Cleaning neglected aluminum wheels - Harley Davidson Forums: Harley Davidson Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 07:15 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Mapleton Illinois
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Cleaning neglected aluminum wheels

Hi Folks -

I recently purchased a 2006 FXDI that had been neglected by it's previous owner, looking like the back wheel had not been cleaned for a long time, or ever.

I have been doing maintenance on the bike, changing all the fluids, lubricating where necessary (control cables, pivot points etc) and doing a clean-up.

I found something that is working decently on the rear wheel; 0000 steel wool wet with Turtle Wax chrome polish.

I just started last night, and it requires a bit of elbow grease, but note the initial results -

Before -

After in one spot -

I am not sure how this will work on the spokes and inner area that is not smoothed - that might tear up the steel wool, so I might try something like a scotchbrite pad, or even a wheel in a drill.

I will remove the wheel to do much more, and I will take pictures to add here.



2006 FXDI
2015 ZG1400 ABS
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 07:50 AM
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Looks a lot better. Good job. Add power tools to make it easier.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 10:09 AM
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I have used a drill bit before and wrapped a generous amount of green scratch pad around it and used it to clean in some of the smaller areas. Just make sure the bit doesn't work though or you be using it for its intended purpose
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 10:17 AM
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You can find some..(Not sure they still make it)
Naval jelly works great on aluminum wheels when there as dirty as that! Wipe it on..let set for a few minutes..hose it off!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice guys -

I remember Naval Jelly - I will see if the local megamart has it


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2006 FXDI
2015 ZG1400 ABS
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 07:30 PM
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They have acid that lots of car dealers use, probably have to buy it from them or there supplier.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips, folks. I very much appreciate the ideas.

Tonight I removed the front wheel, fender and fork legs - dropping the wheel off for a new tire tomorrow, and the fork legs I will drop off at the HD dealer and have them put new seals in them; I just don't have time to get that done myself this week.

It is supposed to be in the upper 60s here Saturday, so want to get it buttoned back up to get a putt in!

Too bad about this tire - it's not got 500 miles on it, but it is weather checked - this crack goes to the cords....

This will give me room to clean some on the front and under the front of the engine.


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2006 FXDI
2015 ZG1400 ABS
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 12:10 PM
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I suggest plastidip on the nonmachined part of the mag. Its time consuming but I think it looks great. Best of all, just spray them with simple green, wipe and hose them off, good to go. Actually I did black and then clear plastidip the whole wheel.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 02:34 PM
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I picked up a generic aluminum wheel cleaning acid in a spray bottle from NAPA for my bronco wheels.
love the stuff! eats right through the muck and grime. have to be careful with it though... it's like cleaning with battery acid.
rubber gloves, eye protection, even made pant gators out of garbage bags to save my pants/shoes.

my experience with the drill buff, polish stuff hasn't been nearly as impressive.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 11:00 PM
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Before I had my rim chromed I used a metal polish called 'Flitz' on the alloy rim. It worked better than most polishes that I tried. Once I got the rim all cleaned and polished it was really easy to keep it that way. It only took about a 1/2 a month to clean it up.

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