Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Posted by Matthew Poster on

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.

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

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.

 Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

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.

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

 Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

The freewheel was frozen solid, so I used the axle nut to hold the freewheel tool in place.

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

To keep it all organized, I use a lot of zip lock bags.

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

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.

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Once they were all cleaned up and dry, I could evaluate and check for cracks and other imperfections that are present.

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

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.

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

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.

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

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

Skyway Tuff Wheels Restoration

https://www.mcmaster.com/baking-soda-blasting-media

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

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.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

So I swapped it out for glass bead thinking the finer media would be better.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

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.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

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.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

I got the rear done and soaked it in WD-40.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

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.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

So I went after the rattle canned wheel with some fine steel wool and acetone.

 Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

After getting most of the black paint off, I went back to the media cabinet and baking soda.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

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.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

To my amazement, this stuff was awesome!!! 

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

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.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel 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.

 Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

I sketched some ideas and sourced some bearings I felt would work good.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

After getting the bearings to sit right and press in correctly I made some axles and hardware.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

I also got a new stainless steel axle for the yellow one and replaced the bearings and cones appropriately.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

I cleaned up the steel flanges on the yellow one with some 0000 steel wool and WD-40. Then re-assembled the axle.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

I press fit the bearings into the red ones, and finished them off with some custom volcano cones I made to match the axles.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

My buddy was happy with the results and sent me some pics of them installed.

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

Skyway Tuff Wheel Restoration

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.