Nickel Radiator Shell Repair

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2010: Nickel Radiator Shell Repair
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jason Given - St. Paul, MN on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 02:51 am:

After Christmas while everyone went to the mall I went to an old guys barn and picked up a few items; a front fender, a nickel plated radiator, rear wheel puller, Fordson tool box and a horn. There were a few more items I wanted but he was not sure he wanted to sell. I still felt like I struck gold.

The nickel plated radiator I believe is an original. It has a few flaws but I have no intentions of replating it. Here are a few questions;

How do I clean/polish it up? Overall it appears to be in good condition. Are there any products that work great or should not be used?

It has a dent in the front (small and round), any tips in removing it. If it was not plated, I would use a hammer, punch and some heat. But I have never done such on a nickel plated item.

On each side there is a small tear near the bottom of the cover right at the sharp bend near where the lacing goes. Any tips on fixing it. I was linking a little lead solder or some silver solder.

I will post some pictures tomorrow.

Thank you, and happy new years!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Thode on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 04:05 am:

Jason,
I would be interested in what others recommend but the one thing I noted that you said. I assume it is brass and brass should not be bent when hot. You may need to heat it some to anneal or soften it but the actual bending should be done cold. I don't know how much heat can be aplied before it effects the nickel plating.

It seems that regular solder or silver solder with an added brass patch on the back side should fix the tear. Silver brazing alloy would be stronger but may be too hot for the nickel. Then again, I would be interested in other experiences.

The other option if you can not preserve the nickel plating it to polish the nickel off and end up with a polished brass shell. That is what I'm thinking of with mine because too much nickel is gone. Not original but they look nice.


Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick - (2) '26's - Bartow, FL on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 07:53 am:

Try a very fine abrasive polish like Turtle Wax liquid "Polishing Compound" (comes in a black squeeze bottle). If that is too fine, try Turtle Wax liquid "Rubbing Compound" (green squeeze bottle) available at Advanced Auto Parts. Works great on reviving the shine in your paint as well. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 01:37 pm:

Jason

Any good chrome polish and a rag for nickel shells. Yet I still like and use the old time hardware store "Never Dull" in the can. Its cotton like waste with chemical polish. Then finish off with Mothers or other polish and wax.

If stained, use 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water, then water rinse and dry.



Original nickel shell.


For repairs, I used silver solder, with a small flame, worked ok on the brass. On that shell I painted black anyway, it had lots of damage on the hood contact places.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 01:41 pm:

Jason,
The plating isn't very thick, I think I would try "never-dull" or "Semichrome" and go easy!
As for the dent, you might try a rubber pad on the front, against a hard surface, and then use a rounded piece of wood to work the dent out from the back side (pushing on it, no hammering)
T'
David D.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 02:50 pm:

Use Simichrome on nickel plating. It is expensive but you don't need much and a tube or can of it will last a long, long time.

ALSO - do not use brass polish such as Brasso on nickel plating.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jason Given - St. Paul, MN on Friday, December 31, 2010 - 12:19 am:

Well I removed most of the dents today with a rubber hammer and steel backer bar used for body work.

I almost used some Braso, but decided not. So why not use brasso, what does it do to the nickel?

Jim, just to let you know the base material is steel not brass.

I spent some time looking it over while removing the few dents/dings. I was interesting to look at the damage caused by years of things rubbing on the shell. I think the damage at the bottom of the shell is from the hood vibrating and rubbing.

I am missing on of the small flanges on the base of the radiator shell. The one on the left side is missing. I will have to make it.

shell 1

shell2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Friday, December 31, 2010 - 01:43 am:

I believe that Brasso is considered too abrasive for nickel and will wear through thin nickel plating.

I haven't used Brasso in years but I recall that on the can it specifically said not to use Brasso on nickel but to use Silvo (made by the same company) instead.


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