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  1. #1

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    The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Simple, regular-strength wheel cleaners don`t get much attention these days, and I think the Griots Wheel Cleaner is really an overlooked gem. I`ve been using the Griots for a couple years now and I`m on my third gallon jug. I like it that much.


    In addition to doing a quick review of this great wheel cleaner, I thought I`d show how well a regular wheel cleaner will work on some seriously nasty wheels. There is a time and place for products like Meguiars Wheel Brightener or Brown Royal, but in the spirit of using the least aggressive approach first I`d encourage everyone to try a regular strength cleaner first. You might be surprised by the level of cleaning power.


    Now on with the wheels:


    A few weeks ago I delaminated the outer tread blocks on one of my front tires following an autocross event. For several years, I ran events on my regular wheel/tire sets, but soon realized I was tearing through tires faster than I should and by running a staggered wheel set on normal summer tires I was giving up several seconds to my competitors. So I went in search of a dedicated set of wheels and tires in a square set up. This lead me to stumble across a screaming deal on a used set in a city not far away. While the wheels and the sticky tires were exactly what I needed, they were a bit, ummm....grimy. I understand these are race wheels and you aren`t gong to show them the same love as a set you drive on daily, but these were so bad you couldn`t touch them without turning your hands black with brake dust!


    Here is what they looked like after I brought them home. The previous owner wiped down the faces, but hadn`t touched the barrels...maybe ever.






    After giving the barrels a good spray down with the Griots Wheel Cleaner, I found the 50/50 to look pretty amazing. The wheel cleaned up pretty effortlessly.





    The wheels were then finished off front and back, and here are the results. I bet they haven`t looked this good since the owner pulled them out of the box!








    I will freely admit there were a few globs of rubber and tar from the track which the wheel cleaner didn`t remove, but I wouldn`t expect it to. A little Stoner`s Tarminator and those were easily removed as well. Also, two of the wheels were oddly dirtier than the others. The dust looked no different than the one I pictured, but after the first cleaning there were areas on the barrels that simply wouldn`t come off. I spot cleaned them with a bottle of Meguiars Hot Wheels Chrome Cleaner after Eldorado2K letting me know it`s the consumer form of Wheel Brightener. That stuff is SERIOUSLY strong, and knocked out those trouble spots like they were nothing. No way I`d use that stuff on a regular basis, but it does serve a purpose!
    Drop by to see the latest at The Car Geek Blog
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  2. #2

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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Cleaned up well. They looked like they were in good shape. What you race if you don’t mind me asking


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  3. #3
    Pay Attention Boy... RTexasF's Avatar
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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Awesome results, nicely done. Great looking wheels to boot

  4. #4

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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Desertnate:
    Thanks for posting pics of your well-bought rims and tires for your autocrossing "hobby"(?).

    Coatings=crack beat me to the punch about asking what specific car you run at these autocross events (Gymkhana`s as some call them).
    Are these Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)-sanctioned events or just organized by a local car-club?
    What do you mean by "Staggered" versus "Square" in terms of tire set-up? Different sized rims in the back OR from side-to-side (Like stock car racing set-ups) versus ALL fours having the same tire size?
    What is the model/type of the Hankook tires you currently bought with the rims? Are these tires the "hot set-up" for your type/class of autocrossing that you participate in? Or are these just what came with the rim, they`re "sufficient", so you`ll use them up?
    Do these wheels (rim and tire assemblies) need to be dynamically re-balanced for autocross purposes OR are these tires going to be used on the car you autocross because it is also your daily driver??

    LOVE the idea of using a pair of wheel chucks designed for anti-rollback car jack-up (can`t say "car jacking" because that sounds too "criminal"!) for a wheel stand. Great outside-the-box thinking on that. Then again, re-purposing items for alternate uses that are so obvious/common sense to some are not to others (Like me, Captain Obvious.. HMMMMM! I wonder if I could use those wheel chucks for keeping garden hoses for getting wedged under my tires when doing 2-bucket washes??)

    BACK to wheel cleaners. Thanks for the info on Griot`s Garage Wheel Cleaner. I assume this is their "Heavy-Duty" wheel cleaner.

    As far as the Meg`s Detailer D140 Acid-based Wheel Brightener, it is designed to be diluted in a separate bottle to whatever cleaning "strength" is desired/needed by the end-user whereas the consumer-version Hot Rims Wheel Cleaner is more of a Ready-To-Use (RTU) product already pre-diluted. I know the D140 is "nasty" stuff that will destroy "regular" spray nozzles (Yes, you really need to an acid-resistant spray nozzle with this stuff and clean it out after using it. I would suggest doing this as well to the Hot Wheels Wheel Cleaner spray nozzle that came with the bottle), BUT as you suggested, it does have its place for cleaning really dirty wheels.

    One suggestion I will make to you about cleaning tar and old wheel-balancing weight adhesives off of rims is to have 3M Part No. 08984 General Purpose Adhesive Remover in your cleaning arsenal. Works great on old adhesives and road tar. Just be careful around NEW wheel weights attached with adhesive. It`s better if you use it on a rag or microfiber and dab/rub it that way rather than just dousing/pouring it on to an area to be cleaned next to a new wheel weight. (More common sense methods)
    GB detailer

  5. #5

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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
    LOVE the idea of using a pair of wheel chucks...
    Chocks, Lonnie, CHOCKS
    Likes Desertnate liked this post

  6. #6
    tom p.'s Avatar
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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Great result, Nate! That`s a good product.
    Cars: bringing people together

  7. #7
    Dan's Avatar
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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    It is a good cleaner indeed, but I always forget to use it. For me there are two wheel cleaning modes... trashed/new to me wheels (which get Megs WB or Hot Wheels acids) or maintenance (Regular Soap). Soap and water does the trick most of the time but I`ll be honest, I need to use something every few washes as there is definitely buildup that the eye does not see but the AIO wheel polish sessions show, black crap all over the pads.

  8. #8

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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Thanks everyone for the kind words. I`ll hit the easy answers first and then I jump into all the great questions from Lonnie.

    Quote Originally Posted by RTexasF View Post
    Awesome results, nicely done. Great looking wheels to boot
    Thanks. They are pretty good looking wheels. I`m a little worried I will like them a lot more than the stock, OEM wheels I run on a daily basis. It doesn`t help they will be much lighter than the OEM wheels too. Can`t wait to put them on a scale when I swap out for an event in a couple weeks.

    Quote Originally Posted by tom p. View Post
    Great result, Nate! That`s a good product.
    It is, and often overlooked. Despite being their mild offering, I found it eats through brake dust and grime really well. I have no need for anything stronger.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    It is a good cleaner indeed, but I always forget to use it. For me there are two wheel cleaning modes... trashed/new to me wheels (which get Megs WB or Hot Wheels acids) or maintenance (Regular Soap). Soap and water does the trick most of the time but I`ll be honest, I need to use something every few washes as there is definitely buildup that the eye does not see but the AIO wheel polish sessions show, black crap all over the pads.
    I only do my own family fleet for the most part, so I don`t encounter trashed wheels...until I bought this used set. I think the ability to use soap vs a mild wheel cleaner is often brake pad dependent. I`ve found when faced with German OEM performance brake pads like what was on my GTI and now my BMW, normal soap wouldn`t quite cut it. If I wanted "squeaky clean" wheels, I needed a dedicated wheel product.
    Drop by to see the latest at The Car Geek Blog

  9. #9

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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by Coatings=crack View Post
    Cleaned up well. They looked like they were in good shape. What you race if you don’t mind me asking

    Thanks!
    I run my daily driver, a `16 BMW 435 M Sport, 6-speed manual, RWD and a few other OEM performance goodies.


    Here we go, Lonnie. Some many great questions. Love it!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
    Desertnate:
    Thanks for posting pics of your well-bought rims and tires for your autocrossing "hobby"(?).
    Yes, it`s a hobby, but like detailing or any other recreational hobby, there are deep rabbit holes you can fall into!

    Coatings=crack beat me to the punch about asking what specific car you run at these autocross events (Gymkhana`s as some call them).
    Are these Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)-sanctioned events or just organized by a local car-club?
    I run my `16 BMW 435 (see answer above). I run it in a stock "street" class against other heavy, higher HP, sedans and coupes.

    These are SCCA organized events, which I like better than local car clubs due to the organizational discipline when it comes to things like scoring, classes, operations of the events themselves, and most important: safety. At least one local car club organizes their own events and from people I`ve talked to they sound a bit scary. NASA also holds events here and bunch of the local NASA and SCCA people join up to do their own events as well, but I simply don`t have the time to do that many events!

    Autocross is similar to gymkhana, but not really the same. Autocross will mimic a road course where the gymkhana adds an element of parking obstacles and 180/360 turns allowing you to drift. If you drift in autocross you`re loosing time and nailing cones. Every cone you hit adds +2 sec to your time.

    What do you mean by "Staggered" versus "Square" in terms of tire set-up? Different sized rims in the back OR from side-to-side (Like stock car racing set-ups) versus ALL fours having the same tire size?
    Staggered means front and rear axels have tires of a different size/width. Square means all four tires are the same size. Typically this means the rear tires are wider than the front. On my car, the OEM fronts are 225 width and the rears are 255. It gives a car much more grip when leaving the line for straight line acceleration, but the down side with having more grip in back than front is a greater tendency to understeer, or push in hard corning. It also puts a lot more stress on the front tires. To give the car the best balanced handling you go with a square set up. To improve grip AND balance, you go with a wider square set up. In my case this new set has 245 tires all around.

    This goes out the window with FWD cars somewhat. Audi`s RS3 comes with wider front that rear. We`ve got a couple guys in our SCCA region with some wildly tuned and totally focused FWD autocross cars (i.e. no longer street legal) which run slicks up front which are much wider than the rear to handle the steering and propulsion duties.

    What is the model/type of the Hankook tires you currently bought with the rims? Are these tires the "hot set-up" for your type/class of autocrossing that you participate in? Or are these just what came with the rim, they`re "sufficient", so you`ll use them up?
    The tires on there right now are Hankook RS4s. They are a 200 tread wear tire and the stickiest tire wear tire allowed in the many of the classes. The "hot" set up everyone used to run were Bridgestone RE71`s until Bridgestone ended production of that tire and didn`t replace it. The Yokohama A052`s are now the tire many SCCA national winners are running. The Falken RT660`s are the upstarts in this world because they grip as well as the RE71`s, but seem to be much cheaper.

    Ultimately, there is no single answer when you get into this realm of tire. Depending on climate, usage, driving style and even the weight of the car, some tires do better than others. Guys in Miata`s live the RE71`s and Yoko`s because the massive grip. Guys in heavier cars don`t like them because they heat up too quick and wear out too fast. They tend to like the Falkens and the BF Goodrich g-Force Rivals because they hold up better.

    The Hankooks I have on there now are a longer wearing, more heat resistant tire normally used more for track days and HPDE`s. However, in autocross the have the advantage of wearing slower and being a bit more usable in wet conditions. Supposedly they don`t heat up very fast, but on my heavy car that can be and advantage. Many tires grip well to a point and when they "overheat" they get slippery. These have quite a bit of wear left and I`ll wear them out first. No matter how you slice it, they will have more grip and drive much better than any normal summer tire would.

    Do these wheels (rim and tire assemblies) need to be dynamically re-balanced for autocross purposes OR are these tires going to be used on the car you autocross because it is also your daily driver??
    They are balanced like any normal tire. I`ll only use this set for events and swap my OEM set on before/after events, but I will drive to the event with these on the car. Any tire in the 200 tw class will wear out really fast in daily use and the super stiff sidewalls will make them really uncomfortable too.

    LOVE the idea of using a pair of wheel chucks designed for anti-rollback car jack-up (can`t say "car jacking" because that sounds too "criminal"!) for a wheel stand. Great outside-the-box thinking on that. Then again, re-purposing items for alternate uses that are so obvious/common sense to some are not to others (Like me, Captain Obvious.. HMMMMM! I wonder if I could use those wheel chucks for keeping garden hoses for getting wedged under my tires when doing 2-bucket washes??)
    Not sure how I thought of using the chocks. My driveway slopes on two axis, so I needed a way to clean them without them rolling away. I also wanted them standing up and not laying in the grass like I`ve done for my winter wheels in the past. So much easier.

    I REALLY like the idea of using them to keep the hose from getting jammed up! I`ll have to try that.

    BACK to wheel cleaners. Thanks for the info on Griot`s Garage Wheel Cleaner. I assume this is their "Heavy-Duty" wheel cleaner.
    Nope. This is the "normal one". The green stuff.

    As far as the Meg`s Detailer D140 Acid-based Wheel Brightener, it is designed to be diluted in a separate bottle to whatever cleaning "strength" is desired/needed by the end-user whereas the consumer-version Hot Rims Wheel Cleaner is more of a Ready-To-Use (RTU) product already pre-diluted. I know the D140 is "nasty" stuff that will destroy "regular" spray nozzles (Yes, you really need to an acid-resistant spray nozzle with this stuff and clean it out after using it. I would suggest doing this as well to the Hot Wheels Wheel Cleaner spray nozzle that came with the bottle), BUT as you suggested, it does have its place for cleaning really dirty wheels.
    Thanks for the tip on cleaning out the sprayer. I assumed Meguiars would equip their products with an appropriate sprayer, but you know what happens when people assume....

    One suggestion I will make to you about cleaning tar and old wheel-balancing weight adhesives off of rims is to have 3M Part No. 08984 General Purpose Adhesive Remover in your cleaning arsenal. Works great on old adhesives and road tar. Just be careful around NEW wheel weights attached with adhesive. It`s better if you use it on a rag or microfiber and dab/rub it that way rather than just dousing/pouring it on to an area to be cleaned next to a new wheel weight. (More common sense methods)
    Thanks for the tip. I just happened to have the Stoners on hand. I`ll have to get the 3M soon because I just got new tires on my street wheels and the weights are in totally different places. I`ve got big patches of adhesive goo to remove. Having something good at both adhesive and tar removal will be a bonus.
    Drop by to see the latest at The Car Geek Blog
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