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How to clean stains in anodized dirt bike wheels?

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 I bought a 2016 KTM 350XCF recently. The previous owner didn't seem to keep it to clean, at least to my level.  The black anodized rims have dirt stains on them. Is there a good way to clean these that doesn't included de-lacing the wheel and having it re-anodized or painted over?

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Anodizing fades and cannot be fixed unless you re anodize.. I'm not sure what the dirt stains look like, but I imagine that the wheels are loosing their color.

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Here is a picture. It looks like it's stained on dirt. I prefer the black rims with the color scheme I'm going with.

20181126_160200.jpg

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Is that factory anodized?

Looks like the sealant that is applied after the anodizing (for protection) has wore off and exposed the actually color pigment on the aluminium rim. That's hard to do unless the previous owner used harsh chemicals on the rims. 

If the coating is gone then you are not going to clean up that dirt stain without seriously rubbing out some of the black. 

If the coating is present (like clearcoat on a car paint) is protects the pigment and you can use some elbow grease without scratching up the rim badly.  

Also why anodizing is preferred in off road (vs powder coating) applications because its resistance to surface scratches....like glass.... 

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Try a soft cloth with simple green.  If that doesn't work try a soft cloth with Meguiars ultimate polish.  To determine if that is just dirt or the ano was damaged with chemicals.  It just looks like dirt...

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I use car polish and wax occasionally and that seems to help keep them looking nice. If polish doesn't clean them up, you got what you got.

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15 minutes ago, mbrick said:

Try a soft cloth with simple green. 

It actually looks like somebody used Simple Green and left it on too long. Simple Green is death on anodizing.

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Just now, Ud_Luz said:

It actually looks like somebody used Simple Green and left it on too long. Simple Green is death on anodizing.

Not as bad as the purple power, but yes simple green is slightly aggressive on aluminum.  I forgot to add, be sure to neutralize with something afterwards such as soapy water.

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I agree I looks like degreaser damage or really hard water. I recomend using some blue magic metal polish cream. I would check a small area and do it by hand. Use a microfiber cloth only and lightly wipe. I do detailing on the side and I have nearly restored wheels with this. The issue you have is the wheels are anodized. This "coating" can come off easy.  Otherwise I would also use some kind of polishing wheel attachment for your drill. "Mothers Ball" or "Mothers Cone" comes to mind. 

So many people feel like they need to use heavy cleaners to get things clean. I have seen numerous wheels and other items boogered from degreaser. I only use VP power wash moto formula diluted 5-1. And on anodized aluminum I use car wash soap. 

Just my 2cents based on not physically seeing them. Hope this helps. 

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9 minutes ago, hyindasky said:

I use wd40 on almost everything metal to clean. Works wonders.

WD40 will make big difference, like hyindasky said.

Later George

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Anodize is a treatment that builds an adherent oxide coating on the surface of the aluminum. Aluminum is one of the few metals that this works on. The coating is microporous and can be died colors then the surface sealed by various treatments.  If the dirt is on the surface, it can be cleaned. If the anodize has been stained with harsh cleaners, there is no going back. Strip and re-anodize rarely comes out as good as the original.  My advise is paint or powder coat.

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Its not pitted or ruined. I assume its power coat . Mine was rough brand new. 

I spray with totally awesome and pressue wash. No it wont etch aluminum. MUCH better cleaner than simple green.

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Is this a show Bike??? Or is it a Bike that you ride Motocross ???  Oh My rims are stained!!!!!!!  Seriously! LOL   Ride that SOB 

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  • Haha 4

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magic eraser.

try it wet first with simple green.  rinse often because simple green will attack the anodizing if left for more than say 5-10 mins.

Edited by Florida Gliderpilot

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2 hours ago, pecor said:

Is this a show Bike??? Or is it a Bike that you ride Motocross ???  Oh My rims are stained!!!!!!!  Seriously! LOL   Ride that SOB 

I like to have a little pride in ownership. Besides, what else am I going to do for 4 months on a new (to me) bike while I can't ride it. Might as well tear it down and clean it up as a winter project.

 

Thanks for all the tips, I'm going to give a few a shot.

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 Get some turtle wax bug and tar remover. That has worked well for me. Plus it cleans everything including your stained plastic very easily. 

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