Categorized | Featured Cars, Up-Fixin

Refinishing Fuchs Wheels (at home)

Posted on 28 January 2009 by Chris

First off, I take no liability for what happens to you or your wheels. This is just what I did.

Second, I’m amazed at the popularity of this article and overwhelmed with the many thank you’s from other Porsche and VW fans that have used it around the world. If you’d like to translate the process into another language, on another website, Please do so! I just ask that you would send a link back to this web address. Thank You!

Check out Churchill Multi-Car Insurance Policies.

I recently picked up a “Flat Six” Fuchs wheel off of a scrap car.  I decided to use this as a test wheel for different refinishing theories I’ve come across for refinishing at home.

The wheel had some curbing, nicks and scratches. I decided to start by sanding these out. This was a mistake! I should’ve stripped the wheel first and then worked out the flaws. I spent 16+ hours sanding and then had a friend tell me “Oven cleaner works to get that anodizing off”!  So there was still some of the original anodizing remaining on the wheels and I tried Oven Cleaner. I would suggest using oven cleaner first. I let it sit on the wheel for about 45 minutes. Don’t freak out when you see the wheel (like I did) because it’ll look like the thing is ruined from the oven cleaner. All of the staining will polish out of the aluminum with a little work. I used a 220 Grit sandpaper for the dings/scratches and then worked up to 1500 grit for polishing, then rubbing compound, then Never Dull for the finale’.

So now they were ready to paint. Originally Fuchs would dip the wheels and I wanted to try to create the same effect without wasting $50.00 worth of paint to dip them in. What I did was mask the wheel off from the back, all openings with Packing Tape. From now on I would mask off the entire inner back of the wheel (where they would put wheel weights) because later on you’ll see the paint drip through.

Once I was certain the holes were all sealed. I flipped the wheel over and set it ontop of a plastic wash basin that fit the diameter perfectly.

The basin is used to catch the paint once you’re ready to poke through the packing tape. Next I used a Semi Gloss can of black enamel with a it of thinner in it and poured it carefully in between each mag of the wheel allowing it to rise slowly and evenly.

I let the paint sit for a few minutes and then using an “exacto” knife (razor) I poked slices through the tape and let the paint drain through. This is where the back of the wheel got the drip marks that could’ve been avoided if I masked it all off… No big deal, I just have to wipe the inner backside down now with some acetone or similar paint remover.

The almost final outcome is looking good. Some minor detailing will be needed where the can dripped onto the polished lip…

A couple more pics now that it’s cured. You can see I need to do final polishing on the Aluminum and get rid of a couple spots where the black paint got out of place but no big deal.

Churchill Insurance.

Some Fuchs Facts:

Fuchs started making wheels in 65 (I was told). Fuchs is the German word for Fox. You can see a fox stamped on early wheels. The earliest wheels were not stamped with a conventional stamp. They were stamped with ink and some were not stamped at all. They started out as 4.5×15″ size, then 5.5×15 and then 6×15 some being “Deep Six” (With a deeper lip) and then later flat six. In the mix were the 7R or R7 (I’ve heard it called both ways) wheels. These were made for racing cars and had no identification other than having the look of a “Deep Six” with a 7″ wide wheel. Here are the early part #’s that are known.

All 15″ sizes.

4.5″ 901.361.012.01 42mm positive offset
5.5″ 901.361.012.04 42mm positive offset
6.0″ 901.361.012.06 36mm positive offset
7.0″ 901.361.012.05 49mm positive offset

To tell your year date you should look on the back in between the lug holes. Here you can see a wheel dated 1169 (November of 69).

The “Early” wheels were dipped in paint rather than being sprayed. I’m not sure exactly what early means but I have a set from 69 that were dipped from the factory. So, I’m guessing they stopped dipping in the early 70’s also when they went to the 911.—.—.– part #’s.
Update! In my search for Deep Six Fuchs I came across a full set of the rare R7 (or 7R) 7×15 wheels. These wheels were made for the 67 Porsche 911R. There were 24 911R’s built so you can imagine how rare these wheels would be.  These wheels were stamped with a rubber stamp and ink in regard to Part #’s. The date codes were done into the metal. Here are some pics!

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21 Comments For This Post

  1. Curtis Says:

    You have a typo in the deep 6 wheel,the last number should be 6 instead of 0.
    Don’t forget the R6 wheel that went with the R7 wheel. Part# is 901.361.012.03 That wheel is even more rare than then the R7. That wheel also has the rubber ink stamp.

  2. crunge Says:

    Thanks Curtis!

  3. Barwaut Says:

    Great piece about ‘dipping’ Fuchs rims…

  4. crunge Says:

    Thanks Barwaut! One thing I would do differently is mask off all of the inner wheel so when the paint drips through it doesn’t get all over that area. One other thing is the Oven Cleaner needs to be thorougly removed/sanded out because it can continue to work on the aluminum and effect your overall finish. My wheel turned out way beyond my expectations to be honest. I’ve had many positive comments from people who’ve looked at it in person. I’m going to find a few more not-so-nice flat sixes to do this with and have a matching set.

    Happy Motoring~

  5. crunge Says:

    One more tidbit- I tried Masking the wheel to prep it for spray prior to going with this procedure. To mask the wheel properly it would take around 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. To tape off the back took 20 minutes. I spent $10.00 in paint for this wheel. So I the dipping procedure above is definitely the way to go… I would also add hardener to the paint to give it more durability in the final finish…

  6. Gary71 Says:

    Nice work in replicating the original method!

    Did you use a primer? Is the finish holding up OK with use? Do you have the spec of the paint you used? Sorry for all the questions, but I feel a winter project coming on!

  7. crunge Says:

    I didn’t use a primer. I have used the wheel as a spare so it has not seen any road use. The paint was a Rustoleum Satin Black. It is still looking excellent but I can definitely see that it would be better with a 1 to 8 hardener mix or so…

    Eastwood or POR 15 may have a stronger paint for road use. I didn’t check into that however.

  8. Fred Otjen Says:

    Great idea about painting the Fuchs, I have done the masking off and spraying them. Next time I’ll try your method.
    I am looking at a 69 911T for sale that has 14″ Fuchs, could it have been ordered with them?

  9. crunge Says:

    Fred,
    Thanks for the comments on The Motoring Journal. As for the 69′ with 14 inch Fuchs, I believe yes, that was the standard Fuchs wheel for 69. Someone may correct me here… I also looked at a 69′ T on Amelia island that was original and had been tucked in a barn for 14+ years. It had 14’s on it. I think the 14 inch Fuchs look nice with the right size tire. However many people put lower profile tires on them making the tire to fender gap large and unsightly! Just my .02.

    Chris

  10. PAUL Says:

    what can expect to pay for a set of regular deep six hearts restored? thx!!!

  11. crunge Says:

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the question. Mid 2009 the market to have a set of 4 date matched Deep Six Fuchs restored was around $1,000-$1,400 depending on who did the resto and the type of finish. These #’s are for resto only, not the purchase price of the wheels… There are 2 trusted sources for refinishing Fuchs wheels in the USA.

    When it comes to having the wheels done to exact factory/concours specs Harvey Weidman is the Man: Contact Harvey Weidman, Weidmans Wheels. Oroville, CA. (530) 534-7903

    If you want a nice job done, slightly lower priced with different options for finish Al Reeds shop does good work: Contact Al Reed Specialty Polishing and Wheel Repair 31010 E. Coronado #A Anaheim, CA 92806 714 632-3907

  12. Harvey Weidman Says:

    Great job!

    Much better than my first try.
    We have tried dipping many times. Of all the methods yours is the best.

    I would stress cleaning the wheels, including the backs. That way there is less brake dust and dirt that might get in your sandpaper and scratch to set your progress back.
    I would carefully wipe the lug holes with Q-Tips to get the paint out so torqueing won’t be a problem.

    Also there was a 03 wheel that was used for the front of the 911R. It looks just like the 06 except is is lighter and the numbers are stamped like the 7Rs. Very rare.
    They dipped until they went to all black centers (they used a mask like the 4 1/2s).

  13. Harvey Weidman Says:

    Sorry Curtis I just noticed that you already mentioned the 03 wheel….

  14. Sebastian Says:

    “Update! In my search for Deep Six Fuchs I came across a full set of the rare R7 (or 7R) 7×15 wheels. These wheels were made for the 67 Porsche 911R. There were 24 911R’s built so you can imagine how rare these wheels would be. ”

    Well, please notice that they used those 7R wheels in most of the racing 911 Porsches. One racing car had several sets of wheels. So they made a lot of more than 24 sets.

    Cheers, Sebastian

  15. crunge Says:

    Thanks Sebastian, My statement regarding the 24, 911R’s was not to say they made one set of wheels per car. I’m sure one who follows any type of racing would understand that.

    There are even differing opinions on how many 911R’s were actually built. Furthermore, there are largely varying reports on how many 7R wheels were built. I’ve heard anywhere from 200 sets to 2,000 sets. If you have any information as to how many were produced it would be good to find out.

    Happy Motoring~
    Chris

  16. Robert Says:

    How did you judge the depth of the dip?

  17. crunge Says:

    Hi Robert,
    That’s a great point. I could see the line in my wheel where the old paint stopped. So, that’s what I went off of.

    I realize now that some people using this method may have aftermarket polished wheels. After looking at several original wheels, with original paint, I can say they are not all the same! But somewhere around 3/16″ to 1/4″ is in the ballpark of how far to come up with the paint.

    Happy Motoring,
    Chris

  18. Mark Says:

    I was very happy to find this article. In fact, I’m heading out to get paint for my Fuchs tonight to give this a try. Just a few questions though:

    1.) What paint, exactly? Oil or water based? Any particular brand? Can I find this at Home Depot, or are we talking something different?

    2.) My wheels are original Fuchs with an aftermarket HIGH polish – they look chromed! Though I appreciate how much work must have been put into them, I would really like to restore the original brushed satin look. Any techniques on how to rough the petals and rim back to a normal satin aluminum look?

    Thanks again for a great article. It’s a lot easier than taping off the petals and spraying the black in!

    Regards,
    Mark

  19. R-M Phillips Says:

    I went a different route and media blasted the fuchs. Than had them powder coated as close to the original satin as I could. Tape off holes, rubber hose in the valve stem hole, balance on container, leveled and poured rust-oleum to correct height. Drained most of the paint into container, than cut holes out, lug holes as well. Used up about 6 oz. per wheel. Reclaim and reuse excess. 2 qt. for 5 wheels with plenty left for future projects. Total cost with new tires @ $120 each was just under $300 each x 5 = 1,500. Have photos if process if interested. P.S. Removed paint from lug, hub contact areas.

  20. Jason Peck Says:

    I just used this method for my first of 4 wheels. I would post a picture however I don’t see a method to do so. I thinned my paint at a ratio of 4 parts paint to 1 part acetone (64 oz paint 16 oz acetone). That ratio is too thick on the paint, however I have one wheel done and don’t know that I want to have 3 looking different.
    I would like to know the ratio used by the writer of this blog for future reference. I should also state that I used flat black rather than semi-gloss, the sheen to semi-gloss was too shiny for my taste and the “stainless steel” i already painted on the wheel prior to flooding with black. In addition to this my wheels are replica wheels going on a VW Super Beetle so true originality is not as much of a focus.

  21. atnorman Says:

    I can see that this thread died out over a year ago. But I thought I’d chime in anyway. First time Fuch refinisher (full set 15×6 1973 911T), I did a lot of research and decided this seemed like the way to go. Some things went well, others not so much. My set was professionally painted Ivory (to match the body color) with dark brown metallic centers. Hideous. I used aircraft stripper and completely stripped everything off. Then, I used oven cleaner to get the anodizing off. Then I went to work with both the progressive wetsanding method described here as well as using an Eastwood buffing kit (went back and forth with different wheels – I think I liked the sandpaper best for the coarse work and buffing wheels for the final polishing). It was not my intention to polish to a mirror finish as I wanted more of the satin look of the originals. But in the end, the shine on my aluminum is pretty much like the one Chris finished for this article. And honestly, they look fantastic.

    Now for the paint. I ordered 1 quart of Eastwood satin black ($40). Pricey, but supposedly great quality. Eastwood recommends not using thinner but only using the included hardener. Being a newbie, I put the paint in a mason jar, added hardener, put the lid on, and shook vigorously. That put a lot of air bubbles in the paint. Unfortunately, the hardener goes to work fast so I didn’t have the luxury of waiting for the bubbles to work themselves out. I poured the paint into one rim at a time. Sure enough, lots of bubbles. I tried to work as many out with a toothpick as I could. In the end, there were still some bubbles visible at close inspection. That disappointed me and was totally my fault.

    It was easy to get the paint uniform and at the right level. As someone mentioned, just follow where the original line was (still faintly visible). My only other real regret is not using a primer. I followed Chris’s lead, all the while having a voice in the back of my head saying, “paint will not stick to a polished surface.” I thought about using primer, but figured it would be difficult to get the paint over the primer at exactly the same level — I thought it would either leave a thin line of primer showing or result in a thin edge of paint that didn’t have primer underneath. I didn’t polish most of the area where the original black paint was. But when polishing the petals and lip, it is impossible not to polish some of the black area where the transition is.

    So what is the result? After mounting new tires and putting the wheels on the car, there was already some flaking that had taken place. Given how easily these flakes came off, leaving polished aluminum exposed, I can only presume that more flaking will take place. Because of this, I think I will end up giving it another shot – stripping the black off (it will come off very easily I’m betting) giving a quick polish get rid of any clouding the stripper might bring on, then doing the pour method again – only this time, primer first, letting it dry and cure to recommended specs. Then following up with satin black. Sure, that’s a lot of extra effort. But I want these wheels to be as perfect as possible. And, I want to learn how to do this right. This if my first Porsche and I’m expecting that there will be others in my future. That said, more Fuchs to refinish. Cheers!

8 Trackbacks For This Post

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    […] One afternoon last January I was researching what would be the proper (or more stylish) wheels for my 1969 Porsche 912. My 912 was running Fuchs Replica’s which didn’t look too bad but were very heavy and just not original equipment… I knew I wanted Fuchs even though my car came with Chrome Steelies. In this era Porsche offered a few different styles of wheels. If you’d like to reference details on Date Codes and History, See my previous post on Fuchs Wheels. […]

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    […] Originally Posted by bigel Trying to resurrect this thread… I'm planning to follow the blasting preparation, but plan to leave polished aluminum spokes (like the classic 911s). Has anyone out there done such a restoration? If so what measurements did you use for the polished spoke dimensions? Much obliged… People have. Don't worry too much about measurements for the pedals, as they were dipped at the factory. I like the technique used in this link. Very DIY friendly. Restore Fuchs Wheels DIY | Featured Cars | The Motoring Journal […]

  4. Fuch rims | Atyourservices Says:

    […] Restore Fuchs Wheels DIY | Featured Cars | The Motoring JournalJan 28, 2009 … Chris from The Motoring Journal show’s you the easiest and most efficient way to refinish your Fuchs Wheels, just like the factory! […]

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    […] Originally Posted by redstack Yes very inspiring. So which thread did you use to get finishing details? +1 on that. As far as the paint goes, this is the best idea I've seen but I'd like some tips on getting the RSR finish on the petals. Restore Fuchs Wheels DIY | Featured Cars | The Motoring Journal […]

  8. Economy RSR Fuchs finish ??? - Page 9 - Pelican Parts Technical BBS Says:

    […] Originally Posted by Maxhouse97 Can anyone provide a good method/template/measurements for taping off the wheel to create the junctions between the silver and black on the petals? To me this seems the hardest part – to get it straight and uniform. I thought the beauty of the "flood with paint in each pedal" method was not having to worry about this. But I guess that only works with 15x6s according to some on this board. Thanks. Here is a way to do it without taping. Restore Fuchs Wheels DIY | Featured Cars | The Motoring Journal […]

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