Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    ......... diggy488's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    My Bikes
    2012 C'dale Supersix
    Posts
    148
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Can I use a Dremel tool to clean my alum wheels?

    I have a set of Mavic CXP 23s from a 1999 Giant that I would like to clean up. The rims consist of aluminum alloy and look like the picture below. With the proper pads, do you think it is safe to polish the wheels with a dremel tool with some type of car wax? The dremel is a variable speed. The purpose is to be able to remove grime more easily, while protecting the finish.
    What suggestions do you all have for using a dremel tool to clean and polish these wheels? Thank you!


  2. #2
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Just NW of Richardson Bike Mart
    My Bikes
    '05 Trek 1200 / '90 Trek 8000 / '? Falcon Europa
    Posts
    6,082
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    3 Thread(s)
    I see no reason why you couldnt. Mothers makes a whole line of polishers designed to be used with electric drills.

    http://www.mothers.com/products/prod...ower_prod.html
    Are you a registered member? Why not? Click here to register. It's free and only takes 27 seconds! Help out the forums, abide by our community guidelines.
    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  3. #3
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Medway, MA
    My Bikes
    2011 Lynskey Sportive, 1988 Cannondale SM400
    Posts
    2,412
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The Mothers Powerball would be a better solution than a Dremel. Use some of their mag wheel polish and you should be able to blind traffic with your shiny rims.
    DEMON

    Satanic Mechanic
    STAR 3 Spinning Instructor

    2011 Lynskey Sportive (Shimano Ultegra 10s)
    1988 Cannondale SM400 (Suntour XC-M 7s)

  4. #4
    Easy like Sunday morning white lobster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    296
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm not so sure about using wax on the sidewalls. Sounds like a recipe for some very squeaky brakes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chris_in_Miami's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    4,474
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I like the Powerball option (though I've never used one,) because you wouldn't be running it at high RPMs like the Dremel. I think the Dremel has a good potential to screw up the finish if you're not careful.

    Personally, I'd crack open a beer and do it by hand.

  6. #6
    ......... diggy488's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    My Bikes
    2012 C'dale Supersix
    Posts
    148
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks guys.
    I have no intention to polish the brake disk, as I know this would not be wise. I like the idea of Mothers wheel polish. I'll see how low the RPMs are on the dremel and test on a junk rim before I try on the newer ones. I've cleaned and polished by hand previously, but as you all probably know, it can be time consuming if you're wanting perfection. The thought crossed my mind last night about using a dremel tool to speed up the process.
    If anyone has first-hand experience doing the same, please advise, otherwise I'll test my luck! Thanks for all the great feedback! It's much appreciated.

  7. #7
    ......... diggy488's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    My Bikes
    2012 C'dale Supersix
    Posts
    148
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    I see no reason why you couldnt. Mothers makes a whole line of polishers designed to be used with electric drills.

    http://www.mothers.com/products/prod...ower_prod.html
    The mini looks like the ticket! I'll see if I can find it in town. Thanks for the link!

    Edit: At $24 I'll pass.
    Last edited by diggy488; 03-26-08 at 09:59 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    The 'Wack, BC, Canada
    My Bikes
    Norco (2), Miyata, Canondale, Soma, Redline
    Posts
    5,409
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wax on the braking surface is not something I would want to try either. At best your brakes will just be squeaky from it. At worst any silicones or other modern slippery stuff in the waxes will result in less friction and reduced stopping power.

    And even if you did sand and shine up these sidewalls to a mirror like shine the shine would last until the first stop and they'll be all marked again.

    The arched part of the rims is anodized. Using waxes on anodized surfaces will result in the whitish buildup staying in the nooks and valleys that make up the matt finish of the anodizing. It won't clean out and shine up like a painted surface would. Instead it'll remain white'ish.

    Going beyond that would be removal of the anodizing and then polishing. That's a LOT of work and the bare aluminium will actually be more prone to corrosion and pitting from exposure unless you keep them waxed with a good automotive wax. But then you're back to the wax on the braking surfaces again.

    Unless you managed to stain the anodizing with something I'd suggest just wash them well. If you've picked up some road tar stains then a mild degreasing solvent can be used to remove then and follow that with a wash to remove the solvent.

    And finally power tools used around the rim are going to also hit the spokes and spoke nipples. An abrasive that is harsh enough to remove the anodizing will certainly result in the wrench flats on the nipples being worn down and then you risk the nipples rounding over when you try to true your wheel at some point.

    Nope, I'd say this is a time to just wash when needed and step back from the compounds, waxes and power tools.

    EDIT: I see you're trying this on a used rim first. Good idea. I still think it'll be more work than it's worth. You're going to get road and brake crud on it anyway. Especially if you rid in the rain at all. Actually when you ride in the rain MOST of the black stuff on the rims is brake pad and rim sidewall residue. Very little of it is actual mud picked up from the roadway.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  9. #9
    ......... diggy488's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    My Bikes
    2012 C'dale Supersix
    Posts
    148
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    Wax on the braking surface is not something I would want to try either. At best your brakes will just be squeaky from it. At worst any silicones or other modern slippery stuff in the waxes will result in less friction and reduced stopping power.

    And even if you did sand and shine up these sidewalls to a mirror like shine the shine would last until the first stop and they'll be all marked again.

    The arched part of the rims is anodized. Using waxes on anodized surfaces will result in the whitish buildup staying in the nooks and valleys that make up the matt finish of the anodizing. It won't clean out and shine up like a painted surface would. Instead it'll remain white'ish.

    Going beyond that would be removal of the anodizing and then polishing. That's a LOT of work and the bare aluminium will actually be more prone to corrosion and pitting from exposure unless you keep them waxed with a good automotive wax. But then you're back to the wax on the braking surfaces again.

    Unless you managed to stain the anodizing with something I'd suggest just wash them well. If you've picked up some road tar stains then a mild degreasing solvent can be used to remove then and follow that with a wash to remove the solvent.

    And finally power tools used around the rim are going to also hit the spokes and spoke nipples. An abrasive that is harsh enough to remove the anodizing will certainly result in the wrench flats on the nipples being worn down and then you risk the nipples rounding over when you try to true your wheel at some point.

    Nope, I'd say this is a time to just wash when needed and step back from the compounds, waxes and power tools.

    EDIT: I see you're trying this on a used rim first. Good idea. I still think it'll be more work than it's worth. You're going to get road and brake crud on it anyway. Especially if you rid in the rain at all. Actually when you ride in the rain MOST of the black stuff on the rims is brake pad and rim sidewall residue. Very little of it is actual mud picked up from the roadway.
    Excellent input. I'll take all of this into consideration. Thanks!

  10. #10
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Just NW of Richardson Bike Mart
    My Bikes
    '05 Trek 1200 / '90 Trek 8000 / '? Falcon Europa
    Posts
    6,082
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    3 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by diggy488 View Post
    The mini looks like the ticket! I'll see if I can find it in town. Thanks for the link!

    Edit: At $24 I'll pass.
    I would try the big box stores for a generic knock off. It might be worth a trip to the autoparts store as well to see what they have. I just linked to Mothers, becuase I knew they had one.
    Are you a registered member? Why not? Click here to register. It's free and only takes 27 seconds! Help out the forums, abide by our community guidelines.
    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  11. #11
    Senior Member nagsheadlocal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Research Triangle, NC
    My Bikes
    '70 Leopard (Swiss), '70 Raleigh Super Course, '74 Raleigh Super Course II, '73 Raleigh Grand Prix, Schwinn Montague folder, C-dale M-300, C-dale M-400, C-dale R-900, C-dale CAAD-3
    Posts
    87
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    To jsharr's excellent suggestion of an auto parts store, I can also suggest a boat-supply store. West Marine makes a great AL polish that I use (it's their store brand). At the auto parts store, look for Meguiar's Hot Rims (don't laugh) Mag and Aluminum Polish. They also make a wash that strips off the grime and water spots - saves a lot of time.

    One tip - treat an aluminum surface the same as you would a paint surface: soft and easy to scratch and gouge.

  12. #12
    ......... diggy488's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    My Bikes
    2012 C'dale Supersix
    Posts
    148
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    One tip - treat an aluminum surface the same as you would a paint surface: soft and easy to scratch and gouge.
    Will do. Glad you mentioned this!

  13. #13
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    In Ebritated
    Posts
    6,556
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    BCRider is correct with regards to the anodized surface. Wax won't have any beneficial results where as polish runs the risk of taking off the anodized surface.

    I've used polish/rubbing compound on the brake surface in an effort to clean them off. Found it easier to use Simple Green and a scratch pad.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  14. #14
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    40205 'ViLLeBiLLie
    My Bikes
    Sngl Spd's, 70's- 80's vintage, D-tube Folder
    Posts
    7,750
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Toothpaste works too, really
    With a felt Dremel wheel......you'll feel minty fresh on your rides, too

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    705
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I used a dremel to clean/scuff/sand the sidewalls of a set of rims...worked quite well. I'm not sure what the "bit" I used is caled...it looks like a plasticy scouring pad....apparently it has some sort of abrasive embedded in the plastic "fibers"...?

    Brake cleaner (of the auto type) works well to clean the anodized part of the rim...

  16. #16
    ......... diggy488's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    My Bikes
    2012 C'dale Supersix
    Posts
    148
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I decided to pass on the idea of using the Dremel tool and used some good old fashioned elbow grease. I applied MOTHERS Mag & Aluminum Polish, which cleaned the wheels up real nice. I will add a coat of Meguiar's polish for an additional layer of protection.
    BEFORE (stains are AFTER using a spray cleaner!)





    AFTER







  17. #17
    Senior Member Chris_in_Miami's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    4,474
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Nice job, they look great!

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    14,274
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Dang! It looks new.

  19. #19
    Senior Member nagsheadlocal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Research Triangle, NC
    My Bikes
    '70 Leopard (Swiss), '70 Raleigh Super Course, '74 Raleigh Super Course II, '73 Raleigh Grand Prix, Schwinn Montague folder, C-dale M-300, C-dale M-400, C-dale R-900, C-dale CAAD-3
    Posts
    87
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Nice job - some times you just need to break down, put a good CD on the player, and do the grunt work. Sure paid off in this case, they look great!

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    6,901
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    Toothpaste works too, really
    With a felt Dremel wheel......you'll feel minty fresh on your rides, too
    Good idea. Toothpaste with flouride also works really well on fire ant bites.

    Not a suggestion but maybe someone else can comment. Would something like Bar Keepers Freind work on cleaning aluminum wheels?

  21. #21
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    The 'Wack, BC, Canada
    My Bikes
    Norco (2), Miyata, Canondale, Soma, Redline
    Posts
    5,409
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It may well do the job but it's not cheap. I've got some as it is recomended for cleaning a couple of Calphalon pans I've got. No way I'm using stuff that expensive on bike parts when simple detergent or Simple Green continues to clean the rims just fine.

    I just scrub them with the soapy water and a good hard bristle brush and they come up squeaky clean in a few strokes.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  22. #22
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    1,801
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    It may well do the job but it's not cheap. I've got some as it is recomended for cleaning a couple of Calphalon pans I've got. No way I'm using stuff that expensive on bike parts
    Don't know where you buy your Barkeepers Friend, but around here it's about $1.99 in supermarkets and hardware stores. I use it for my anodized pans, general housecleaning and my boat.

  23. #23
    ......... diggy488's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    My Bikes
    2012 C'dale Supersix
    Posts
    148
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the comments guys. It's so much easier to clean off dirt from the rims and frame will a coat of wax on it. I spent every bit of 2hrs on the wheels, but very much worth it!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •