Curb Rash Repair on an E39 M5

July 6, 2011 at 11:15 am 5 comments

Over the Fourth weekend I attempted to repair some road rash on my M5. The wheels are in very good condition, but there was one pretty big gash on the rear passenger side rim. So I checked out my DIY options.

The Target

There are different kits on the market, but right off the bat I hit a complication. The E39 M5 came with shadow chrome rims, a rare color for BMW wheels. It’s a combination of black, silver and chrome that is very hard to replicate, unlike the standard silver of most BMW rims. In fact, the kit I ended up buying from BavAuto only came with silver paint and specifically said not for shadow chrome wheels.

But the repair process is exactly the same — file and sandpaper the damaged area, fill with epoxy, file and sand that down, then repaint. So, I bought the kit and then a shadow chrome paint stick (code A56 for those scoring at home), and figured that would be a good match.

Fill in with epoxy

Sanded down

I originally thought that using a paint stick rather than spray would be an advantage, but unfortunately it was the reverse. It’s extremely hard to be precise by hand, unless the area is very small. But by far the biggest issue was the shadow chrome — it was not a close color match at all.

Hmm, what to do now?

So the message of this post is — don’t go this route if you have shadow chrome rims.

Beyond the color match, a few tips for others tackling their curb rash with this kit:

  • Remove the plastic rim guard as soon as you apply the epoxy – if you let it dry it can pull the epoxy off (the instructions that come with kit say leave it on)
  • Download the instructions from the BavAuto site, included in their Spring 2010 newsletter, and compare to kit instructions — there are some differences
  • You don’t need the actual files much at all, can get most of the filing done with the sandpaper

I have to keep it real on this blog and report when a DIY project doesn’t go well. I’ve already got a call into the guys at getbmwparts.com, Evan and Jason, to see about having this area resprayed. There must be a service they provide to owners who come into the dealership with shadow chrome rims that need to be touched up.

If anyone reading this knows where I can get a can of spray, PLEASE let me know. Hopefully I’ll be updating this post soon.

UPDATE 7/13 – OK, I’m psyched to report a happy ending to this story. Thanks to Evan and Joe at getbmwpart.com, and Joe and Tom at Alloy Wheel Repair, the look of my repaired rim has been saved.

Joe and Tom only work in Montgomery County, but it looks like AWRS has franchises in many states. Based on Tom’s work on my rim, I recommend them.

Can you see the repaired area?

No more dark gray band-aid on the rim

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sameday Alloy Wheel Repair  |  July 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Because wheel replacement can be expensive, curb rash repair is definitely a better and more efficient option.

    Reply
  • 2. Mike Maeder  |  February 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    So did they touch-up just that spot or refinish the whole wheel? Also did they use true shadow chrome paint? I’ve been looking at AWS too to fix similar rash…

    Reply
  • 3. Lee  |  April 22, 2012 at 4:23 am

    How much do you charge to repaint BMW e39
    M5 rim ????????

    Reply
  • 4. delano  |  July 12, 2012 at 9:29 am

    hello can u tell me wat are the painting colours and how did you paint it?

    Reply
    • 5. cparente  |  July 14, 2012 at 10:16 am

      Delano — the color code is A56, but like I say in the post do not try to do it by hand. The colors don’t match, see the photos. Find someone to professionally refinish the wheels.

      Reply

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