Best way to reseal alloy rims??

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3,939
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Somewhere in the US
Guys at the shop say aluminum alloy is a bunch of air held together with a matrix of metal. In other words, unless you coat alloy wheels, they leak. So you need to find out where they are leaking. If it is around the bead / rim flange, then the tire shop might be able to seal that area. But if it is through the wheel, recoating is the only fix I know of. Hope this helps.
 
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4,872
Location
MN
Usually the problem is rubber stuck to the bead. The easiest way to fix them is to dismount the tire, and grind the bead with a stripping wheel. Not coarse enough to damage the rim, but enough to take off the corrosion and any left over rubber. I used those rust/paint stripping wheels. 95% of the time this solves the problem, once and a while a bead sealing is needed. Many shops do not grind the rim when replacing the tire, which is just laziness. It's usually a necessity for aluminum rims. -T
 
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4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
Every time I've had a slow leak that isn't from a puncture, dish-soapy water has shown it to come from where the weight is clipped on the side. Did you find exactly where it's leaking from? On older rims, a thorough cleaning/smoothing of the seal edge of the aluminum should be done when installing new tires.
quote:
Originally posted by CapriRacer: Guys at the shop say aluminum alloy is a bunch of air held together with a matrix of metal.
I disagree, and I think it's a poor excuse for shoddy work. Tires on aluminum wheels won't leak if they're done right. [ November 05, 2004, 02:08 PM: Message edited by: rpn453 ]
 
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44
Location
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Not all shops are careless... in fact, many times it'll come down to the individual(s) working on them. Any shop that wants to keep a customer coming back will do it right the first time, though... And they'll make sure their employees get it done right the first time. And it appears that others in this thread have already got the solution covered. Buff the corrossion off and apply bead-sealer. This was covered in an earlier thread as well, which I also replied to. I recommend a bead-sealer application any time you buff an aluminum wheel simply because when you do that, you're going to take what was left of the clearcoat right off and the wheel will be prone to re-corroding faster. At the very least, the bead-sealer (basically a liquid rubber) can be a sort of buffer on the wheel in place of the clearcoat so the inevitable re-appearance of the corrosion will at least be slowed down. Just be happy you don't have chrome wheels... when those go bad, they really go bad. The worst bead-seating surfaces on a wheel I've seen is on chrome wheels that have been neglected. Griding those is horrendeous and parts of the wheel are severely pitted... all you can do is put a ton of beadsealer and just pray it holds. Although beadsealer is some good stuff. I have seen it prevent leaks on cracked rims when in a tight spot (I do NOT recommend this as a solution... a cracked wheel will only get worse once it's started. The crack will simply grow. Only do it if in a bind and no new wheel or spare is at hand). We've done it for a customer with a C5 Corvette before. There was no spare because the stock Goodyears were runflats... plus there's not exactly a lot of space for a spare either. But it did hold air long enough for the owner to get a replacement rim, fortunately. [Off Topic!] My personal opinion is that a car should not be allowed out of any shop in an unsafe condition. But I'm not the guy in charge... Shops do have a great responsibility in servicing vehicles. People are quite literally placing their trust in you to keep them safe and alive by properly servicing their vehicle(s). So you really must ensure that it is not allowed out until it has been deemed safe. Sometimes that may mean keeping the car against the customer's wishes. Tell them they can have it, but can't drive it. They'll get it back if they get a tow-truck sort of deal... unless they keep it there until properly fixed. This would include cracked aluminum rims in my opinion. But against my strong feelings on the subject, the car was sent out with beadsealer anyway (I refused to do the job, though. I wouldn't be held responsible if anything were to happen. Fortunately nothing did happen, though).
 
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Somewhere in the US
Let me second Matt's position: Nowadays we need to question every practice. Experience is good, but we need to consult with others about what the current procedures are. It used to be acceptable if 1 out of 100 "fixes" didn't work. In today's environment, it's got to be 1 out of 10,000!! Certainly beyond what experience is going to tell one individual!!
 

cangreylegend

Thread starter
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392
Location
Toronto, Canada
Buffing the corrosion works but only a year ago, this was done and the corrosion is back.I thought there was a fast drying type of sealer that could be used. So I imagine the best way is to repaint, and if so might as well repaint the whole wheel while I'm at it.
 
Messages
44
Location
Ann Arbor, Michigan
quote:
Originally posted by cangreylegend: Buffing the corrosion works but only a year ago, this was done and the corrosion is back.I thought there was a fast drying type of sealer that could be used. So I imagine the best way is to repaint, and if so might as well repaint the whole wheel while I'm at it.
I have not heard of anyone going to such lengths, but a full stripping and refinishing should make it last a while longer. And take it to a trusted shop for mounting and balancing, take extra care of the wheel and use sticky/tape-a-weights instead of the normal kind that you would hammer onto the wheel's outer lip, which, as you can imagine, can take off your clearcoat, paint and sometimes even the aluminum itself. Using the sticky weights with the adhesive strip on the backside of it would reduce this. All you would need is for the wheel to be clean before applying the weights (the shop should clean the immediate area of the weight before placement... brake cleaner and a rag work wonders [Smile] )
 
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121
Location
Vancouver, British Columbia
Be very careful not to get any brake cleaner on painted surfaces, as some wheels are painted inside and out. Brake cleaner has been known to strip off paint, much like paint stripper (methylene chloride). I've experienced this while prepping my wheels for painting, and was surprised that it was that effective.
 
Messages
44
Location
Ann Arbor, Michigan
quote:
Originally posted by 4DSC: Be very careful not to get any brake cleaner on painted surfaces, as some wheels are painted inside and out. Brake cleaner has been known to strip off paint, much like paint stripper (methylene chloride). I've experienced this while prepping my wheels for painting, and was surprised that it was that effective.
A glycol-based brake fluid will do that, yes. I'm not so sure about brake-cleaner, however. I use it all the time, it's our shop's standard for cleaning wheels to get a sticky-weight to take hold. I havn't seen any problem with it stripping off paint yet. It could also be the brand/type we use that's not harmful. I just honestly have not heard of brake cleaner being damaging to automotive-grade paints. Brake fluid, on the other hand.... look out. There's a reason there's no paint left on the surface of one of our 4-post hoists. The mechanics do some brake jobs on there and after they bleed the brakes, they never bother cleaning up the fluid... They let it sit there and now all the blue paint that was on that nice rotary lift is simply gone. Bare metal at this point.
 
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3,939
Location
Somewhere in the US
Depending on what is in the brake cleaner, I have seen some remove the clear coat from wheels. I went so far as to start recording which brake cleaners do what. Some are very mild, but some seem to have universal solvents in them and will strip virtually everything. Alcohol in a good solvent to use to clean wheels! Cleans good, dries fast, no residue. However, the smell will make you "loopy" if you get too much. Hope this helps.
 
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