Wheel Specs
SSR / GT2 / 17×8.5 / +48mm / 5×100

When my wheels arrived (well half of them at least) and I went ahead and bolted one of them up to see how it would look on the Bugeye. In the pics, at least from certain angles, the wheel design looks a little flat. However, there are subtle curves in the spokes that become apparent as soon as you have them in hand.

The 5-spoke wheel is a classic design, and yet it is one design that I am the pickiest about. The spokes can be too flat, too fat, too thin, too thick, too convex, too concave, too simple, too busy and often, too heavy.

The SSR GT2s are one of those wheels that gets everything just about right. In 18-inch form, I am not a fan. Which isn’t typical. I tend to love the 18-inch version of most wheels. I would love to see an 18-inch version of the 05-07 STi BBS wheels. The 17-inch SSR GT2 is perhaps my favorite 5-spoke wheel outside of the Work Meister S1.

Initial impressions; these wheels feel very light in hand, lighter than the 15lbs they are claimed to be. I mean almost disturbingly light for wheels. My Rota Tarmac IIs are reportedly around 18lbs, however, picking them up back-to-back, one of these wheels is lying. I suspect it’s probably the Rotas.

The SSR GT2 wheels were discontinued around 2004-2005 so naturally, this set was used. A couple are in pretty good shape, however, one has some serious road rash. I will probably just sand down the rough edges and paint the wheels.
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I don’t care for this style center cap design and they aren’t in great shape anyway. I will probably run knockout seals for center caps. I think a simple flush cap would look the best with the 5-spoke wheel design.

The next day, UPS dropped off the other half of my wheels and now I had a full set. Reunited at last.
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Paint Preparations

Clean, sand and clean; and sand some more. Perhaps the single worst part of painting wheels, or anything really, is the sanding. I flat-out hate it. I usually give up sooner than I should; regretting it later on after mounting the wheels. I did sand down the worse of the curb rash on the worst wheel. This is going to be my test wheel for the new color, satin black.20171222-IMG_3131.jpg

Somewhere in the process of cleaning and sanding, I noticed I had bubbles coming from the edge of the wheel and tire. Concerned that I may have a cracked wheel on my hands, I decided to attempt a tire removal.

Tire Removal

I bought a tire removal tool from Harbour Freight several months back but never bothered to open the box. I tucked it away underneath my workbench and completely forgot about it.

The tool is pretty simple. I managed to de-bead the tire without bolting the tool to the floor. Your mileage may vary. 20171223-IMG_3146.jpg

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The next part is the most difficult; getting the tire off of the wheel. I recommend using lots of soapy water and having at least two tire spoons/tire irons if not a small army of them. The main problem with this method is that it scratches up your wheels. Not a big deal since I am in the process of painting them, but if you are not painting your wheels (and you care about their current condition), I would avoid this method.

However, after many beers (and several hours later) I managed to free all four wheels of their tires. No cracks detected on the initial wheel that started this process. So that’s good I guess. 20171223-IMG_3171.jpg

With the wheels sanded as much as I could stand, it was time to clean up the wheels one last time.20171224-IMG_3187.jpg

Wheel Paint

It was about 40° outside so I had to break out the portable heater to warm up the garage and speed up the drying process. The Duplicolor instructions state a temperature range above 66°.

While I waited for the wheels to completely dry, I took a pic that shows another angle of the wheel damage. Hopefully, it won’t be an issue. I also stuck a couple of cans of paint into a bucket of hot water to warm the paint up. 20171224-IMG_3176.jpg

With the wheel completely dry it’s ready for primer or more sanding. I plan on sending these to a professional wheel repair shop and have them powdercoated afterward. This is color change is more of a mild refresh.20171224-IMG_3195.jpg

For now, it was time to lay on a coat of primer. I got a tip from a gentleman at the auto parts store to sand the primer (2000 grit IIRC) before spraying the first coat. However, it was too cold to wash the wheels again so I stuck to my normal routine. 20171224-IMG_3196.jpg

After the primer dried, it was time to lay the first couple of light coats. One nice feature about the Duplicolor spray paint for wheels is that it sprays in a wide fan for easier coverage. I recommend their paint if they have a color you want. 20171224-IMG_3199.jpg

And this is after the final coat. I was pretty happy with how this wheel turned out, so I the next day I got started on the rest of the wheels.20171224-IMG_3203.jpg

Overall, the process is pretty straightforward. The only complication was the cold weather and my limited availability for mods before classes begin again in a couple of weeks.

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I planned to add a metal flake clear coat but I really like the satin finish. I’m still up in the air over whether or not I will add the clear coat.

Right now I am waiting (7-days) for the paint to completely cure. Hopefully, I can order tires pretty soon. I think I am going to go with BFG G-Force Comp-2A/S 255/40/R17 tires. They have great reviews on TireRack and score highly on their tire test. Coincidentally, I was going back and forth between the BFGs and the Generals, when I noticed they were the two leaders in the TireRack tests. Unfortunately, the General G-MAX AS-05s don’t have a 255/40 tire so BFG wins by default.

I weighed a wheel in the current state (no tires, wheel weights) and they weigh 16 lbs.

Until I order tires, here are some more pictures of watching paint dry (cure).

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Cheers!