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Author: Subject: Painting chromed steel
David Jenkins

posted on 17/4/19 at 03:53 PM Reply With Quote
Painting chromed steel

Many centuries ago I bought a pair of cheap chrome 7" headlight units - I knew when I bought them that I shouldn't expect the chrome to last too long but, surprisingly, it's only starting to look shabby after 12 years or so. I'm starting to see rust spots showing through that I know I can hide by polishing, but that's only putting off the inevitable.

I'm too cheap to buy a new pair of headlights, but I was wondering about rubbing them right back to bare steel and spraying them. The chrome is thin, as it the steel shell! I don't think it's worth treating the rust spots and spraying over, as rust is sneaky and will just reappear later on.

Anybody done this sort of thing - taking something chrome plated and sprayed it?

[Edited on 17/4/19 by David Jenkins]





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nick205

posted on 17/4/19 at 04:04 PM Reply With Quote
Tried it once many years ago on bicycle parts and it didn't work all that well. To be honest I didn't really put that much effort into the prep so that was possibly the problem. I'd have thought you'd have to work at them pretty hard to remove the chrome enough to get a good/lasting painted finish.

I'm not a fan of spending money, but sometimes it seems the least hassle to replace them - probably with some black ones.

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rusty nuts

posted on 17/4/19 at 04:29 PM Reply With Quote
Years ago I had all of the chrome on my Mini pick up removed then all the items were sprayed satin black . Still looked good years later when I sold it
I think any electro plating company should be able to do it ,one of my brothers worked at one so I can’t tell you how much it should have been .

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MikeRJ

posted on 17/4/19 at 05:58 PM Reply With Quote
Sanding off chrome would be a nightmare, it really needs to be removed electrolytically when the object it's plated to is thin. It can be removed chemically with acid, but you are likely to end up with headlamp shells made from fresh air.
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Slimy38

posted on 17/4/19 at 06:06 PM Reply With Quote
I removed the chrome trim from my car grille with several days worth of bleach. Cheap bleach, big plastic container, parts in the bleach. A little scrubbing every so often to get rid of the chrome oxide (I think that's what it was? Yucky stuff). Change the bleach when it didn't seem to be doing much.

As mentioned, you're basically committing your lights to several days in a bleach bath, along with all the corrosion that might come along with that. However, all this was driven by an early attempt at roughing up the surface and applying black plastikote. It seemed to work initially, but a couple of weeks on the front of my car soon turned it to black with chrome bits. I suspect your headlights will be similarly vulnerable.

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Angel Acevedo

posted on 17/4/19 at 11:09 PM Reply With Quote
Check if the chrome has pitted through.
As with steel Chrome oxide is a lot bulkier than the parent metal.
I have brought back to life some chromed goods by using polishing compound and a soft wood stick to remove rust speckles.
where the chrome hass not rusted through to the base metal it will shine again.
Sometimes leaving a very small pinhole.
HTH.





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907

posted on 17/4/19 at 11:46 PM Reply With Quote
Far be it from me to be a smug bar steward but some 15 years ago I bought a pair of chromed brass lights.


My suggestion would be to lightly sand blast the chrome to give a key for the paint / powder coat .....

but then cost of blasting plus cost of paint, plus all the running about equals the cost of another set of cheap lights,
and all you have to do is sit on your bum and await the postman. shrug.

We do now live in a throw-away society. another shrug.



As an aside, yesterday I bought (from Lidl) a battery grass shear for trimming around the wife's grave. £9.
Next year I may well be buying another. yet another shrug.


Paul G

p.s. Why haven't we got a "shrug" emoticon ?





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David Jenkins

posted on 18/4/19 at 07:42 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 907
Far be it from me to be a smug bar steward but some 15 years ago I bought a pair of chromed brass lights.



All I can say is... harrumph!

quote:
Originally posted by 907
My suggestion would be to lightly sand blast the chrome to give a key for the paint / powder coat .....

but then cost of blasting plus cost of paint, plus all the running about equals the cost of another set of cheap lights,
and all you have to do is sit on your bum and await the postman. shrug.

We do now live in a throw-away society. another shrug.



I know you're right - but it pains me to chuck something that's doing its proper job, although they're looking scruffy now. I have all the paints I need in rattle cans (etch primer, base coat & top colour coat) but the prep needed is where it all gets uneconomic. It's not as though I use the headlights very often.

It's not easy being a skinflint...





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jonkoxe11

posted on 18/4/19 at 08:57 AM Reply With Quote
Epoxy primer is the only thing that will stick to a chromed surface and even then the surface must be properly prepared. It is only available for use with a spray gun and is very nasty, full of cancer causing chemicals so a proper mask is an absolute must.
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nick205

posted on 18/4/19 at 09:07 AM Reply With Quote
As I said above sometimes it's best to admit defeat and replace them. I did on my MK Indy (Chrome changed to black) and never regretted it.
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Mr Whippy

posted on 18/4/19 at 11:44 AM Reply With Quote
saying that I always liked the way the chrome headlights act as fantastic blind spot mirrors in many ways much better to use than the actual wing mounted mirrors. On your car I'd just go and buy new chrome shells, maybe even upgrade the lamps to the crystal clear ones I used on the landy. In winter when it's off the road just cover them with an oily rag
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Angel Acevedo

posted on 18/4/19 at 12:10 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Whippy
saying that I always liked the way the chrome headlights act as fantastic blind spot mirrors in many ways much better to use than the actual wing mounted mirrors. On your car I'd just go and buy new chrome shells, maybe even upgrade the lamps to the crystal clear ones I used on the landy. In winter when it's off the road just cover them with an oily rag



I have done similar with my parts (sometime to be installed) I used old newspaper soaked with oil, (I used transmission oil that i had) and then Vitafilm (clingfilm)





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