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4,894 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, these aren't Skyline wheels but the principle is exactly the same.

My daily runabout is a Mitsi Colt GLXi in white. It's been running on the factory 13" steely wheels from day 1 and although I've fancied some alloys for it, budget has always been an issue. The car ain't worth a fortune so any wheels had to be cheap cheap cheap :) So splunking £350 on new rims then another £250 on tyres doesn't cut the mustard...

So I picked up a set of alloys that match the PCD, centre bore and offset of the Colt (from a Honda Civic) with nearly new tyres for a paltry £70. Bargain :D

Although the tyres are in great nick the alloys had seen better days, although they were straight and solid (despite the nasty kerbing). So I decided to have a go at a DIY wheel refurb and to paint them white at the same time (the Colt's white too).

I'm posting this here as I hope it might help someone who's got a similarly munched set of alloys to have a go themselves...

One slightly chewed alloy:

Lots of surface scratching and munched rim edges. Bear in mind that I'm not after a factory finish on these - it's just gotta be tidy and look better than their current state.

A mate of mine who does bodyshop/paintwork stuff gave me two pieces of solid advice -

1) Start with P80 sandpaper, then P200, then P600-800.

2) The final finish will be 99.9% due to the effort put in when rubbing down the metal.

Seeing how my CA is Scotia White, and how I've always liked the look of white alloys on white cars, I thought that, well, white would be cool :)

So I popped to Halfords and picked up a couple of rattlecans of white primer and a couple of Nissan Arctic White. They don't stock Mitsi Scotia White but kindly offered to make a can up for me for £14. I think not. The Mitsi Scotia White isn't quite 'Daz' whiter than white anyway so Nissan Arctic will do :) The rattlecans aren't the cheapest from Halfords but it's easier than farting about with a compressor, tins of paint, etc. etc.. I also bought a good few rolls of masking tape and a few packs of wet & dry paper.

Now if you're doing this properly you should get the tyres removed. But seeing how I'm a tightarse and this is on a budget, I decided to leave the tyres on (local tyre-fitter wanted £35 to take 'em off and refit 'em at a later date). So I masked up the tyre - small 1 - 2" sections of masking tape wiggled into the gap between rim edge and tyre, all the way round the wheel. Then more tape and newspaper to properly mask off the rest of the tyre.

First thing was to go over the entire wheel with P80 wet & dry. This is pretty coarse and will eat into the metal, allowing you to tidy up any damage. Without removing alot of metal it'd be impossible to completely remove ALL the marks but it helps alot to get it tidied up.

After that I used P240 wet & dry. I'd say that I spent twice as long with the P240 as I did with the P80 - flattening out the deeper 'gouges' left by the P80.

After that I set to going over the whole wheel with P600. It's important that you flatten out all the marks from the P80 and P240 at this stage as otherwise they'll show through the paint.

Once that was done I dragged out the old Dyson vac cleaner and used the flexible hose with the brish nozzle attached. This cleaned out any dust from the recessed edges of the rim and the centre of the alloy.

Just to note - I also turned the alloy over to clean the inside of the rim. I keyed them with the wet & dry but didn't bother taking as much time as over the face of the wheel - just enough to remove the crud and give a good surface for paint to stick to.

Before applying the primer the wheel has to be completely clean. Although vacc'ing up the dust did 90% of the job you have to clean it up better than that and remove and grease, oil, moisture etc. So I got a clean old rag, put a little white spirit on it and wiped down the whole of the alloy. I left it for a bit then wiped it down again with a clean rag.

I then set to with the white primer. Shake the can until your hand almost falls off (about 2 minutes) and then apply in long left-right, right-left strokes, taking my time and applying thin coats (the Halfords paint is very thin and runs/streaks easily so thin coats is the order of the day).

I left it 15 minutes, then turned the alloy 90 degrees and repeated the process. In total I applied 4 thin coats of white primer - turning the wheel each time so that from all angles, all nooks, crannies and gaps got a good coating.

In between coats I carefully checked over the wheel to see if any hairs had got onto the paint (we have two dogs) and carefully removed them with tweezers.

I then left the primer to dry overnight.

Before applying any paint I had to rub the primer down, so I used the P600 wet & dry again. Didn't require as much work as when rubbing the wheel down originally - this was just to flatten the primer and key it ready to take the paint.

When I'd done that I again vacc'ed the wheel and cleaned it with white spirit, then dried it off 20 minutes later.

I applied the white Nissan Arctic White rattlecan paint just like the primer - long steady left-right, right-left strokes. Left it 15 minutes, turned the wheel 90 degrees and applied another coat - 4 coats in all. There wasn't quite enough paint in one rattlecan for a single wheel so I guess I'll need 6 cans in total for all 4 wheels.

Again I went checking for hairs between coats :) Might shave the dogs for the next 3 wheels - it'll be easier :D

Once that's had enough time to dry (24 hours seemed ok) I removed the masking tape carefully.

Now at this point you COULD go over the wheel again with P1500 wet & dry, matting the gloss so that it'll take another few coats and then go over it with clear lacquer, But seeing how it's white gloss paint it should be ok without. I'll run it like this and if I get any peel I'll repaint then lacquer it, but my matey who does paintwork for a living reckons it'll be fine as it is.

The finished article:

Not bad at all IMHO :) Am dead chuffed that it's come out as well as it has. Just got the other three to do now! But a definite massive improvement from the original B)

I'd say that I spent a good 2 hours rubbing down the wheel before painting. If I had an orbital sander it would've been a fair bit quicker but I didn't - I just had my 8 fingers and 2 thumbs, so that's what I used :D

The only thing I might change for the next ones is to use P120 after the P80 - a friend's told me that it'll cut down the time spent prepping loads.

Be warned - rubbing down the wheels produces LOADS of dust, and the paint spray settles EVERYWHERE so if you're doing this indoors (I did mine in our utility room :eek: ) then you should cover up as much as possible! Or be prepared to pacify the wife by explaining that the carpet was horrid, and you were going to buy and fit new stuff in the New Year anyway :rolleyes: So there ya go - seems to have turned out good so thought I'd slap it up on here. If anyone else has a go I'd love to see the results. I know it takes a bit of time but seeing how it'd cost more than £200 to get it done by someone else it's a very satisfying DIY result.

:clap: :thumbsup:

581 Posts
Good job!!

I'm looking into doing something similar once I've bought the missus her first motor, so you've inspired me somewhat :thumbsup:


60 Posts
Nice write up Jim

One thing to mention to everyone thinking of doing this, if you do it out in your garage, be sure the garage is warm! Through experience, halfords paint is very thin like Jim mentions (it has to be to spray out of a low power can) and if you try painting in even slightly cool conditions, the paint just runs everywhere! Still, would be interesting to see your pictures if you get caught out......:)

4,894 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Look brand new in the pics :)
LOL Well not quite brand new but definitely a massive improvement on the original state :D

There's still marks around the edges from the deeper scuffs but now that they're tidied up
and repainted they're pretty much insignificant.

got any close ups of where it was really knackered?
Yep - apologies to any peasants/paupers on dial-up :chuckle:


854 Posts
quality looking job, ive been inspired:bowdown1: :bowdown1:

ive got a few wheels that have seen better days and i fancy painting the compomotive m.o's on the gtr black.

great post:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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