Yep, time to get this thread going. Ima about halfway done now and I wanted to get a jump on uploading pics and getting the thread setup. Hope this helps someone in the future.
First off, there are many different ways you can approach this. There are also many differnet wheel types.
I am doing a set of late-model ZQ8 wheels. They are Aluminum, with Painted inserts and have a Clearcote on top. This is typical of most newer OEM aluminum wheels. Always determine what you have first B4 embarking on this adventure.
Why am I doing this. For a few reasons.
First I always wanted the inset painted areas to be a few shades darker than stock.
Secondly I wanted the spokes to be more lusturious. But not too chrome-looking.
Lastly, I had replaced one wheel after an accident claimed the lip of one. The replaced wheel had always been a bit darker on the painted areas and had more clearcote.
Some things I would note off hand. Ive seen some people strip the entire wheel, and just sand the ridges on the spokes befor polishing to a chrome-like luster. Pretty much more time involved.
I have seen some take it a step farther and smooth out the rough-cast of the insets where they are painted. This is a ton of work and makes the whole wheel look chrome-dipped if you do it right.
Ive seen some just polish up the spokes and leave the insets like they are.
I am doing it to my personal taste.
I will be stripping the entire wheel surface of both the clearcote and also the inset painted areas.
Then I will going with a Graphite colored inset which is much darker than the ArgentSilver that was on there originally. The paint is a wheel-specific type paint.
I will then be polishing the spokes with a few compounds to give it a luster. I will n ot be sanding down the machined grooves found on the spokes at this time. I may end up doing that, but dont plan it.
Re-Clearing. Im not sure at this time if I am going to re-clear the entire wheel or just the panted inset areas.
Paint stripper for metal and aluminum suefaces
Dupli-Color Graphite wheel paint
Dupli-Color Clear wheel paint
3M fineline masking tape
3M wide std masking tape
Razor knife (I am using an Olfa stainless blade used in window tint instalations
Have Mineral Spirits and/or Laquer Thinner on hand
Gloves and Mask
Soap (mild) and Water with a bucket and some crappy rags
Tripoli, White Rogue and Billet Polish
(Sandpaper if you intend to wetsand the panted area smooth for perfection and also if you intend to smooth down the machined spokes' grooves)