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Author Topic: Refurbishment of Thema 16V Turbo wheels for Beta Spider  (Read 484 times)
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« on: August 12, 2018, 11:59:24 AM »

It's taken me at least ten years, but I've finally had the set of 15" Thema 16V Turbo wheels refurbished that I've been squirreling away. The wheels were in pretty fair nick, with only a couple of dings that needed attention, although the lacquer had crazed in places allowing minor corrosion into the surface of the ali. You'll have to take my word for this, as I didn't take 'before' pictures.

Here is one of the wheels post refurb and with a new tyre fitted. I've got a full set of 5 wheels (including a spare) and they all look spot on.

All the photos were taken fairly late in the day, with low directional sun, so the anthracite colour you see is slightly lighter than it would be in the metal.

The sun was so low that it was quite difficult to keep my shadow from intruding into the photo, hence no 'square on'  pictures.

The back of the wheels probably shows the truest representation of the wheel colour, but with a metallic shade the wheels change colour with the ambient light.

The white stuff on the rear tyre walls is just tyre mounting soap. I'll wash that off before the wheels are put in service.

The colour is a mid-anthracite and the wheels were refurbished by a company called Powdercoating Shropshire. I heard about them through Bad Obsession Motorsport (the Project Binky chaps) and reasoned if they used this company then they must be good, as BOM are obsessive about stuff being done right. I had a good chat with the guys and they told me the 5 steps that all wheels go through (6 if you include dent/ding removal) in their powder coat process:

1. Any tyres removed and wheels dipped in stripping solution to remove old lacquer/powder coat.

2. Wheels aqua-blasted to remove any remaining material and get wheels back to bare metal. Grit blasting is way too aggressive, so they use aqua-blasting, basically a slurry of water and finely ground glass beads.

3. Bare wheels placed in the oven for a set time and temperature to de-gas (if this isn't done, coatings can bubble due to trapped gas).

4. Wheels primed and baked for set time/temperature.

5. Top (finish) coat applied and wheels baked for set time/temperature.

Most wheel refurbishers will miss out 2 or 3 of these steps to get a quicker turn around. I've heard a number of refinishers say things along the lines of 'powders are so good these days, you don't need a primer'. If anyone tells you that, walk away. Likewise if they use grit to blast your alloys.

These Thema wheels are 15" with a rim size of 6J (Beta alloys are 14" 5.5J). After some consideration I opted for a conservative tyre size choice of 185/60 R15 Vredestein Sportrac 5. This keeps the tyre/wheel rolling radius within 0.5% of the original 175/70 R14 setup that Betas left the factory with.

1980 Lancia Beta Spider 2000 (S2FL)
2002 VW Transporter T4
2017 KTM Duke 690R
2008 Aprilia SL1000 Falco
1992 Ducati 888 SP3
1988 Honda VFR750F
1980 Yamaha RD350LC
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