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2013 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic
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Discussion Starter #1
It's official. On multiple occasions I have attempted to machine polish my wheels with a dual action machine polisher, microfiber pads, and mild compound polish, but despite my efforts the fine scratches covering my wheels were not removed.



So last night I took my Challenger to Meguiars Thursday Night Open Garage session last night to have my good friend, Mike Stoops of Meguiars, double check my process of polishing my clearcoated Heritage aluminum wheels. After a half hour of using different combinations of pads, polishers, and compounds, Mike was unable to remove the scratches as well.

My Challenger sat for 100 days on a dealer's lot, so it's not hard to imagine a lot boy pressure washing the car every day and scrubbing the wheels with a stiff bristled brush. The damage is done, so now I'm looking for alternatives.


  1. Can the wheels be sanded of their original clear coat and then reapplied? I might even consider having the wheels powdercoated black if I went this route...
  2. Is it possible to chrome aluminum wheels? Since aluminum is not magnetic, I imagine it might be tougher to electroplate them.
I really like the old Cragar design of these wheels so I want to keep them, and if it's not too expensive I would like to get them back to a nice show quality if possible.
 

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For me it would all depend on the pricing of the options you are talking about, to sand and respray all 4 wheels to showroom quality sounds pricey, however if there was a large enough gap between that and a new set of Cragars I would do it. If it wasn't that big of a price jump I would just opt for a brand new set. I bet you're right about the shoddy cleaning on the lot though :shakehead:

Edit. Well never mind, a new set would be around $1100, surely it's not THAT much to do what you are talking about, that would be crazy.
 

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The scratches are under the clearcoat. These wheels were not high bright polished from the manufacturer.
 

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I've seen some looking shinier than the one's I have on my car. I guess it's the process they go through prior to clear coat like mattal21 said. I wish they shined more, but it's not worth me spending the $$$ for the shine at the moment...
 

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The scratches are under the clearcoat. These wheels were not high bright polished from the manufacturer.
agreed, that's the way they come from the factory... i remember a few days after i got mine home and took a closer look at the wheels... i saw all those scratches (which i would deem superficial) and thought to myself WITF did those a^+holes at the dealership do to my car when they prepped it for pick up... :SHOCKED: i was f'n mad! then i happened to look at some of the other R/TC's on the lot and figured out that's the way they were made... :4-dontknow:

after a good washing, they do seem to shine A LOT more than after they get a few hundred miles worth of brake dust on them... i don't know what kind of soap they use in the scrubby brush at the car was but my wheels really shine like a new penny after i use it... :smileup:
 

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2013 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic
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Discussion Starter #6
I sent out an email this afternoon to a local powdercoating company to see if it's even feasible to have the wheels done (I'd would go with black powdercoat if I going to have it done at all). When I get their reply, I'll post back here.
 

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I sent out an email this afternoon to a local powdercoating company to see if it's even feasible to have the wheels done (I'd would go with black powdercoat if I going to have it done at all). When I get their reply, I'll post back here.
it seems to me that someone did chrome out their heritage wheels... i remember a thread on here from a long time ago... i'll do a little digging and if i find it i'll post it up here...
 

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I sent out an email this afternoon to a local powdercoating company to see if it's even feasible to have the wheels done (I'd would go with black powdercoat if I going to have it done at all). When I get their reply, I'll post back here.

Its certainly feasible to have them powder coated. I had mine done for $100 a wheel. Be sure to find a place that specializes in wheels, if you dont you run the risk of them warping the wheels during the sandblasting and baking process. and make sure they stay away from the hub area.

You can polish them but removing the factory clear coat is a pain. I went through 2 cans of aircraft stripper and about 6 hrs to strip mine.
before

stripping

final polish


I ended up getting them powdercoated black.

 
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for your reply and posting these photos. It gives me an idea of how well the wheels could look powdercoated in black!



If you don't mind, I would like to see how this would look on a black R/T. If anyone with Photoshop skills could turn this red R/T black, please hit me up! :smileup:
 

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R/T Heritage Classic Wheels

Hi I just recently had four new Cooper tires installed and balanced on my classic wheels, well I almost had a heart attack when I picked up my wheels, the garage has a new balancer and they used the wrong cone for centering the wheel, well they damaged all the spokes on all four wheels, new wheels at Dodge $ 4717 and at a Custom Wheel Shop $ 3164 for a complete strip down , repolish and reclear ooch. The garage and I cant believe the prices but I want my wheels fixed right or replaced. The shop says they will be shinier after the repolish then when they were new and for that price I should hope so.
 

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That is an outrageous price!! Would it be cheaper to just replace them?? Now I am getting worried about getting new tires! We have a tire shop near the Dodge dealership that has a very good reputation, and also sells very nice wheels. I will be talking to them ahead of time about taking care of my wheels! Good luck with your wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi I just recently had four new Cooper tires installed and balanced on my classic wheels, well I almost had a heart attack when I picked up my wheels, the garage has a new balancer and they used the wrong cone for centering the wheel, well they damaged all the spokes on all four wheels, new wheels at Dodge $ 4717 and at a Custom Wheel Shop $ 3164 for a complete strip down , repolish and reclear ooch. The garage and I cant believe the prices but I want my wheels fixed right or replaced. The shop says they will be shinier after the repolish then when they were new and for that price I should hope so.
That's pretty outrageous. I looked into it several months ago and was quoted $440 to have all 4 wheels powdercoated black.
 

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Since the garage that screwed them up is on the hook, make them replace them with factory like for like. I wouldn't settle for anything less.
 

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Heritage wheels

I should find out tomorrow if they are going to pay full price for repolish or replace, the service manager said they will just pay a portion for the repair because the full rim is not damaged, lol I told him it don't work like that, they damaged them so they have to repair them or replace them. The guys at the custom wheel shop called dodge to see what the wheels cost so they could jack up there price. But in the mean time they told me they would polish the rims both inside and outside to a mirror like finish and them clear the complete wheel again, I also looked at powder coating but its hard to get a polished or chrome look the company said., cant believe these wheels are pretty much $ 5000 and another $ 1400 for rubber wow, I think I will install another set of lock nuts lol
 

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... You can polish them but removing the factory clear coat is a pain. I went through 2 cans of aircraft stripper and about 6 hrs to strip mine. ...
That polished wheel looks perfect! I could see doing this someday.

When you say "2 cans" of aircraft paint stripper, do you mean aerosol cans (not gallons)? What was your process?

Then, what did you use and how did you polish them?

I'm thinking this could be worthwhile, even to clearcoat them again.
 

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I sent Hemi a PM, not sure what he ended up doing on his wheels, I bought a nice used set a while ago, they were in real nice shape other then some small blemish on the outer lip of 2 wheels. I was quoted $75 each to re-finish each wheel, what the guy said was he would only do that outer lip not the spokes since they were perfect, I was also wondering about powder coating black to. here is a pic of what I'm talking about, really the only person that can see it is me, but it bugs me LOL....
 

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