Acid washing aluminum wheels

Discussion in 'Viper Detailing Tips & Tricks' started by Kraaken, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Kraaken

    Kraaken Viper Owner

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    So I got some 04 OEM I wheels for my Gen 1 from a guy who said they were "great" shape. After an hour drive and an hour of waiting, lets just say they were not... Extreme water stains and heavy track tar,rubber, grease, all the good stuff inside the wheel well. I tried everything... All of the pastes and whatnot and decided to try to go thru with acid washing before the polishing and whatnot.
    I used muratic acid, which is the same as HCL, in a sprayer in like a 2:1 with water. Have a pressure cleaner or hose near by and do it on a concrete pad. It's pretty simple after that... Don't get it on yourself.

    Spray it as much as you want on the front, in the back, around the rim, inside it wholes everything... After that your can use some scrub brushes if there are some really really tough spots, especially on the backs if the wheels for that track tar and whatnot. Do not leave on for too long, after about 30- 1min wash down with water to neutralize the acid.. Wash down thorough scub a little more and repeat process in those small increments until its gone.... It won't take many.

    Now.. All I had was one if those foam cones on the stick to use with a drill. The big mothers ball and the small one Started with some turtle's rubbing compound. Let it sit for a couple minutes and then take off with a damp rag..
    Let it dry completely and switch to a fresh polishing ball.
    I went to turtle polishing compound dampened the ball slightly and worked it in. Let it sit for a couple min but not too long where it dries completely on the wheel and then take off with a cloth
    Switch to that final clean ball.. I used the big one for the final and use this to give it that final buff where it takes the haze off left by hand cleaning it with the rag... These babies shined great and all of the stuff I talked about previously was gone. Did not do any wet sanding or anything like that just a set of steps to try on your aluminum wheels.

    If I could post pics I would. Still tryin to figure it out
     
  2. brantdw

    brantdw Enthusiast

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    I do it all the time. Just dont let it sit more than 30 seconds. McGuires industrual stuff is the best. Good luck.

    -B
     
  3. Kraaken

    Kraaken Viper Owner

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    You know if you look it up online there forums out there the guys say under no circumstance use it on aluminum lol and that it will turn it black
     
  4. plumcrazy

    plumcrazy Viper Owner

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    you are much better off with HCL. muriatic acid is HCL but it comes from pickling steel and has a lot of impurities in it, its never the same from bottle to bottle. HCL is pure, clean acid.
     
  5. Kraaken

    Kraaken Viper Owner

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    def agree with that... where can you get pure HCL these days?
     
  6. Allan

    Allan Viper Owner

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    These wheels........clear coated?
     
  7. Kraaken

    Kraaken Viper Owner

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    no, if you have clear coat you can use the rubbing compounds and polishes like you would your car... you could use a light acid like white vinegar or something like that... the acid really just washes the impurities out so you arent polishing them in

    also a good reason why you should use different buffers for each step so your taking off everytime instead of rubbing in
     
  8. Kraaken

    Kraaken Viper Owner

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    and if you have a reall messed up wheel thats got the clear.. I would prob do the steps of wet sanding... start with 220 and keep working your way as fine as you want to go... the 220 will take the clear off or acid the clear off and try the other steps but if your scared of the acid ... 220, 400, 600, 800, 1000, and up andup, eventually you wont notice swirls at all while you sand and then you can go into the pastes and compounds and finish with a polish..

    The thing thats cool about aluminum is pretty much no matter what the oxidation or whatever, you can still get it to mirror.. check youtube out and type polishing aluminum up they prob have alllll kinds of videos of people restoring old oxidated painted beat up aluminum into mirror
     
  9. AZTVR

    AZTVR Enthusiast

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    LOL LMAO ROFL ! Like I would take the recommendation of an unknown forum poster to use hydrochloric acid on aluminum wheels lol lol
     
  10. Kraaken

    Kraaken Viper Owner

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    Lol. Look it up... I'm sure there is stuff all over the net Bout using it. Don't leave it on too long and wash it thorough you should have nooo problems
     
  11. ROCKET62

    ROCKET62 Has Left the Room!

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    I could be wrong - but most Viper wheels have a clear coat on them and any acid wash will dull/ruin the surface. Plain aluminum - acid wash is fine.
     
  12. Big Al

    Big Al Viper Owner

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    HCL is exactly the same as muriatic acid just a different name. Spent acid from steel pickling is greenish from carbon steel and blue from stainless steel. As long as the acids is water white it is pure. Most HCL is around 21%. Do not get it on your skin but if you do wash it off
    immediately with lots of water it does not burn as bad as sulphuric acid. Remember to have lots of ventilation as the vapours are bad and the reaction with the metal givers off
    hydrogen gas, very flammable. You can get it from a swimming pool store, used to ph adjust water.
     
  13. AZTVR

    AZTVR Enthusiast

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    Actually, I don't doubt that what you did worked for you. I'm guessing that you stopped when you had gotten through the oxidation and had not gotten to where the acid was reacting with the purer aluminum. That reaction doesn't appear to be one that would be desirable though 2Al + 6HCl --> 2AlCl[SUB]3[/SUB] + 3H[SUB]2 = [/SUB]Aluminum Chloride and Hydrogen gas. Neither is good to end up with, I think. I suspect that why people do not recommend using HCl to clean Aluminum is because of the unspecified amount of dilution, and uncontrolled amount of time in contact versus the amount of oxidation present. I'm sure that there must be someone trained in chemistry on this forum who could chime in with real world knowledge rather than my internet google stuff and 30 year old college chemistry class meanderings. Just be careful out there !!!
     
  14. uvbnbit

    uvbnbit Viper Owner

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    Strip and re-polish to mirror finish. done. (at least until you have to re-polish, gets easier each time :D
     
  15. Kraaken

    Kraaken Viper Owner

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    yes allll of that is correct.. do not spray and forget by any means... you must monitor the process. The main idea of the acid washing is getting all of the impurities out of the metal before you start polishing and shining. but you are 100% correct HCL and AL do not typically mix well for an extended period of time lol and you must be careful as with all chemical metal cleaners.

    I basically used it for 2-3 30 sec sessions with some scrubbing, and dont forget it was diluted about 2:1 water to HCL. an have a pressure cleaner or hose nearby to neutralize the acid, spraying throughly in all of the nooks and crannys allllll over the wheel
     

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