Painting 15″ Steel Wheels
Recently I set out to put a new set of tires on my 4Runner better suited for off-roading then the falkens street tires I’ve been running. I hit up my Local Craigslist and within a week I had a set of ProComp All Terrains in my Garage. Because the tires are 33″ I couldn’t mount them on my 7″ wide wheels. Im sure you can guess where this is going, I hit up craigslist again to find a deal on some steel wheels. A day later I bought a set of Original American Racing White Steel Rims with the baldest tires I’ve ever seen im my life.
So of course they were white, and not going to work with my black out paint job on my 4Runner. So here are the details of my painting process.
because they are enamel base paint, I couldnt really sand it all off, or use a chemical stripper. Some kind of blasting shop wasnt an option, so I went to my local Home Depot and bought a Bottle of specialty Paint Remover. Just so you guys know, this does not magically remove all the paint, it breaks down the chemicals that makes the paint stick to the wheel. Its intended to loosen the bond in paint. Amazing stuff, butt its really good for removing spray paint, pin-striping or any paint from a sealed paint like enamel paints. Notice in the photo how the red and blue stripes are are gone.
We thought it would be good to take 220 sand paper to the wheel, roughing it up a little bit. After breaking down the paint I used some Purple Power Cleaner to get rid of all the paint remover and clean the wheels before I sanded. Purple Power is an engine degreaser that works great for breaking down any kind of dirt and oil. The paint stripper is oil based, so this was a logical choice in our arsenal of chemical products.
After sanding the wheel enough, we started the painting proses. The base coat of all the wheel is Rust-Oleum Wheel Paint after all the wheels had one full coat I switched to VHT Wheel Paint I really love how the VHT paint looks, and the way the paint lays on adds a nice finish. Technically the VHT is a cheaper paint, but the nozzle on the can is much better and made a nicer paint texture. After several coats of paint, and clear coating, they turned out pretty good. When painting wheels, you have to realize that you can never fully protect from scratches and damaging your finish. The only true way to do this is powder-coating. however, the paint is still a great option.
At the end of the day I spent $300 but got 33″ tires on American Racing Steel Wheels, I think I got a good deal! 33″ wont fit the 91 perfectly upfront without a minimum 1″ lift or fender modification.