Cleaning: Obviously the metal was rusty, pitted and generally in bad shape. First was to run it down with low grit sandpaper to get the worst off, then scrubbed with a wire brush to get into the pits. It was then soaked overnight in ascorbic acid (vitamin c) solution, scrubbed with a brass brush then left to soak again for the rest of the afternoon. It was then put in a vinegar + salt solution and connected as the anode to draw the rest of the surface clean. It was wiped down and quickly placed in the plating tank because a highly clean surface like that will flash rust in a matter of seconds.
Copper plating: I made copper (II) acetate as the electrolyte. Mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar (acetic acid) of 5% strength minimum and hydrogen peroxide. Doesn't have to be exact but measuring in a cup or measuring jug is fine. Place a copper pan scrubber into the solution and leave it to dissolve. Once it's a nice sky blue (if you leave it too long it gotta a really dark blue) remove the scrubber pad. Take a second clean pad and twist one end up into a teardrop kind of shape- this forms a connection point out of the solution else the clip and wire will pollute the copper electrolyte. Place the object to be plated as far away from the scrubbing pad as possible. Connect up with the lowest voltage you can- this can easily be done with a D cell battery. It'll work down to about 0.6 volts. The scrubbing pad connects to + and the item to be plated to -. You must keep the item being plated moving else you'll get uneven plating. If you have too much current you'll get black greasy gunk form on the object. Wipe off and try again with a smaller battery. Slightly too fast and you'll get burgundy flaky layers that flake off. Just right and you'll get pale pink coating that doesn't wipe off.
Nickel plating: I went to the hardware store and bought 99% nickel welding rods, they're used for welding cast iron. Use distilled vinegar, add a pinch of salt (don't go overboard) make 2 nickel electrodes and put one to + and one to -, not touching and put them in the vinegar. I found that 5 volts gives reasonably good results, less would be better (about 1 volt). Leave the nickel to dissolve. The molar strength of the vinegar is inadequate to dissolve the nickel by itself so it needs some electrolytic help. Once the vinegar has turned pale mint green (takes a couple hours) you're good. That is nickel acetate. Disconnect the - nickel electrode and connect your item to be plated, and dunk it in. It'll fizz, so you don't really need to move it about. Takes a couple hours to plate over. Remove, wash in water and buff with brasso to a nice sheen.
Now, note this. Copper II acetate is poison! Treat it with respect. Wear glasses and gloves and wash thoroughly if you get it on your skin (you'll know if you have, it stains brown). Store it in a sealed labeled jar clearly marked POISON. Keep it away from children and pets. Likewise nickel acetate, it is toxic.
Also note that you will release hydrogen gas, a little bit of chlorine gas and some oxygen. Do this in an outside, well-ventilated area. This is not something to do in the kitchen!
However, take care and you can produce some really good results.
Post by strangersfaces on Nov 9, 2018 17:15:41 GMT
Lovely car. Good plating tips and result, Phil! Should work fine.
But let's say that the metal was to be exposed, so the pitting would need to be filled and smoothed before going through the plating process. Would the process work after tinning, then smoothing the pits, using a product such as this Metal and Pot metal solder ?
I placed a black of wood on my jack to take up the slack, lifted the car a little and hefted it under the front crossbeam. Pumped it up to its maximum and the wheels are still on the ground. I need a bigger jack.
Still, stuck axle stands under it. That gave enough clearance to undo the bolts holding the battery tray in. I also removed the old lower battery bracket for the 6V battery as I do not intend on having the battery in the engine compartment.
Pushed the car outside and went at it with the pressure washer.
This is what I started with.
And this is how it ended up after being dried down with my leaf blower.
Pulled the filling plug out and gave it a clean. Although quite grubby it came up well.
That's not so promising.
Employed an assistant to rock the steering side to side as I looked at the mechanism. The free play is mostly in lash at the bottom of the pitman arm shaft. Instead of rotating, it's flopping about first.
Took the bolts out of the "side access cover", which happens to be on the top.
Well, the top bearing is in good shape.
Argh. I hate it when people put chassis grease in steering boxes. It gets worked into grooves and never lubricates the bits that need it. This design calls for semi liquid grease which is "self-leveling", that is it has the consistency of slow molasses and will gloop back down after it's been pushed out of the way, and get back on the bearing surfaces.
Scrubbed the bolts up a little before putting them back in.
I'm moderately amused that the cover looks like it could have been installed last week, not in the fifties. This car has lived its life where the roads aren't salted. Makes a difference.
Thanks. Quite a few tangents, mostly as I unearth things as a result of investigating something different. Trying to make sense of it all though. Not sure if I will be able to do this all on the car or not- it may end up being more sane to do it once the engine is out and I can sit in the engine bay and swear at the steering components.
If you look bottom left at the nut on the pitman shaft, rocking the steering makes it wobble towards the engine. I managed to adjust a little slack out, but that's going to bed the bushing replaced.
I think that'll wait until I've got the engine out to improve access. Really the steering column needs to come out and the thing be worked on the bench. I think it'll come out by swinging the steering box up and out.
Cleaned up the air filter bolt. It had been sitting in ascorbic acid for a couple days.
Painted with etch primer.
And finished up with gloss black enamel.
I had wanted to start stripping out the aftermarket gauges and wiring. That involved draining down the engine, so I undid the drain tap. Nothing came out... So I poked a bit with a screwdriver. Yuk! Lots of black gunk.
Spatchcocked together a length of pipe with the correct union on the end. Hooked up the pressure washer and cleared the blockage out, which was just years of rust.
Cleaned the valve up and got it all refitted.
Started tearing out the old wiring. Point of no return... Took the neutral inhibitor/reverse light switch apart and cleaned it up.
Started to clean up all the clamp plates and put rust converter on the firewall.
Cleaned up the one remaining fuse holder (there are supposed to be two).
All cleaned up and ready to go.
Trying to keep original parts of they're good enough to retain.
I removed the aftermarket gauges from under the dash. I'm trying to figure why the ammeter and oil pressure gauges were duplicated as the dash contains them, the oil pressure gauge also being mechanical.
Ended up fitting the oil pressure gauge to my lawn mower... Still, made a start on removing the wiring from under the dash.
End result was under the hood is now significantly more tidy.
The table less so. With everything up out of the way, out came the fuse box.
Not bad for 1951, the UK saw cars with two fuses only well into the sixties.
Up under the dash, laying on the floor is thankfully quite comfortable, though the fluffy dust from the cotton exterior of the wires was getting everywhere. Typically a few places I had to be directly under where I was working. Old dirt in your face is one of the foibles if older cars, I guess.
Looks like the dash assembly is original. The ammeter is written 1970 GOOD on the back, so I guess the original one did 19 years before being replaced.
Started taking the gauges off to clean the lenses. They were dirty on the inside and scratched on the outside.
This made me smile, the ghosted shape of the numbers on the speedometer, in the paint on the metal backing plate behind them.
Used the buffing wheel on my drill to take the scratches out.
I think that came up pretty well, to be honest.
I tested the oil pressure gauge by putting my tire pump on the back. No leaks, still moves correctly. The ammeter was connected up in series with my battery charger and a battery and also moved so that's good. The temperature and fuel gauges however did not.
Took the gauge assemblies off again and undid the gauges from the backing plates. That'll be what the haze on the inside of the lenses was, someone connected the gauges up to 12V after conversion and they burned. That'll be the aftermarket gauges then (two of the three utterly pointless though). I think what I'll do in this case is see if I can get an accurate reading of the resistance across the coils (they should be wound identically). Looks like the coils come out individually so pull the old burned wire off and rewind then with thinner gauge wire to double the resistance for 12V. That would forego the need for the little 12-to-6 converter I have, also.