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Old 04-17-2021, 02:33 PM   #1
LolaAnnGram
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2006 VUE 3.5L
Default Any ideas? BAD RIMS & FAKE CHROME

For the years I've owned my 2006 Saturn Vue, I've been careful when opening hood so the FAKE CHROME isn't scratched or worse. Now there are 2 pieces I've taped back down as temporary fix...Is there anywhere I can find to replace just the fake chrome? I hate how cheaply everything's made now.

Rims have always looked dull. The nice mechanic tried to polish but only worse now. Don't have the money to buy nice rims. Does anyone know whether I can put Honda Element rims on my Saturn if same size? Or paint them? Is re-chroming expensive?
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Old 04-17-2021, 04:54 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Any ideas? BAD RIMS & FAKE CHROME

Examine your aluminum rims carefully or ask people familiar with rims. Are they chromed plastic pressed onto aluminum or machined/polished aluminum with a clear coat? From your other thread about major engine repairs, one snapshot shows an incorrect wheel weight clamped onto the perimeter of the rim. If the rim is all aluminum and doesn't have a plastic chromed insert then damage occurred whether from chipping from road debris or the clamped steel wheel lead weight used to balance the tire. Aluminum oxidizes like bare unpainted aluminum screen doors. Oxidation forms a dark gray coloring on the surface. Factory aluminum rims are always clear coated to ward off normal oxidation of bare aluminum. Once clear coat chips from road debris or incorrect use of wheel weights, bare aluminum begins to oxidize. Some rims show this as clear coating flaking off while others show the bare spots severely oxidized. There's only one solution to oxidized rims; removing wheel weights and tire for machining to remove the corroded surface, exposing fresh metal for clear coating. BMW may be the first to use epoxy paint decades ago, knowing how easy oxidation occurs. The trend for polished aluminum rims led to using a heavy clear coat to protect it from oxidizing until a stone chips away a spot to allow oxidation to occur. Another possibly less expensive method to clean aluminum rims might be removing the tire and wheel weights then sand blasting the rim to remove all coatings and paint down to bare metal then either leaving the semi dull finish as is and clear coat it or paint it. This includes the entire rim from both sides to ward off future oxidation. If you notice the trend to blacked out trim, aluminum rims are painted black or other dark colors, just another way to coat bare aluminium against mother nature.

The correct wheel weights for aluminum rims are the stick on types applied to the inside of rims. Knowledgeable tire shops are aware of the correct wheel weights to use on steel or aluminum rims. Less informed tire jockeys just slap on exterior weights with steel clamps that bite into clear coating or paint to chip it off, beginning the oxidation process. Guess how I know this?

The fake chrome has been around for decades as a less expensive method to have chromed trim than more expensive chrome plating on a base metal. Plastic chrome suits certain trims as its replaceable at much lower cost if parts are available. Moving away from steel bumpers to foam backed plastic bumpers saved useless weight while gaining better streamlining and improved engineering in safety design in front and rear crumple zones. Plastic chrome is just business, nothing personal. The plastic chrome isn't repairable. Replacing trim pieces is the only way to freshen appearances.
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Old 05-03-2021, 06:30 PM   #3
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2001 L-Series 3.0L Wagon
2006 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: Any ideas? BAD RIMS & FAKE CHROME

I never had issues with the front faux grill, I thought for sure salt & chemical would embed itself where the tinnerman clips attached that piece to the hood, & I'd see rust, but it held up well, cant say that for the liftgate though. I dunno why they did that, I liked cleaner front end look of the earlier models myself.

You could use a chrome film, or yet just paint the trim a satin black.

I had some stuff called Wheel Restorer:

Espree Wheel Restore

This stuff worked pretty good to hide crazing & the dull look I may even have a few cans laying around, my snowflakes were shot, & the pair of 5 spokes looked a little better, I last used the stuff on them, held up a few years.

Silly crazy what they want for it, I ought to sell on the bay myself.

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Old 05-04-2021, 11:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Any ideas? BAD RIMS & FAKE CHROME

If it's discontinued, there may be a reason. I haven't used this spray so have zero knowledge of its ability to restore aluminum rims but suspect it may have similar chemicals used by hvac techs cleaning residential central airconditioning box type condenser coils when they're neglected, collecting dirt, grass and other debris. The contents may be similar to spray products used commercially for quick acting foam cleaners used only by refrigeration techs because it's caustic. The main ingredient is a mild to moderate acid to clean finned aluminum condenser coils when a refrigeration mechanic removes access panels to expose them for cleaning. After spraying this foam product, its allowed to work for a few minutes then thoroughly rinsed off with plenty of water from a garden hose. If not rinsed off, this acid continues to eat into aluminum. Some give off a strong pungent odor and suggestions to avoid inhaling vapors during cleaning. Auto dealers use this commercial foam product too if they determine the hvac box is plugged up with debris and have to clean the evaporator coils. I can't recall the product name but service bulletins addressing poor ac performance from a blocked evaporator coil from debris buildup recommends GMs version of aluminum cleaner or the hvac commercial version.
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Any ideas? BAD RIMS & FAKE CHROME

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
If it's discontinued, there may be a reason. I haven't used this spray so have zero knowledge of its ability to restore aluminum rims but suspect it may have similar chemicals used by hvac techs cleaning residential central air conditioning box type condenser coils when they're neglected, collecting dirt, grass and other debris.
No, this was a like a very thin lacquer coating so the wheel would have to be extremely clean, any brake dust would be sealed under it. I wet sanded the facings &/or used a 0000 steel wool then rewashed before applying. Almost was like it releveled the surface coating of the wheel.

Correct, it likely was discontinued as I was buying it as I got it super cheap possibly at a closeouts store (maybe Big Lots before they went upscale).

If I find the can(s) I can see what it's base ingredient was.
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Old 05-18-2021, 08:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Any ideas? BAD RIMS & FAKE CHROME

I found 2 cans of this, it's sort of a finish or overspray "leveler". It lasted for a couple years on my 5 spokes (after fine wet sanding) & the wheel surface started "hazing". Never used it on the snowflakes as they were shot with the yellowish factory finish bubbling & powdering beneath.

You need to get all the dirt & brake dust off as it will trap anything underneath it.

It is what it says, a detailer, not a permanent fix, yet makes it look good for a while. Wonder why it was discontinued?
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