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Detailing Tips | How to Clean Wire Wheels | 1969 Jaguar E-Type


Hey everyone,

Back again, this time discussing wire wheel cleaning and polishing, on a 1969 Jaguar E-Type. This particular vehicle is one of the very first cars I started maintaining way back when. It’s been fun seeing it transform over the years and getting the opportunity to test a variety of products on its many different materials. The discussion in this video focuses on the wire wheels, a very challenging wheel to properly clean and polish, and one that requires some patience, trust me. In the video, we discuss a few products and techniques that can breath new life into wheel finishes. I hope you enjoy the video. Until next time!

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Video Transcription:

Hey guys, James, here we are back again and we are working on one of my absolute favorite, favorite cars. I’ve been working on this 1969 Jaguar E type for a number of years. It’s kind of one of the very first cars I get to kind of detail periodically over my career. And it’s just great to see it kind of evolve and, and different. It’s kind of going through a metamorphosis over the years. Couple years back to kind of just give you a little backstory on the car. Let’s, maybe three years ago this particular client had the body repainted you know, a bunch of different restoration things kind of go on. So it’s kind of, it was unbelievable when I first saw it and we first originally did a correction and coding job on it. And it’s from there.

It’s just now it’s at a different place. It really is and it looks unreal. And at that, you know, rewind three years ago we did actually some, some custom clear bra, which was wild. We did a paint correction at that point. We did a coating installation, we did a bunch of different things to kind of just bring it that 10% more. And obviously protect it, cause this is a car that they drive a lot. They go to shows, they have fun with it. So that’s something they just didn’t want to worry about that, that new paint. They wanted to protect it. So a lot of the body of the car has clear Bra on it, the whole front, the lower parts of the car which is pretty cool. And it just makes it maintaining it even easier. I mean for us, we see it, you know, every, every year or so.

And when it comes in, it’s like for us, it’s quick work. You know, just wash put another coat of a to put a topper on it and then boom, she’s back. Which is great. But the one area of the car, which is the probably the toughest is the wire wheels. Just an absolutely crazy intricate wheel. That takes just a lot of patience to go through. So I wanted to kind of bring you guys in. I wanted to show you how we approach cleaning these wheels. And this process can be replicated on any wheel for that matter. It doesn’t, I mean obviously this is the extreme example, which I think is why it’s a good one to show. But any modern wheel, we can use this approach to really enhance the look of a wheel. Have it be protected, have it, you know, have it the gloss level if it’s if it’s a glossy finish, really, really bump up to make them pop.

So what we’ve done to this wheel so far in the wash slash decontamination stages, obviously we clean the wheels with sonax wheel cleaner plus one of our absolute favorite wheel cleaners. Nice agitation with a boy’s boar’s hair brush rinse. Here we are then I typically will do an IPA alcohol wipe down just to strip anything that we may have missed in the wash process. Say there was a little piece of dirt there that we just didn’t see in the wash Bay. We’ll go ahead and strip it so I can really see what’s going on. Then this, these, these obviously with the wire the wire wheels, there is a thousand nooks and crannies, so you’ll, you’ll, it’ll drive yourself crazy. What I do too, to kind of push that dirt out and kind of, cause what happens is a lot inside here, the dirt kind of gets embedded in the Chrome and it just, it’s not something we can just brush out.

It’s not something we can just wipe out. We have to use a little bit of in this case abrasives, a little bit of agitation to kind of really remove that embedded dirt. So what we’ve done that’s worked really well for us is use something like 3d speed, which is kind of, which is a nice all-in-one. 3d speed, something we use all the time in the shop on, on kind of all in one jobs. All in one is basically this Polish has abrasives but it also has a sealant built into it. So it’s going to lightly clean. The paint does, it actually does, had a lot of corrective properties. So it on a softer paint, it actually has, you can get a quite a bit of of defect removal if you just pair it with a nice pad. But in this case, what those abrasives are doing are kind of like, they’re, they’re, you know, they’re scrubbing away the built up dirt.

So that’s what we’re using it for. So what we’re, what we’re typically doing is, you know, we’ve talked about foam swabs a thousand times. One of my absolute favorite tools what we’re doing is just putting a little bit of the 3d speed right on that foam swab. Kind of what I do is like, I like to get it on both sides. And kinda just, just so it doesn’t make too, because another thing is if you just start putting a bunch of product in these, the cleaning, you know, getting the product out can be tough. You have to get it a thousand, which ways and, and almost get clean swaps to do that. So what I, what I try to do to manage that a little bit is, is kind of pre spread that product in that foam. So it doesn’t make a giant mess that you’re just kind of cleaning or you’re applying the product exactly where you needed to do it.

So what we do is we grab our swab. We have our scangrip light, which is always a great tool. And we’re going in and we’re just kind of going through each little section. Now this is super tedious but it’s just kind of one of those things where it’s just you’re accepting it, right? It’s not going to be fun, but you’re going to get the results that you want. So we basically go through one by one all through these, throughout these little nooks and crannies Polish every little last bit of it for the the the, the wire part, right? What we can do also is just put a little bit on a microfiber towel, kind of rub it in. So it’s not making a big mess, just like the swabs and go individually, one by one, by one, by one, by one.

Takes, takes a while, but totally, totally worth it. Makes a big, big transformation. And what we’re doing afterwards, once we’ve kind of agitated everything with the Polish and the swabs, obviously the equally as as tedious is the removal of that residue. So I again, always working with a light so I can see exactly what’s going on because what happens if we, if I didn’t use this light, the Chrome almost kind of washes out everything. So I could be like, okay, yeah, it looks awesome. But in fact, if I put a light on it, I’m like, Oh, miss some residue. Ooh, miss residue. I mean, we’ve talked about in other videos, lighting is so key to kind of see just to, just to see what you’re, you’re supposed to be detailing in this case a hundred percent unnecessary thing. So once we’ve kind of go, gone ahead and done that, remove a lot of that embedded dirt, got it clean.

If you’re trying to what we’ve sometimes also done, that’s a good a good trick to kind of loosen up. Maybe some stuck pot, some stuck on Polish or something is we’ll grab a steamer and we’ll start steaming them and just to kind of loosen up some of the Polish that we put in there and get it out of there. Come in again, come in with a microfiber, clean it out. So a couple things that you can implement to kind of, to kind of really get them clean and then once they’re clean, once the wheel has been polished and it’s looking and it’s looking great then we can decide on a protective product or re it really a beautification product. It’s not really, you know, a carnauba wax if this car is driven often, which it’s not, but if it was, isn’t going to last an incredible amount of time, you could decide, okay, let’s coat them.

We could put a paint sealant on them. In this case we’re going to do a combination of a, of a carnauba wax and then something like something quick that we are kind of doing on a more of a maintenance regimen is something like keynote tech which showroom shine, which is there a kind of there quick detailer, right? Just a super nice quick detailer, doesn’t streak. Has great looks, nice, tight water beading, just a really great product. But what we can do is seal these wheels rather quickly add just a little bit more pop to what you’ve already achieved from using the 3D speed. So again, I’m spraying into the towel, not spraying directly onto the wheel cause if you did that, again, all the mist is going to go inside there and you’re going to have to clean that back out.

So you wanna you want to make it as manageable for yourself as possible. And the best way to do that is to spray it onto the towel and then apply and start going through it one by one by one by one. The nice thing, you know, why I’m using this opposed to say a nice paste wax, which you totally could do and we’ve done it before in this vehicle. But being that it already has layers of protection on there, we’re kind of just topping it up using something like this that’s relatively easy to apply, kind of works well in this case. So that’s just kind of a little quick insight, insight onto how we approach, you know, in my opinion, cleaning the toughest wheels that we get in the shop. Now if you’re doing this at home and you’re like, okay, I don’t have this, this crazy intricate wheel using this method.

You know, if you had, you know, a Honda accord and you just had some alloy wheels that you just wanted to get a little bit more pop out of them using this type of combination, obviously you’re not going to have to go through a thousand swabs. You could just put it on an applicator pad. You could put the 3D speed on a microfiber towel and achieve and achieve very, very similar results. Would love to answer your questions guys below. So please, absolutely been loving the comments lately. It’s been a lot of fun to kind of go through them and read them. So again, if you had any questions at all, please comment below. We’d love to help you guys out. Thanks so much for watching. See you guys next time.

James Melfi
Holliston, MA
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