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    Thread: Brake Dust Stuck on Wheels

    1. Member c0r3y.af's Avatar
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      08-10-2012 01:12 PM #1
      Hey everyone.

      I have a set of 17" 7-Spoke Mercedes wheels that were powdercoated metallic silver a few months ago. I recently started cleaning them with Sonax Full Effect Wheel Cleaner and scrubbing with various brushes, but no matter what I do, there are some spots of brake dust on the faces and on the spokes that will not come off. Almost seems like the dust stained or somehow bonded into the finish. I partially blame my father who tried cleaning them with a harsh chemical degreaser while the wheels were "warm", but that may or may not have anything to do with it.

      I will post photos as soon as I can.

      What would you guys suggest I try to do to get rid of the black spots? I really want these completely clean so I can wheel wax them and keep them protected.
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    2. Moderator Jesstzn's Avatar
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      08-10-2012 03:56 PM #2
      You may have to try and polish it out ... brake dust when left on and it get moisture can become acidic and etch into the finish.

      I never use wheel cleaners .. to many of them compromise the finish on the wheel making them even more suceptable to damage.

      If you get them clean ... then put a few coats of a good sealant on them and then after that wash them frequently with a dedicated mitt and the tail end of the wash water.


      If you persist with the wheel cleaners .. wheel wax or the likes will do you no good as the first go round with a wheel cleaner will remove it.

    3. Member c0r3y.af's Avatar
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      08-10-2012 05:41 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by Jesstzn View Post
      You may have to try and polish it out ... brake dust when left on and it get moisture can become acidic and etch into the finish.

      I never use wheel cleaners .. to many of them compromise the finish on the wheel making them even more suceptable to damage.

      If you get them clean ... then put a few coats of a good sealant on them and then after that wash them frequently with a dedicated mitt and the tail end of the wash water.


      If you persist with the wheel cleaners .. wheel wax or the likes will do you no good as the first go round with a wheel cleaner will remove it.
      Thanks for the tip. My goal is to get them perfectly clean so I can seal and not have to use cleaners in the future. I have a bottle of Prima Wheel Armor sitting in my garage waiting to be applied, but I wouldn't want to apply it over the current condition of the finish.

      We're in the midst of a massive rain storm right now so I will try to get a few pics up tomorrow if it clears up.
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    4. Member c0r3y.af's Avatar
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      08-11-2012 11:04 AM #4
      Hi everyone. Just got a chance to wash one of the wheels and take a few pics. Here's what it looks like:

      Before washing:


      After washing and drying with a clean MF:


      Used my two favorite products :


      Here's the damage. This would not scrub off with a brush or wipe off with a cloth. It feels smooth to the touch:




      Hope this helps. I'm going to try polishing it later today with some sort of compound and see if it helps any.
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      08-13-2012 06:03 PM #5
      I cleaned my wheels with Purple Power before I painted them and they got really clean and shinny, but you might want to be careful since you said your wheels were painted/coated, cause the warnings on the bottle say Not to be used on painted surfaces. I would ask around if people had expiriences with that stuff on painted things

    6. Member CK98Beeetle's Avatar
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      08-13-2012 11:27 PM #6
      I would also question the quality of the finish on the wheels. I had some TSW's on my VW back in the day, that for some reason, I thought would be a great idea to powdercoat glossy black. They looked amazing for a few months but got very hard to clean. I roughed em up and did my own Autozone rattle can job back to silver. They looked great for a couple weeks, then looked exactly like yours do now. I didn't do a great job, and I think the clear coat was better in some places than others.
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    7. Member tdvw96's Avatar
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      08-14-2012 07:29 AM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by c0r3y.af View Post
      Hi everyone. Just got a chance to wash one of the wheels and take a few pics. Here's what it looks like:

      Hope this helps. I'm going to try polishing it later today with some sort of compound and see if it helps any.
      Try some wheel acid. It's tough to find from anyone other than a commercial detail supplier but it's around. Don't use it straight!! Dilute it like 1:4 to start and then add more from there if you need more aggressive. Don't let it sit on the wheels too long either. Should do the trick.

      http://www.carbrite.com/products/Ext...rs/Wheel-Acid/

      before


      after (wheels were not in the best condition but probably one of the nastiest I've cleaned in a long time!)

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      08-14-2012 12:17 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by tdvw96 View Post
      Try some wheel acid.
      Wheel acid is a good last resort for really toasted wheels. Otherwise it is way aggressive and usually does more harm than good. Also, the wheel acid is going to destroy the plastic center caps.
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    9. Member c0r3y.af's Avatar
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      08-14-2012 12:57 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by tdvw96 View Post
      Try some wheel acid. It's tough to find from anyone other than a commercial detail supplier but it's around. Don't use it straight!! Dilute it like 1:4 to start and then add more from there if you need more aggressive. Don't let it sit on the wheels too long either. Should do the trick.

      http://www.carbrite.com/products/Ext...rs/Wheel-Acid/

      before


      after (wheels were not in the best condition but probably one of the nastiest I've cleaned in a long time!)
      I would assume this could hurt things like powdercoat/paint/clear coat, no? Not sure if I would feel comfortable trying this since they're not THAT bad. Although it did seem to do the trick in your situation.
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    10. Member tdvw96's Avatar
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      08-14-2012 01:53 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Jrod511 View Post
      Wheel acid is a good last resort for really toasted wheels. Otherwise it is way aggressive and usually does more harm than good. Also, the wheel acid is going to destroy the plastic center caps.
      When used properly and diluted to the recommended ratios it's pretty harmless. Unless the wheels are raw aluminum/un-coated or you let the stuff completely dry on hot wheels you won't have any issues. I use it on my own wheels at the end of each season to keep them looking new on both sides along with cust. cars I detail. Have been for probably 15-20 years and never had an issue. Don't be scared, there isn't much else on the market available to consumers that works the same.

    11. Banned TheGreenspanator's Avatar
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      08-14-2012 01:54 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Jrod511 View Post
      Wheel acid is a good last resort for really toasted wheels. Otherwise it is way aggressive and usually does more harm than good. Also, the wheel acid is going to destroy the plastic center caps.
      You know the center caps come out, right?

      Why not ask the place that powdercoated them? Everyone else is giving you advice as though they are the factory clearcoated alloys. I have no idea what's good to use on powdercoat or not, but I know there's a few things out there that will damage the finish. They might be able to give you some insight on products that are safe and effective.

    12. Member c0r3y.af's Avatar
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      08-14-2012 02:42 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by TheGreenspanator View Post
      You know the center caps come out, right?

      Why not ask the place that powdercoated them? Everyone else is giving you advice as though they are the factory clearcoated alloys. I have no idea what's good to use on powdercoat or not, but I know there's a few things out there that will damage the finish. They might be able to give you some insight on products that are safe and effective.
      Not a bad idea actually I'll shoot them a quick e-mail.

      As for the acid comments, I don't know much about it which is why I'm a little nervous using it. What brand should I be looking for and where can I buy it? I'd like to do a bit more research. Thanks!
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    13. Member tdvw96's Avatar
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      08-15-2012 07:33 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by c0r3y.af View Post
      Not a bad idea actually I'll shoot them a quick e-mail.

      As for the acid comments, I don't know much about it which is why I'm a little nervous using it. What brand should I be looking for and where can I buy it? I'd like to do a bit more research. Thanks!
      I hear ya. Most people who have never used it are very afraid of it. The horror stories you hear are mostly from people diluting it wrong and using it too strong or people who just have no clue what they are doing. Here's what I use http://www.carbrite.com/products/Ext...rs/Wheel-Acid/

      Check with a local detail shop in your area if there is one, they may be able to do it for you or supply some. Not really worth buying a gallon for your purpose and it's not always the easiest to find unless you have a supplier local. Definitely also a good idea to check with the company who powder coated the wheels for suggestions. They may also take care of it for you depending on their cust. service. Good luck!
      Last edited by tdvw96; 08-15-2012 at 07:35 AM.

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      08-15-2012 09:53 PM #14
      Have you tried using a clay bar on the wheels? I had a similar issue on my 335i and that is how I resolved it.

    15. Member gtmfkni's Avatar
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      08-17-2012 08:38 AM #15
      ok...from looking at your close up picture of your wheel. it looks like your safest bet for removal. would be a (wash, claybar, rubbing compound, polish, then a sealant)

      But more importantly if this happened 2 months after you got them powdercoated. then the paint shop is where Id be returning them. because after all your hard work. itll just happen again. you have to remember there is a wide spectrum/grade of powdercoatings in the industry. and some silvers only need one coat (very rare). but almost all need a gloss coat. you need to find out if yours were done with a automotive grade/high temp powder. most paint shops have a warranty so you should be good to go.
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      08-17-2012 03:23 PM #16
      The powdercoater / paint shop isn't going to take responsibility for a lack of care. Wheels that were sealed before being exposed to hot contaminants in the brake dust would be user neglect. Also should spring for a clearcoat.

    17. Member c0r3y.af's Avatar
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      08-30-2012 09:24 AM #17
      Sorry everyone, know it's been a while but I finally got my hands on some wheel acid and it seems to have done the trick. The wheels look great! Thank you all for your help, I really appreciate it.
      Follow me on Instagram: @coreyfonseca
      I offer automotive detailing services in RI. PM me for details.

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