Join Date: Jul 2011
Thanked 359 Times in 285 Posts
Keep in mind that steel wheels produced on the OEM level are not "spray painted" in the conventional sense using a quality undercoat, (primer) followed by a topcoat of which you actually see. They are painted via the electrostatic process which is the same as filing cabinets and metal office furniture are finished. This process involves electrically charging the parts to be painted positive, and negatively charging the spray negative or vice versa, (depending on application). The benefit to doing things this way is very little application film thickness and everything is covered due to the magnetic "draw" of the electrostatic field. Basically the paint is like a magnet to the steel part. The result is a smooth finish in only one step as the finish product is a direct to metal formulation, hence, no prime coat. That being said, try setting a file cabinet in the weather for a year and see how it holds up........
In the aftermarket to repaint steel rims it's prudent to sandblast them very clean, clean them again with a phosphoric acid based "wash primer", followed by either a two part epoxy primer/sealer, or the newer generation two part urethane based products. I'm pretty old school when it comes to coating products with time and history on my side to use epoxy products. After the proper dry time is allowed, the wheels are then topcoated with a high quality automotive or industrial type finish.
What you have on the finished end is a much more durable product than when the wheels were actually manufactured. When mounting tires ensure the tire laborer uses either plastic tire spoons, or a non contact type tire machine to not scar or gouge your finish.
From my experience with powder coating steel wheels: I don't personally like it. There is far too much temperature variation in the wheel and it fractures and peels. If you think about a wheel, the center were it bolts to a brake assembly is quite hot in comparison to the bead around the tire seating area. Couple this with cold wheel spash and the coating just doesn't seem to hold up well; again these are only my opinions. I feel paint holds up much better in the application. Again, just my opinions. If someone could figure out a way to not fracture the coating when they tighten the lug nuts, I'd be all ears.
You really do get what you pay for in paint products. There are good examples out there and not so good. Do a little research prior to purchase to avoid dissapointment. I use "Diamond-Vogle" industrial paint and undercoat for frames, wheels, and everything that is not on an automobile body. I also do not intermix one vendor's chemicals with another. Seen far too many failures from this over the years.
Last edited by Backslap; 02-09-2013 at 04:36 PM.