on the Guac were horrid. The silver paint was mostly gone, and the rust, while still on the surface, had covered the entire face of the wheels.

I couldn`t leave them like that!

I threw my pair of wheels with tires from Discount Tire on the front of the Guac and brought in the front two rims with my Nokians.

I started on the back sides so I could run into any snags there instead of on the faces of the wheels. Plus, the back sides were disgusting! Grease, road grime, brake dust, etc. Nasty!

First, I cleaned them up with Purple Power and a green weenie (green scrubbing pad). They cleaned up nicely! I wish I had thought to take pics. I`ll do that with the rears.

I had to mask the wheels from the tires somehow. Previously, I used tape and newspaper. Talk about time consuming! I decided it was time to make a steel ring mask.

I used galvanized roof flashing for the ring mask. I looped it around the rim, clamped it, and gave it a tack weld. But welding thin galvanized steel is an exercise in futility with my lack of skills, so I`m going to pop a rivet in there when I find my rivet gun. But for now it works.

I`m using two coats of Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer gently thinned with mineral sprits, followed by 3 coats of Electric HVLP Paint Sprayer purchased at Harbor Freight for $50. I`m also using Spray Gun Liners, 99c from Harbor Freight for a pack of 10.

I`ve had good results from that gun with Rustoleum in the past, having sprayed my sliding door track covers with that exact combo (minus the liners) last year. The paint is still holding up. And since wheels get such abuse and need to be repainted frequently anyway here in Colorado, why spend money on better quality paint?

The primer mixed 1:10 thinner/primer with mineral spirits sprayed beautifully. Layed down VERY nice. Two coats, 24 hours apart, went on great.

Today I did the first coat of white. Thinned the same. But I`m getting more splatter than I`m used to. I need to do some research.

Still sprayed nicely on the wheel, just some edge splatter. I need to figure this out before I put the last two coats on.

Anyway, check out the pics linked at the top of this article. I`ll keep adding as things go on. And I`ll write a follow-up once I`ve finished the wheels.

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