View Full Version : ? on how to strip and paint aluminum rims

December 8th, 2012, 14:19
I got some nice, but used aluminum rims for a song. They are in good shape, but they are polished aluminum with black painted inserts. There is also a bunch of nicks in the paint and clear coat, and two of the wheels, i presume the original fronts, have that baked on brake dust stuff that wont come off. I want to use the lighter rims with some milder light truck type tires for road duties and swap to my standard 15" steelies for winter/off road.

Anyways polished/chrome isnt really my look on my jeep which is dinged and dinted. My steelies were chrome, also used, and i just roughed them up with some steel wool and sprayed them with rustoleum hammered like the rest of my jeep. They've held up ok, but are starting to become a little oxidized/faded with some peeling.

I want to do these rims right. What stripper product and technique do you recommend for getting down to the raw aluminum, and then how do I prep them for paint?

I'm not 100% set on doing them myself, I am considering powdercoating. But I may just paint them myself if someone can suggest a good wheel paint product/technique that will hold up to UV and normal road use. I am hoping to go for a gunmetal/pewter/charcoal gray. I also really like the Ford stirling gray that someone on here painted their XJ. So, can I paint myself with results I'll be happy with, and what product? Does it need a clearcoat?

December 8th, 2012, 15:30
Have a local shop sandblast them?

December 8th, 2012, 16:28
If you are going to paint them, I recommend going to


They make a super tough paint that is UV protected. It is way better than POR-15 and you can buy tons of different colors.

December 9th, 2012, 11:26
If you are going to paint them, I recommend going to


They make a super tough paint that is UV protected. It is way better than POR-15 and you can buy tons of different colors.

do you need to clear coat over it.

December 10th, 2012, 10:34
I used to work at enkei...I suggest powder coating over paint

December 17th, 2012, 10:57
Got the first wheel done. Working on the next one this week. I'm taking my time, old tires still good and new tires not in the budget yet.

I stripped with some product from HD. Worked well, took about 3 applications because there are some painted areas with clear over them. Also a few nooks and crannies that my scraping tool couldn't get to.

I sanded any corroded or pitted areas, them 400gt wet-sanded the whole wheel. Then clean with soap and water, them once dry I used a tack cloth for Any residual dust.

Sprayed self etching primer x 2 light coats, then one coat of filler primer. Then sprayed the color x 3 coats followed immediately by clear x 3 coats. Probably needs another coat of clear cus I can feel the surface difference a little. Per directions on the can, if you are spraying another coat more than an hour after the first coat, you need to wait 7 days, so I will.

I used all duplicolor products, including their wheel coating graphite paint and the wheel coating clear.


December 18th, 2012, 09:26
Interested in seeing how the duplicolor paint holds up..

December 20th, 2012, 06:12
Interested in seeing how the duplicolor paint holds up..

as am I. I saw a few threads where guys on JU had had their painted wheels on for 4+ years and were still holding up well, so I am hopeful. After stripping, I wet sanded with 400, then 3 coats of self-etching primer, then 3 coats of filler primer, then 3 coats of graphite, then 3 coats of clear. So I think the paint will adhere well and be durable. We'll see. Probably wont have tires for another 6 months or so, and again these will be mostly street driven, so not quite the same abuse as trail rims.

I think they'd do fine on the trail too though. i have a set of what I think are soft-8s on my xj now, bought second hand from a friend. They were chrome, so I steel-wooled them, then just sprayed with rustoleum hammered. That was about 4 years ago, and they are holding up ok, not great. Peeling in a few places, but for how poorly I painted them, I'm not disappointed.

December 20th, 2012, 06:31
Here is the etching primer

And here it is in the filler primer. Used this stuff cus there are a few nicks and dings, helps to smooth the surface out.

Just have finish coats on this wheel, then two more to go. Kinda liked the OD green look of the etching primer! But it of course doesn't go with a red jeep, but that flat green was kinda sweet.

December 20th, 2012, 19:34
do you need to clear coat over it.Sorry I didn't get back sooner. No you do not need to clearcoat. Check out their website. Their stuff is great. Just don't get it on you hootus.:gag:

August 11th, 2013, 08:32
That paint is great, used the same color on our xj 2 years ago and it still looks great. Btw any pics of the jeep with the rims on? Thinking about going a different route with ours and really like those rims

August 17th, 2013, 07:34
Rims are done, but I am saving up for duratracs. I have a few more 1000s miles on the trxus MT I have now. I'll probably go with 275/70/R18 which is a little over 33" tall and a little under 11" wide which is exactly what I'm looking for. My current tires are 12.5" wide. Currently I'm doing a lot more street driving than offroad while raising a young family.

I'll have a second set of tires for offroad.

As soon as they are mounted and on the jeep, I'll have pics posted.

January 7th, 2014, 01:02
Vaguely browsing around...

Wheels look like they turned out nice.

Like another has said, post pics on the rig.


June 12th, 2014, 09:27


As promised, installed pics. Love them, have gotten a lot of compliments.

urban yan
June 24th, 2014, 22:39
I like it. Those wheels look great in graphite.

June 26th, 2014, 07:17
Thanks. I wasn't sure I'd like the 18s, initially wished I could have found some 17s. But I think these look awesome, and will have plenty of room for the WJ swap. Plus I love the tires too, much more than my trxus mts.