Best Way to Clean Wheels?


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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zeoran
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Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by zeoran »



My wheels are in need of a good cleaning, but nothing I've tried so far is working very well.

What's the best way to clean these and get them polished to a new shine?





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WingAdmin
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by WingAdmin »

That looks like pitting to me. Can you feel it with your finger when you run it over the wheel?

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CrystalPistol
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by CrystalPistol »

GL1500 wheels are not coated or anodized.

If pitted you could remove the chrome, then you can get the pitting off with sand paper, paint the darker recesses semi flat black or grey, then sand and then fine wet sand and then polish the rim lips. Then you can put your chrome back on.

If not pitted, aluminum polish, rags, & elbow grease.
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by Rednaxs60 »

I just did mine. Took those little chrome pieces off, they're an add on - not going to put them back on. Removed the front wheel and took rotors off. Used a product that I am using to cut and polish my painting - Norton Polishing liquid:


followed by a polish with Flitz:


then the Flitz Protectorant:




Here's final:


after some four hours of elbow grease.
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joeincalif
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by joeincalif »

I use Mothers mag and aluminum polish, works great with a little rubbing.


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aholloway17
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by aholloway17 »

My 94 I purchased three years ago and they were in much wrose condition. I used a product call Gords from eBay. It really worked but it took some time to get rid of the oxidized aluminium and I used a polishing wheel.

Good luck!
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by CrystalPistol »

Having owned Triumphs & Nortons which crave polish on their bare aluminum, having stripped and wet sanded and polished car wheels ... once you get to clean polished smooth aluminum, maintenance is easy. Just a good session with a cleaner wax will do. I like bare aluminum, I won't use a coating that will maybe peel later. Waxes and protectants are good, but no clear coat paint.
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zeoran
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by zeoran »

Any brand of polish/cleaner that stands out?

We've got ones like Brasso, ZEP, Flitz...

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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by CrystalPistol »

I always swore by "Hipatche Semi Chrome" in the tube …
… but over the years after others raved about their latest find, I've tried "Blue Magic", Turtle Wax "Premium Metal Polish", Mothers "Mag & Aluminum Polish", White Diamond, something with a big "X" on the label from a truck stop, some others, and I find results do depend on sweat input, I've yet to find a "wipe, swipe, & forget" polish. I will use up my several stocks in no particular order. Glad I have a couple extra tubes of the HSC, still my favorite.

If I ever used "Brasso", it was long ago. I've heard it works well, I might have tried it, I had a cousin used to use it to smooth paint after dry.

I think I used "Flitz" once or twice long ago as well?
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by agedbikeman »

Mine were in a right old state, had to resort to a multitool with sandpaper as no amount of hand polishing would get rid of the black marks plus i can't scrub hard due to arm tendon problems




Having done the best I could I then used Alloy wheel spray paint, they are much shinier than they look in the photo.




I used this years ago on my 650 burgman, never came off or went dull, in reality they are silver, my camera makes them look a bit blue.

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HandymanHerb
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by HandymanHerb »

I used Flitz metal and fiberglass cleaner on my wheel, haven't got to the rear yet, since it can't be seen I will just clean them to a brushed finish, next tire change I might do more.

I used a dish sponge with the green scrubby on it to do rough cleaning and the brushed finish on main part of wheel, then a four inch buffer wheel on a hand drill to polish the shinny parts
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Swagonmaster
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by Swagonmaster »

My wheels were pretty bad when I had them off recently to replace the tires and while I wasn't going for the highly polished look they really needed some improvement. While I didn't make an exhaustive search for an effective cleaner I did have access to some soft scrub (Thanks DW) and some green scotchbrite pads that did a good job with a lot less effort than I had been using. I was using plain old elbow grease but a buffing wheel would have sped thing up a lot.

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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by jimm4 »

i used brillo pads and rubbing then used everbrite coating . easy to clean now and seams to hold up good. time for a tire change will see if it holds up [scratchin or pealing during tire change] but have more product to touch up . good luck

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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by Viking »

zeoran wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:47 am
Any brand of polish/cleaner that stands out?

We've got ones like Brasso, ZEP, Flitz...
Flitz works as good as any other, and leaves a coating on the rim that protects it for a while. Also, Flitz can be purchased in quart cans, so you won't run out too quickly. Elbow grease or a polish ball on a power drill are really the secrets to getting a good cleaning job done.
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by gtomei »

If your wheels are uncoated aluminum as I think most GW wheels are just rub with aluminum foil. Wrinkle it up in a ball. Dip in a little water. Then rub the wheel with it. Takes everything off. Even fills in minor scratches and will not scratch the wheel as the foil is softer than the wheel's aluminum.
I used to use all sorts of polish...not any more!
If you like, a little wax after you're done will help you cleaning job last longer.
Try it...you won't be disappointed. :D
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twinbooty
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by twinbooty »

This is a timely article. I had to replace my rear tire on my 1800 and noticed how dirty it (then looked at the front wheel and saw the same condition). I now have some ideas and will probably be cleaning my rims this weekend.

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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by gtomei »

Great! Please let me know how it works out for you. Enjoy your bike this season.
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by Wildwilly018 »

Since my rims were in pretty rough shape. Dirty wise. Black and crappy. I decided while my bike was still on jack last month, I would try to give them some life. Have never done anything with them. Rest of bike is shiny. Then had to figure out how to do this in my garage without messing up my floor. Really wanted to do it outside. Well found a way of doing it with something under tires. Washed first a few times around with soapy water. Tried a scotch brite pad that some of said works, but it really did nothing. So went to a SOS soap pad and that cleaned the rim really good. Went around a couple times and rinsed and dried. Then went to my go to polish. Autosol is what I have always used on chrome. I drove truck for 30 yrs and always kept big tub in compartment since all my rims on my Mack were polished aluminum and on my flatbed tandem axle trailer also. I did my front rim a couple times around and it was really good looking. Back rim same treatment, but it didn't go well. Back rim was soaked in hub oil from final drive leak yrs ago and it is really rough. Will give it another try sometime if I have it off. If I could figure out how to put a pic I would.

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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by Happytrails »

Also used mothers aluminum polish as well and lots of elbow grease. Polished up its been holding up well. Polished aluminum has a certain quality to it that makes it look amazing. Next time I'd like to get a little help from a machine to polish.
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by thebruce »

Polished aluminum has a depth to it that chrome doesn't have. Chrome is easier to maintain, however.

I have been a fan of Autosol metal polish for a long time. German product, I think.

They have a couple different flavours for different surfaces, and the aluminum-specific one has less or smaller abrasives.

Any way you cut it, getting aluminum to a mirror-like shine is a lot of WORK. I have an allergy to that stuff...
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by Wildwilly018 »

thebruce wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 12:57 pm
Polished aluminum has a depth to it that chrome doesn't have. Chrome is easier to maintain, however.

I have been a fan of Autosol metal polish for a long time. German product, I think.

They have a couple different flavours for different surfaces, and the aluminum-specific one has less or smaller abrasives.

Any way you cut it, getting aluminum to a mirror-like shine is a lot of WORK. I have an allergy to that stuff...
I have tried many things, but always believe in Autosol to work. If it is blackish when you put it on, that is the stuff working out the oxidization. Wipe it all off and do it again. Will fix them right up. I retired from WORK in Dec, but don't mind WORK when it is something i like doing like my bike.

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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by Swagonmaster »

I love work, I can sit there and look at it for hours! 😁
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zeoran
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by zeoran »

Wow... SO many great replies on this topic.

I did get some Flitz spray cleaner and that took care of some of the more annoying marks. I did notice that I'm going to have to take off the wheels if I'm going to truly get them "clean" and polished up nice. Oddly, the rear tire isn't really all that bad, it's only the front tire that is in need of some major TLC. I don't think there's any real 'pitting' in the aluminum and that everything would come off with either some more elbow grease or getting some new buffing wheels for my rotary tool and using that. But trying to clean it while lying on the ground without being able to rotate the tire (even on the center stand) is just more trouble than it's worth.

I'm still waiting for Hel to get their replacement parts in so I can get my order of braided hoses filled. Once I have those, I'll probably pull the front wheel when I do the hose swap and I'll give it a full cleaning then.

God bless,

~Mark

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HandymanHerb
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by HandymanHerb »

That is where I lucked out in getting a Pit Bull MC jack, I can jack it to 27 inches high to polish, but done it lower so I could put in on the locks and make it solid.

I also use it when I pull in my shop, I pick the bike up and spin it so it is ready to drive out, no backing in out
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twinbooty
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Re: Best Way to Clean Wheels?

Post by twinbooty »

I was planning on cleaning my wheels last weekend but the weather was so nice I decided to go for a ride instead. The cleaning is on hold for awhile.



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