WHEEL REPAIR AND REFINISHING

Curbing your nice alloy wheels is a good way to completely ruin your day and the overall appearance of your ride. Replacing those wheels would be the easiest fix, but the cost of buying a new set can be pretty hefty; however, there are alternatives. Should this unfortunate event happen to you, all hope shouldn’t be lost, there is a cost-effective alternative, and that is getting your wheels repaired. For us, getting the BBS RS-001s repaired was our only option due to the rarity of the wheels.

VR Wheels, located in the City of Industry, CA. offers custom wheel repair, refinishing and custom color changes for a mere fraction of the cost of replacement. Established as a one-stop wheel repair service facility, they offer TIG welding, rim straightening, cosmetic repair, polishing, custom painting and powder coating, and cracked wheel and bead corrosion repair.
“Rims become bent every day by impacts, typically caused by potholes or road damage. We use our specialized technology, customized tools and skill to straighten aluminum alloy, magnesium or steel rims to factory specifications” states VR Wheels owner Jack Tao.

Custom Wheels
With an in-house paint shop and CNC machining capabilities, VR Wheels can repair or create a variety of different looks for your wheels by offering an array of custom sized wheel barrels, multiple coloring options – including gloss black, flat black, gunmetal, painted pockets and more, and if that weren’t enough, these guys have the ability to fill existing lug bolt holes and re-drill new lug bolt-patterns to fit a completely different application.

Restoration Process
In our last post, we had tracked down a set of BBS RS001 wheels in a hard to find 15×7-inch diameter, with +25mm offset (a size that has long been discontinue). Overall, the wheels were in good physical condition but completely lacked the visual pizazz needed for our show worthy BMW 2002. To address the wheels “ugly duckling” syndrome, VR Wheels was called upon to execute a full restoration. Follow along as we take you through the beautification process.

Wheel Specialist David Hour of VR Wheels quickly disassembled our 20+-year-old BBS wheels prior to submerging the pieces in a chemical bath to remove the OEM paint, grime, and oxidized clear coat. Then the pieces were whisked off to receive media blasting to eliminate any remaining rust and old paint before the powder coat was to be applied.

We decided to give our wheels the “classic feel” by powder coating the BBS’s face in Bright Silver to simulate the OEM finish. Although OEM uses paint, we had VR powder coat the pieces for added durability and environmental corrosion resistance. Andrew Bahn of VR Wheels carefully applied the powder to the wheel face before to popping them in the industrial sized oven to cure.

Prior to final assembly of our newly reconditioned BBS RS 001 3-piece wheels, David removed any excess powder coating to ensure the proper fitment when mating the parts together. A fresh set of polished nuts and bolts provided by VR Wheels were locked into place with some “Locktite ” adhesive before securing each piece to 25 ft-lb. of torque.

Accent pieces including our BBS center caps and emblems were reconditioned. A side-by-side shot of center cap both before and after show how well they cleaned up after 20+ years of exposure to the elements.

We all know the old adage; a picture is worth a thousand words. And, it’s true. We leave you with one final shot of our refurbished wheel – the results are amazing! Stay tuned for the next edition of Clarion Builds blog as we continue to massage our BMW 2002’s body into shape in preparation for paint.

Alyson Yarberry