Viggen Wheel Repair (Part 1)

I spent the day at Drew B’s place today. Drew is a wealth of repair information and a skilled cratsman when it comes to restoring metal objects to their original state. He could actually make quite a decent living out of it if he chose to, but prefers to do jobs like these ‘just for fun’.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the wheels are off the Viggen at the moment and I have some 16″ wheels from a 9-3 Linear occupying their place. The switcheroo is due to the discovery of a rather large buckle in one of my wheels. The buckled wheel was a contributing factor in a shock absorber failure, so I figured it was time to get them fixed. New rear shockers are waiting in the wings, but first I have to get the wheel(s) straightened and while I’m at it, I figured repainting them isn’t a bad idea either.

I dropped the wheels off at an engineer’s workshop during the week. The bent wheel also had a decent size gouge in it. $150 later I got all four wheels back, perfectly straight (there was a second one with a slight buckle), a patch welded in where the gouge was and all the kerb rash completely removed from all four wheels.

Money well spent!!

After I cleaned all the surface grit and grime off them this morning (I had to make it sound like I did something useful), Drew went to work with an orbital sander and a sanding sponge. The results are below.

Photo 1 – The wheel on the left is shown after a run with the orbital sander. The wheel on the right is untouched except for the engineering work done this week. This is the previously buckled wheel and you can see where the weld was done on the outer lip (big patch of raw metal just above and to the left of the valve hole).

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Photo 2 – I’ve got used to looking at the 16s on the Viggen, and the car certainly rides a bit more comfortably, but it’s going to look so much better with it’s original kicks on. Can’t wait.

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Photo 3 – the paint finish on the Viggen wheels is a finish called ‘shadowchrome’, consisting of a dark basecoat and a translucent silver on top finished off with clear. You can buy an aftermarket shadowchrome paint kit for around $800. PPG, the OEM paint supplier avalable through our local dealership has a shadowchrome tint available at $330 fo a litre can. Whoa Nelly!

After much consultation with a local automotive paint guy, Drew has formed the opinion that such paint kits and paint prices are a total crock aimed at sucking in gullible punters with too much money. We’re aiming at replicating the effect using the same base coat, but using a silver paint with it’s tint thinned out with some extra binder to give it a translucent effect. Total paint cost is expected to be around $60.

Here’s all four wheels after a final wet rub down with a sanding sponge. Smooth as. And ready for priming. the car in the background is Drew’s silver bumper 99 that’s stripped down as part of its ongoing restoration.

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We’re exremely lucky to have a guy like Drew around. A wealth of knowledge and such caustic wit!!

Hopefully the wheels will be ready to go back on the car in around 2 weeks.

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