Step 4: Tackling rusty rims

Picture of Tackling rusty rims
The rims on this project bike were in terrible shape.  The front wheel was entirely coated in rust, including every spoke.  Fortunately, however, this was just surface rust and pitting -- the integrity of the rims was still sound.

I started with 120 grit paper and worked my way down to 220 grit on the rims and the spokes.  All-in-all I spent 7 hours sanding the front wheel and 3 hours sanding the rear wheel.

Before sanding the rims, I tried every rust-removing chemical I coudl find (including using cola!).  Unfortunately, the rust was just too profound for chemical removal, so I had to do it the hard way.

Once all the rust was removed, I sprayed each wheel with primer, then the hammered finish enamel.
DonnaL53 months ago

hi i was just winding if you think my rims are too rusted to restore? i was going to blast them then paint them- the inner that is, the poke side is in good condition. thanks

knife141 (author)  DonnaL53 months ago

It's hard to tell from the photo, but it looks to me like the rust has eroded the metal in some places. If it's just light surface rust, you might be ok. If it has actually eaten into the structure, I wouldn't risk it.

DonnaL5 knife1413 months ago

Yeah it has eaten away at it a bit, best replace them then. thanks

Bubbax5 years ago
Be cautiouse with restoring the wheel. Years of rust and corrosion may have weakend the spokes creating a dangerous situation If they were to fail in normal riding they would probably continue to loosen. A harsh shock to the rim may brake several at a time. Replacing spoke is possible and probably not to expensive but a pain. I would suggest a little more time on Ebay or a cycle salvage service for some wheels in better condition. Be careful.
I used to have a Yzinger we raced around the yard It was a blast
aaronanalog5 years ago
A kiddie pool works great for electrolisis on frames. The good thing about it is that you can do half then flip it over and do the other side.
Did you look into electrolytic removal?