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      11-21-2011, 06:47 AM   #1
nieue
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Powder Coating or Painting wheels

Just wanted everyones opinion on powder coating vs painted wheels. Which is better and has anyone had any problems doing either?
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      11-21-2011, 11:34 AM   #2
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Most people think powdercoating is fine and no one seems to be having any problems with it so it's your choice. My preference is to "wet paint" the wheels. The first ED 1M owner was told by the M folks that they used the 359 wheel because it was the strongest they had and that if he replaced them to go with something as strong.

I contacted BBS and they are concerned about re-heating the wheels past 190 degrees for more than 40 minutes.

So for me, it's not worth the risk when I can find someone to wet paint the wheel. Again, many think that the powdercoating concern is an urban myth and I am sure you will find someone that will tell you that the BBS folks don't know what they are talking about. If you really want to powdercoat, I would at least discuss it with the powder coating company. The operations I have seen will usually put many items in an oven and use a temperature and duration for ALL the items. They might be able to do your wheels at a lower temp and duration, but at least you have some info now.

Keep in mind that companies like HRE powdercoat all their wheels but the process is different. They cut their wheels from a solid block of aluminum. The stock wheels on the 1M are cast.

Anyway, here is the message from BBS that I received.


************************************************** ***********
We do not suggest ANY welding or heat used to cure the paint (limited to 90C (194F) for no more than 40 minutes).

Other than the base coat on the wheel that is powder coated, the rest of the paint process used on the wheel is a “wet” process.

When is comes to painting, the wheel should be treated like the hood of the car.

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Michael Cox

Aftermarket Sales

BBS of America, Inc.

5320 BBS Drive


Braselton , GA 30517

Email: michael.cox@bbs-usa.com

Web: www.bbs-usa.com

************************************************** ***********


Good luck.

Last edited by nachob; 11-21-2011 at 12:23 PM.
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      11-21-2011, 12:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info
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      11-21-2011, 12:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nieue View Post
Thanks for the info
I added this to the first reply:

If you really want to powdercoat, I would at least discuss it with the powder coating company. The operations I have seen will usually put many items in an oven and use a temperature and duration for ALL the items. They might be able to do your wheels at a lower temp and duration, but at least you have some info now.
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      11-21-2011, 12:45 PM   #5
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IMO, it completely depends on the shop doing the work.
Like going to restaurants, there's no way, imo, that any one can form an opinion on whether one dish is better than another, it all depends on the cook.

Where I'm located, I've had friends and people locally on forums who've had their wheels powder-coated, and had them crack afterwards, and others who've had no problems. And I've also known people who've had their wheel painted, only to have all the paint crack off completely shortly after, and others who've had no problems.
If the powder-coater knows what they're doing; their's no harm in powder-coating.

There's a powder-coater locally who's powder-coated over 100 sets of BBS LM's with no problems. Most of their work seeing track time as well.

It's easiest to cut the middle man and hit up powder-coating/painting facilities yourself. But I would suggest visiting some tuning shops in your area and talk to them about what they've had experience in. Powder-coating/painting wheels is pretty common, and most tuning shops will have a lot of experience with some wheel shop employing one method or the other and be able to recommend you something tried and true.

So I wouldn't just write off powder-coating. If done right, powder-coating is more durable than painting. But of course, if done wrong, there could be problems.

Side note, at least where I'm located, powder-coating is usually a lot less than painting. And hence, there are people who base the fact that powder-coating is cheaper to say that painting > powder-coating.
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      11-21-2011, 12:53 PM   #6
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I have powdercoated wheels on my Z3 M Coupe and they've been tracked extensively. The shop that did mine specializes in motorcycles and knows quite a lot about heat cycles and temps for doing this properly. That answer by BBS is baloney though, grab a heat gun next time you're at a track and every part of the wheel will be way beyond 190 and even after cool down laps, it's not uncommon to see hub temps over 350.

I've been very happy with powder for my wheels, but would strongly suggest finding a shop that knows their stuff, not just picking the cheapest.
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      11-21-2011, 03:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Bread View Post
I have powdercoated wheels on my Z3 M Coupe and they've been tracked extensively. The shop that did mine specializes in motorcycles and knows quite a lot about heat cycles and temps for doing this properly. That answer by BBS is baloney though, grab a heat gun next time you're at a track and every part of the wheel will be way beyond 190 and even after cool down laps, it's not uncommon to see hub temps over 350.

I've been very happy with powder for my wheels, but would strongly suggest finding a shop that knows their stuff, not just picking the cheapest.
Wheels are giant heatsink that are exposed to ambient air temperature. If your hub is 350 degrees and heat transfers to the wheel, it radiates and cools down your hubs. In an oven the ambient temperature can be up to 400 degrees with no chance of cooling down. That is already 50 degrees more than your hub temps and on the whole wheel.

It is amazing to me how quickly people discount engineers or other professionals that actually make the stuff.

Powdercoating is probably fine if you check at how it is done. I have supplied some basic information from BBS which can help the original poster make an informed decision and he can ask the powder coater what temps and for how long he cooks the wheels.

The reason powder coating is cheaper is because most places paint a bunch of items and put them in a giant oven at a temperature that works for everything.... including steel, cast iron, etc.

So a temperature that might be good for steel might not be so good for cast aluminum. When someone like BBS powdercoats their wheels, I am certain they put only wheels in an oven to temps that are appropriate.

To the Original Poster, good luck.
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      11-21-2011, 04:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by nachob View Post
Words...
So we'll just discount the M folks that powdercoated all M wheels from 1999-2008 then? They probably didn't go to engineering school. Do you really think an email blindly sent to BBS goes to an engineer and not a marketing hack reading off a page?

As you correctly said, and has been repeated frequently in this thread, an experienced powder coater can do this job safely. Bob's Ribs and Powdercoat, maybe not so much.
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      11-21-2011, 04:51 PM   #9
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What Red and weekender said.. and of course.. this is another post that could have benefitd from a simple SEARCH.


Sorry to disagree nacho...you mention a 50 degree hub temp... not sure what that refers to... anyone baking their hubs along with the wheels?


At any rate.. there is an EIGHT HUNDRED degree difference in temps between max temp for powdercoating ( 375-400) and the actual MELTING point of aluminum alloy (1100+ degrees). That is a TON of headroom.

I am sure that it's easy to find people that will recommend one be conservative and NOT powdercoat a wheel... but the math speaks volumes to me... of course... I'm an engineering flunkie. But it seems this is not an engineer's baliliwick anyway... what we need are some chemists and physicsts..
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      11-21-2011, 05:09 PM   #10
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I'm an engineering flunkie.
Same here. I'm just using twelve years of experience with a quality shop to say that it can certainly be done. Since my factory wheels were powdered, chemically stripped and recoated, I'd venture to guess that's more stress than a factory painted wheel would go through.

One of my hobbies is riding bicycles, and while this is steel, it's butted to 0.015", or 0.38mm. I've ridden various powder coated bikes for nearly as long as I've had my wheels, and have yet to see it cause any untoward assplosions.
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      11-21-2011, 09:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Adjuster View Post
What Red and weekender said.. and of course.. this is another post that could have benefitd from a simple SEARCH.


Sorry to disagree nacho...you mention a 50 degree hub temp... not sure what that refers to... anyone baking their hubs along with the wheels?


At any rate.. there is an EIGHT HUNDRED degree difference in temps between max temp for powdercoating ( 375-400) and the actual MELTING point of aluminum alloy (1100+ degrees). That is a TON of headroom.

I am sure that it's easy to find people that will recommend one be conservative and NOT powdercoat a wheel... but the math speaks volumes to me... of course... I'm an engineering flunkie. But it seems this is not an engineer's baliliwick anyway... what we need are some chemists and physicsts..
No problem on the disagreement, it really is a tempest in a bottle. Red brought up powdercoating the //M wheels. I said as plain as I could that it is probably fine but people that powder coat wheels put them in an oven and take into account the temperature. Many places just put them in a big oven with one high temperature for many metals. The M wheels as is the basecoat on our BBS wheels is powdercoated by the people tha make them and know the properties of the wheel.

So what I am saying is be informed. BBS recommend this temp for this duration so ask questions. Personally I prefer to just wet paint because I have had great luck with wet paint and I don't have to worry about it.

Finally, metal does not have to melt to fatigue or alter its brittleness/maleability. I have never said it would melt the wheel so the 1100 degrees is irrelevant. Metal changes before then. For example aluminum heads will warp before they melt.

So disagreement is noted but it's not as large as it sounds.

So peace to everyone!
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      11-22-2011, 09:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Bread View Post
As you correctly said, and has been repeated frequently in this thread, an experienced powder coater can do this job safely. Bob's Ribs and Powdercoat, maybe not so much.
I wonder if Bob cooks his ribs and wheels in the same oven. Might be some very "lickable" wheels!
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      11-22-2011, 03:35 PM   #13
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Both have their strong points. Powder coating will provide a more durable finish, so for something like a set of wheels, that could prove to be beneficial. The downside is of course that you have to bake the wheels in an oven. If done incorrectly this can weaken the structure of the wheel. Painted finishes are nice since they don't require the same oven treatment, but the finish won't be quite as durable. If you can find a powder coat shop that has experience with wheels, and does not bake them for long periods of time at high temperatures, I think you should go that route.
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Adjuster View Post
At any rate.. there is an EIGHT HUNDRED degree difference in temps between max temp for powdercoating ( 375-400) and the actual MELTING point of aluminum alloy (1100+ degrees). That is a TON of headroom.

I am sure that it's easy to find people that will recommend one be conservative and NOT powdercoat a wheel... but the math speaks volumes to me... of course... I'm an engineering flunkie. But it seems this is not an engineer's baliliwick anyway... what we need are some chemists and physicsts..
It's not that the wheels themselves melt, it's that they become brittle due to the heat change. If the metal is left at high temperatures for too long (IE: if done incorrectly) the wheel could fail during everyday driving or from road hazards due to 'over-aging' the alloy. There are powders on the market now that cure at lower temperatures for shorter amounts of time though, which makes them ideal for powder coating wheels.
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      11-22-2011, 04:57 PM   #14
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ok.. so what we basically have is a bunch of recommendations to find a good powdercoater.... less a referendum on the merits of the actual powdercoating process as much as it is a suggestion to find a good powdercoater.
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      11-22-2011, 05:43 PM   #15
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Well, the actual process is going to be the same roughly between shops. Strip the wheel, spray it with powder, bake in the oven, and let it cool. As I mentioned though, some powder coaters leave wheels in the oven longer than others, resulting in a more brittle wheel. You want to find a powder coater that has experience with powder coating wheels as well as making sure that they use the correct powder for your needs.
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      11-25-2011, 08:34 AM   #16
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Well, the actual process is going to be the same roughly between shops. Strip the wheel, spray it with powder, bake in the oven, and let it cool. As I mentioned though, some powder coaters leave wheels in the oven longer than others, resulting in a more brittle wheel. You want to find a powder coater that has experience with powder coating wheels as well as making sure that they use the correct powder for your needs.
Thanks so much for your contribution on this subject ...... can you shed some light on an appropriate product and a time/temperature so we can have an intelligent conversation with a shop. I have identified what I believe to be a good shop in PA (2 hours away from me) and don't want to come off ignorant in a conversation with them.

As a suggestion, you should hook up with one of the Cali gang and get a set done ..... if it worked out I am sure you would get some business, we are a picky but loyal bunch

Thanks!
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      11-25-2011, 11:00 AM   #17
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Thanks so much for your contribution on this subject ...... can you shed some light on an appropriate product and a time/temperature so we can have an intelligent conversation with a shop. I have identified what I believe to be a good shop in PA (2 hours away from me) and don't want to come off ignorant in a conversation with them.

As a suggestion, you should hook up with one of the Cali gang and get a set done ..... if it worked out I am sure you would get some business, we are a picky but loyal bunch

Thanks!
Im in Cali and Ill be getting aftermarket wheels. Id be willing to donate my OEMs to be the guinea pig if you guys want.
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      11-28-2011, 01:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1mGator View Post
Thanks so much for your contribution on this subject ...... can you shed some light on an appropriate product and a time/temperature so we can have an intelligent conversation with a shop. I have identified what I believe to be a good shop in PA (2 hours away from me) and don't want to come off ignorant in a conversation with them.

As a suggestion, you should hook up with one of the Cali gang and get a set done ..... if it worked out I am sure you would get some business, we are a picky but loyal bunch

Thanks!
Well it depends on the powders they use. Hopefully the powder activates at lower temperatures. If the powder coater has experience with wheels they probably wouldn't bake the wheels for more than 20-30 minutes at low temperatures.
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      08-30-2012, 09:39 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by 1mGator View Post
Thanks so much for your contribution on this subject ...... can you shed some light on an appropriate product and a time/temperature so we can have an intelligent conversation with a shop. I have identified what I believe to be a good shop in PA (2 hours away from me) and don't want to come off ignorant in a conversation with them.

As a suggestion, you should hook up with one of the Cali gang and get a set done ..... if it worked out I am sure you would get some business, we are a picky but loyal bunch

Thanks!
I live in PA and am thinking about this - can you refer me to the shop you're discussing please?
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      09-16-2012, 12:28 PM   #20
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Powder coating has it's disadvantages. It's been seen to weaken wheels because you have to get them sandblasted first. Although most people still do powdercoating anyways, but I like painting because you get a better colour finish and more variety.
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      10-08-2012, 04:30 AM   #21
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Have you ever thought about plasti-dip? If you get tired of the color peel it off and get a new color. Look up videos, it seems pretty easy. I'm going to do my car in the next couple of weeks, well I hope I get my car this week, damn slow Spanish and their holidays!
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      10-08-2012, 06:33 AM   #22
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Have you ever thought about plasti-dip? If you get tired of the color peel it off and get a new color. Look up videos, it seems pretty easy. I'm going to do my car in the next couple of weeks, well I hope I get my car this week, damn slow Spanish and their holidays!
I have seen this!!! Lol. I've seen it on several cars, wheels, and grils/gills. If you apply it thick enough, it just pulls right off. Lol. I didn't like it much on the car, mainly due to the bad prep jobs, however, it evened out very well on the wheels.
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