So a friend of mine saw pics of some blue Tuff Wheels I restored bitd and asked if I could help with a couple of pairs he had. Here's a link to those pics: https://www.facebook.com/groups/482095775319071/permalink/874226572772654/
He dropped off a pair of yellow and red Tuff's that had some serious aging issues along with one being totally spray bombed.
Just looking at these things I knew my work was cut out for me! I had to get them cleaned up to evaluate and see what I was working with.
I started by disassembling them using my cone wrenched, axle vise and freewheel tool. I also used a little magnet wand to keep all the bearings from running away.
The red ones had alloy flanges and the bearing cups wouldn't seat properly into them any more, so we decided to retro fit them with some sealed cartridges and new custom axles. You'll see more about that below.
The freewheel was frozen solid, so I used the axle nut to hold the freewheel tool in place.
To keep it all organized, I use a lot of zip lock bags.
Once the wheels were all dis-assembled, I needed to wash off the grit and dirt form the past. A slop sink, elbow grease and some simple green does the trick.
Once they were all cleaned up and dry, I could evaluate and check for cracks and other imperfections that are present.
The rear yellow Tuff had several cracks on the spokes so this one was a goner. But instead of just pitching it, I decided to use it for experimenting with different blast medias.
The other wheels had some small fractures by the rivets. But being these are just for show and not being used to thrash the streets and jump 20 ft. gaps, we proceeded to restore them.
Here's where the fun begins. I've used baking soda in the past and on the blue ones I referred to above. You can get some from McMaster-Carr here: https://www.mcmaster.com/baking-soda-blasting-media
After blasting the sacrificial rear wheel with this baking soda I decided to try some other medias to see if I could get better results. This plastic media was very coarse and took too much material off.
So I swapped it out for glass bead thinking the finer media would be better.
Neither the plastic or glass media gave me the results I was looking for. The baking soda seemed to be the best option at this point.
Running with the baking soda I started in on the red wheels. I tapped off the flanges so I wouldn't over spray and change the surface finish on them.
I got the rear done and soaked it in WD-40.
But the front was NOT coming out so good. The baking soda just wasn't doing the job on the rattle can paint. I decided to reach out to CEW the manufacturer of Skyway wheels and ask them for advice.
Turns out the chemistry I learned in school comes in handy when dealing with chemical compatibility of plastics. Both the baking soda I was using and Acetone work well with the nylon 6/6 the wheels are made of.
So I went after the rattle canned wheel with some fine steel wool and acetone.
After getting most of the black paint off, I went back to the media cabinet and baking soda.
Being happy with the results of the baking soda, I did some more reading about media's online and decided to try corn cob on the yellow one.
To my amazement, this stuff was awesome!!!
Not only did it clean up the plastic, it oiled it up too. I did NOT treat the yellow wheel with WD-40 like I did the red ones. I will be using corn cob from now on any Skyway Tuff wheel or ACS Z-Rim restoration.
Time to make the donuts.... I mean axles and put the wheels back together.
I bought a reamer to clean up the bore's of the red wheels since the orginal bearing cups no longer fit well in them.
I sketched some ideas and sourced some bearings I felt would work good.
After getting the bearings to sit right and press in correctly I made some axles and hardware.
I also got a new stainless steel axle for the yellow one and replaced the bearings and cones appropriately.
I cleaned up the steel flanges on the yellow one with some 0000 steel wool and WD-40. Then re-assembled the axle.
I press fit the bearings into the red ones, and finished them off with some custom volcano cones I made to match the axles.
My buddy was happy with the results and sent me some pics of them installed.
No, I don't do this kind of restoration for others so please don't ask. I am happy to guide and give suggestions. Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you share this article with anyone struggling to do the same.