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      04-05-2010, 01:40 PM   #1
whaleboy
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Powder coating wheels cons?

I'm spec'ing out an M3 to replace my e46, and would like to go with black wheels. While doing some checking online, seems there is some debate on whether powder coating wheels is a good idea or not. I don't really see any negative info here, but have read elsewhere that powdercoating wheels can reduce the strength of the metal, due to the heating required to cure the powder coat.

Has anyone had issues with this? Seems an awful lot of people do it. Are the concerns warranted?

If I decide to do it, it'll likely be with the ZCP wheels...

Thanks

-David
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      04-05-2010, 06:20 PM   #2
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I had the same concern, but after some research, found out powdercoating wheels at 400F has no negative effects on aluminum wheels, and even less on forged ones, like our 19s. In fact, the shop powdercoating my wheels told me the gray paint on my wheels was powdercoat, not paint. If powdercoating was damaging to wheels we'd know by now, no?

The only downsides are cost, and on 19" wheels, the clearcoat is stronger than powdercoat, so stock wheels are more resistant to chipping. But that's the case with any powdercoated wheel. Hope this helps.
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      04-06-2010, 11:09 AM   #3
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other cons of powder coating are choosing the wrong vendor that has no clue what they're doing with your wheels. Most guys are after the cheap price, but that cheap price burns so much longer than reaching into your pocket to get the job done correctly the first time, with lost time, crappy finishes, or lost product.

All (newer, perhaps 1995+) wheels come from the BMW factory in Dolgolfing in a 7 stage marriage of liquid paint and powder. It is very difficult to remove, however, many "powder coaters" will just shot blast it off, using small metal beads. While it does the job, what do you think those metal spheres are doing to your wheels and the metal that lies beneath the coating while some untrained guy blasts away? It isnt pretty. Being recognized by the courts as powder coating experts, we've written many affidavits to support plaintiffs in an attempt to become whole after powdercoater xyz ruins their wheels. They must be stripped chemically prior to powder coating.

Go visit powder coating facilities. Are their floors clean? Are their shelves clean? Are their employees well presented or disgruntled? How much employee turn around do they experience? This will answer how often they have to train people how to do the work, as well as how well they run their organization. If you have any question at all, run, do not walk, and find someone else that makes you feel comfortable. After all, these are your BMW WHEELS (our garage is full of them, both of the auto and motorcycle variety).

I'd be happy to post threads from around the country on powder coating horror stories, as well as threads from around the country on powder coating success stories. They are out there. Its up to the consumer to do their diligence when investigating a powder coating applicator.

Anyone can buy a gun and a box of powder and put the powder coating hat and proclaim "I am now a powder coater!"... but it doesnt work like that.

Enjoy your beautiful cars! We are big fans of BMW!!!

Scott & Sandee Andrews
Andrews Powder Coating, Inc.
Chatsworth, CA
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      04-06-2010, 11:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whaleboy View Post
I'm spec'ing out an M3 to replace my e46, and would like to go with black wheels. While doing some checking online, seems there is some debate on whether powder coating wheels is a good idea or not. I don't really see any negative info here, but have read elsewhere that powdercoating wheels can reduce the strength of the metal, due to the heating required to cure the powder coat.

Has anyone had issues with this? Seems an awful lot of people do it. Are the concerns warranted?

If I decide to do it, it'll likely be with the ZCP wheels...

Thanks

-David
There's a pretty good debate going on here about it

I have chrome and powder coated wheels on separate cars. Never had a problem. Powder coating is, in fact, what most manufacturers do nowadays.
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      04-07-2010, 01:18 AM   #5
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The post by powdercoater sums up the powder coating elements to be cautious of quite well. I considered powder coating for my new wheels but decided to go with liquid paint instead. In addition to the concerns noted by powdercoater regarding finding a reputable source, I was concerned about damage and repair. The reality is that no matter how careful you are, damage can happen through no fault of your own. Although good power coating is very durable, it's less than ideal for repair. Liquid paint is much easier and less costly to repair. Simplifying a bit, touch-up of minor chips and such on wheels painted with liquid paint is much the same as touch-up of paint on the body of your car. You can't really do that effectively with powder coating. In short, if you want to paint your wheels post delivery (not painted in the factory), I would go with liquid paint. Just my $0.02. Hope this helps!
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      04-07-2010, 07:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powdercoater View Post
They must be stripped chemically prior to powder coating.[/color][/size][/font]
Bingo...finally some says it.

The BMW wheels are a PITA to do correctly.

I would say if you walk into a shop and they dont charge you extra or make it clear that BMW wheels require a bit extra work on their part, LEAVE. They probably haven't done many or are doing them incorrectly.
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      04-08-2010, 03:11 AM   #7
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Thanks guys, I've decided on the wheels... 2011 comp package. Just haven't made up my mind on Sedan or Coupe...

Powdercoater (Scott and Sandee)... Your facility checklist sounds like a logical one. I definitely plan on getting them done right vs cheap. However, I don't know what the going range is as far as prices. As I assume your facility passes all the requirements on your checklist, I'll also assume you are not on the lower end of the price range (I wouldn't expect you to be). You are local to me, so I'd be curious what you would charge (aprox) for a set of 19" BMW comp wheels (they are cast alum (not forged) with a fairly thick clear coating, if they are the same as my old comp wheels). I'm looking for a satin black finish.

You can PM me if you wish.

Thanks

-David
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      04-08-2010, 12:29 PM   #8
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Two comments. I much prefer sand-blasting with fine sand (time consuming) than chemicals, but that's just me. My wheels were just done and came out perfect. And yes, anybody using heavy-duty sand-blasting (metal) on aluminum wheels is a moron.

A heads up for folks doing PC. DO NOT powdercoat the small area where the hub touches the wheel (that small 1/5" wide strip that makes a wheel 'hubcentric'; paint makes it too small). Didn't realize this until I heard the paint crunching on the last wheel. Tried removing them to clear the area of paint, and wheels were seized. After two hours of breaking the wheels loose (banging tires with a 2x6 from the inside) and removing the freaking paint with a thick metal feeler gauge (powdercoating is TOUGH!), all is well. But I'd have gladly skipped that experience . And yes, I told shop to paint the entire wheels. Hope this helps gang.

Last edited by elp_jc; 04-08-2010 at 12:41 PM.
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      04-08-2010, 12:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powdercoater View Post
FIXED other cons of powder coating are choosing the wrong vendor.....

Enjoy your beautiful cars! We are big fans of BMW!!!

Scott & Sandee Andrews
Andrews Powder Coating, Inc.
Chatsworth, CA [/color]
So far all your posts have been LARGE PUPRLE fonts. It's kinda annoying...
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      04-08-2010, 04:22 PM   #10
rich_cpw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheeladdicts View Post
Bingo...finally some says it.

The BMW wheels are a PITA to do correctly.

I would say if you walk into a shop and they dont charge you extra or make it clear that BMW wheels require a bit extra work on their part, LEAVE. They probably haven't done many or are doing them incorrectly.
Definitely. Powder coating, chroming...any of that stuff requires a "prep" phase, which is exactly what this is. If there isn't one, or the turn around time on the wheels is measured in hours and not days, definitely find out why that is. Places that do a good job on PC and chroming usually take anywhere from a week to a month (depending on whether you are having them do your wheels or you are doing things like a wheel exchange or something like that).

I did mine through LA Wheel and Tire in Canoga Park and it took a couple weeks when I did a wheel exchange. Thing is, I saved money and got great looking wheels, so it was well worth the wait.
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      04-08-2010, 07:33 PM   #11
whaleboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich_cpw View Post
Definitely. Powder coating, chroming...any of that stuff requires a "prep" phase, which is exactly what this is. If there isn't one, or the turn around time on the wheels is measured in hours and not days, definitely find out why that is. Places that do a good job on PC and chroming usually take anywhere from a week to a month (depending on whether you are having them do your wheels or you are doing things like a wheel exchange or something like that).

I did mine through LA Wheel and Tire in Canoga Park and it took a couple weeks when I did a wheel exchange. Thing is, I saved money and got great looking wheels, so it was well worth the wait.
What is a wheel exchange? I couldn't go without a car for 2 weeks... not even one week...

-David
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      04-09-2010, 01:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whaleboy View Post
What is a wheel exchange? I couldn't go without a car for 2 weeks... not even one week...

-David
They work all different ways. You can:

1. Pay a security deposit, get the powder coated version of the wheels, and then send your original wheels back and get the security deposit refunded,

or

2. Send in your wheels to get them powder coated, and hopefully you have a set of spare wheels to drive on, or another car to drive while you wait,

or

3. Drive to the place that does the powder coating, get your wheels done up and installed right then and there. Bring a Playstation Portable while you're hanging around waiting for them to get the work done.

;-)

I personally paid the security deposit, because I know my wheels are in good shape and that I'd send them in as soon as I got my powder coat wheels in from the company that did 'em (LA Wheel and Tire, if you're curious). I got my whole sec. deposit refunded in a couple days, so it really only cost me the amount to get the wheels powder coated, rather than buying powder coated wheels outright and having two sets (the PC ones and my original ones).

Most places will work with you to accommodate your needs, it seems.
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      04-09-2010, 03:49 PM   #13
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Has anyone already converted the comp package wheels to black/matte black/gun metal?

If so, how did you do it? Pics?
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      04-24-2010, 09:59 PM   #14
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Bump!

I was wondering the same. How do you think the cast ZCP wheels will turn out after powdercoating to a matte black?

I'm thinking about doing the same for a SSII E90 M3 with ZCP that I'm ordering.

I'm also considering going ahead and getting the ZCP, selling the wheels+rubber, and replacing them with an anthracite RAC R63.
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      04-24-2010, 11:55 PM   #15
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I have a zcp on order and will likely get the car early June. I plan on PC'ing the wheels satin black very shortly thereafter. I'll post pics when done.

-David
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      04-25-2010, 12:19 AM   #16
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Folks, a word of caution: DO NOT powdercoat the small strip that sits on the hub. Hubcentric wheels have little to no clearance there, and PC is too thick. My wheels were seized on the hubs, and took me 2 freaking hours to dislodge them and scrape the PC off from all 4 wheels. What a PITA. But I recommend everything else, including the area that contacts the hub. Just have the shop mask that small strip. Hope this helps.

Last edited by elp_jc; 04-25-2010 at 12:25 AM.
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      04-25-2010, 01:13 PM   #17
whaleboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elp_jc View Post
Folks, a word of caution: DO NOT powdercoat the small strip that sits on the hub. Hubcentric wheels have little to no clearance there, and PC is too thick. My wheels were seized on the hubs, and took me 2 freaking hours to dislodge them and scrape the PC off from all 4 wheels. What a PITA. But I recommend everything else, including the area that contacts the hub. Just have the shop mask that small strip. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the tip...

-David
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      04-26-2010, 08:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elp_jc View Post
Folks, a word of caution: DO NOT powdercoat the small strip that sits on the hub. Hubcentric wheels have little to no clearance there, and PC is too thick. My wheels were seized on the hubs, and took me 2 freaking hours to dislodge them and scrape the PC off from all 4 wheels. What a PITA. But I recommend everything else, including the area that contacts the hub. Just have the shop mask that small strip. Hope this helps.
i know EXACTLY what youre talking bout. the same thing happened to me. i forgot to tell them not to powdercoat that area and i had a hard time mounting the wheels after that. then i realised it was cos of the powdercoat in the area.
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      04-27-2010, 12:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montreal red View Post
i forgot to tell them not to powdercoat that area and i had a hard time mounting the wheels after that. .
Your powder coater should already know this, and shouldnt need a client to tell them how to do their job. Be cautious.

Sorry our purple is annoying. Its our trademark, so people don't get confused about whether they are in the right place or not.

All powder coaters are not created equal. In fact, very little of them will do things properly because their client will dictate pricing and delivery to the powder coating shop, causing corners to be cut and quality to not be had.
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      04-27-2010, 03:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whaleboy View Post
Thanks guys, I've decided on the wheels... 2011 comp package. Just haven't made up my mind on Sedan or Coupe...

Powdercoater (Scott and Sandee)... Your facility checklist sounds like a logical one. I definitely plan on getting them done right vs cheap. However, I don't know what the going range is as far as prices. As I assume your facility passes all the requirements on your checklist, I'll also assume you are not on the lower end of the price range (I wouldn't expect you to be). You are local to me, so I'd be curious what you would charge (aprox) for a set of 19" BMW comp wheels (they are cast alum (not forged) with a fairly thick clear coating, if they are the same as my old comp wheels). I'm looking for a satin black finish.

You can PM me if you wish.

Thanks

-David
Thanks David. We appreciate the business. We would like you to come into our facility to check out what we have to offer. We urge ANYONE that is considering getting their wheels done to go to the source. We do ALL of our prep and finishing "in house", we dont sub it out and broker it for some other powder coating facility. You can come in and eat off our floors...if you want! All of our air is double dried and filtered. No dust in this facility.

This is important to check your vendors.
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      08-19-2011, 07:23 PM   #21
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bump
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      08-20-2011, 02:00 AM   #22
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the only possible problem I've heard is if your wheels are really light (forged wheels) they may be damaged by the heat treatment portion and it's not recommended to do it more than once on the same set. None of the Lotus peeps have had any issues and we've got some wheels that only weigh ~10lbs each. I still don't know how much truth there is to this.

BTW, i had something powdercoated by Andrews and they did an excellent job. Color matched perfectly to stock black.
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