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Car Care & Detailing
Get detailing answers and tips here

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Old 03-05-2006, 08:25 PM   #1
warddc
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Engine degreaser kicks a$$ on brake dust

I used Gunk Foamy engine bright engine degreaser (about $2 /can at autozone) to clean the backside and front side of my wheels. ALL brake dust came off after only few minutes. I used a nylon soft brush to help the process and then rinse. After, i washed the wheels as normal to remove any remaining engine degreaser. these wheels started pretty black and ended up shiny silver.

If you scrub and the dust still doesn't come off, try gunk.

d.

ETA: oh by the way, i had the wheels off the car. it makes it easier to get at the inside of the wheel. i like to see clean wheel on the inside as well as out.
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Old 03-05-2006, 08:36 PM   #2
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One word of warning with engine cleaners. Just like acids which have a very low ph ( below 7) and cause damage, heavy duty degreaser are aqually dangerous but on the opposite end of the ph scale. They usually rate around 10-14. Very effective for grease but not gentle on paint. I would always start with soap and water and work up slowly. If soap doesn't work try p21s wheel cleaner with plenty of dwell time. If p21s wheel cleaner doesn't work you may want to step up to a very mild acid and dilute it down and rinse immediately.

Using Harsh chemicals like engine cleaners and acids on delicate surfaces are like using flame thowers to lite a barbaque, they work but not really reccomended.
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Old 03-05-2006, 08:48 PM   #3
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use P21s wheel cleaner instead. it is very effective and harmless and the only endorsed product by bmw porsche MB
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Old 03-05-2006, 09:12 PM   #4
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i wouldn't consider a baked powder coated wheel surface delicate. the abuse it takes running in salt, sand and other abrasives of winter don't effect it. 3 minutes of engine degreaser isn't gonna hurt. you are more likely to cause finish problems with excessive scrubbing because the cleaner you using is too mild.

d.
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Old 03-05-2006, 09:24 PM   #5
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I didn't mean to come across as criticizing. It's just my car care philosophy; always start with the least harsh chemical first. I am sorry if you took it as criticism. I have 17 years of detailing experience and I like talking about and advising about car care.
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Old 03-05-2006, 09:46 PM   #6
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Don't degreaser cans usually say "avoid painted surfaces"?
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Old 03-06-2006, 06:35 AM   #7
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understood. soap and water ain't gonna take off brake dust blackened wheels. I have never actually seen any wheel damaged using engine degreaser. Have you? Many of these statements lack actual fact backing them. Most wheels are NOT painted. They are a baked powder coat finish which is very durable. engine degreaser should not be left to dry on painted surfaces as it may cause streaking. the wheel however is not gonna magically dissolve into a puddle of goo because it got a little degreaser on it. My wheels actually look great and are none the worse for the cleaning.

YMMV,
d.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OCDGarage
I didn't mean to come across as criticizing. It's just my car care philosophy; always start with the least harsh chemical first. I am sorry if you took it as criticism. I have 17 years of detailing experience and I like talking about and advising about car care.
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Old 03-05-2006, 09:53 PM   #8
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yea, u could mess the paint up om rims, i jus use soap and water
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Old 03-05-2006, 10:47 PM   #9
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what should be used if the rims have been dirty for so long that the black is pretty much impossible to take off with soap and water?/
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Old 03-05-2006, 10:55 PM   #10
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dirty rims

P21S Gel will stay wet for a long time. Spray your rims and let them sit for even an hour. Just make sure the solution doesn't dry, keep re-applying chemical if necessary. If that doesn't work you can try a little bit of old clay you don't care about anymore. Last resort is an acid based cleaner. Acids attack metal, all metal. The acid goes to town on the metallic brake particles that have attached to your wheel under extremely high temperatures. Always spot check new chemicals in a small area out of sight first to make sure that there is no unwanted reaction.
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Old 03-06-2006, 08:55 AM   #11
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Many factory rims are still actually painted (or clearcoated) but this is irrelevant. All coatings are like the skin on our bodies. Harsh degreaer usually contain a from of sodium hydroxide which is a very effective cleaner but can be extremely drying. You may not see any damage right away but rest assured that if one side of the vehicle is cleaned with heavy duty degreaser on a weekly basis and the other side with a ph balanced solution like p21s in a few years one side will look shiny and healthy and the other will have a more dull, oxidized faded look. I have seen it first hand hundreds of time.
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Old 03-06-2006, 07:37 PM   #12
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Oh, I agree completely. I was not suggesting that this should become part of ones regular wheel cleaning routine. I did this as a one-time thing to clean a set of wheels that i acquired that had considerable brake dust accumulation from several years of use. from now on, i will use only mild soaps and such. I was just suggesting it for those who have negelected their wheels for a while and want to get them back to like new condition. you a perfectly correct that long term use of caustic products like sodium hydroxide would be detrimental to the finish.

dave.
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Old 03-06-2006, 07:46 PM   #13
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agreed :-)

Brett
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