Corrosion on aluminum wheels - Diesel Forum -
Power Strokes 1994-1997 General Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the Power Stroke engine in 1994 through 1997 models.

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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Corrosion on aluminum wheels

Hi all, I'm new to the board. I've got a 97 F350 PSD dually with aluminum wheels. The front wheels are starting to bubble up near the center cap. When I flake away the area, I notice there is corrosion. I am guessing that there is a coating on the wheels and the corrosion is getting under the coating. Has anyone else had this problem and what is the best and easiest fix? Thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 05:55 AM
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Are your wheels ALL aluminium or just coated?
get a good metal polish and a powerball or a smaller buffer and spend a couple hours shining it up? If you wire wheel it use a brass wheel, not a steel one. If you go on trying some aluminum brightener product, be careful with it, dont even think about using it if you have polished your wheels, it takes polish very fast.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 06:58 AM
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Post a picture. I can't imagine would could bubble up and flake on an aluminum rim unless it is painted. Is it the center caps themselves? Those are seperate, usually made of steel, and can be replaced cheaply.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 07:45 AM
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When we owned our '99 taurus wagon the alum. rims had a "clear coat" on them. When I podwercoated a set of Focus rims last yr. I had to remove a clear coat of some nature also. Your rims might have this. It seemed like it was some sort of epoxy based coating for corrosion prevention. Be careful as the "edge" might start "peeling" back

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 08:30 AM
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If the aluminum wheels are factory, then yes they are clear coated. It's the reason our wheels continue to look great for years of no polish.
Chances are that as long as oxygen can penetrate under the clear, the corrosion will continue to creep. You have a couple of options to fix it, clean out all the corrosion and coat the area well with a high temp clear, or take your wheel to a powder coater and have them strip it, polish it and clear it.

Hope it helps,

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 08:33 AM
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I use a product called "orange blast" bought at canadian tire. Removes corrosion, oxidation and stubborn brake dust from my aluminum rims. Works great with no heavy scrubbing required. I'm not sure how bad yours are, but mine were pretty bad when I started and now they sparkle like new. Maybe wont work if your rims are beyond the point of no return, but you can give it a try. Just make sure you dont let the stuff dry on your rims because it is quite potent and will damage the coating if left longer than about 1 min. Spray on, wait a minute, then hose off thoroughly and wipe dry.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 09:34 AM
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The clear coat is coming off of the wheels...if it's looking bad enough I would remove the clear coat. You will need to give them a quick polish from now on though.

The easiest way of doing this is:

Buy a CHROME wheel cleaner (this will take the clear coat right off of an aluminum wheel)
Buy an aluminum polish. I would also buy a power ball at the same time (polishing pad that you can insert in a drill). This makes quick work of polishing wheels.
Polish the wheel to a chrome like shine!!!!
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. Yes, they are solid aluminum wheels. The center caps are plastic. The finish is bubbling up near the center caps. I will try to post a picture soon. I've always thought there was a clear coat on the wheels. I know there will be a lot of maintenance once I remove the clear coat.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 03:36 PM
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Hate to drag up an old post but my 96 has started corroding on the front wheels as well.

Very seldom driven on salted roads.

I'm thinking the new truck wash I have started using is causing this.
This is an automated touchless wash big enough for duallys.

It has a wheel cleaner option and I think it must be pretty corrosive.
The fluid is getting trapped behind the center caps I'm thinking.
Here are a couple cell phone pics of my wheels.


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Gary,

Yes, that is what my wheels look like only mine are much worse. My rear wheels are starting to do the same thing. I still haven't done anything with them yet.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 06:57 PM
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The aluminum inserts in the running boards on my King Ranch did the same thing, here in the NorthWest the anti-ice products (fluid not salt) they put on the roads tend to attack aluminum, while my wheels still look good, the inserts on the running boards will need to be replaced, I've never had good luck trying to polish diamond plating.
Funny thing is mine didn't show up until spring.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 08:26 PM
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The fluid used in place of salt is probably calicum choride which is used by a lot of states now. highly corrisve and must be washed off immediately after driving in it. Espesially the undercarriage.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 11:37 PM
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LMC sells new wheel sets.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 12:01 AM
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Any good detailer, body shop or high end car dealer will know of someone who can repair and restore those rims. Its an industry unto itself.

Pete in San Ramon

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 04:00 AM
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I think you will need to strip the clear,sand and polish.I did mine and they look like chrome.For some tips go to Metal polish for aluminum, silver, brass, chrome, stainless steel, copper and bronze from English Custom Polishing.

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