109 Alloy Wheel Repair

Entropy is an ongoing battle, and none are more familiar with it than Land Rover owners.  As well as a few small patches of corrosion here and there on the body needing a little treatment and touching up, the two front wheels are showing to be less resilient than I’d hoped of the extensive treatment and powder coating they got a few years ago.  After a year of service they began to show a few small signs, but now both have large areas on the sides of several spokes that are cracking and lifting the powder coating, so they will need cleaning back, treating and refinishing.alloys-silver

The front tyres are in need of replacement anyway, more due to age and perishing of the rubber causing slow leaks than any lack of tread, but it would be a good opportunity to have the wheels completely stripped and redone as before.  The current price is £63 each, including VAT, so is not prohibitively dear.  The only concerns I have are that if it happened so quickly before, will the same happen again, and that I could save money by doing it myself.

alloys-blackThe prospect of DIY refinishing is limited.  I don’t like the aerosol laquers as they tend to crack and blister after a few years, so any DIY job would have to be with a solid colour coat.  To that end, I have dug out the photos of my quick aerosol tests I did on the wheels before they were refurbished last time.  The tests were done after giving the wheels a cursory wipe with a rag and no preparation – I even used Hammerite silver for the plain silver wheel!  So, the quality of the finishes were not to be representative; I was just after a quick impression for colour schemes.  The choices were completely silver, completely black or a mix of black and silver using the same format as on the original paint on these wheels in the Range Rover Classic scheme (in this case, Ardennes green centres).  I thought the completely black wheel looked to aggressive.  The silver and black looked pretty good, but was going to be very expensive on a professional basis, so I went with plain silver.  This also had the benefit of allowing the wheels to be transferred to my Range Rover if needed.  I was also a little concerned that the black and silver combination looked a bit too much like the trendy cheap wheels sold at Halfords for Corsas and Saxos.

alloys-black-and-silverNow I’m confronted with this job again, I’m reconsidering.  I still think plain black is wrong for this vehicle.  The mixed version, though, seems OK, and the use of matt black works better than the gloss black/chrome of the cheap wheels I so dislike.  It would be a fairly easy job, masking the rims inboard and outboard using the cast ridges as guides for even lines.  I was thinking of using the same loadbay liner aerosol as I used on the bumper and windscreen as it’ll be tough and consistent in its finish.  I also thought the rough texture (like 200grit sand paper) would give an interesting and distinctive effect that would conceal any imperfections in my treatment of the corroded sections of the spoke edges.  So, looking at those old photos (with smooth matt black rather than textured) what do you guys think?

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  1. Hi jut passing thought I would add my opinion.
    Silver and black ought to be my favourite but it just looks “he’s got wheels off a range rover” ….just my opinion
    I like the black, but it is aggressive. Stainless wheels nuts, silver centre cap to soften??umm dunno.
    Silver, well we are conditioned by years of silver wheels to think this looks right. You also (still?) have a silver
    roof rack so it is part of the whole scheme so to speak, probably the safest bet (but I’m still liking the black).

  2. I think all silver or black wIth silver detail is more suited to your truck than all black. IMHO the all black wheel is lost against the black bodywork.

    I have plain gloss black wheels on Ciggy but they contrast against the cockpit green body so look OK, they are also deep dish modulars so tend to look better in black anyway.

  3. Matt black and silver is definitely the way to go!

  4. Hi Nick,

    Sorry to hear that your wheels need re-doing again so soon after having them properly refurbed. I did the alloys on my 90 myself last time and it was about 3 years before the signs of them needing doing again showed themselves. I blame the fact that Land Rover only paint the bits of the alloy you can see and leave the insides bare for the fact that they start peeling at the edge of the spokes. I must re-do mine at some point, got the lightweight to finish first before I think about cosmetic jobs on the 90.

    When I did mine I cleaned them up and rubbed them down, feathering in where the original coating had lifted, gave them a couple of coats of metallic silver as a base layer and then a couple of coats of ‘Silver Sparkle’ to match the original finish. I had the silver sparkle paint made up by Nu-agane as the paint was only available from Land Rover as a brush on touch up pot. I used the metallic silver as a base as the silver sparkle doesn’t cover well due to it’s nature. I then gave the wheels a couple of coats of lacquer. Lasted quite well for a DIY temporary cosmetic fix, considering I didn’t do the insides of the alloys.

    I like the look of the silver and black wheels, I think they work well with the colour of your vehicle. I’m with you on the plain black not looking right for it.



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