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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After much delay, and researching the various techniques on the web and experimenting on my old truck, I'm tackling refinishing the alloys. They have varying degrees of the typical Toyota corrosion under the clearcoat.

Here's a not totally complete step-by-step. ***Warning: Jacking the vehicle, dealing with brake dust that may contain asbestos, lead wheel weights, and paint fumes are all very dangerous to you. "Don't try this at home"/"proceed at your own risk"***

Shopping list: two big cans of spray paint (I went with Dupli-color Truck, Van & SUV T178 Silver Metalic (M) Clearcoat (CC) because it seemed closest to the original color), two maroon Scotch-Brite pads (3M #07447 from the auto/paint/hardware store; not the green versions from the grocery store), a high-quality respirator-type dust mask (I used a disposable N95 with relief vent from Gemplers), masking and duct tape, a stack of 3x5 index cards, some large pieces of cardboard, a liquid grease-cutting dishsoap like Ivory or Dawn, a spray bottle of degreaser like Purple Power or Simple Green, and a good medium-length natural bristle scrub brush. Optional: A can of clear coat; Duplicolor's appears to be T125 for their big Truck ... paint. {I had all but the spray paint in stock, so less than a $20 project for me.}

After *safely* jacking/supporting/chocking the RAV4, and removing the rear wheels, here's what one looked like from the front after scrubbing with the dishsoap and degreaser, then drying:



And the back. Was lots of brake dust, road grime, a little tar, etc. on the back:



The next step was to thoroughly sand/scuff the wheel with the Scotch-Brite pad. Cut a big pad into three equal parts (about 3 in. by 4 in. each), scuff the front, then the back side of each wheel. If you don't use up one of the pad-pieces on each wheel, then you need to scuff some more. ***Wear the quality respirator due to the potential for asbestos in the dust on the wheels, and work in a well ventilated area***

After that's done, another round of washing, degreasing, and drying.

Now it's time to mask. There are many ways, but it must be done well or you will overspray the tires which is a disaster. (Steel wool and a fairly strong solvent to remove overspray, but the tires' compound may be damaged).

Paint the backside of the wheels first, so here's the front masked with cardboard and duct tape to keep overspray off the tire. ***Don't forget to mask the valve stem first.***



One neat trick I found on the Internet is to use index cards between the tire and the rim. Here they are going on the back side. You may have to let out much of the air if the cards won't wedge in well. But not so much that you lose your tire bead!



Here's the back side after a couple of coats of spray paint. A sunny, warm day, so only about 10 minutes between coats (this paint was a lacquer).



Here's a front, ready to paint. Note the cardboard shield, then the index cards installed on the top. Because the back was painted recently, I used duct tape to mask a couple inches of the tire (without touching the now-painted back rim).

The two center caps from these back wheels are also shown, ready to be painted. They just pulled/twisted off the wheels, and got the same wash/degrease/scuff job before being painted.



I did two color coats, and no clear coat (intentionally). If you want the clear coat, follow the directions, but it likely goes on very soon after the last color coat.

Here's the finished front, before the valve stem's masking was removed. The lacquer paint was dry to the touch very quickly, and you want to remove the masking well before any paint has hardened completely. And definitely not days later ...



Here's the finished rear wheel next to a waiting front (tomorrow's project, weather permitting). Also to come is "dressing" the tires that will make them look much better.



While I had the rear wheels off (for a few days now), I pulled the relatively new (but getting outer surface rust) drums, washed/degreased them (making sure to keep them on the same side), and painted them with brush-on Rustoleum High Heat black paint.



Here's the rear tire/wheel/cap reinstalled. The black drum looks much better to me, as does the wheel.



Hopefully the fronts will be done tomorrow!

(Updates follow)

Fronts done, tires dressed, wheels rotated (front to back) and reinstalled. Here's a pic of a finished rear one:



If the RAV doesn't sell quickly, one more thing to do is to spray black undercoating in the now-clean wheelwells. 8/8/09 update: It sold! With a little seller's remorse. :?
 

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WOW that looks REALLY great. You did a great job. I had a friend that painted their wheels (flat black.. ugh) but used the same techniques, except used a deck of cards instead of the index cards.

Wanna do wheels on a 98 Rav!?! :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! Well ... I know where a 2000 4.1 is, with freshly painted wheels that you could buy! :D

The front wheels' refinishing went well today. Only differences were 1) went faster since I knew what I was going to do, and 2) some sanding/feathering was needed for scratches on the spokes of one of the wheels.

On all four I also needed to do a little road-tar removal with lacquer thinner and a rag, before sanding.
 

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They do look great.

I have done that on both cars I've owned, including the RAV (using Gunmetal colored spray paint), and I've just used flexible trim masking tape on the tires, but the cards are a great idea.

One thing is that you could let all the air out of the tire without a fear of breaking the bead. If you have ever tried to break a bead loose using a hammer and your arms, you'll see it won't JUST happen :lol:

Anyways, again, great, neat job, I like them.
 

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Cool

ok, this is great!! please someone make it sticky!!

you have post my next weekend proyect!!

thanks!
 

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Excellent job! So you sprayed the wheels with silver, and then later went over that with clearcoat? How many coats in all?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Two coats of paint. No clear coat, but if I had some that would have made a third.

If you put on the CC, check to make sure it is compatible with the base coats beforehand! Would ruin your day otherwise ...

Dressing the tires makes a huge difference too. Hopefully I'll take a pic in the days ahead.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bump ... updated with the dressed tire pic, and info on clear coat.
 

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wow. absolutely wonderful. my zinik's came with adhesive stick ons, taking those adhesive slap ons off left the sticky substance that i need to get rid off (and left black scratches [some were deep] on the spokes). any idea on what to do ? im thinking of just taking em off, running lacquer thinner on em' and sanding off the scratches as well then repainting the thing with a metallic orange lol. would i need primer? and i will do my drums too they look a bit rusty, though. i'll post pictures when i have the time.
 

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nice work, i did the same with mine.....
the main reason you don't want to remove the tire from a stock wheel is the tire needs to be installed from the front side of the rim (this is because of the "drop zone" which is where the bead sits to get it on the rim), most all aftermarket wheels have the drop zone in the rear portion of the rim (where the stock wheels in's near the front side) so the tire goes on from the rear side of the rim, eliminating any chance of damaging the finished face/lip of the wheel.


fyi .......if an alloy wheel is anodized you need to remove it if you want to polish the alloy.....
to do this use yellow cap easy off oven cleaner, 2 applications while letting each coat sit for about 20 minutes, then thoroughly wash it off, there will be some fumes so don't do it indoors......this method will save you about a full day per wheel of sanding to remove the anodized coating.
 

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I have a 98 with the six-spoke alloy rims (kind of the alternating 3 and 3 pattern) and they are just covered in brown rust or something like that. I was wondering if it would be something like this that would fix that.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
"covered in brown rust"

Sounds like a mixture of brake dust, and rust from the disc/drums. I hear it is a lot of work to remove, with nasty chemicals, without damaging the clearcoat. I think I had it on the back of the wheels above, but the sanding/washing removed it. Asbestos, possibly! Wear proper safety gear, and work outside in plenty of air.
 

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if you're having a hard time removing those with cleaners, it just means the stain has melted through the clearcoat. Have your rims been repainted before using urethanes or acrylics?

Most rims are powdercoated, these are the best type of paint for rims due to its durability and resistance to the elements which include brake dust, salt, snow, high heat, etc. This type of paint usually doesn't even chip because they adhere to the alloy or whatever metal the rims were forged with.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Will be refinishing the second RAV-4.1s wheels this summer, maybe soon, so I went looking for the paint. Appears that the Dupli-color Truck, Van, and SUV line of big cans has been discontinued. But the local NAPA was able to get me a few cans, along with the T125 clearcoat. Smaller 8 oz. cans are on the shelves of the chain stores, but I didn't see the T178 (GM silver). Saw a Toyota silver, but that's likely a body color and not that of the wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The Duplicolor "Truck, Van, and SUV" cans were either 11 or 12 ounces. I can check if you need a specific number. Will be starting on the second set of wheels later this week, weather permitting (but rain is forecast).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
"if i paint them now and next month i change my tires"

A difficult choice! Best would be to have the old tires dismounted, refinish the wheels, then have the new tires mounted. Then do touch-ups. Or even better would be to buy new wheels! :)

Refinishing my second 4.1's wheels is well underway. Off, cleaned, degreased, sanded/scuffed, washed, and wash-water to dry overnight. But now rain's predicted for the a.m., argh! :x
 
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