Diamond Cut Wheel Refurb

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BOBCDP
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:51 pm
Location: Vale of Glamorgan

Diamond Cut Wheel Refurb

Post by BOBCDP » Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:57 am

My XE is approaching 5 years old. The body is in perfect condition but the spokes of the 5 star 18" alloys are in a dreadful state. The rears are much worse than the fronts and it's not due to curbing either. They have just suffered the same fate as it seems most diamond cut wheels do after a few years. They look great when they are new but eventually moisture gets under the lacquer and then they just get worse and worse.

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I know it is said that the only thing you can do is take them to a specialist who will make them look like new again for around £120 a wheel but then the whole process of deterioration starts again so I decided to have a go myself and bought 2 cans of spray lacquer and various grades of wet and dry.

I always thought that the highly polished appearance of the spokes was the machined alloy with a lacquer coating directly on top. My initial thought was to rub back the affected parts and re-lacquer but when I started to sand it, I realised that wouldn't work and I would have to strip each spoke back to the alloy and then use wet and dry to get a good surface on which to apply the lacquer. I was amazed to discover that what you are looking at is not the surface of the alloy wheel at all. Look at the images below and you can see on the right of the spoke, the original mirror surface and to the left of that is where I have started to sand it off. I have no idea how they do it but it appears to be several primer coats applied to the alloy followed by a top coat with a mirror finish and then lacquer on top of that. The next image shows the same spoke after sanding back to the alloy.

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I used a drill with a circular disc with 80 grit to sand back to the alloy on the spokes and right around the outside surface of the rim. I was careful not to touch the side surfaces of the spokes, the inner surfaces of the rim and the centre area round the hub which have a different finish.
Once I had removed all the material from the spokes and rim, I started with 400 grit wet and dry to remove as far as possible all the scratches left from the drill sanding. I then finished off with 600 grit wet and dry. You could of course spend a lot of time rubbing and go a lot further with much smoother wet and dry but all I wanted was to get a reasonable improvement to the appearance of the wheels, I never expected or intended to get an absolutely perfect finish.

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The next stage was to thoroughly clean all the surfaces with water including the painted areas of the spokes, the inner rims and the areas around the hub. Once everything was completely dry I buffed the surface of the spokes using one of those rectangular kitchen sponge scourers and then masked the tyre and applied 6 thin coats of lacquer leaving each one to dry for 15 minutes. I made sure I sprayed all the surfaces including the centre hub and the sides of the spokes so hopefully there are no gaps to allow water ingress in the surface of the lacquer.

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To do one wheel took the best part of a day but that's fine when you can't go anywhere. Time will tell how successful my diy fix is but I am very happy with how they look right now and you would only notice they are not perfect if you inspect them very closely. I have completed both rear wheels and not used the whole of a can yet so now I shall do the fronts too. That will be 4 days work, 2 spray cans of wheel lacquer, a couple of sandpaper discs and a few sheets of wet and dry, total cost around £15.00. The 2 cans of lacquer were £11.99 post free a couple of weeks ago but I notice they have now jumped to £19.99. Must be a lot of spraying going during lockdown!!

Here is the link if anyone wants it: ,https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2x-E-Tech-Al ... SwPgFayMuu
2020 - MY19 2018 R-Sport 30T AWD, Firenza, Adaptive Dynamics, Pano Roof, Touch Pro Dual,
40/20/40 Folding Seats. Heated s/wheel
2016- 2020 MY16 2015 R-Sport 180d, Auto, Yulong White,

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Nuttyspark
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:05 pm
Location: Southport

Re: Diamond Cut Wheel Refurb

Post by Nuttyspark » Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:36 am

Wow Bob, I'm impressed, what an improvement. I think you did the right thing having ago yourself. Your wheels were so bad you had nothing to lose and if it didn't work then you could have paid to get them done. I'll be dropping mine off once the lockdown is over! :lol: :lol:
2017 Dark Sapphire 180D. Cold climate pack, reverse camera, Meridian sound system and 10" touch pro. Oh and a fully functioning S/S. :o

Phil
Posts: 423
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:19 pm
Location: Monmouthshire

Re: Diamond Cut Wheel Refurb

Post by Phil » Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:37 am

You're not alone! I had mine (same wheel) refinished and diamond cut two years ago and they recently went again, so I've embarked on the same DIY journey. They are lacquer over metal, it's just as soon as you start sanding the lacquer melts and goes that dull colour, hence looking like primer. Good job with yours, I know how much effort is required!

The reason diamond cut finishes don't last is that lacquer can't properly adhere to metal - you would traditionally have an etching primer that chemically keys to the surface, then paint and lacquer on top of that (or just powder coat). Lacquer alone on bare metal is prone to mechanical damage because of that lack of bond - one stone chip can pierce it and the salty water can get in causing corrosion to creep under the surface. You can see the difference in how it stops short of the painted finish.

If anyone has been shopping for wheels before you may have noticed some retailers marking certain wheels as "winter safe" - these are fully painted wheels with no lacquered metal finish.


Also as a point of interest, on one of my sets of wheels for another car I removed the lacquer from the diamond cut face and left them bare metal with a lightly brushed finish as an experiment. They start to dull after about a year but it's easy to polish them back - the lacquer seems to actually promote corrosion once compromised (and makes it harder to treat).

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BOBCDP
Posts: 656
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:51 pm
Location: Vale of Glamorgan

Re: Diamond Cut Wheel Refurb

Post by BOBCDP » Sun Apr 26, 2020 12:49 pm

Phil wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:37 am
You're not alone! I had mine (same wheel) refinished and diamond cut two years ago and they recently went again, so I've embarked on the same DIY journey. They are lacquer over metal, it's just as soon as you start sanding the lacquer melts and goes that dull colour, hence looking like primer. Good job with yours, I know how much effort is required!

The reason diamond cut finishes don't last is that lacquer can't properly adhere to metal - you would traditionally have an etching primer that chemically keys to the surface, then paint and lacquer on top of that (or just powder coat). Lacquer alone on bare metal is prone to mechanical damage because of that lack of bond - one stone chip can pierce it and the salty water can get in causing corrosion to creep under the surface. You can see the difference in how it stops short of the painted finish.

If anyone has been shopping for wheels before you may have noticed some retailers marking certain wheels as "winter safe" - these are fully painted wheels with no lacquered metal finish.


Also as a point of interest, on one of my sets of wheels for another car I removed the lacquer from the diamond cut face and left them bare metal with a lightly brushed finish as an experiment. They start to dull after about a year but it's easy to polish them back - the lacquer seems to actually promote corrosion once compromised (and makes it harder to treat).



Thanks Phil, that's very interesting and fully explains my confusion. I did wonder about leaving the surface bare but I thought without lacquer covering the edges that mate with the painted surfaces, it was an easy path for corrosion to the rest of the wheel.

I am not too worried about these wheels as I have a brand new set complete with tyres that I bought about 18 months ago for £600. The thought being that I would swop the tyres to the old rims as needed and when I eventually sell the car I would put the new rims on.

Some great golf courses round Monmouth. A few years ago we played Ross on Wye one day, stayed overnight in Ross and then the Rolls of Monmouth the following day. A great weekend!!
2020 - MY19 2018 R-Sport 30T AWD, Firenza, Adaptive Dynamics, Pano Roof, Touch Pro Dual,
40/20/40 Folding Seats. Heated s/wheel
2016- 2020 MY16 2015 R-Sport 180d, Auto, Yulong White,

BOBCDP
Posts: 656
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:51 pm
Location: Vale of Glamorgan

Re: Diamond Cut Wheel Refurb

Post by BOBCDP » Sun Apr 26, 2020 12:53 pm

Nuttyspark wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:36 am
Wow Bob, I'm impressed, what an improvement. I think you did the right thing having ago yourself. Your wheels were so bad you had nothing to lose and if it didn't work then you could have paid to get them done. I'll be dropping mine off once the lockdown is over! :lol: :lol:
Definitely worth the effort and it really is not that hard to do. :D :D
2020 - MY19 2018 R-Sport 30T AWD, Firenza, Adaptive Dynamics, Pano Roof, Touch Pro Dual,
40/20/40 Folding Seats. Heated s/wheel
2016- 2020 MY16 2015 R-Sport 180d, Auto, Yulong White,

spritely
Posts: 519
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:16 pm
Location: Llanon/Wales

Re: Diamond Cut Wheel Refurb

Post by spritely » Sun Apr 26, 2020 1:53 pm

Hi Bob,
Think you have done a great job there, and I will certainly give this a go myself when my wheels start to look a bit more grotty. I think that at least using your method is obviously a lot cheaper, and makes future re furbishing easier it would seem.

Well done :)
Mark
Corris Grey 180D R sport - loving it.

RoJo
Posts: 656
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:26 pm
Location: West coast of Scotland

Re: Diamond Cut Wheel Refurb

Post by RoJo » Sun Apr 26, 2020 2:28 pm

Great job Bob! I was considering doing this to my previous Xe, but I part ex'd it instead. The current Xe has got sensible all painted wheels.
Currently a Caesium Blue 30T Portfolio :D
Previously a Corris grey 25D R-sport.

Deleted User 732

Re: Diamond Cut Wheel Refurb

Post by Deleted User 732 » Sun Apr 26, 2020 2:45 pm

I watched a chap work on my nextdoor neighbour's car and what you have done is basically what he did with a small disc sander. Then he laquered them and dried them under a UV light. I got his number just in case I want a repair doing.

Jeff123
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:13 pm
Location: UK

Re: Diamond Cut Wheel Refurb

Post by Jeff123 » Sun Apr 26, 2020 7:12 pm

That's a fine piece of work.

Coming from BMW, there was a common theme to many threads in relation to alloy corrosion. Many people, including me, had a complete set replaced under warranty. Mine was at the end of the 3-year warranty period and for corrosion around the centre cap. Believe me, this was very minor, but they replaced the lot, centre caps as well!

Maybe the Jaguar owners could try a similar tactic?
XE R-Dynamic 180d Eiger Grey MY20

Rickster1978
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:16 pm
Location: Hereford

Re: Diamond Cut Wheel Refurb

Post by Rickster1978 » Fri May 08, 2020 10:38 pm

Mine have started to go quite badly on my 2018 XE. I did wonder if it was worth trying a warranty claim but assuming it will get knocked back.

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