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Pew pew!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Not 4x4 related, but this is easy to do and can be done on any wheel.

This took right around 12 hours of work over the course of two days. I recommend you set almost a whole weekend aside to do this. I purchased a set of 18" Caliber R/T non-polished wheels. I had them mounted on a set of 225/50R18 Blizzak LM-25s. I painted them while on the tires to show that it can be done, and also because I wanted to get them on my car ASAP.

This was performed in my Dad's garage which is 1400 sq ft and heated. It has the room and temperature to get this job done, so I would be wary of doing this inside a smaller place because of the fumes.

Materials:
Fine sandpaper
3 decks of playing cards
Blue painter's tape
Shop vac
Grease & wax remover
Wheel cleaner
Paper towel or a few rags
4 cans of Dupli-Color Wheel Coating (I used flat black)
2 cans of Dupli-Color Wheel Clearcoat
Dust mask

Overall cost:
225/50R18 Blizzak LM-25 (4): $700 shipped from tirerack.com
18" R/T Wheels (4): $330 shipped off eBay
Mounting/balancing with TPMS sensors: $240 at Belle Tire w/ discount
Paint (5 cans of black, 3 clear coat): $50 at AutoZone.
(I already had the other supplies, so add cost accordingly)

Total: $1,320 plus extra supplies.


1) Clean the wheels. Spray liberally with cleaner and wipe dry. Try to remove any specks or stuck-on material.



2) Take fine sand paper and sand every square inch of the wheel. You do not need to sand a lot of material off, but you want to make sure you rough up the finish and just about remove all finish from the wheel. You will want to do this to the center caps (if applicable) as well.




3) Use the grease & wax remover and wipe down the wheel removing all sanding dust and any other dirt that is on the wheel.

4) I had two ideas for taping off the sidewall of the tire. One was running a line of duct tape around the bead and using the index cards as shown below. This is a huge pain, and did not leave a clean line, but it is on the back of the wheel anyway. I won’t go into detail on how it was done because you will not want to do it this way. See later in the write-up for the other way, which is much easier, works much better, and you can cover the entire wheel with paint.






6) Prep the mounting surface and valve stem by using blue painter's tape. I used a piece to wrap around the top portion of the valve stem. I laid several strips on the mounting surface and then cut the excess off with a razor.







7) Shake your first can like hell. Put your mask on! Use two light coats at first and do not dwell on an area of the wheel. Use smooth back & forth motions on each coat. After two light coats you can do a medium coat. On the back of the wheels I used three coats of paint and then two coats of clear. Between each coat of paint you will want to wait 10-15 minutes before the next coat. Wait about 30-45 minutes before using the clear coat, and then follow the 10-15 minute between clear coats. I recommend starting on the back of the wheel so you can get the hang of it before painting the face. My Dad helped by keeping the shop vac nearby to suck up paint fumes, which actually worked very well.

After one coat:



After two coats:



After three coats:


After two clear coats:


7) Remove index cards or playing cards after 30-45 minutes after last coat.



8) Wait roughly an hour for paint to be dry enough to be touched if it is accidentally done. Flip to other side and use compressed air to clean dust off, and wipe down with grease & wax remover again. You can see there is some overspray from doing the back of the wheels. This is also why the back was done first.



9) Take the playing cards and stick the edge between the tire and wheel lengthwise. Over lap the cards. This is a MUCH better technique and MUCH easier to do than the duct tape and index cards.





10) Use same painting techniques as on the back wheel. I did the face of the wheel by breaking it down in sections while applying each coat. I would first run around the edge, almost parallel to the playing cards to get paint onto the edge of the wheel. I would then do the outer part of the wheel, than the face of the spokes and then side of the spokes. I would spend more attention getting some paint into the lug nut holes and around the valve stem. Don't dwell too long or you could get some runs or an uneven look to the paint. On the face of the wheels I used four coats of paint and three coats of clear. I painted the center caps at this point too, using the same coats and time table as the wheels.

After one coat:


After two coats:


After three coats:


After four coats with one clear coat:


After two clear coats:


After three clear coats:



11) Let paint sit for an hour, then removing the playing cards and tape. At this point the paint can be lightly touched, but I do not recommend handling the wheel surface.









12) Let the paint cure for about 5-7 days, and then you're ready to mount! (I'm still at this step.)

Conclusions: The paint turned out very well, much better than expected. A few tiny hairs got on the paint, but they were removed with no harm done. There are some tiny specs and other small imperfections in the paint, mostly do to the wheels being 30,000 miles old with nicks and dings. You really have to get close to them to tell that they may have been done at home, otherwise they look great!

I will have pics up as soon as they get on the car this weekend.

If you have any questions, or something appears to be missing, please let me know so I can edit the post.
 

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Eye candy
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10,044 Posts
a long thin strip of sheet metal works too, you just wrap it around the lip.

and you don't have waste cards
 

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Its tough out there.
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2,754 Posts
love the card idea.
 

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Pew pew!
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18,204 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all!

This was my first time doing this and I'm quite happy how it turned out for a novice.

The duct tape/index card was a huge pain in the ass, and didn't leave good lines. The playing cards were extremely easy to stick in between the wheel and tire and left awesome lines. You can't even tell on the edge that they were ever a different color.
 

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circling the drain
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35,863 Posts
Card trick is very cool. Is there a reason you were concerned with getting black paint on black tires?

Seems you just spent a LOT of money on a set of snow tires? what tires came on that car? Were they that bad in the snow?

The rims turned out nice.
 

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Pew pew!
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18,204 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Card trick is very cool. Is there a reason you were concerned with getting black paint on black tires?

Seems you just spent a LOT of money on a set of snow tires? what tires came on that car? Were they that bad in the snow?

The rims turned out nice.
Thanks.

I guess I didn't want to deal with the crap flaking off the tires and getting everywhere.

The tires that came on the car are Goodyear F1 Supercars. They are a Z rated Summer only performance tire, so under about 50 degrees F the rubber compound turns to a hard plastic.

Last Winter they weren't too bad with 0 miles because the tread still had flex. Now with about 16,000 miles on the car and the tires about a 1/3 to half worn, I can't get traction to save my life. Even doing 2nd gear starts riding the hell out of the clutch I'll just sit there and spin. I can't even imagine having these tires on a RWD car.

I can't go smaller than an 18" rim because anything smaller won't clear the front brake calipers, which really fucks me with price. I ended up going with a snow tire because tirerack.com had the $165 a piece special (normally $220), and all-season tires were about the same price if not more expensive.
 

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circling the drain
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35,863 Posts
Gotcha, I did not know that car came with non all season tires.

The wrx sti is the same way, kinda cracks me up you need to get second set of tires for an awd car for the winter lol
 

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Nice write up. That's the first time I've ever seen playing cards used for masking, but I like it. I think it would've looked good if left it at the flat black stage.

If you wanna save some time, try usin a 3M gray pad or light steel wool, probably be a little quicker on the sanding / scuffing. Might wanna put in to use a cartridge filter mask instead of a dust. Dust mask won't keep the isocynates in the clear outta your lungs.

Good job. What's the bolt pattern on those? Makes me want to steal my neighbor's caliber rims and throw 'em on my xj haha
 

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Pew pew!
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18,204 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Nice write up. That's the first time I've ever seen playing cards used for masking, but I like it. I think it would've looked good if left it at the flat black stage.

If you wanna save some time, try usin a 3M gray pad or light steel wool, probably be a little quicker on the sanding / scuffing. Might wanna put in to use a cartridge filter mask instead of a dust. Dust mask won't keep the isocynates in the clear outta your lungs.

Good job. What's the bolt pattern on those? Makes me want to steal my neighbor's caliber rims and throw 'em on my xj haha
If I plan on doing more painting in the future I'm going to get a cartridge type respirator.

I would've stuck with just flat black, but my car is a gloss black, and I looked at pictures with that match up and it looked odd.

The bolt pattern is a 5x114.3mm.

Heading out of town for a wedding this weekend, wheels will be going on the car Sunday. I'll make sure to snap some pics.
 

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"The Situation"
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If I plan on doing more painting in the future I'm going to get a cartridge type respirator.

I would've stuck with just flat black, but my car is a gloss black, and I looked at pictures with that match up and it looked odd.

The bolt pattern is a 5x114.3mm.

Heading out of town for a wedding this weekend, wheels will be going on the car Sunday. I'll make sure to snap some pics.
hurry it up.. i wana see ! :thumb:
 

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Nice I love black wheels.

Now you can rally the car too.
 

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numero douce undela
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2,543 Posts
you could have more than likely just scotch brighted the wheels to scuff them up instead of sanding away. Also on a wheel like that if you have a small die grider or something of the sorts you can feather those scuffs out. Hopefully the paint holds up wheel to road rash, let us know how that goes
 
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