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Here is a process that I use to re-finish aluminum wheel lips on old mag wheels that have severe oxidation or curb rash.
I use my air powered D/A or "dual action" sander to sand off all the blemishes, and then I spin the wheel in a home made fixture to give the wheels their final finish.

Here is our candidate wheel, and old Torque Thrust look alike that has seen better days. It has had some repairs done on the lip, and some pretty good oxidation:
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Here are the basic tools and materials needed:
-Dual action sander.
-40, 80, 100, and 180 grit sanding discs.


I start off with a 40 grit disc and go to town sanding on the wheel lips making sure to keep the sander moving. It will remove some material, but it is not as aggressive as you might think:


After a few minutes, this is how the wheel will look. You can see the swirl marks left by the sander, but the scratches, rash and oxidation are now completely gone:


I next move on to the 80 grit disc. The 80 grit disc will remove far less material than the 40 grit, but it will make finer sanding marks on the wheel. Here is the wheel after the 80 grit disc:


The next part of the process will need some sort of fixture that will spin the wheel. I don't have a lathe big enough to accept a wheel, so I had to invent something.

I made a simple fixture out of an old spindle and hub. It bolts to an I-beam that is attached to the back of my lathe. The wheel will bolt to this fixture. The fixture has a pivot on the bottom that allows the the whole assembly to pivot:


The chuck on my lathe has a pneumatic tire and wheel assembly mounted in it. When the power on the lathe is turned on, the pneumatic tire spins in the chuck. The spindle assembly is pivoted so the wheel makes contact with the spinning tire, and the wheel now spins in the opposite direction. The wheel does not spin very fast, but it is fast enough to allow some finish work with sandpaper. By grabbing the top of the spindle, you can control how much contact pressure there is between the wheel and the pneumatic tire:


You can also make a similar fixture using an electric motor to spin the pneumatic tire, or mount a wheel in a balancing machine. Use your imagination.

Now that we have a spinning wheel, we need to do some finish work by hand. I go back to 40 grit sandpaper and hold it against the wheel as it spins. At this point you can also do the horizontal surface and the other vertical surface. You will want to repeat this process with 80 , 100 120 and finally 180 grit sandpaper. The more time spent with each grit will yield better results:


Here is the wheel after some 80 grit on the spinning wheel:


Here is the finished wheel after the final sanding with 180 grit:




I have used this process on dozens of wheels with the same excellent results. Wheels with a raised rib on the wheel lip can also be done, but it will require a little more care when sanding with the D/A so as not to knock down too much of the rib. Here is an E.T. wheel I did:



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Another setup option might be to run an axle through the headstock of the lathe such that the splined end of the axle is over the bed and held by the chuck. You would then have an axle flange hanging out the left end of the lathe where you could bolt your wheel. Of course, this requires either a hole in your lathe's spindle large than the axle or a fabbed up piece that will fit. This could be the perfect use for a broken axle.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I finished a set of E.T. big and littles today (14x6) and (15x7) using the same process I described above:



I also finished the lip of a 15 x 8 1/2 Torq Thrust wheel today that was really rough:

 

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great write up,,man they would sell at a swapmeet or flea-market, but then again how much time do you have in them? Looks great ,good job. Scott
 
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