1973 Aluminum rim restoration

7173Mustangs.com

Help Support 7173Mustangs.com:

Omie01

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 4, 2014
Messages
917
Reaction score
38
Location
Minnesota, USA
My Car
1972 H code fastback Boss 351 clone
Does anybody have any tips or tricks for cleaning/restoring the aluminum rims. I have a set on one of my 73's that need some TLC. Just wondering what others have done to freshen them up?
 

Sheriff41

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
760
Reaction score
594
Location
Texas
My Car
72 Mustang Q-code
What condition are they in now? Maybe post a picture or two. If the clear coat has worn off and they're just oxidized, then you could get away with some good aluminum polish (FLITZ, MAAS 91401, Mothers, etc.) and elbow grease. If they're lightly scratched you may need to use some fine sand paper before the polish.
Check on some of the detailer forums (I like https://www.autogeekonline.net/) for how-to videos and discussions.
Alternatively, there are plenty of metal polish businesses and wheel restoration shops that you could pay to do the work.
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
142
Reaction score
83
Location
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2P 3R7
I assume they have what I think is referred to as aluminum oxidization on them? (a white residue that feels rough and looks bad).

got Picts to share?

I’m not sure if it’s the same issue, but I have a 2006 gmc truck with factory aluminum rims that had this issue (pict is of a new rim). As I understand it, (at least for this generation of rims) the clear coat flakes/peels/ chips off, and this aluminum “rust“ starts to grow (very common up here across the border (north and west of you) in Alberta, Canada).

I don’t have the right kind of equipment, skills or time, so I found a local guy who refinished (sanded, polished, and then clear coated and/or ceramic coated) my rims.

To be honest, It wasn’t cheap, but less expensive than buying new rims AND in my case, they came out looking brand new.

I would expect that in your area their has to be guys (or rim repair shops) providing a similar service.

just an option to consider...
 

Attachments

  • 0F2AE3E6-CE29-4914-A93D-E61208523B96.png
    0F2AE3E6-CE29-4914-A93D-E61208523B96.png
    3.3 MB · Views: 0

NG8264723

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2016
Messages
296
Reaction score
5
Location
Harvard, Ma
My Car
1973 Mustang f code MACHI
Purchased in 1997 or so
The factory alum wheels were never clear coated and had a series of concentric ring marks on them. That said they can be polished by any competant alum polisher. There are ways to do it yourself. The easiest is to jack up the car and use the car as a lathe. With the car in drive sand and polish the rims. Pics would help b/c we do not know what condition yours are in
 

Omie01

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 4, 2014
Messages
917
Reaction score
38
Location
Minnesota, USA
My Car
1972 H code fastback Boss 351 clone
Here are some pics, I'm sure this is the usual condition, not bad but need some TLC.
 

Attachments

  • DSCI0410.JPG
    DSCI0410.JPG
    3.6 MB · Views: 1
  • DSCI0411.JPG
    DSCI0411.JPG
    3.6 MB · Views: 0
  • DSCI0412.JPG
    DSCI0412.JPG
    3.6 MB · Views: 0

Sheriff41

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
760
Reaction score
594
Location
Texas
My Car
72 Mustang Q-code
That should polish up nicely. I'd just use some aluminum polish and a few microfiber clothes. Show us your results when you finish!
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
4
Location
Macedon, NY
My Car
73 convertible, 351W.
They look a lot better than ours when I started. 30 years of sitting on tire rack in my barn.
When done, the guy that had painted the car said see you bought new rims. He couldn't believe they were original.
 

BigAl

New member
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
1
Reaction score
2
The Fac rims can be "eye catching" and look great on these cars and the first "work over" of the rims is the most time consuming and successive polishings are easier. If you are changing out tires, do this process between tire changes and with valve stem removed. I WOULD NEVER ATTEMPT DOING ANY POLISHING WITH THE CAR JACKED UP AND WHEEL SPINNING (as a lathe). Good way to end up with a broken wrist by catching the "slot " holes in the rims themselves, or the valve stem with the towel or polishing ball.)
My process is as follows; Remove the wheels from the car, remove the center cap (careful with the screws, they like to seize and break off) and clean with a good de-greaser like Simple Green. If the rim has bad "curb rash" and/or gouges on the face of the rims, then you may want to consider replacing the rim as any material that is missing, can't be replaced, just "worked down" (or the worst rim becomes your spare). I'd be very careful with any sandpaper as the aluminum is soft. For raised 'burrs" from curbs, I use a flat metal working file and gently remove the high spots, trying to make sure I don't do more damage in the area. The "concentric rings" on the outer rim, referred to earlier are very tough to "save", but can be replaced on a metal lathe if your so inclined, mine just are polished out and I've never had points deducted.
Now you're ready to polish. I've had very good results with using the Red Foam Ball (with stem that can be mounted in a handheld drill) from Mothers and the Mothers polish. Place the rim on a flat surface and be liberal with the polish. Follow the instructions concerning keeping the Ball damp. The foam will start to disintegrate after some use and I've used several balls sometimes for a set of 5 rims (spare). And I find the balls disintegrate between uses no matter how much I clean them. I do cleanup the rim with Dawn dish soap to remove any remaining polish and its base. If I have the "good" tires mounted, I'll tape the area next to the rim the best I can, as splattered polish can leave "grease shadow" that is more work to remove, but eventually blends in. I have treated the rims (when dry, in the sun hopefully) to a transparent finish such as Shark Hide (sp?) and find it helped substantially prevented re-tarnishing. tTe "Slots" in the rim (5) are rough cast and not machined. I've polished those areas but never get a reflective finish like I do on the outers. The hand held drill/ foam ball is the way to go - let the drill do the work. Takes about an hour for each rim. Good Luck. Big Al
 
Top