Custom Escalade Wheel Project
11 Apr, 2011
To buy new wheels or not to buy new wheels; that is the question. The IntunedOnline transport, AKA my Cadillac Escalade spent the last 2 years running on a set of Boss Motorsport 313 wheels which were black with a polished lip. Over the years the wheels have received their share of rock chips and brake dust which nestled nicely into the factory powder coating causing the wheels to always look dirty no matter how much they were cleaned. Then it dawned on me; what if I replace the wheels? I started shopping around and some of the best deals on rims included tires, which I didn't need since the Yokohama's were only one season old. After looking around at some different ideas I really wanted to have some clean rims that had that custom appearance; then it hit me to research powder coating.
For those who may not know powder coating is a type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binding. The coating is typically applied electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a "skin".
Since starting any project can seem like a daunting task, especially if you've never done it before. I visited my local powder coating shop to ask some questions relating to powder coating wheels including getting a rough quote on the work. The powder coating shop outlined the next steps for my project including: having the tires, valves, weights and center caps removes as well as since the wheels were previously powder coated I should have the coating sand blasted or professionally removed prior to the job.
After doing some additional research and wanting to remove the brake dust deposits; I opted for sand blasting to ensure there was nothing left which could affect the new coating. Unfortunately the sandblasting didn't go 100% to plan as my polished lip was now gone despite outlining to strip the black paint only (always plan for what-if) in my case I went to a sand blaster that has done rims before but not custom wheels.
Returning to the powder coating shop after a day at the sand blaster it was time to pick the color; your local powder coater has access to hundreds of different colors to choose from and can range in price from the supplier, so make sure you pick your color before starting your project. In my case we used the color swatches against the body of the truck to try and match the paint to the wheels.
Two days of painting and baking and the wheels are all done and look like new; I just need to get them mounted and balanced and put them on the truck.
All things considered this project took about a week from beginning to end; mainly due to the preliminary research that went on before starting. The outcome? The wheels look GREAT! and are truly unique compared to other Escalade's on the road and for a fraction of the cost of what new wheels would have cost. As a recommendation all I can say is do your research before you start, make sure it works with your budget and always choose a reputable shop to ensure you get what you're looking for.
Lazer Auto - www.lazer-auto.com