|The NASA guide to home wheel-scuff
in by TomS
, written by NASA racer on 2002-08-29 19:14:21
Note that although this is a Porsche painted wheel, the WURTH wheel
paint (silver) is used for ALL German painted wheels. Same techniques
apply for an S4:
Well, there I was...backing into a parking space against a curb and I
was in a hurry and I heard it...SCRAPE! One fraction of a
second...barely moving. Got out and looked at the rim...OOOOOOWWWWW!
Well, no need to fear...I've done this enough times to have a easy way
to do home repairs with a few simple items. Note that this ONLY covers
light scuffs, this isn't meant to be used to repair a DAMAGED wheel or
one where the scuffs cause significant damage to the rim. This is only
for those annoying superficial scuffs like happened to me more times
than I care to admit. Now there are PLENTY of GOOD services which can do
this for VERY reasonable money...most folks will happily do this but I'm
inpatient and have the free time (generally) to spend a couple of hours
doing this and it REALLY takes the edge off donking my wheels when I
know I can simply fix it myself.
So if you are interested...here's what you need:
I have a can of scratch-filler primer, the WURTH wheel paint and clear
(got mine at Performance Products), some paint thinner, Bondo spot putty
(or equivalent), sand paper and some 240 and 400 grit sandpaper (if you
are REALLY anal...get some 600 grit).
Step 1. Clean...clean...clean...and did I mention CLEAN!
This is one of the most important steps. Use paint thinner to THOROUGHLY
clean the ENTIRE area around the damage...you need to get ANY wax or
polish or anything off the wheel...I'm going to remind you EVERY
step...I probably end up wiping down these surfaces 10 or more times
before painting...if you don't do this, the rest is pointless. Also, we
want to work ONLY on the area that's damaged...don't go nuts and try to
paint half your wheel on the car...for this technique to succeed we want
to sand and paint the area only IMMEDIATELY around the damage.
2. Sand and Putty
I like to START by masking the tire from the wheel...get the masking
tape WELL behind the rim. Next, sand the area to a nice
"feather" with 240 grit sandpaper and wipe some spot putty on.
IMPORTANT...this ENTIRE project will work best if the wheel is in the
sun and its a nice warm day...the drying time of spot putty is minutes
but if it's cold or damp, this project is likely to not work out too
well. Remember...keep your sanding to the IMMEDIATE area around the
damage. Trust me on this.
So once you've done the first round of putty, switch to the finer of
your sandpaper (400 grit in my case) and sand and putty until it FEELS
and LOOKS flush. Note that I use the paper wrapped around a piece of
wood to make a flat sanding block. It's best to sand with a flat block
to get the smoothest finish:
Note that up to this point...including waiting 5 to 10 minutes between
coats of putty that the whole project has taken about 40 minutes.
4. Masking and primering:
Okay, here's where a bit of laziness is going to create an entire new
clay-bar project. This metallic paint will GET EVERYWHERE. I'm talking
permanently attached to the fender on the opposite corner of the
car...mask CAREFULLY and COVER THE WHOLE CAR with a sheet or equivalent.
I've used the thick scratch-filler primer and sanded it and put a bit
more putty on. Note that this is the first place where I use the NASA
technique. Immediately after I spray the primer (or paint) I clean ALL
the overspray off the spokes of the wheel (clean rag and paint thinner)
and the area around the inside of the rim...I do NOT want to try to get
paint to smoothly adhere to the entire wheel! We just want to paint the
REPAIR. Only the clear coat will be sprayed without wiping off the
overspray. Wait for the primer to fully dry and lightly sand it with 400
or 600 grit sandpaper.
VITAL: READ THE CAN...if you try to use this paint in cold temperatures
(or in damp conditions) it's going to be a mess...shake the can for a
minute at LEAST and push the spray nozzle as you sweep across and
release at the end. This is roughly the distance I used the can from the
wheel...I HIGHLY recommend painting some scrap something to get used to
the distances and thickness this paint sprays.
Now we SHOULD be nearly done BUT (as always) Pete got inpatient and
sprayed the clear WAY too soon and lifted the paint and messed it all
up. This is NO BIGGIE...take a deep breath, get out your rag and the
paint thinner and take it all off. The thinner I used did not eat into
the primer so I simply cleaned the wheel (again) and got to respray the
Here's the paint lifting because of the clear being sprayed too soon.
okay, fast forward a few minutes...I had to roll the car forward a bit
to keep it in the sun and I had cleaned (and let fully dry) the wheel
and RE-sprayed the silver. Now I'm using the NASA technique on the
silver paint and CAREFULLY removing the overspray:
AND here's the nicely painted wheel. I'm going to not be an idiot and
let the paint dry OVERNIGHT (like I knew i should) and do the clear coat
and I'll post that tomorrow.