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Old 02-10-2013, 10:40 AM   #1
Ray R OP
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Hub Restoration

I'm working on a restoration project and have a question. Do you have to remove the spokes to properly clean and shine the aluminum wheel hub? My 35 year old hubs have some pretty serious tarnish on them. Unless there's a better way, I'm tempted to remove the spokes and rim and media blast the hub to get it looking new again. But I'm not confident I can properly relace the wheels once I'm done and get them trued up right. So then it's off to a costly wheel repair guy. I know Woody does a great job. But I'd rather, if possible, have the satisfaction of doing this myself.

Any help/suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray R View Post
Any help/suggestions are appreciated.
http://www.woodyswheelworks.com/home.htm
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:30 PM   #3
villageidiot
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you only have one shot to do things right the first time.

hubs to the vapor blaster, or glass bead, media, sand, whatever fancies you, but then the aluminum is very open and pourous, so you need to "seal them up" to resist corrosion, dirt, fingerprints, etc. i find that fine glass bead, then solvent washing aluminum gives it the good look, and kinda closes the pores.

fresh set of stainless spokes/nipples

polish or powdercoat the wheels.

iirc, re lacing the bmw wheel isnt all too complex, (unless you have a GS or another X-laced wheel) as the spokes are straight, the holes in the hub kind of dictate where the spokes go. hardest part is truing them.

what woody's charges is very very fair as a ship em and receive them back as new. but it lacks the satisfaction of doing it yourself (the cleaning/assembling anyways)
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:32 PM   #4
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On my Guzzi, I removed the bearings and their carriers, and had the hubs soda blasted. It worked out great. Thankfully, Guzzis came with stainless spokes, so rusty spokes aren't a concern like on airheads. I'd imagine that on an airhead, the soda would take off any corrosion on the spokes, but it would come right back. I had a guy with a commercial soda blaster do it, but I've seen a number of articles about how you can effectively soda blast with a $10 air gun. I want to set up to do that myself, as I have a steady stream of jobs where it would be nice to be able to clean things up by this method. The beauty of soda blasting is that when you're done, you hose it off, and the grit just dissolves and is gone.No risk of abrasive staying behind and causing troubles.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:03 PM   #5
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I'm trying a Dremel with a wire brush and some patience. So far, it seems to be doing the trick. Maybe some acetone when I'm done to clean it all up.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:32 PM   #6
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This was a well used Moto Guzzi hub/rotor after glass bead..



Here's the before



It worked well on the aluminum hubs. It's a lot harder to GET it clean, than it is to KEEP it clean.

I wouldn't recommend glass bead on a formerly polished alum. surface. You're better off with 1000 grit steel wool and liberal amounts of elbow grease!
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:34 PM   #7
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Did you blast it with the wheel all laced up, or disassembled? I'd say that looks about 20% better than my sody-blasted hub looks.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:58 PM   #8
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Ok..after those photos, I'm convinved I need a portable media blaster. Probably soda? It seems to be the safest and easiest to clean up after. My hubs aren't near as bad as the photos above.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:07 AM   #9
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Ray - I've got a soda blaster if you want to clean em up that way. I'm also experienced re-lacing wheels if new stainless spokes are appealing.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:21 AM   #10
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It all depends on the qua;ity of the finish you are ready to accept. You can soda blast the whole wheel but if the rim is polished alum before it wont be after. Soda finish is like 'satin' finish on an alum rim. At first I wasnt sure but after a while it sort of grew on me and I left it like that. However if you want a polished rim it is far...far..far easier to pull the wheel apart and polish the rim - getting a polish around each spoke on the surface of the rim is a bitch and almost impossible to get perfect. Below is a picture - its a bit hard to see but you can compare the finish between the front cover (polished alum) and the rims.


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Old 02-11-2013, 07:44 AM   #11
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I've got a glass bead blaster, be more than happy to blast the hubs if ya ship em down, u just gotta pay the shipping. I much prefer the finish of fine glass bead to soda.

Though its probably easier/cheaper to have it done in your area.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:01 AM   #12
JonnyCash
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^I agree, the bead blasted finish is nicer than the sody blast finish. I bead blasted the cases of my RD350 when I had it apart, but I got worked up into ulcers worrying about getting ALL of the grit out of things before reassembly. On parts that don"t have oil passages and myriad nooks and crannies, I would still definitely prefer the bead blasting.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:54 AM   #13
danedg
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I stuck two rubber corks in the axle holes and let loose with a fine glass bead. My machinist has a full size cabinet. The whole wheel, tire fits inside. Blast away!

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Old 02-11-2013, 03:24 PM   #14
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The Overluber

This was the rear wheel. The splines had been meticulously overlubed. All the excess ended up the wheel and hub.



Here's the other side I looked at today. Multiple wet degreasings first. EZOFF oven cleaner works great.
Then the beady blaster and at least I can work on a CLEAN beat up rear wheel...



The Borranni wheel was SO crusty I said , Fuggit! and blasted the crud off the the originally polished surface.



That left a "satin" finish. I THEN busted out the Dremel and went at it with the brass brush. It made all the difference in the world to have the surface clean to begin with.



Hit that with some metal polish and you've got a great surface with petunia!



Then you can try and polish the hell outta yer wheel so it shines like a two dollar nickel. Put it on the trailer and drag it from show to show.
OR you can go out and ride the thing for the next 20 years and it'll get all messed up again!
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:44 PM   #15
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I left the wheel together and glass bead blasted the hub, cleaned the spokes with a scotchbrite pad, and polished the rim with Mother's Billet Polish. It came out great!
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