View Full Version : Painting saleen 18" wheels

10-09-2010, 11:58 AM
After an unfortunate flat tire and the discovery of a slightly cracked wheel I was forced to use one of my spare 18" saleen wheels as a replacement. This caused a problem as my other three happened to be polished aluminum, while the replacement was chrome.

Since I am not one to run around with mismatched finishes I decided to tackle painting the wheels. After some research I decided on rustoleum wheel paint, rustoleum wheel clear, etching primer, and filler primer.

Here are the steps I took.

Step 1. Clean the wheels thoroughly with degreaser. Make sure you rinse well to
remove the residue.
Step 2. Rough up the surface of the wheels. Since my wheels where just polished
and chrome I did not have to remove paint. Obviously if your wheels
are painted you will have to remove paint first.
Step 3. Degrease and clean again with water, let dry
Step 4. If your tires are mounted on the wheels, use note cards around the
perimeter to avoid having to tape the area off.
Step 5. Apply coat of etching primer, let dry 10-15 mins
Step 6. Apply coat of filler primer, let dry 10-15 mins. Then apply a second coat,
let dry for around an hour.
Step 7. Lightly sand the wheels with something around 400 grit sandpaper. Be
Step 8. Use a tack cloth to remove debris from wheels after sanding.
Step 9. Begin color paint, I did 3 coats with 10 minute drying time between. But
this is up to you.
Step 10. Clear coats, again I did 3 coats with the same 10-15 minute drying time
Step 11. Let them dry for atleast 24 hour before trying to put the back on the car.
Since it is paint, I reccomend using felt or something soft around your
socket when tightening your lug nuts.

I think mine have turned out nice. They are still in the drying period and I will post some pics of the on the car when they are installed back on.

10-09-2010, 12:23 PM
how are you going to get the paint to stick to the Chrome one?

10-09-2010, 12:46 PM

I scuffed the chrome wheel with sandpaper like I did the others. Between that and the acidic etching primer the paint will adhere well. I did alot of research on the subject and that seemed to be the consensus on how to approach that problem on a budget. The other approach is media blasting, but with the aluminum substrate that can lead to pitting if you use the wrong media and psi.

10-09-2010, 08:10 PM
How they look on the car.

10-09-2010, 09:39 PM
what color did you end up painting them? They look kind of like gun metal.

10-09-2010, 09:45 PM
I like it...not bad for a home job

Thomas A
10-09-2010, 10:39 PM
Should have painted them white....


10-10-2010, 12:57 AM
yeah white would be cool, but looks fantastic either way.. good job

10-10-2010, 01:22 PM
The only colors available in the rustoleum wheel paint are black, silver, and graphite. Although I don't think the color goes perfectly with the car, the finish on them did
come out amazing. The pictures don't do them justice. They look like brand new wheels and much better than what I had going on with mismatched finishes. Materials for the project came a bit less that $40.

Stan W
10-10-2010, 02:25 PM
How did the original wheel crack? I was thinking about getting a set.

Stan W

10-10-2010, 02:29 PM
Good job man. Turned out great. can't beat the price either! I wish I had given that a thought when chrome on my Cobra R's started to peel and I had to sell them.

10-10-2010, 04:30 PM
Stan W,

I think the wheel cracked when the car was driven with a low tire.