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Old 06-25-2018, 11:05 AM   #1
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wheel refinish: wet paint or power coat?

I'd like to refinish this set of wheels before I put them on my bus. They're just the standard-issue steel model Blue Bird puts on all their buses -- nothing special, but well-worn just the same.

20180625_081549.jpg

I'll be pulling them off the bus shortly. Obviously the first step is prep: I'll probably just go straight to media blasting rather than spending time chemically stripping what little actual paint remains. Probably going to have the tires dismounted from the wheels too.

After the metal is clean and nice.. then what? I'm using the Sherwin Williams Genesis G2 system on the rest of my bus, so I already have epoxy primer and several colors of urethane top coat (single stage) and I'm at least a proficient novice at spraying it. Another option is powder coat. There are several local vendors who can do this for me.

The biggest question is this: which finish is likely to wear better? Powder coat seems pretty standard for wheels, but I don't know if that's because it's more durable or just because it's simpler/cheaper to apply. I assume both will fail equally fast where the lug nuts rub, and in the space between the duals too.
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Old 06-25-2018, 11:30 AM   #2
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I would recommend powder coating them if you're going to have them blasted anyways. I do this for a living. Powder is much more durable than paint and the likelihood of damage is greatly minimized with powder. If your concerned about the bolt holes, have them mask the lug mating surface. look to spend about $200 a wheel for a single stage color.
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Old 06-25-2018, 11:58 AM   #3
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o1marc, do you mean $200 just for spraying and baking the powder, or including prepping the wheel too?

If it's anywhere near that level I'll have to give serious consideration to buying a set of polished aluminum wheels instead of refinishing these. It seems not too hard to find new aluminum wheels for $250 each. I better get a quote or two from a nearby powder coat shop!
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Old 06-25-2018, 12:00 PM   #4
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In my experience paint works better on wheels.

I had the powder coating on a set of rims chip where the bolts go and water got underneath. Over time this caused the coating to come off in places and the metal surface was badly pitted due to water being trapped under the coating.
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Old 06-25-2018, 03:02 PM   #5
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Powder coat is tough in some ways but chips easier than a good enamel.
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Old 06-25-2018, 03:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 39henney View Post
In my experience paint works better on wheels.

I had the powder coating on a set of rims chip where the bolts go and water got underneath. Over time this caused the coating to come off in places and the metal surface was badly pitted due to water being trapped under the coating.
You went to a shitty coater who did not properly prep the wheel. Everything you mention from your experience would have happened if it was paint. Done properly powder is 10x's more durable than paint. If done properly with the correct blast profile my powder is not coming off from peeling, flaking, etc.
Like paint, the quality of the finish is entirely based on the prep on the part.
For $200 that would include any and all prep including media blasting and coating in a single stage color. These wheels are big and will take considerable time to get to temp.
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 39henney View Post
In my experience paint works better on wheels.

I had the powder coating on a set of rims chip where the bolts go and water got underneath. Over time this caused the coating to come off in places and the metal surface was badly pitted due to water being trapped under the coating.
SAME HERE.

I worked in a powdercoating shop and its ok, but I still prefer paint. A good epoxy on some freshly blasted wheels would be a good way to go.

My one year old trailer is powdercoated and its chipping and peeling in some areas. Not holding up well at all, and its faded to a dull color. A pretty crappy job for sure. I used to do NHRA dragster frames and parts and ours held up well but for wheels I'd just as soon spend the money on Alcoas.
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:48 PM   #8
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Powder coat is tough in some ways but chips easier than a good enamel.
This has been my experience as well.
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:56 PM   #9
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SAME HERE.

I worked in a powdercoating shop and its ok, but I still prefer paint. A good epoxy on some freshly blasted wheels would be a good way to go.

My one year old trailer is powdercoated and its chipping and peeling in some areas. Not holding up well at all, and its faded to a dull color. A pretty crappy job for sure. I used to do NHRA dragster frames and parts and ours held up well but for wheels I'd just as soon spend the money on Alcoas.
Sounds like your experience in the business was decades ago. NHRA has not allowed a powder coated frame in probably 30 years or more. Because of it's durability a frame can develop a crack and the powder won't crack, the fracture is hidden from inspection. Paint however will crack as soon as the metal does. Therefore powder coated chassis are not allowed. Money for Alcoas is great, if you want an aluminum look. I've been in business for 10 years now, in the same location. I've never had a part i coated returned to me yet because it is flaking or peeling or faded. Always go to a CUSTOM coater and not a production or commercial coater if you want quality work.
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:13 PM   #10
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OK Fine.
I now am thinking about powder coating Alcoas.
This board sure generates some great ideas.

Thinking a candy color over shiny aluminm that will set off the rest of the bus which is planned to be silver with minimum accents.
Dash still on hold for family.
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