How I did a quick and dirty stock wheel resotration on the cheap
So, sorry about the timing of the posts, every moment related to the project went into execution. Life also still happened throughout. It was a lot o' sanding but it wasn't THAT much sanding. Still, I am ashamed to admit how much time and effort it was. At least, touch-ups and refinements are going to be easy from here. The 180 phase and getting the milled face off was the hardest, not only physically, but mentally. It's almost nauseating to take 180 grit sandpaper to that OE milled aluminum face, even if it is not pristine anymore. That first scratchy grind!, oh, god, please scrape a chalkboard with your Holy Fingernails to make it feel better!... It HURTS!
Anyway, I swear the surface layer was harder than the rest of the aluminum. Can't explain it, I would guess maybe something to do with anodization, but I'm ignorant and wouldn't want to something like say that out loud...
Anyway, it's behind me. This post is about Sharkhide.
I applied it on a cloudy, 45F day this past weekend. Perfect conditions. If you ever have the chance to use this stuff, you will appreciate why cold weather is recommended. Two words: Toulene, Xylene.
I wore a respirator. These solvents are volatile as most of you know. It would be suicidal to use this stuff above 65F unless you really had a feel for it. Not because of the volatility, but because it would dry so fast you would just flash-stick to something. I'm exaggerating a bit, but the solvents are the magic here, I think. Besides whatever actual magic resin it is.
They recommended a cotton cloth diaper. If I had to do it over again, and in the future, I WILL USE A CLOTH DIAPER. This does not portend disaster, however, but yes, USE A CLOTH DIAPER.
It has to do with the consistency of the stuff. I used a microfiber cloth, and the results were great, but it would have been easier to work with using their very specific instructions (IIRC, they might be in all-caps on the can).
OK, so this stuff is about the consistency of olive oil, but is sticky like maple syrup and yet still somewhat oily. It didn't soak into my MF rag very well, but well enough. I don't have pictures, because I was working fast. Even at 45F, my cloth started getting stiff just as I was finishing up the last wheel, maybe 15 to 20 minutes. I worked like a demon, respirator and all.
Wipe it on, get good coverage, don't go over it once you've made a swipe or two. You can wipe back over it within a few seconds, but anything over about 30 seconds old should not be touched. But you get the hang of it.
Right about here is where I have to say the inevitable: I am not in any way affiliated with Sharkhide or its makers and I have not been compensated in any way for my remarks. My remarks represent my opinion, and nothing more.
Guys, this shit is killer.
It dries to a slightly matte finish, but overall there is more "gleam" to my 1000-grit finish, which is far less than polished. You can tell there is a finish of some sort, and for something I wiped on, the build is pretty substantial, but it doesn't look like clearcoat or all "hairspray" looking. It's a nice, thick satin sheen. One coat.
This is the part I cannot stress enough: the product flowed out brilliantly. Like mirror smooth. I've sprayed a TON of lacquer finishes back in my college woodworking job, and I can say this is a really nice finish, particularly for wipe-on. My last wheel picked up some lint from the cloth going tacky (word to the wise for future reference), and sadly that's the one in these photos, but the first three wheels are just really quite fine. That's not a ding on the product, that's a user training issue. I won't do that again. Have some lacquer thinner handy or toss your rag before it turns into a hairball. And... USE A CLOTH DIAPER.
You need a barely-soggy rag, but not sopping-dripping.
Here are a few pics of them drying (it takes about five minutes to dry hard, BTW, another win in my book -- and just remember, that's at 45F and I still had to work fast)
Here's one showing the sheen on the same cloudy day, this one is dry:
And then here are some pics of them today, after the tires are on. Torque has returned to help you see the amount of reflection (again, they are only sanded to 1000 grit).
I only used about half a cup of the Sharkhide, by the way. While it was $64 a quart, I used only a few dollars. For the ease of application and the result, this stuff is a bargain at five times the price. Let's see how it stands up to road salt, but so far it is exactly what others have said, I have no reason to think that it will disappoint.
I haven't added up the dollars yet, but I am pretty sure I stayed under 300, including the mounting and balancing. Somewhere in there... and its not fair to include the mount and balance. Still, it's not enough difference to care much either way. I put too much work into them, but for what they are, I think they came out well, especially since they should be easy to paint later and really get them back up to B-grade sht, lol.
So, Cheap: check-ish.
Dirty: overall no, not really, my thumbnails are clean again but my laundry sink will always have a blue-gray stain.
🐸, 2003, Electric Green Mica, not enough mods
Are those my old wheels?
- Very nice, will look even better on the car
Great job. Hope your fingers and hands recover. Seems to me that you could have hired a poor teenager to do that sanding. 😊
Did you sand both the front and the back (the inside) ?
On my 2003 wheels, I loved the machined front and painted the insides black. I really like that look.