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Disc wheel paint and referb


Senior Member
So, here's the deal ...

I have six MGB disc wheels. Three of them are very good, three of them not so much. Five of the six appear to have the original factory paint. Two of the bad ones were damaged to one degree or another. The third had a poorly executed repaint, but was otherwise in good condition.

The plan was to repaint the poorly painted one and thus end up with 4 good ones on the car, plus a somewhat marginal spare, to be dealt with at some later time. To this end I purchased a can of Moss wheel paint, advertised to be a close match to the original color, but no guarantee, soldier. One can is advertised as enough to paint 5 wheels, plus a little left for touch-up.
Let's deal with the "paint 5 wheels" issue first. Moss must be referring to painting the outside of the wheel only, as there is no way you will repaint 5 complete wheels with that one can. More like 3 complete wheels, and maybe two, depending on how liberal you are with the paint.

I took the referb wheel to a custom wheel outfit to have the condition of wheel (straightness) checked, and to have the existing paint removed from all surfaces. The straightness check consisted of mounting the wheel on a spin balancing machine and observing whether it seemed to wobble, after which it was pronounced as "looks pretty good to me". No problem there, as I thought it looked pretty good, too.
I advised the shop that all I wanted further was to have the paint taken off the wheel in their blast cabinet, and I did not intend to powder coat the wheel.
A day later I picked up the wheel. See pic below.


Note the matt-gray finish. Looks smooth in the picture, but in fact it had a finish not unlike 600-grit sandpaper. Apparently the shop uses a very agressive blast media to clean wheels, and this is the result.
Before leaving the shop with the wheel, I asked whether I needed to do anything else before painting. They said no, and in fact to not even primer the wheel since the paint will hold fine, and that's what they do with the wheels they powder coat (paint without primer).
So I painted the wheel without primer, and this is the result.


Looks pretty good, doesn't it?
The finish is still gritty. The couple coats of wheel paint did not fill the sandpaper finish left from the blast operation and produce a smooth finish.
I should have primed the wheel anyway. Primer serves as a filler in addition to providing a grip for the paint. If the wheel had been powder coated, that process would have provided the filler and produced a smooth finish.
Below is a pic of the finished wheel against one of the existing wheels.


The paint match is pretty good, but the finish still bugs me. I have in fact further sprayed it with clear coat, which makes it shine a little more, but it's still gritty.


Country flag
Thanks for the info and write up. Sorry the finish was not all you hoped. So, my take away from this is to powder coat my rims?


Senior Member
"...my take away from this is to powder coat my rims?"

Not necessarily.
It all depends what your objective is.
If the objective is to match the referbed wheel color with other non-powder coated wheels in a set, then I would be extremely hesitant to advise powder coating the one wheel.
My very limited experience is that powder coating is likely to change the color of paint on the wheel and produce a non-matching situation, even when you started with Moss's pretty-close color match paint.
If you are referbing an entire set of wheels, have at it, because they are all going to match each other. They may not truly match the factory color to the extent that an un-powder coated wheel will, but at least they will be all the same.
The point of my little project summary was that you need to know the outcome of the paint removal procedure before you start. I did not, and the result was that I had a wheel that had a finish suitable for powder coating when I was not going to powder coat.
In retrospect I should have taken the wheel to a service that was not going to use as agressive a blast media. I would have probably had to primer the wheel, but the finish would have been better for my purposes.


Great Pumpkin
Country flag
If you had sandblasted then painted with two part epoxy primer there would have been enough paint to do both sides of all and the primer would have filled the rough stuff.


yeah... the finish on my SAAB Shelby wheels is somewhat similar. If I had taken the extra time to actually achieve a perfectly smooth finish I would have had a ~lot~ more time invested in the wheels. However, since I drive my car daily, I'm not too bothered with the finish. They're shiny, they're the color I want, and they're a lot easier to clean that raw blasted aluminum would have been /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif
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