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Discussion Starter #1
It's time to put new rubber on the brick after a great summer trip and I'd like to clean up the three-spoke wheels. The finish is worn and I'd like to paint them.

I've looked at the archives and read that powder coating is probably the best way but the budget and level-of-effort required won't support it right now.

So... has anyone cleaned up their wheels and painted them with any success?
- Clean with solvent and fine steel wool?
- Best type of paint?
- Leave it alone?
 

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PsyKotic Waterfowl
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stokester said:
It's time to put new rubber on the brick after a great summer trip and I'd like to clean up the three-spoke wheels. The finish is worn and I'd like to paint them.

I've looked at the archives and read that powder coating is probably the best way but the budget and level-of-effort required won't support it right now.

So... has anyone cleaned up their wheels and painted them with any success?
- Clean with solvent and fine steel wool?
- Best type of paint?
- Leave it alone?
I vote leave it alone. You can't see them when you're riding and it's cost effective. :)
 

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I recently painted the wheels on my old Moto Guzzi, which are very similar to my k75s.

I scrubbed the grease off with gasoline...steel wooled them, washed them, and spray bombed with a commonly available paint for wheels..

They look great!
 

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cbluez said:
I recently painted the wheels on my old Moto Guzzi, which are very similar to my k75s.

I scrubbed the grease off with gasoline...steel wooled them, washed them, and spray bombed with a commonly available paint for wheels..

They look great!
I've used Duplicolor #1679 silver metallic for a long time with great results.

Frank
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks to all for suggestions. I may leave it alone and just put on a new set of Pirelli Sport Demons but as long as I have the wheels off...
 

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From what I know about my K12, BMW use a 2 pack polyester based silver paint which is ever so hard and virtually impossible to strip off with proprietary paint strippers. It is the hardest paint finish I (and my powder coater) have come across.

You will find the paint finish is put on very thick. I have a suspicion that this is partly to 'seal' the rims where micro pores in the ali castings can leech out air pressure over several days.

This used to happen to my wheels. I bit the bullet and put both wheels into my powder coater. They used a bead blast machine to take off the original paint finish and put back a silver powder coat as close a match as possible to the oem. Be aware that powder coats are only available in a limited color range and try to pick a color close to a standard touch up paint color to repair any future 'dings'.

My wheels came back like new. I chose a tire fitter used to bike tires who used a machine that did not run chisel around the bead edge and ruin the paint finish of my 'new' wheels. After getting the tire pressures right, I can now go back up to 4 months later and only find 1 or 2 psi loss of tire pressure!

Therefore, either get wheels professionally powder coated, or leave the oem paint well alone.



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Discussion Starter #7
voxmagna said:
From what I know about my K12, BMW use a 2 pack polyester based silver paint which is ever so hard and virtually impossible to strip off with proprietary paint strippers. It is the hardest paint finish I (and my powder coater) have come across.

You will find the paint finish is put on very thick. I have a suspicion that this is partly to 'seal' the rims where micro pores in the ali castings can leech out air pressure over several days.

Therefore, either get wheels professionally powder coated, or leave the oem paint well alone.
If the paint is so hard and thick why does it wear off? It's not from a tire changer, I have my own No-Mar.
 

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Perhaps they don't use the super duper 2 pack hard paint or it has become environmentally unfriendly and water based paints have been used?

Looking at your photos if the colors are real, it looks like the base coat etch primer is still there and the top coat paint finish has gone. Have your wheels been pressure washed?

Some modern paints are now applied electrostatically for speed and cheapness but you get a thin coat which is not so durable. Aluminium alloy does not take paints well unless the surface has an etch primer coat. If your paint is thin and comes away in flakes with no stick, then see if they put on a primer coat first (looks like they have). If you see shiney ali and no key, then I would give up on the oem paint quality and go the powder coat route for a life long durable finish.



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Discussion Starter #9
voxmagna said:
Perhaps they don't use the super duper 2 pack hard paint or it has become environmentally unfriendly and water based paints have been used?

Looking at your photos if the colors are real, it looks like the base coat etch primer is still there and the top coat paint finish has gone. Have your wheels been pressure washed?

Some modern paints are now applied electrostatically for speed and cheapness but you get a thin coat which is not so durable. Aluminium alloy does not take paints well unless the surface has an etch primer coat. If your paint is thin and comes away in flakes with no stick, then see if they put on a primer coat first (looks like they have). If you see shiney ali and no key, then I would give up on the oem paint quality and go the powder coat route for a life long durable finish.
I've never pressure washed them, does not mean it has never been done. The silver paint looks like it has been worn off from some sort of abrasion; sand and dirt from the road?

I know that powder coating is the way to go for looks and permanence but I'm not taking on the time and expense. Did you have to replace the wheel bearings? Just thinking the baking would not be good for them. Guess I was hoping for a quick cleaning with mineral spirits and spray with some commercial paint for a decent look.

It's much more important that I replace all fluids and filters after mounting the new Pirellis.
 

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Did you have to replace the wheel bearings?
Unfortunately, yes on the front. I preped the wheels by taking out the bearings and seals. A 1 way trip really and you have to put back new, but front wheel bearings and seals are not that expensive (from a bearing/seal supplier). The powder coat is put on first with an electrostatic gun and as long as you mask off places you don't want it (through the axel) it does not get there.

I think having a decent covering finish on the wheels is quite important because when I was at the powder coaters I saw some Jap bike wheels that had been left too long and water and road salt had got to the exposed wheel parts. Once pitted and damaged, it gets more difficult to get a decent finish.



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