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topic 0752

Chrome removal from motorcycle wheel rims


Q. I have some wheel rims from a motorcycle that have a chrome ring on the outer part of the wheel. This chrome ring is peeling off and I would like to know if there is a way to remove this chrome ring from the wheel and not get into a major project.


Also if anybody cares, I have found a cheap way to make your own Dremel [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] attachments for cleaning metal. First you take the Dremel attachment that is used for cutting wheels. In place of a cutting wheel you take a scotchbrite pad and cut out 2 or 3, inch and a half squares. You put a center hole in the pads and screw them to your Dremel attachment. They will wear into a circle when you use them. They work better than any attachment I have bought and only cost pennies. And do not forget safety glasses.

John Cabral II


Although we call them 'chrome plated', John, the chrome is only millionths of an inch thick; what you are probably seeing is the nickel plating peeling. If you would like to understand this better, you might enjoy our "Chrome Plating FAQ".

As a minimum you need to blast off the loose nickel, then MAYBE what is left can be stripped of chrome, reactivated, and plated. But frankly I doubt the results, and it will probably look quite bad. The right thing to do is completely strip the nickel, polish and buff, and start over. This probably involves using a cyanide-based nickel stripper that only industrial facilities will be able to obtain. Sorry, but there may be no easy way to fix it.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


I was wondering how to remove the chrome from a golf club I have, thank you.

Sam Steen
- Belle Fourche, South Dakota


The best way to do it, Sam, may be to find a "plating shop" and bring your golf club in :-)

You can get Muriatic Acid [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], and if you observe proper safety precautions goggles [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], protective gloves [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], etc.) you could remove the chrome. But as discussed above, it's probably really the nickel that you want to remove, and there's no chemical way you can do that without regulated cyanide chemicals or a proprietary chemical that the manufacturer may be unwilling to ship to a residential address. But sandblasting might be applicable if the blast operator has a craftsman's touch. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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