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Old 09-25-2008, 05:13 PM   #1
Crazychopstick
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Default Basic Virgo Repair

Keep in mind that this thread will be edited frequently for corrections, pictures, and additional information
Skilled required for this job 1/10 (easy but time consuming).


Potholes. Sometimes you can’t avoid them.

Depending on the type of wheel you have (forged, cast, 3 piece, etc) there are many businesses that specialize in repairing your busted wheels. The bends can be straightened (perhaps) and the curb rash and chipping clear coat, refurbished to that nice “back to new” shine. Professional wheel repair is always the best choice, but it does come at a cost. Averaging $100-250 a wheel can be quite the bankbreaker, especially if your whole set of wheels cost just a crisp Benjamin. And seeing as you’re already reading this thread, I think it’s safe to assume that a professional fix just isn’t in the budget.



Enter the Virgo, the quintessential RWD Volvo wheel. The Virgo is a five spoke 15x6 wheel with a proper 20 offset, making it a popular choice among the 240 crowd. They have been imprinted with “GERMANY” and “NORWAY” depending on the country of origin and there are minor casting details among the wheels such as “Volvo” lettering size and hub thickness (weight is consistent I believe) not to mention the iPD replicas that came in 14” and 15” sizes. The wheel was commonly found on late model 242GTs and Turbo models. Their style is distinctly 80s, complementing most any 240 it’s mounted on. And because of the lack of availability of RWD wheels in a 5x108 bolt pattern, it’s not uncommon to find the Virgo mounted on 140s, 740s and 940s as well.


P1800 owned by Vol-Tech in Austin

P1800 owned by resa850

144 owned by gsellstr (Virgos powdercoated graphite)

244 owned by towerymt (Virgos painted blue)

244 owned by OldSchoolEuro (Virgos painted gloss black)

245 formerly owned by Two245Turbos (polished Virgos)

245 owned by Two245Turbos (factory gold colored Virgos)

945 owned by WAGONRACER (Virgos painted white)

While abundant and cheap, in most junkyards they are commonly found thrashed and bent. A set at my local yard cost me $25/a wheel, including the one with the gnarly dent in it. I put that wheel aside for further inspection and ordered a single (and the nicest of the bunch) Virgo from California putting the total a bit over $160 so far.


(Four Virgos, four different hues of silver)

So here we have four Virgos. All straight enough to hold air, all different shades. We’re about to repair and repaint these four wheels into something respectable for the 240 to wear. This thread is basic Virgo repair. The first thing you’re going to want to do is to jot down this short supply list:

-JB Weld or similar strength epoxy
-Toothpicks
-Pliers
-100grit and 400grit sandpaper (2-3 packs)
-Duplicolor wheel paint(2-4 cans)
-Superclean “All wheel cleaner”
-Wax and grease remover (found at automotive paint stores)
-Old newspapers and painter’s tape
-Nice shop towels

What this thread is going to show you is how to sand and fill in minor curb rashes and gouges to the face of the wheel, then repaint them to a nice uniform (sort of) finish.


(Superclean)

First of all you need remove any wheel weights (pliers will do nicely) and give your nasty wheels a little wash. I like to presoak the wheel in Super clean, then scrub with a scotch pad, I also wash the back first so I can finish and dry on the face side. Make sure you clean the insides of the gouges carefully so your JB Weld will have a nice clean surface to adhere to, you can scuff it a bit with sandpaper to smooth out the scratches, but I never did and it stuck fine.


(JB Weld, made from magic)

If you’ve never used JB Weld before (shame on you) it is a two part epoxy mixture that hardens when the two contents are mixed together, creating a tough yet sand-able and paintable surface that can withstand road debris and even high pressure washes. Take a scrap sheet of paper or a paper plate and squeeze small and equal amounts of both tubes onto the sheet. Using your toothpicks, or a similar type of mixer, swirl the gray and black together, once fully mixed together, you have a limited amount of time before the mixture becomes too tacky to apply. Work quickly but carefully. Start by filling in the edges of the wheel where curb rash has occurred, build the epoxy up until it’s a little higher than the edges of the wheel, a little over globbing is okay here. When finished with the edges, move on the face of the wheel where any deep scratches might have occurred. Once again, fill in the scratches, but try to keep it just barely thicker than the face of the wheel, be careful here because when it comes time to sand, too much JB weld on the face will make it difficult to blend.


(1. Two parts mixed together)


(2. The rash)


(3. application of epoxy)


(4. globbed on)


(Before)


(After)


(Before)


(After)

JB Weld takes a good 24 hours to cure so put the wheels aside for the time being and surf Turbobricks for a while.

After the epoxy has dried and cured, you will find that it is very hard, almost too hard to sand with ease. No problem, dig out that 100grit sand paper and go to work on it. Around the edges you want to give it firm even pressure while “rounding” the sandpaper on the lip to match the repaired area with the rest of the lip, your sanding strokes should be following the circumference of the wheel, not perpendicular to the lip. Precision here is not necessary, since it’ll be up against the tire when mounted, just make it as pretty as you like. After a bit of sanding, it’ll become difficult to eye the sanded area to see if it blends in with the rest of the wheel, feel it out and if it feels a bit bumpy, hit it with the sandpaper again. What you’re hoping for here is that the JB Weld has filled in the “valleys” of the curb rash, everything else on the surface is just excess that you need to sand down.


(Lip sanding)


(Lip sanding)


(Lip sanding)

When finished with the lip, move on to the face and spokes of the wheel. This is where eyeballing your sanding gets a little difficult, you really have to feel the depth of the JB Welded area since the visuals are harder to base judgment on. The same technique applies however, 100grit to the hardened epoxy, sand it down to the point where the surface is even with the rest of the wheel.


(Spoke, sanded, left not fully sanded for article)

Once you’re satisfied with the amount of sanding your wheels have endured, give them another wash, nothing cheap and quick either. Presoak with the wheel cleaner, scrub, and rinse. Make sure you get off all the JB Weld dust. Your Virgos are officially repaired in a budget sense. No more scratches or rashes.


(400 grit shown)

These next steps will cover loosely how to repaint the wheels so they are all the same shade. Choose your color, any color! Alternatively, you could send your wheels to be powdercoated or have them professionally sprayed at a body shop, both of these options may have better results but will definitely be more expensive (factor about $2-300). Anyways back to the spraypaint, let the wheels dry and bring them into a shaded and well ventilated surface, don’t breathe in the fumes and wear gloves since this stuff can be pretty toxic. Apply the wax and grease remover to a clean rag or spray bottle and wipe or spray on the wheel, then use a clean side to wipe off, any liquid left on the wheel should evaporate shortly. What this product does is it brings impurities that are lodged into the wheel, up to the surface so you can wipe them away, paint thinner is said to do the same thing, but you run the risk of “softening” the previous factory coat of the wheel, so unless you’re beadblasting and hot tanking your Virgos down to the bare metal, stick with the wax and grease remover to be safe.


(wax and grease remover, I poured it in a spray bottle for ease of application)


(Black Duplicolor wheel paint shown, wheels were painted graphite however)

Here’s where your choice of sanding comes into play, you can either start low (100 grit) and move up slowly to a smoother sandpaper (400 grit or more) or you can sand with 400 grit only. I’ve tried both methods and found that a single grade sandpaper nets the same results with less effort. Effort meaning that every time you sand your wheel, you will have to wash, dry and degrease before using the next grade of sandpaper. For this article we’ll stick with the single 400 grit.

Sand the wheel all over in any areas that are to be painted. Take your time and dispose of sandpaper generously, don’t think of it as wasting the paper, think of it as saving yourself from wasting your time, once the sandpaper is done, it’s not going to do as much scuffing onto the wheel, it’s easier to just grab another sheet.

Your wheels should be nice and “hazy” once you’re done sanding (we didn’t paint the inside of the wheel, but if you wish to, apply similar methods and avoid the area where the mounted wheel contacts the hub of the brake rotor) give the wheels another thorough wash and dry then wipe on and off some of that grease remover. Let the wheels fully dry and they will be ready for painting.

Some people prefer to primer the wheel before painting. I’ve never done so with exceptional results. If you are going to sand and blast the wheel down to the bare material, then a primer would be necessary, but since we are essentially painting over the stock coating, I feel it is an unnecessary step. Feel free to add this step in though, if you think differently! Since you’re painting from a rattle can, the paint works best when it’s been shaken well and a shaded area when the humidity is low. The spray exits the can most efficiently when the rattle can is in a upright position. If there was a way to mount your wheel upright, I would suggest doing so, we didn’t have the means so we laid it out flat.



(only used one grade of sandpaper, 400grit, wheel is sanded and ready for paint)


(coat 1, cat 1)


(coat 2)



(coat 3)



(Final coat)


When painting your wheels you want to spray light and even coats. Spray it too heavy and the paint will become runny and not stick very well. I spray three to four coats total, leaving ten minutes in between each coat, if you’re efficient with your timing you can get to all four wheels within an hour. For this set of Virgos, no clearcoat was applied, but when applying clear follow the same procedure with light even coats leaving 10 minutes in between coats.

In the end some areas were a bit splotchy (too heavy) particularly on the lip, but the end result is pleasing.



Here you can compare the original rash with the sanded and painted areas (I made sure to not fully sand some areas for comparison photos).



(before/after)



(before/after)



(before/after)

Thanks for reading my article and I hope you the best of luck in repairing and painting your Virgos or any other kind of alloy wheel for the matter, and remember neither I not Turbobricks can be liable for any injuries you might (but probably won't) sustain following these instructions.

Good luck!

P.S. My research on wheel painting methods were aided by Tenacious Todd, YLD244, and towerymt in this thread.


I have also written an article concerning CD player installation on a 240 here.

Last edited by Crazychopstick; 04-10-2009 at 11:48 PM..
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:21 PM   #2
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Another recommendation if you have access to either air tools or a decent dremel is get a flapper sanding wheel. Makes the sanding far easier, and on the rounded edges of the wheel it'll keep the curvature VERY close to stock. Did that on my Virgo's a while back.

Good writeup!
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Old 09-26-2008, 03:11 AM   #3
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good write-up, i refurbished my virgos and painted them gunmetal gray with the same duplicolor paint you used.

there are a few things that differ between your repairs and mine:

1. Filler. it is just as easy to use bondo spot putty. whether it holds just as well to the aluminum as JB-Weld is a concern, but I am not too worried about that. 3 coats of spot putty for most scratches/ curb rash held up really well to some pretty heavy sanding and washing.

2. Primer. Very important: i think this step is crucial for the paint to stick to the wheel on the long term. I added two coats of scratch filler/primer (the orange looking duplicolor stuff) on the wheels after dry sanding them with 400 and 600 grit paper (the black wet/dry variety). i repeated the 400/600 sanding after the coats of primer dried.

3. Sanding application. This is where my method differed the most: i did not find the need to use wax remover or even wash anything between sandpaper grits: a good blow to get the dust out off the way is all that's really needed. Also, i was very careful to use a dremel tool to remove material from a slightly inward-bent lip and to remove etched grime and brake dust from the ridges that form from wheel-to-blacktop contact. The reason being that these contaminants tend to flake off after a while, making the bond between primer/filler and aluminum weak

i agree with gsellstr, having a dremel makes life much easier especially when it comes to sanding the areas where the spokes meet the rim. my fingers were too fat to sand off custed in clearcoat and brake dust/muck. adding to that, steel wool and thinner are not enough sometimes if you are very anal-retentive like me. I used a grinding stone with the dremel to get all of that crud out. when it comes to the finish, i ran into the same niggles as you with this spray paint. it tends to blot around some areas due to the nozzle of the can becoming clogged with extra paint. I guess that's the trade-off that comes from going the cheap way! then again, i would not trust bondo to be powder-coated. it would end in disaster to say the least

Thanks for the write-up! hopefully this input ill be helpful. I can also upload some pics if you would like
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Old 09-26-2008, 03:25 AM   #4
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Great article!!

There've been a few good ones popping up lately, keep 'em coming guys!
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Old 09-26-2008, 09:25 AM   #5
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Nice write up. I wasn't didn't know you could use JB weld to repair curb rashes a nicks.
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:09 AM   #6
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I wonder if the JB weld will flake off after time, We'll have to check back in after a few months of winter cold/heat cycles. Hopefully it will stay attached
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danclemts View Post
I wonder if the JB weld will flake off after time, We'll have to check back in after a few months of winter cold/heat cycles. Hopefully it will stay attached
I've used it before and it works great. Prep it right and sand it down and it does an excellent job fixing rash and gouges. I've never had it flake or pop off and I've touched up two sets of wheels and ran them for years.
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Old 09-26-2008, 11:49 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the compliments guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsellstr View Post
Another recommendation if you have access to either air tools or a decent dremel is get a flapper sanding wheel. Makes the sanding far easier, and on the rounded edges of the wheel it'll keep the curvature VERY close to stock. Did that on my Virgo's a while back.

Good writeup!
Good idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1harribert View Post

3. Sanding application. This is where my method differed the most: i did not find the need to use wax remover or even wash anything between sandpaper grits: a good blow to get the dust out off the way is all that's really needed. Also, i was very careful to use a dremel tool to remove material from a slightly inward-bent lip and to remove etched grime and brake dust from the ridges that form from wheel-to-blacktop contact. The reason being that these contaminants tend to flake off after a while, making the bond between primer/filler and aluminum weak
Without using the wax and grease remover first, you risk sanding any impurities into the wheel itself and causing the same adhesion issues you fear from uncleaned grime and brake dust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor View Post
Nice write up. I wasn't didn't know you could use JB weld to repair curb rashes a nicks.
You can use JB Weld fine. Alternatively, you can use some sort of steel putty or similar type of epoxy. But as already mentioned, I wouldn't recommend bondo, especially if you plan to powdercoat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danclemts View Post
I wonder if the JB weld will flake off after time, We'll have to check back in after a few months of winter cold/heat cycles. Hopefully it will stay attached
This was done in June of this year, and the Virgos have been driven on daily, through the rain storms and hot Texas highways, so it's been about four months and the JB Weld is holding on great.
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:36 PM   #9
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Great thread, very useful.
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:53 PM   #10
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i never saw this before, nice thread sir.

One of towery's wheels isnt a real virgo, it's an impostor.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:53 AM   #11
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nice idea! i really need to do mine as they are horrible.

Whats the difference between the virgos from GERMANY and the ones from NORWAY?..any special differences?
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antz View Post
nice idea! i really need to do mine as they are horrible.

Whats the difference between the virgos from GERMANY and the ones from NORWAY?..any special differences?
I'm not sure. There are however more than 1 Germany stamped Virgo. One has larger "Germany" lettering with deeper recesses for to fit the steelie rotor pin. The other one requires the pin to be removed.



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Old 11-27-2008, 08:30 AM   #13
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oh right!!!

mine have the pin hole in them.
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:24 PM   #14
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I know this is about a month old, but considering my line of work, I've done well over 150 cars. 2 big tips that really works and is very easy:
1). Basic solder. This fills the gouge's very nicely and maintains strength. Also a lot easier to sand than most would think!
2). Lead based bondo. It fuses with the aluminum and doesn't hurt the wheel. It adheres strong and does not "crack" under pressure.
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Old 12-24-2008, 06:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antz View Post
nice idea! i really need to do mine as they are horrible.

Whats the difference between the virgos from GERMANY and the ones from NORWAY?..any special differences?
German Virgos are a little bit lighter.

http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=72501
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:27 PM   #16
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Nice write-up, Chris!
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:03 AM   #17
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Old 02-20-2015, 04:35 PM   #18
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Excellent write-up, thanks! Used the technique to fix up some Mille Miglia Spyders I got for my wife. Also, used an angle grinder and a coarse finishing pad to sand it down smooth.

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Old 02-28-2015, 01:43 AM   #19
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I went this route with some old Virgos and am pretty pleased. That said, my own impatience kind of pooped on all the prep work and the overall result. Chiefly, I sprayed the backs of the wheels first, just enough to cover everything, but the overspray that went in between the spokes and onto the street-facing part of the wheel ended up affecting the coats I did to the front. If I'd taken the time to just sand the overspray, it would all be fine. But after months of working on them here and there, in no real hurry, all the sudden I was in a hurry, so the coverage looks different everywhere overspray came onto the wheel from the back. It's not super noticeable, and most people probably won't see it at all. But they'll dock points at Pebble Beach for sure, so it's a lesson learned for next time.

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