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Thread: Wheel Cleaning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    568

    Default Wheel Cleaning

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    I got this wheel as a set, when I got one of the XCs.
    The dirt is kinda 'caked' on the wheel and just brush can't clean it out,
    even with abrasive agent like Comet or Ajax. The dirt is almost
    like its part of the wheel surface. What would be best formula
    to do this myself (if I can)?

    Thanks.
    2001 Volvo V70XC/AWD/Auto/Turbo/164k Miles (Maroon)
    2001 Volvo XC70/AWD/Auto/Turbo/151k Miles (Brown)
    2005 Volvo XC90/AWD/V8/Auto 111K Miles (Black)
    2006 Toyota Sienna LE/AWD 124K Miles(Green)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1985 BMW (E23) 735i(US)/AUTO/209K Miles (Parked since 2011)
    1997 Mazda MPV/AUTO/4WD/173K Miles (Parked since 2008)
    2002 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean/3.0/131K/AWD (Parked since 2017)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach
    Posts
    4,031

    Default

    I'm not certain that it can be cleaned. It appears to be damaged finish, not just dirt on the surface. Brake dust will damage a finish if left on long enough...and that has the appearance of iron oxide that has damaged the finish. If I were going to try anything, it would be one of those products that dissolves iron chemically.
    Current Fleet:
    2016 Tundra Crewmax 4WD 1794
    2005 MB S600 (114K, Michelin AS3+, LiquiMoly 0W40)
    2005 MB SL600 (50K, Michelin AS4, Mobil 1 0W40)
    2002 V70-XC (275K, Castrol Edge 0W40)
    2002 V70-T5 (216K, IPD bars, Bilsteins)
    2001 V70-T5 (120K)
    1932 Packard Sedan (straight 8, dual sidemounts, original paint and interior, Shell Rotella 15W40)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    443

    Default

    You might try CLR. I just had good success with it removing a multi-year buildup of oxidized minerals, though non-automotive, that nothing else would touch. But as the label says, test in an inconspicuous area first. I've also seen oven cleaner suggested on YouTube for cleaning major wheel grime build-up, but again you might want to proceed cautiously.
    '04 XC70, Ash Gold / Taupe, Premium, Touring, Tinted Rear Glass, Rear Skyddsplåt, Wing Profile Load Bars, USA Spec 11,
    StonGard Light Protection, Yokohama YK740 GTXs, Meyle HD Sway Bar Links, ipd HD TCV, subframe & top brace poly bushing inserts,
    TitaniumTim XC Cup-holder Coasters.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    568

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pennhaven View Post
    You might try CLR. I just had good success with it removing a multi-year buildup of oxidized minerals, though non-automotive, that nothing else would touch. But as the label says, test in an inconspicuous area first. I've also seen oven cleaner suggested on YouTube for cleaning major wheel grime build-up, but again you might want to proceed cautiously.
    I got a buddy's CLR. With about teaspoon, undiluted, I tested one area. Let it sit for two minutes as directed (though with hot water). With wire brush, it looked promising after hosing with water. I poured on another CLR and let it sit for five minutes, then brushed it. That's the result in the attached pic. Manually using hand wire brush was better until I used my powered wire brush. If you look closely, you'll see the wire marks. Well, this was a test. I will report back after I get the wheel project done.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    443

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oka View Post
    I got a buddy's CLR. With about teaspoon, undiluted, I tested one area. Let it sit for two minutes as directed (though with hot water). With wire brush, it looked promising after hosing with water. I poured on another CLR and let it sit for five minutes, then brushed it. That's the result in the attached pic. Manually using hand wire brush was better until I used my powered wire brush. If you look closely, you'll see the wire marks. Well, this was a test. I will report back after I get the wheel project done.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    You might try a Scotch Brite pad instead of the wire brush. It may be abrasive enough to break the CLR treated buildup loose with much less damage to the finish.
    '04 XC70, Ash Gold / Taupe, Premium, Touring, Tinted Rear Glass, Rear Skyddsplåt, Wing Profile Load Bars, USA Spec 11,
    StonGard Light Protection, Yokohama YK740 GTXs, Meyle HD Sway Bar Links, ipd HD TCV, subframe & top brace poly bushing inserts,
    TitaniumTim XC Cup-holder Coasters.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    568

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pennhaven View Post
    You might try a Scotch Brite pad instead of the wire brush. It may be abrasive enough to break the CLR treated buildup loose with much less damage to the finish.
    Yep, that's what I plan on using next when I start the project. I have enough at home.
    Thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    150

    Default

    I cleaned up a set of wheels from the salvage yard recently. Gunk engine degreaser, an abrasive pad (similar to ScotchBrite), lots of elbow grease, and a power washer. Worked well. I didn't care about the finish. I was already planning on painting with Plasti-Dip.

    Brett

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