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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Please note: This is the process that I use. Take into accout many factors and preferences come in to play, so my results wont necessarily be your results. Along with good prep and keeping your paint area as clean and dust free as possible, other factors such as temperature and humidity level play a huge factor. I by no means claim any expertise on the subject, but from my own personal experiences over the years have learned that paint can be very finicky with these factors. At that, please just remember, patience and prep go a LONG LONG WAY. this is not a project you should rush into or expect to be done with quickly. It took me about 8 hours to do all 4 wheels. Last note, remember, this is HOW I DID MY WHEELS....i by no means think my process is best, its just my own experience that i was asked to share. Your results may vary based on your location and other factors above. Last but not least excuse typo's and all that....and sorry no pics, but it is a long and dirty process...the last thing i had on my mind was step by step pics....(i admire those of you who have the patience to do that) The next time i do a project like that i will take more pics. OK HERE WE GO!!!!!

List of items i used for my wheel project:

  • 3 packages of steel wool (00,000, & 0000 grades - bought at walmart) Not sure if all steel wool comes in these grades, but the goal here is to scuff the factory wheel finish NOT to remove it completely. 00 is a medium grit....adding 0's to the number indicates even finer grain)
    prep work takes most of the time.....

  • Variety package of Wet/Dry Automotive grade Sand paper. 800 Grit, 1000 grit, 1200 grit

  • plain rubbing alcohol - used to clean after each sanding, and between coating if needed.

  • clear packaging tape, blue painter's tape, and plain tan tape - all used for the masking of the wheels

  • Large stack of newspaper

  • 4 cans of primer - i only used 2

  • 8 cans each of Duplicolor High Performance wheel paint - Graphite & clear coat between all wheels i used 5 of each.
1A.
With wheels off the car & cleaned of any debris, used Steelwool NOT sandpaper. 00,000,0000 grade wools as they dont cause gouges, they just remove a light layer to provide a good surface. next i wiped down with regular rubbing alcohol and very clean cloth....follow up with a tack cloth.

1B.
Masking the wheels off took the longest. used the clear tape to the diameter of the rim, sticky side out towards tires. once on, cut slits ever few inches...had my stack of newspaper and slowly started around the tires.pushing each slit down on to the paper but leaving the lowest point of it(where tire meets rim) the tape actually sticks very well to rubber. stilts were necessary to conform the tires around the diameter) did the same on the inners side of the rim, as i painted the insides of each wheel too.

1c.
I created a small sealed off area in my garage(basically a makeshift paint booth. take the clear painters plastic and create a small room/area that allows you space to place rim on a table or raised up off the ground One side i overlapped to create at "flap door" . On one side of the makeshift booth i also place a box fan (fan face on the other side so that it acts as an exhaust. Cut out an area of the plastic drape and tape it to the other side of the fan to create a seal. i had it on for a while to let it suck out any floating particulates. Again, this is make shift, but find having an exahaust cuts down on "paint dust" and fumes.
***Make sure the spot you choose is well lit or you can run a shop light overhead or wall mounted.

2.
Then got a coat of adhesion promoter(Bulldog is my brand of choice). followed with two primer and wet sands(alternating) 800 or higher grit depending on the primer's adhesion and finish. I go for the smoothest base coat of primer possible.

3.
I then followed with color coats....3 very fine coats with drying time in between to allow me to do any followup wet sanding if needed (here you'd go with any 1000grit or higher wet/dry sand paper...and VERY LIGHT WITH IT...the goal is to just smooth things further. after all was dry and well tack clothed...

4.
I did the final paint coat...allowed 10 minutes to flash dry, followed by clear coats. I did 2 medium coats(here you must be very careful to not over apply as you DON'T want any drips....or you'll have to go back to wet sanding and reapplication. Basically anytime you find the finish not to be exact,Wait till coating is dry to touch, you can then lightly wet sand. If you aren't used to paint projects or wet sanding, this will be a harder project. Again the goal with wet sanding is basically to remove blemishes, nubs, etc. You aren't trying to sand through the finish, the goal is blending. I'm pretty fussy and highly detailed...so extra steps always happen, but the end result is a near perfect finish. AS it is a DIY setup, acheiving the same level of professionals with a sealed paint room is near impossible...but with care, good prep and aslo space setup and prep, you can get a high level finish

Last note: in the past when i've had rims that werent mounted on tires, i actually baked the finish in my oven at 200-250 degrees. yes its sounds wacky, however the heat is actualy benefical to helping the paint cure and provide a slightly harder and more durable finish. It also helps many clear coat really acheive a high level shine. I was unable to do this on these as i wasnt about to pay to have tires removed and then put back on.


ORIGINAL POSTING
Well after much self talk and chatter in my head....LOL, yea i generally have to convince myself of my own ideas.....i took all day saturday to do the wheeels on my speed. All day process, left off the entire day sunday too. Here are a few shots of them on the car. I love the new look....now, she JUST needs to be lowered some!







I will be taking more pics tomorrow at a better spot for angles...but also hoping that some pics come out of the Local Meet we had in Sacramento. We had i think 14 show up last night....pure awesome mazdamania
 

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They look awesome! Perfect color, it goes so well with the car!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They look awesome! Perfect color, it goes so well with the car!!!
Thanks! They came out so much better than i had envisioned...and make the car REALLY stand out even more now. only a couple more cosmetic mods, then i'm moving on to the engine/suspension. Things are finally coming out for the speed3's!!!!
 

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Thanks! They came out so much better than i had envisioned...and make the car REALLY stand out even more now. only a couple more cosmetic mods, then i'm moving on to the engine/suspension. Things are finally coming out for the speed3's!!!!
I saw that there are a lot of suspension products on CorkSport's website! I wish they would have more for the standard 3!:crybaby 1:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I saw that there are a lot of suspension products on CorkSport's website! I wish they would have more for the standard 3!:crybaby 1:
Alot of Autoexe stuff...so gonna wait a bit longer, wait for other less expensive options. I'm itchin to buy the new Corksport SRI for the speed though....just out a couple days ago and hearing its AMAZING. I see you got the sri for your 3...what are your thoughts on it?
 

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Wheels look awesome! Very nice job.

I've though about painting mine the exact same color...still deciding whether or not I want to go the painter route or have them powder coated or just leave them stock. I'm not much for appearance modifications, I like things to remain looking pretty stock.

So how'd you go about painting them, if you don't mind me asking? Anything to take special note if in case I get the itch to do my own?
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
E.Tinker: To each their own i always say...definately respect the stock look, but i like to stand out.:devil2: Anyhow, i dont mind sharing, sorry though for the long winded explanation: Powder coating will withstand the elements better, so if you've got the money, that's a route to go. Another MOCC member with Gen1 speed told me last night of a place he had some rims done at...if i recall he said to have them sandblasted and coated cost just under 300 clams. I've done wheels in the past. with care, the finish will stand up to the elements, but without baking the finish isnt as strong as it could be. Anyhow, i used duplicolor performance wheel paint. Prep took up 80% of the 8 hours it took me. i scrubbed each rim with medium steel wool, followed by a finer steel wool, a coating of adhesion promoter, followed by two sanded coats of duplicolor wheel primer (wet sanded in between each coat) Washed each, then tack clothed. Made a makeshift paint booth in my garage...proceded with 3 very light color coats, wet sanding in between, followed by a 4th medium final coat. Finally finished with a couple of coats of performance wheel clear. Again, this finish wont hold up like powder coating, but i'm a fanatic about cleaning my car, so they just require a bit of extra love to keep them looking clean. I have finally decided on aftermarket rims i'll eventually get, but for the time being, the look of the stock ms3 wheels is still one of the best things that attracted me to the car. i love the new look with the graphite, and think they give the car a much more sinister look.

Derrick B.: workin on the mini Evil M's for the wheels...Only gotten them cut right now, still gotta scuff and prep for paint.
 

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Alot of Autoexe stuff...so gonna wait a bit longer, wait for other less expensive options. I'm itchin to buy the new Corksport SRI for the speed though....just out a couple days ago and hearing its AMAZING. I see you got the sri for your 3...what are your thoughts on it?
I love it! I did a write up in the mod section of MZ3 section. I think it sounds awesome, and gives great throttle response!!! I did throw a CEL after a couple of days, but that has been reset by a code reader over a week ago and no problems since!

I haven't driven a Speed3 but I can imagine, just like with the 2.5L the bigger the initial hp and torque the more the throttle response will feel to the driver.

As a side note, I really think the exhaust in my 2.0L is holding me back in performance terms! Hopefully around Christmas time I can remedy that!!!
 

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That car is gorgeous ! Sweet....
 

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Thanks for the mini-write up! Very helpful...sounds like you really took your time and it shows in the final product.

The only appearance mod I really wanted to do was to lower the vehicle (either by springs or coil-overs...haven't decided yet, contemplating budget) but I ended up painting the calipers on a whim (after seeing Derrick B's)because I thought that it might better "match" the interior.

So now I've ended up thinking about other cosmetic mods and I go back and forth...wheels would be an "easy" cosmetic upgrade, bit I keep thinking that some wider aftermarket 19s would be both cosmetic and performance enhancing...eh...as it stands I'll probably concentrate on a couple of easy engine mode before I get into anything else, but you never know.
 

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The roads must be better where you live. I have problems with my 225/40-18's. Going to a 35 series tire on 19's would be a nightmare. I'm actually going to 225/45-17's pretty soon so I can get my 1/2" of sidewall height back.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Me and tinker are both in sacramento....not sure how he feels about our roads, but its hit and miss....though they really seem to be doing a huge amount of freeway work currently. As of late, i cant really complain about the roads...but ask me two years ago and it was crap. Ended up bending a rim on my old 05 because potholes had gotten so bad in Sacramento. i'm searching for some used tenzo's for my second set of wheels. staying with 18's but moving to 18x8. I want those to be winter wheels
 

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Discussion Starter #14
btw

Derrick B, your post of your stocks done bronze convinced me. I had wanted to do it, but after i saw yours i was Convinced... if i remember, they looked really good on your white car.
 

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Derrick B, your post of your stocks done bronze convinced me. I had wanted to do it, but after i saw yours i was Convinced... if i remember, they looked really good on your white car.
Thanks. If I can inspire one person to go forward with a mod, my work is done.
 

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Me and tinker are both in sacramento....not sure how he feels about our roads, but its hit and miss....though they really seem to be doing a huge amount of freeway work currently. As of late, i cant really complain about the roads...but ask me two years ago and it was crap. Ended up bending a rim on my old 05 because potholes had gotten so bad in Sacramento. i'm searching for some used tenzo's for my second set of wheels. staying with 18's but moving to 18x8. I want those to be winter wheels
Most of the roads I drive are in pretty decent shape...could always be better but at least there are no gaping potholes or anything...I'd been eyeing some OEM RX-8 R3 (225/40 R19) rims, similar to the MS3s.


As a matter of fact, they look a lot like mazspd3jase's rims...so sweet looking :001_tt1 1:....but pricey :crybaby 1:.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Most of the roads I drive are in pretty decent shape...could always be better but at least there are no gaping potholes or anything...I'd been eyeing some OEM RX-8 R3 (225/40 R19) rims, similar to the MS3s.


As a matter of fact, they look a lot like mazspd3jase's rims...so sweet looking :001_tt1 1:....but pricey :crybaby 1:.
they are 19's though right? At least that's what i'd been hearing bout the rx-8 r3 versions. probably 8 or 8.5 width? I saw pics of them too, but on a race version of the rx8
 

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The wheels look awesome, and I am not one that usually goes for painted wheels. In fact so far the whole vibe with your car is really good. I assume your going to tint it? That would make it look even better...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The wheels look awesome, and I am not one that usually goes for painted wheels. In fact so far the whole vibe with your car is really good. I assume your going to tint it? That would make it look even better...
Thanks! appreciate the compliment. i am tryin to stay with a theme for sure and tasteful lookin. tint is coming very soon. Prob is in Cali its illegal to tint fronts beyond 88%, so i'm toying with ideas. Money to mod is the other issue, but have an opportunity for alot of overtime for the rest of this year and start of next. i dont usually take on overtime with work...value my freetime too much, but if i put in 10 hours a week and they're gonna let me do the work from home... its hard to say no to 33+ an hour. gonna do it with the intent that its all "car mod money". :devil:
 

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Nice job. Look forward to seeing them in person, maybe at the MOCC meet.
 
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