In dealer price/product update we got in today's mail, it shows Snyders now carries made to blueprint head light reflectors with the aluminum finish. These will bring our lamps up to dtdays DOT standards.
In my opinion, silver tarnish really is not an issue as indicated in the product description.
The reflectors in the headlights below have their original factory silver plating. They were last hand polished approx. 20 years ago. The photo was taken last month.
I would rather re-plate original reflectors than purchase reproductions with non-silver plate.
I would think that aluminum would dull and oxidize too when it gets a little moisture built up from the cooling after running at night for a while. I've heard of rhodium plating when folks want to avoid re-silver plating (rhodium doesn't tarnish), but never heard of aluminum plating.
Mine are original silver too and I've driven that car a lot at night over long distances never had any problem with them and I've had my car since 1978.
Description says "vacuum metalized aluminum finish" which I presume is the same vacuum finish that is used on modern car reflectors. Probably does not oxidize.
Given history using the words "Snyders" and "blueprint" in the same sentence is laughable.
Is it just me, or do the aluminum-finish reflectors seem to have a shallower profile than originals ?
Personally, I'd re-silver originals. Tarnish isn't that big a deal, if there's a good gasket between the lens and the reflector.
Using aluminum as the reflective coating is an issue. Aluminum has a reflectance of about 86% between the 500 to 800 nanometer wavelength whereas silver reflects about 98.5% of the visible spectrum. Silver is the way to go.
Vacuum metalized is actually thin film deposition. It's a standard method of vapor depositing thin film coatings on optical morrors. It's a good process, but aluminum will require a silicon monoxide protective over coat otherwise it will scratch.
If you read the facts sheet, the protective coating is mentioned; I believe this is the same system UVIRA uses.
Yes, your silvered reflectors look shiny, but the silver oxides within a few weeks, bringing the reflectivity down to 80% on average--still MUCH better than the Chrome finish provides--and chrome is still illegal in many states for a headlamp reflector finish.
The problem with silver plating original reflectors is finding a plater who does silver!! Plating is also more expensive than these replacements. If they are truly made to the Ford blueprints, than I consider them to be a very good deal, especially for a "daily driver."
Now to get properly oriented headlamp filaments!
I had a set of aluminum plated reflectors years ago. They looked tarnished so I broke out the Brasso. In no time at all, the aluminum disappeared from my polishing. I asked my plater about it and he said they were aluminized and it was put on so thin that a pop can could plate a football field.
In the interest of silver plating a headlight reflector, there is an outfit in Portland Oregon that offers this service. It is expensive no doubt, but it is what it is.
How about a Caswell kit?
As has been mentioned, these are not just aluminized, but overcoated with a protective layer--all they should ever need is a light wipe with a very soft cloth should there be a layer of dust on them.
Note that the Portland place charges about the price of 4 of the new reflectors to silver plate ONE original one.
Ron Patterson, you are a "Hoot".
You could try cold plating in the worn spots. Make a past of silver nitrate ... calcium carbonate ... sodium thiosulfate. Rub on the surface with a soft cloth. This will stick to copper and brass easily. Try it with a penny ... a good parlour trick.
David... silver can be applied through vacuum deposition with the same SiO protective coating as used on aluminum, preserving the high reflectance value for many years.
Cool, I suppose aluminum is used because of the cost factor and the apparently minor difference in reflectivity.
Verne, re-reading your posting; Brasso would eat right through the silver plating too--it's actually pretty aggressive stuff. In the old days the recommendation for polishing reflectors was lamp black with some water and a VERY soft cloth, polish only in straight lines, either around the reflector or in and out, circular polishing was not recommended.
Mark, Hmm, interesting idea--is that how mirrors are re-silvered?
Steve: $1099 for a silver plated bra sounds like a deal. Would probably be a bit clunky to get it off.
A similar process has been used for several years for v8 reflectors from a company called Ultravira or something close to that. They do telescope optics for planetary research. I have s set in my 37 Ford that is at least 20 years old and still good.
Walt at Bratten's Model A parts had the reflectors made for the Model A and as far as I know they use the same process to coat. They have been well received. The aluminum coating has been suggested for years now. Maybe they don't have the same reflective ability as silver, from the information on the dealer info sheet, they are darn close and a lot better then the chrome ones.
I posted this because it's a product that was needed at a cost that many can do. I have wondered for a long time why the chrome coated ones were still being made and sold when it isn't even legal to use them as lights for driving on the highway. These meet the current 2016 DOT requirements, that is more important then a small loss of reflective ability of silver over aluminum. When I get the money I sure plan on getting a pair.
Jim, What you are describing is the UVIRA process. Yes, the owner was doing aerospace mirrors, and decided to try it on his car, and thus the service he now offers.
Mark--EXACTLY! Chrome is illegal, so why is it offered????
Here are the specs if folks haven't read them.
I'm wondering if the reflectors themselves are made of metal or if they are plastic, like a modern car.
Mine just arrived, VERY NICE, back side and edges are painted black, nice thick metal--it is magnetic, though I can't tell what it is.
Wa-ho0! Thank you David for your report.
My pair of Vacuum Aluminized coated reflectors came in a few days ago. They are well made and fit. What a difference these make in looks as well as function. Naturally I'm saving the old ones even though they have a couple of 1" splits. Just giving these another thumbs up for those who may be interested.