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I HATE pot Metal

 
22fast.ak
User
Posts: 107
Joined: 05/09
Posted: 10/06/12 03:08 PM

OK, I feel a little better now.  ANYWAY, has anyone been successful in repairing broken pot metal?  I know it can't be welded (At least with a mig / tig), brazing is marginal (AT BEST).  I've seen folks use epoxy (JB weld, marine tex etc) but never seen a permanent repair that looked good.  Yes I've seen the you tube videos where the guy uses a propane torch and low temp "solder", but I haven't talked to any one who has REALLY done it.  So the problem is my headlight bucket (s) ('66 coupe) have BOTH buckets broken where they attach to the inside top bolt to the fender (the little skinny piece that's out there alone.  Anyone had any success with repair?  I will buy new ones it just kills me to have to spend the $100 + to ship them!  Thanks for your help!  Mel  

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waynep71222
Enthusiast
Posts: 455
Joined: 04/12
Posted: 10/06/12 07:09 PM

pot metal repairs...    

require a chrome shop if the part is chromed to completely DE ELECTROPLATE the chrome, nickel and copper off the part..  this is easily done for them...

while you have the part out for stripping.. you will want to gather your other broken pot metal parts.. have them stripped at the same time...   select parts from the same brand and as close as possible to the same year as you can.. as blends of pot metal vary from year to year..

once those parts are STRIPPED.. stop by a steel fab shop.. have them bend you some smooth steel into a rather sharp V shape...   have them weld legs on it so its level and sits upright V..weld the ends closed...  brake up your stripped scrap pot metal... lay the scraps into the V...  heat them to melting temp in the V... then let it cool.. this gives you a solder bar to work with.. hopefully with the proper blend of potmetal...

you will probably want one of the jewelers torch..  

now.. you can solder the stripped good pieces... carve the corrosion pits out.. fill those with more of your pot metal solder..   finish it smooth..  with files.. or what ever you want to use..

once its perfect...   you can send it back to the chrome shop.. i don't know if they directly plate the chrome.. but i recall they start with copper plating..  you check that for pits.. or damage.. then go to nickel... check for damage.. then on to chrome..

this costs hundreds of dollars.. in your time... and probably 50 to 100 bucks in deplating and replating..  do not throw your old parts out.. wire them together put the broken bits in bags that are attached and labeled as to what's in the bag..   you might want to spend the time eventually..  if the replacements are not up to your standard...

the nice thing.. once you have the micro jewelers torch.. the V shaped solder tray.. the various files you need to smooth it.. a dremmel and a 1/4" die grinder..  with probably single cut carbide bits..  double cut usually clog to easily with softer metals..

warning.. you will be everybodies friend.. when they learn that you can fix potmetal..

you will also want to invest in one of the resistance welders from harbor freight..  as you are going to find them handy eventually..   sometimes brackets come loose.. various small things.. like headlight retaining rings..


if you want to work in solder to repair divots....  talk to your chrome plater.. they may strip it.. then allow you to grind the divots out.. then copper plate it..  then you can do the solder to repair the divots.. another copper plating. then finish it off with chrome...  

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22fast.ak
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Posts: 107
Joined: 05/09
Posted: 10/07/12 12:09 AM

Thanks Wayne.  It is bare pot metal so no De-chroming is required.  I've got a couple of questions about your process.  What type of flux do you use when soldering Pot?  second if the "solder" is the same (melting temp.) as the base you are working on how do you keep it from all turning to a molten puddle?  Most rod has a lower melting point then the base so this isn't a problem.  If I understand correctly, pot metal melts around 1,100 degrees so using map pro should work.  I'm just a little concerned if I get it all hot enough to "melt together" I'll have a lake of pot metal!  Thanks for any input or suggestions.  

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54packman
Enthusiast
Posts: 342
Joined: 11/09
Posted: 10/07/12 06:47 AM

i have see an add in one of the mustang supply companys, where they pop rivet another tab in the back of the headlight bucket, they sell a kit for it, but would be too had to make another tab out of aluminum. for chrome plated parts there is a plateable JB weld type of expoxy  that can also be uses to fill pits and sanded like body fill, but has a high metal content so it will take plating,  

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waynep71222
Enthusiast
Posts: 455
Joined: 04/12
Posted: 10/07/12 06:50 AM

i don't recall what kind of flux to use...  i gathered this info from a shop that repaired our broken pot metal pieces when i worked at a restoration shop back in the late 80s..  when there were very few replacement parts for what we were working on...

i can share this as the owner has passed on and the son scrapped everything.. decided to sell car stereos and alarms..

the big loop horn rings were really expensive..   if you had all the parts..  he could fix them..

the heat issue... a MICRO TORCH... and a good touch..

Image 13488


Micro Soldering And Welding Torch Kit    HF Item #95671 and you still need regulators for the gas bottles..  as this only use 2 to 3 pounds of pressure instead of the normal 5 and 15..


when you use a different metal to join the parts.. you can come up with a weaker part. depending on the strength of the solder you use..

if you attempt to heat it with anything bigger than a micro torch.. you are going to have a puddle..

it is at this point.. probably more cost effective to just install replacement parts..

at one point we needed lettering for one of the cars.. and did not have enough perfect letters.. we were down to one set..  the boss took those to his wifes shop.. where they created lost wax castings and recreated the letters.. usually in silver.. but there is one car out there with real solid gold letters on it.. he still has that car.. i saw him drive it past about 2 months ago..  

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22fast.ak
User
Posts: 107
Joined: 05/09
Posted: 10/07/12 02:01 PM

Thanks Wayne.  I think you are right.  It looks like something a master welder could do!  I'm NOT in that class.  

I have always said "just because they make a book on do-it-yourself brain surgery doesn't mean you should do it!"  I was on another site and had a guy recommend Muggy weld.  He said it works well.  I'm going to give it a try.  Only costs $70 with shipping so if it works it will be real slick.  I'll let you know how it works out.  Again, thanks for all the help.  Mel  

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waynep71222
Enthusiast
Posts: 455
Joined: 04/12
Posted: 10/07/12 02:32 PM

did you see what else was posted.. about a bracket that can be riveted in.. fixes the issue..

that might be a much easier fix....  

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MustangMan
Moderator
Posts: 259
Joined: 08/11
Posted: 10/08/12 07:15 AM

As noted above, a headlight bucket repair kit is on the market. You can get it from any of the major vendors. A quick Google search shows it available at Mustangs Unlimited, CJ Pony, California Mustang, and others. This is what it looks like:

http://www.mustangsunlimited.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=HBRK1+01

HTH...
Mark
.  
Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager
Mustang Monthly Magazine

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22fast.ak
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Posts: 107
Joined: 05/09
Posted: 10/08/12 01:50 PM

Thanks guys.  I looks like the "patch" might work.  I have ordered Muggy weld (a low temp. solder) that is supposed to work to fix the problem.  If it doesn't I'll look into the patch part.  I guess I'm a little sceptical about using epoxy for a permanent repair.  Thanks again.  Mel  

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waynep71222
Enthusiast
Posts: 455
Joined: 04/12
Posted: 10/08/12 05:34 PM

the brackets are riveted into place after a bed of JB weld is laid down so the don't vibrate..

thats how i see them fitting..  

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22fast.ak
User
Posts: 107
Joined: 05/09
Posted: 10/12/12 11:13 PM

So, I got the Muggy weld.  It Works  Cool ! It took me about an hour to fix both headlight buckets.  They seem fairly solid, only time will tell.  The one caution is don't get it too hot or it will not "stick".  Temperature is critical to the process.  Sure beat $300 for new ones.  If this fails I'll get the "patches".  Thanks for all the help. Mel   Grin  

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