A fizzy bit in the bin

I’m trying to clean up the wire wheels I got last week so I can get them painted. I had the tires dismounted and was sad to find that there was considerable rust inside the rims. Tubeless tires make a good seal with the rim and keep out the environment, as long as there is air in them of course. Wire wheels require tubes, and don’t always seal against the rim perfectly. Water can also sneak in via the spokes.
At least one of rims has substantial metal missing by the valve hole due to rust. It makes that one a backup spare only. I have one that is in really good shape, albeit I found it has a broken spoke. So I only need one more good one from the remaining five to get up and running. I was hoping to have two complete wheel sets, but that remains to be seen.
To clean up the rust, I initially figured I’d get the wheels sand blasted clean. I’m having a bit of trouble finding someone who can provide that service. If I do, I’m afraid it will cost more than what the wheels cost. I have already shelled out $72.50 to get 4 tires dismounted and discarded. Yes, services on the island cost more than on the mainland. So I try to do what I can myself.
I found a video on YouTube that describes removing rust via electrolysis. There are a number of videos but the basics are the same. It looks easy enough and I have all the materials needed. A big plastic container, a battery charger and sodium carbonate, aka OxyClean. Some electrical wire, wire brushes and sandpaper should be all I need.
I removed the remaining rubber ring around the inner part of the wheel and the knocked off the largest rust bits. I suspended the wheel in the plastic wheelbarrow with the electrical wire and filled it with 25 gallons of water with the disolved OxyClean. I had recently pulled a 15 foot length of plumber’s snake from the dumpster near work so I coiled that up in the bottom to act as the anode. One video mentions that the derusting action is more or less line of sight, so I think that means I’ll have to flip over the wheel to get the other side clean. I may also have to loop the snake along the sides of the wheelbarrow to get the inner part of the rim clean, the part where the ends of the spokes are and the tire mates.
I’ve had the current on for about an hour and am seeing some bubbles, so believe that I’m getting some action. I’ll probably have to leave it at least overnight since the battery charger is a maintenance type with an output of two amps. We’ll see how it looks tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *