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A ? regarding polishing aluminum wheels...

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  • A ? regarding polishing aluminum wheels...

    Hello All!

    A friend and fellow car enthusiast turned me onto Caswell. My problem is polishing aluminum wheels with lots of tight curves and contours formed with multiple radii. Before someone says it, chrome plated wheels are not an option (hold heat from brakes) and all clearcoats yellow or haze (from extreme brake heat - I even cooked the factory clear off them) because this is a 980 HP Pro-Street running back-to-back 9.XX sec 1/4-miles. Also, I do wash and wax the wheels regularly, but we all know uncoated aluminum will oxidize as wax is only a temporary sealant (volatizes away).

    Up until now, I would twice yearly spend 1.5-2 hours/wheel polishing them using a bullet-shape felt bob chucked into a die grinder using red Wenol (this is a step-up from old-school toothpaste) to remove the oxidation and provide a decent, reflective shine. I would then follow-up with Mother's polish by hand and a few coats of high-quality natural carnuba wax by hand. The wheels are never deeply pitted or scratched, just very dull and have a tough layer of brake dust "burned" into them because the brake component dusting at very high temperature and settling onto the wheels.

    Anyway, my friend watched me polish them last week and said I was working too hard to get the level of results... However, I explained that I hadn't found a better method to the madness yet. Hey, I was very pleased when I discovered felt bobs and this has been the ONLY way I can address the tight curves, contours, and openings in the wheels! He indicated the bobs were fine for the tight spots, but I'd do better using wheels on the flats and spoke arms and my major problem is that Wenol isn't appropriate for the job. He said I need emory compound to "cut" the dust and oxidation and a Tripoli to get a more mirror-like finish with less effort... So today I ordered the Aluminum & Copper Alloy Polishing Kit (P/N ALPOL23) with a couple of 6" Loose Cotton Wheels. Can anyone comment about if this is really a better way? I don't mind the labor so much, but if there's a better way, or at least away that gives better results for the same time I am all for it!


  • #2
    Comments anyone

    Well, my order shipped today for arrival on Monday. If nothing else, I guess I just have to try the emory and Tripoli and see


    • #3
      I think you're on the right track. There's not ever going to be ONE tool that will do everything, so you need to find the right combination for your application. The 4" wheels in the kit you ordered, along with the felt bobs and 6" wheels should be a good starting point for you.

      You might also want to consider a flexible shaft, if you find a drill isn't cutting it for you.
      Mike Caswell
      Caswell Inc
      Need Support? Visit our online support section at


      • #4
        Hi Caswell!

        I think we are both dialed-in to the same thought process! I neglected to mention in my post that I actually did order a flex shaft too! I figured it might be easier to deal with in the tight places as the body and air hose of the die grinder are difficult to work and manuever with. So, I was thinking that I could grip my variable speed air drill in my bench vise and chuck the flex shaft into it in hopes that this will make the tight work with the felt bob less cumbersome...


        • #5

          After you get it all polished buy some Glisten PC clear from POR-15. It is specially formulated for use on highly polished surfaces and won't yellow. It takes it several days to harden completely.
          1966 Impala (hers)
          1966 Impala SS 427 (his)
          See them at
          The Watering Hole