Re Chroming Die Cast Parts
Jim Smart
January 5, 2016

If you’ve been paying attention to our daily restoration tips and tricks, you’ll note that this is the eleventh one we’ve done in the last week or so. As we said in the first few tips, we’ve been horsing around with classic Mustangs for more than four decades and have come to the following conclusion: we’ve never stopped learning from our mistakes nor have we stopped making them. When you’re restoring a classic Mustang or building a hot restomod it is important to see the pitfalls before you find them, not after stumbling and falling into them. Silly stupid mistakes we make time and time again. Whatever your reason for screwing up, we’re here to remind you we have been there ourselves and know how not to make the same mistakes again. Our newest tech tip deals with chrome shops and how to handle die-cast parts.

Looking for a good chrome shop? Not all of them do a good job yet will charge you plenty, so begin your search with references and reviews online. Word of mouth is normally your best bet on a local level. Bad news travels fast and that’s good. Inspect samples of a chrome shop’s work and do your decision-making from there.

On the other hand don’t take a severely pitted piece of die-cast such as a quarter window or wing window frame and expect a chrome shop to work miracles. Junk is junk and there are plenty of restorable examples out there that a chrome shop doesn’t have to spend days preparing for the plating process. The more time they spend doing prep work the more they’re going to charge you.

Definition gets lost when a plating shop has to grind away pitting. What’s more, new chrome will pit in time due to contamination. Pitting is mostly the result of die-cast contamination when the part was new. Add a damp environment and corrosive materials like road salt and you have a formula for pitting.

Now that’s a hard shine…