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View Full Version : TR2/3/3A Restoring Chrome, on a budget...



PatGalvin
02-17-2014, 01:39 AM
I have tried various products to restore or at least improve the chrome on my TR3A. Some of it just can't be improved - the pitting is too severe. But, in other cases, I have had very good success using metal polish and aluminum foil. I found this info on one of the hot rodder forums on the web. I've been able to salvage my hub caps and just cleaned up the tach chrome bezel this eve. The foil is soft and doesn't scratch the chrome. It takes a good bit of elbow grease but the foil tends to lower the pitting and smooth out areas. I finish with chrome sealer, which is probably car wax by another name. Pretty good results for those of us that don't want to pay for new expensive chrome pieces. Hope this is useful.

pat

https://i987.photobucket.com/albums/ae352/PatGalvin_bucket/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_1770_zpsea1f699d.jpg (https://s987.photobucket.com/user/PatGalvin_bucket/media/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_1770_zpsea1f699d.jpg.html)

https://i987.photobucket.com/albums/ae352/PatGalvin_bucket/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_1772_zpse0bc6187.jpg (https://s987.photobucket.com/user/PatGalvin_bucket/media/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_1772_zpse0bc6187.jpg.html)

https://i987.photobucket.com/albums/ae352/PatGalvin_bucket/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_1773_zps6787bb54.jpg (https://s987.photobucket.com/user/PatGalvin_bucket/media/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_1773_zps6787bb54.jpg.html)

https://i987.photobucket.com/albums/ae352/PatGalvin_bucket/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_2415_zpsc1ac758d.jpg (https://s987.photobucket.com/user/PatGalvin_bucket/media/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_2415_zpsc1ac758d.jpg.html)

https://i987.photobucket.com/albums/ae352/PatGalvin_bucket/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_2416_zpsc32b666f.jpg (https://s987.photobucket.com/user/PatGalvin_bucket/media/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_2416_zpsc32b666f.jpg.html)

https://i987.photobucket.com/albums/ae352/PatGalvin_bucket/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_2418_zps4e072ce0.jpg (https://s987.photobucket.com/user/PatGalvin_bucket/media/Chrome%20Parts%20Restoration/IMG_2418_zps4e072ce0.jpg.html)

toysrrus
02-17-2014, 03:38 AM
Hi Pat,

Looks pretty darn nice! You may also want to consider trying a "Fine" (1000 grit) Steel Wool. I use it on "All" of my chrome parts & comes out great.

Regards, Russ

TR3driver
02-17-2014, 04:50 AM
My preference is a product called DX579 Metal Prep, diluted about 4:1 with water, and bronze wool. (Steel wool seems to leave very fine scratches in the chrome for me.)

I don't have any really good photos, but here is a quickie, 5 minute test I did just to show the possibilities.
https://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh260/TR3driver/DX579/th_DSCF0002.jpg (https://s258.photobucket.com/user/TR3driver/media/DX579/DSCF0002.jpg.html)

https://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh260/TR3driver/DX579/th_DSCF0003.jpg (https://s258.photobucket.com/user/TR3driver/media/DX579/DSCF0003.jpg.html)

Obviously, there was a lot farther to go on that valve cover, but you get the idea. In addition to looking great, the DX579 also seems to "passivate" the chrome against further rust. I don't know what all is in it, but it contains phosphoric acid which chemically reacts with rust and leaves a silvery iron phosphate compound in it's place.

Supposedly the dilution won't harm paint either, as long as you rinse it off while it's still wet (but I've not tested that aspect myself).

NutmegCT
02-17-2014, 07:44 AM
Pat and Randall - your results look great. Wish I'd tried those techniques myself. Here's my before/after on my old Mercedes bumper.

31692

After treatment with (1) soap and water, (2) copper wool and kerosene, (3) soap and water, (4) phosphoric acid, (5) soap and water, (6) car wax.

31693

Pat - how did you eliminate the pitting?

tinman58
02-17-2014, 10:24 AM
Pat
Great info.I also heard about the foil method on one of the hot rod shows. haven't tried it yet. I do have extra TR3 hub caps. that are yours if you want them. (still cleaning out the parts shed). I am getting a price on the chrome tomorrow for the 250 stuff, I will call you as soon as I know.

CJD
02-17-2014, 10:34 AM
Beautiful! So you just rubbed the foil dry?

PatGalvin
02-17-2014, 11:30 AM
Hi Guys

I cleaned the part well with detergent and then used balled up tin foil with some liquid metal polish that I picked up at a car show. I think any metal polish would work fine with the method. It seems to help to have a little polish to act as a lubricant. This method doesn't remove heavy pitting but it seems to level and diminish the small pits so they are not so noticeable. And, the foil won't rust, which I hear can be a problem if you use steel wool (it may leave steel residuals on the chrome). Try a small area of a part and let me know what you think. Then wax to seal the surface. I did two hubcaps and felt like they came out very well. From 2-3 feet, they look more than acceptable. Does require some elbow grease to get a nice finish.

Pat

CJD
02-17-2014, 11:44 AM
I can't wait to try it! My hubcaps look about like yours did. I tried a quick polish with chrome cleaner, but it didn't have much affect at all. The chrome shop wants $300 to rechrome them, so my intent was to go with wires...but here I am 2 years later with the same old hub caps. Time to spiff them up like you did. Thanks for the tip!

Also, since I'm currently into tach faces (sign of a geek?), I notice your tach has a largish white dot at about the -600 rpm location. Is that a reflection or really a dot?

NutmegCT
02-17-2014, 12:09 PM
Thanks Pat. I wonder if using aluminum foil actually "fills" some of the pits with bits of the foil itself.

Tom

PatGalvin
02-17-2014, 01:10 PM
I can't wait to try it! My hubcaps look about like yours did. I tried a quick polish with chrome cleaner, but it didn't have much affect at all. The chrome shop wants $300 to rechrome them, so my intent was to go with wires...but here I am 2 years later with the same old hub caps. Time to spiff them up like you did. Thanks for the tip!

Also, since I'm currently into tach faces (sign of a geek?), I notice your tach has a largish white dot at about the -600 rpm location. Is that a reflection or really a dot?

Hi John

I checked a couple photos and there is a white dot on the tach. No idea why. Your gauge rebuild info is great. I'm trying to suppress my desire to rebuild all my gauges. Just want to clean the glass and chrome and install them, for now.

Pat

TRopic6
02-17-2014, 01:50 PM
Aloha Pat,

Thanks for the report on using Al foil to clean up chrome. I have a few 'nothing to lose' TR4 gauges with chrome like yours - will give it a try. As for the dot, on the TR4 gauge I have, it's a sort of aluminum rivet that anchors one end of a wire that is bent up for the needle stop. In John's excellent thread on TR3 gauge refurbishing, the needle stop looks like just a short vertical post. Maybe Jeager went to the bent wire stop in late TR3A production.

Jeff

Geo Hahn
02-17-2014, 02:20 PM
The big dot (not exactly a dot) is indeed the head of the rivet but there is a tiny white dot to the left of it. I'm thinking that is where the needle should point when at rest with the 'stop' withdrawn. This would be the initial calibration -- probably useless now on a 50 year old gauge.

Lbp
02-17-2014, 03:08 PM
I heard about using aluminum foil and coca cola for chrome. I've tried it with successful results.

CJD
02-17-2014, 03:19 PM
Thanks...I couldn't tell if the dot was a reflection or not. It's interesting the subtle differences in gages that look exactly alike at a glance.

Pat your gages look too good to do too much to them. The bezels look brand new now. Mine were better than Jerry's submarine gages...but that's about the only good thing I can say !?!

6TTR3A
02-18-2014, 02:51 PM
Also, since I'm currently into tach faces (sign of a geek?), I notice your tach has a largish white dot at about the -600 rpm location. Is that a reflection or really a dot?

It's an aluminum rivet head. It's holding the pointer stop post in place.
Usually, but not always, it's painted black. Also, that method wasn't
used on all faces, so sometimes it's not there at all !!
Frank

3171431715

NutmegCT
02-18-2014, 02:58 PM
Must be going blind again. I swear I don't see a white dot near 600 rpm in any of the photos.

Help!!!

PatGalvin
02-18-2014, 03:09 PM
I think that is negative 600 rpm, right?

Must be going blind again. I swear I don't see a white dot near 600 rpm in any of the photos.

Help!!!

Lbp
02-19-2014, 11:18 AM
Can negative 600 rpm be achieved by driving in reverse?

hehehehe

Bill

PatGalvin
02-19-2014, 07:01 PM
Made a trip to the chrome plating shop today with my bumpers and a few other parts. I told him about my exploits with aluminum foil and renewing old chrome. He said "that won't last" and that it would turn into brown spots. He said chrome finish was very thin and I was probably wearing down to the nickel layer with my foil abrasion.

Guess we'll have to wait and see. I'll be keeping my chrome waxed/sealed so that the oxidation doesn't occur too quickly. Rechroming is costly, especially in a green state like CA. TR3 and TR-250 bumper bars are $275 each and over-riders are about $50 each. TR-250 rear bumper is $350. TR-250 pot metal front side marker light fixtures (pot metal) are a hundred each. Quick way to separate you from your $1,200!! But I'm sure they will look fabulous when completed. As info, pot metal is much more difficult to plate and more costly. More difficult to repair than steel.

Pat

CJD
02-19-2014, 07:22 PM
I hear ya! Just got a big batch back for a kings ransom. They rushed the job to get it out before Xmas...so most of it had to go back. They seem to have taken more time to get it right. The first time they tried to guess which side would show, and only buffed that side. A lot of our parts show on both sides, though!