Painting aluminum rims?????? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 10-21-2013
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Painting aluminum rims??????

I want to address the rims on my low buck Ranger build. The coating on them is scratched up and has large exposed areas. At first I figured I would just spray them black. But, that is not going to look all that great, plus, that will be too much black when I get the trim work done. So I am leaning towards something else that will not make them too dark and will offset some of the black that will go on. However, the only aluminum specific rim paint I have found has a reflective property to it, even the satin colors. That is the opposite direction I want to move. I want to keep the whole truck as subdued as possible and still look nice for driving around town. If I use regular paint with proper surface prep eventually brake dust will eat it away (I have seen it happen). So what can I use to get the desirable durable effect? And, what type of surface prep should I do?
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Old 10-28-2013
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on my old truck (99) i just used a red 3M pad to scuff the surface evenly then i washed them and let dry overnight.

next day, i sprayed with Krylon spray cans. Held up great for 2 years, 2 winters, lots of offroading
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Old 10-29-2013
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There are specific wheel paints out there at most good auto parts stores.
I painted my explorer teardrop wheels that are on my ranger (well the teardrops are painted) using a few coats of this paint over a few coats of self etching primer & they've held up for a few years without any issues so far.
You'll probably be limited to black, white, silver & a couple other colors though.

You might be able to use engine enamel spray paint to get a wider color palette.

If you have the time & tools you could sand all the finish off the wheels & polish them to look like chrome. Probably not the look you're after, but they do look sweet when done properly

You could also sand all the finish off & spray clear wheel paint to protect them. Not sure how well it would hold up, but it might be the cheapest alternative & still have a matte finish.
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Old 10-29-2013
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I never thought about engine paint.
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Old 11-07-2013
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You can also use duplicolor. Wet sand the surface, use etching primer after cleaning them and the spray 3-4 coats of dupilcolor.
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Old 11-07-2013
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if you sand and degrease and do all the prep work, something as simple as tremclad rust paint will hold up. Thats all i have on my wheels, both sets are aluminum. I painted stock ranger rims gloss black and use them as my winter rims. they got maybe 3 or 4 chips total after 2 hash northern Canadian winters. lots of snow, salt, sand and icy crust hitting them from Nov. to April. Then my summer rims are a set of sport trac rims, sanded down primed with tremclad primer, and shot with gloss black tremclad rust paint. put the time into sanding and priming and several thin coats of just about any paint, should work.
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Old 11-12-2013
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Anything that will hold up to northern winters should have no trouble down this way.
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Old 01-13-2014
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Hey Lonesome,

I just plasti dipped my aluminum rims and it worked amazing. Clean with alcohol, a few coats of plasti dip spray, and done. New rims. If you don't like the way it looks, you can peel it off and your back to square one. I used black, but they also have "gun metal" grey, or "smoke" which you can build up a coat at a time to control the color. At about $6 a can, this is your best bet on a tight budget...
Here's how mine came out... boom.
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Old 01-13-2014
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The correct way would be to use a self etching primer on the bare aluminum, then paint.
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Old 01-14-2014
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Those look awsome.

Self etching can be used on aluminum?
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Old 01-14-2014
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As others have said, Sand really well, make sure the clear coat is completely off.
Use Dupli-Color Etching primer! one or two good coats and let it dry over night but keep clean.
Use a Dupli-Color top coat, two or three and let dry.
Spray with Dupli-Color clear coat.

Let dry well, two or three day, some low heat would be good or the sun if you are lucky enough to have some.

You need the etching primer to make the top coat stick, it adheres to the aluminum and the top coat adheres to the primer.
I the aluminum is left standing too long after sanding smooth it will oxidize and you will need to re sand to get rid of the oxidation.
Wipe down the aluminum with a Prep Sol solution, something to clean off all of the sanding dust before spraying with the etching primer.

Also, keep the same manufacturer on the primer, paint and clear coat, eliminates compatibility.

Good luck, should go well.
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Old 01-14-2014
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Good advice. Not using the same brand is a mistake a lot of people make.
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Old 01-26-2014
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I did forget to mention I stripped the clear coat first. It was cracked from years of neglect. The plasti dip set up great and the wheels look brand new. You said your on a budget and so was I. ( still am! ) but this cost a grand total of about $12 and took around 6 hours on and off, including beers between dry time. Even if you don't like it or screw something up, it can be peeled off and your wheels are clean to try something else. I got the idea from a buddy who did the same thing about a year ago and his still look new, no scratches or peeling.....
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Old 01-27-2014
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The clear on mine is in bad shape as well.
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Old 01-27-2014
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I used a walmart variety aerosol stripper and it worked like magic. Spray on, wait a few minutes, it bubbles and pretty much wipes off. Even the part around the rivets that I thought would be a nightmare was no big deal. I recommend using some rubber litchen gloves cause the stuff will thrash your skin if it gets on you. And do it outside if you can so you don't breathe the fumes.....
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Old 01-28-2014
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I did nto know you could get that stuff at WalMart.
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Old 01-28-2014
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They carry it at the one in my location, but you could pick it up at any home depot, OSH, lowes, hardware store.
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Old 01-28-2014
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I will see what they have.
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Old 01-31-2014
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Good luck! Post pics of your progress!
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Old 01-31-2014
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Will do.
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