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Wheel acid on polished aluminum is fixable?


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#1 DutrowLLC

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 06:40 PM

I just spoke with a chemical supplier today who informed me that wheel acid can be used on aluminum (the wheel acid actually was labeled "Aluminum Cleaner" which I thought was weird). He said its best not to use it on polished aluminum, but if a mistake is made, you can just polish it back with aluminum polish or something?

I was under the impression that wheel acid permanently stains polished aluminum and that you can only use it on chrome wheels and maybe clear coated wheels if you're brave.

Am I misinformed?

Thanks!

Chris

#2 gtpaul

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 06:59 PM

Depends on how severe the etching is. If it was concentrated and sat on the wheel for a long period of time, chances are it's beyond fixable. I've been able to fix light staining but it only sat for a few seconds.
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#3 Gumball

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 07:27 AM

gtpaul is correct. Thats why you wont find any acid cleaners in my shop. Too risky.

#4 backwoods_lex

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 12:27 PM

I've lessened etching on aluminum wheels before after hours of polishing, but that was it.

Gotta love those aluminum wheels that look exactly like the clearcoated version. The lesson I learned from a set was to always perform a small test area first. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, and you shame it (or whatever George W. says).

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#5 JonP

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 12:51 PM

I threw out all my acid wheel cleaners years ago when I mistakenly used it on a clear coated wheel and it stained it. But I was able to polish it right out like nothing to it.
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#6 advs1

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 12:51 PM

well usually acid is not safe for any clear coated wheels, even chrome. i wouldnt use acid on anything either. i would rather use elbow grease and get them clean the old fashion way. i use CG citrus based wheel cleaners.

#7 weekendwarrior

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 02:55 AM

well usually acid is not safe for any clear coated wheels, even chrome. i wouldnt use acid on anything either. i would rather use elbow grease and get them clean the old fashion way. i use CG citrus based wheel cleaners.


Where can you buy elbow grease?:lol

I actually had someone ask me that a few years ago when they asked me what I used to clean something, and I told them elbow grease.
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#8 WCD

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 06:21 AM

We never use HF acids anymore. Look up the stories and you will most likely make the same conclusion. I don't think too many municipalities will allow it as well- even if you contain the run off.

If a wheel is that bad, we use our steamer.

Years ago my employee used HF acid on some wheels- Porsche. The more they stained, the more he sprayed!!!

I had to hand polish all four wheels. They came out fine so I was happy not to buy him a new set and he was really pleased. So it can be done, but in light of what we know about the stuff, just stay away from it. Some users do it correctly with the right arm length gloves, masks, and attire, but too many have no idea what it's doing, but will someday!

Personally knowing three large chemical manfacturers, and neither will make HF, tells me something. These are companies that have their own chemists and make the stuff- not private label like 90% of what you see. If their chemists advise against its use, it's a pretty easy decision for me. One less thing on my shelves and one less thing for my young children to get into by accident.

If you use HF acid, you should have it locked at all times!! You are opening up a bigger problem than stained wheels if you have it exposed and accessible to others.

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#9 Lefteris.

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 07:39 AM

HF can get a little scary if you leave it on too long, but damn does it do wonders on those caked up BMW wheels

#10 Holden_C04

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 07:52 AM

Where can you buy elbow grease?:lol

I actually had someone ask me that a few years ago when they asked me what I used to clean something, and I told them elbow grease.


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#11 DutrowLLC

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 01:15 PM

We never use HF acids anymore. Look up the stories and you will most likely make the same conclusion. I don't think too many municipalities will allow it as well- even if you contain the run off.

If a wheel is that bad, we use our steamer.

Years ago my employee used HF acid on some wheels- Porsche. The more they stained, the more he sprayed!!!

I had to hand polish all four wheels. They came out fine so I was happy not to buy him a new set and he was really pleased. So it can be done, but in light of what we know about the stuff, just stay away from it. Some users do it correctly with the right arm length gloves, masks, and attire, but too many have no idea what it's doing, but will someday!

Personally knowing three large chemical manfacturers, and neither will make HF, tells me something. These are companies that have their own chemists and make the stuff- not private label like 90% of what you see. If their chemists advise against its use, it's a pretty easy decision for me. One less thing on my shelves and one less thing for my young children to get into by accident.

If you use HF acid, you should have it locked at all times!! You are opening up a bigger problem than stained wheels if you have it exposed and accessible to others.

Rob Regan


Hmmm, yeah, you might have me convinced... I'm really enamored with the way it melts off any level of dirt perfectly, maybe I was blinded by that.

What kind of steamer do you use? If used improperly, does it also run the risk of damaging wheels? Is there anything special you do with it, or does it literally clean with purely hot steam?

Thanks!

Chris

#12 DutrowLLC

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 01:16 PM

Where can you buy elbow grease?:lol

I actually had someone ask me that a few years ago when they asked me what I used to clean something, and I told them elbow grease.


I get mine at the 7-11, costs go by the hour though.

#13 WCD

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 07:21 PM

I use a Vapor Master 3000. A new DVD was just released on this model and I should have it in my hands within a week.

Actually, I mostly use it for interiors- I have used almost NO chemicals in the last four details on the interiors, just the VM 3000. It makes old coffee stains an easy wipe and takes hardened gum in leather and shoots it out the doors. Wrapping a towel around one of the attachments lets me do the mats and so forth. One day I had extra water and pressure to spare so I just tried my wheels- alloys. It removed brake dust that I had previously not removed- plus the small crevices around the lug nuts were totally sparkling like new. Last week I used it on a set of wheels on a Merc. 350. The wheels were too wide for my hands and brushes, so I put the extension and brush on and could reach the back areas.

My friend in Canada also did a demo using his steamer on dirty wheels- he took them completely off and did the inside of each wheel.

I know some have yet to invest in one, which is fine. I did because a few in my network of detailers were using them and talking about them with great excitement. Once I get this DVD I will really improve my own use with the machine.

I should also mention that I am getting jobs because of the machine. I have had 4 calls about allergy sensitivity from customers that will not allow ANY chemical use in their cars.

Besides not using HF, I am also not using any chems in the car. I used to get like an acid reflex feeling in my throat when using product and with the VM I don't have that condition anymore.

If I DO use some cleaners, I use only VOC products.

Hope this helps, Rob

#14 SilvaBimma

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 05:46 AM

Rob

Did the Kleen Car Training and was told the VM3000 was a bit weak for the exterior, have you found it can't do or doesn't have enough pressure to do the exterior of the vehicle besides the wheels? Really great unit for the price, no fuss!

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#15 WCD

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 03:29 PM

Kevin is a great trainer! I tried to get him last year. There are about three places I would say are real quality and he's one of them. I'm going to ATD (Detailing Success) in about a week and am really excited.

I have not tried it on the actual exterior for cleaning other than wheels. There are larger units and some Korean? ones that you can wash the entire car with. Since I use Optimum, I am not looking for something on that scale. I did just order the ATD DVD and can't wait to learn more.

Just had a customer email and ask about how I clean leather...wait until I show him the VM!

Thanks, Rob

#16 DutrowLLC

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 06:43 PM

Kevin is a great trainer! I tried to get him last year. There are about three places I would say are real quality and he's one of them. I'm going to ATD (Detailing Success) in about a week and am really excited.

I have not tried it on the actual exterior for cleaning other than wheels. There are larger units and some Korean? ones that you can wash the entire car with. Since I use Optimum, I am not looking for something on that scale. I did just order the ATD DVD and can't wait to learn more.

Just had a customer email and ask about how I clean leather...wait until I show him the VM!

Thanks, Rob


So these steam cleaners, with all the heat, can they damage things as well, like burn something, or melt plastic or something?

Also, is this it:
Vapor Steam

Did you pay 2k for it??

Thanks!

Chris

#17 WCD

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 07:30 PM

That IS the machine, but that is NOT what I paid. Email me.

Sure, you can damage things. Take the single tip, put it on the highest setting, and put it up against a door panel...you can put your signature in it!! :)

The DVD is a great training tool if you can't get training directly.

I have taken some cool stains and nasty stuff on interiors. However, I market this as a "Green" friendly tool and get customers.

I liken it to a hot air compressor..it gets the nooks and crannies very clean. I also shoot it into the vents to kill any bacteria or molds.

Rob

#18 SilvaBimma

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 06:43 PM

Yup, QUITE cheaper at alot of really good suppliers. WCD, what are the 3? ATD/Kleen Car, and...? Looking at the steamer preview I got a few ideas, but training is really nice with the steamer. No chemicals, no extractor! Amazing, can't wait to grab mine since it's so fast and efficient.

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#19 WCD

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 06:51 PM

Just got word from ATD that he can get this unit for under $1000!!! Maybe get the DVD thrown in???

I will be training in Boise next weekend- 20th-23rd.

I have 5 details lined up and two are for interiors. I can't wait to get in there with the VM.

A few emailed and I responded.

Thanks, Rob
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#20 MA78

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 10:43 PM

Who is offering the best price on this? I'm wanting to pick one up in the next week or so.




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