Friday, February 19, 2010

Zinc Plating the Trim Parts

Most of the plated parts on my car were either rusted, corroded, worn, or simply in need of a refinish. Things like door and hood latches, brackets, bolts, calipers, and springs were all great candidates for plating. I chose yellow zinc chromate on most of the parts including the brake calipers, although black oxide was also used on some of the brackets to keep the originality.

I once read that it’s easier and cheaper if you have everything plated in one batch as opposed to doing small runs. Overall that’s advice I didn't follow and I ended up paying too much for two medium size batches. Overall it was about $350 to plate every relevant part on my Esprit. Still not bad considering how everything turned out.

It did take time to prepare the parts, as I opted to use a coarse orbital wire brush (especially the brake calipers) to remove the dirt and rust prior to having everything finished. The plating company said this wasn’t necessary, but I didn’t trust them to clean and polish the parts as thoroughly as some of them needed to be. The thing about plating is that any imperfection in the metal prior to plating will only become more obvious after it’s done. I found that using a very fine orbital wire brush as the final step removed the heavy scratches and gave the metal a smooth and polished texture. The technique worked well and the outcome was excellent.

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