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How to Repair Pot Metal

Body Shop Tips Index
If you want your trim pieces to look perfect you may have to improve on the fit and quality of OEM parts.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 1 1. If the part looks like it is repairable you start by stripping off the chrome and nickel plating, down to the copper plating. In this case the part looks OK but we are going to make it fit better.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 2 2. A close up shows that the gap between this eyebrow molding and fender edge is too big. The fender has been adjusted to close the gap so now the trim piece has to be made longer. The piece will need to be re-chromed so a suitable welding rod and flux must be used. Go to Muggyweld.com for supplies.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 3 3. For this job we will use Super Alloy 1 flux and rod. The flux comes in small containers so we clamped it lightly with locking pliers to keep it from getting knocked over.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 4 4. We wrapped the part with several layers of tape before putting it in a vise.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 5 5. Then we dipped the rod in flux and used a propane torch (about 350 degrees) to ad material. When the flux turns a toot-beer brown color it is time to swirl the rod around on the end of the work piece.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 6 6. We want to cover the area with new material.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 7 7. At this point we just want a layer of the new material and this is what it will look like when done.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 8 8. After it cools you can remove excess flux with a wet rag and then sand the edges down with 180 grit paper.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 9 9. Now we use a piece of .007 stainless steel to make a mold around the work piece. You can buy it from McMaster Karr. We use this product because it will not stick to the fill material.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 10 10. Cut off a strip of the metal to form the mold.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 11 11. Then form it around the end of the work piece, letting it stick up about 1/8 inch past the end.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 12 12. You can hold it in place with aluminum tape, used for heating and air conditioning duct work. You will find it at hardware stores.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 13 13. Now we are ready to fill the mold. You can either use the torch to dab a little bit of rod at a time or melt some rod in a stainless steel ladle and pour it in after pre-heating the work piece.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 13 14. Here you can see the mold filled with new material.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 15 15. Now we completely cool the work piece.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 16 16. Then we remove the tape.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 17 17. And then we use a small screw driver to remove the stainless steel form.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 18 18. Here you can see that we have enough new material to shape the work piece.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 19 19. And here we make sure the piece is long enough to leave the desired gap.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 20 20. Now we simply grind off the excess material and finish off the piece using a sanding block and 80, then 220 and finally 320 grit paper.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 21 21. And here you can see that the piece is done and ready for plating. First it will be copper plated. Then it will be sanded with 320, 400 and 500 grit paper. And then it will be sent out for nickel followed by chrome plating.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 22 22. It is always a good idea to check the fit after copper plating because if too much copper is added you will want to remove some. The nickel and chrome layers will be too thin to matter.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 23 23. Here is another example of using this method to fill a gap. Notice the space at the bottom of this roof line molding.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 24 24. And here we have added new material.
How to repair pot metal on an antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 25 25. And here we have shaped the new piece for a precise fit.

Jeff Lilly Restorations
11125 F.M.1560 N
San Antonio, Texas
210-695-5151 - www.jefflilly.com