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Cowl Lights


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My 1925 roadster, despite having only a two point light switch, is fitted with cowl lights. These were required by Australian regulations at the time and are locally made of diecast. Being diecast, I fear they will eventually die of old age so I picked up a pair of genuine DB lights as replacements. These are the nickle plated brass variety which mimic the shape of the headlights.

Carefully tearing them apart in preparation for replating I have hit a snag. How do you remove the steel retainer ring which holds the glass in the rim? These will have to come out so I can knock out couple of minor dings in the rims. The ring looks as though it has been pressed in and the rim rolled over to retain it. I am not brave enough to push on the glass hoping the ring will spring out.

Has anyone removed these or have you left the ring and glass in situ when replating?

All suggestions gratefully received.


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Hey Tony,

I had the same concerns with my cowl lights. I decided to leave the glass in place and let the plater remove the dings and apply new nickle plating. They came out looking great!!! He gave me the choice of a mirror or satin finish. Satin is supposed to look more like the original plating. Good luck!!!


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No Rick, these have the rusted steel rings. Perhaps it is possible to pick up the dings through them. I thought about removing the rings but, alternatively, I could bead blast off the external rust and the plating process might remove the rust underneath.

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G'day Tony,

I was faced with the same problem & eventually decided to cut the steel retainer with a small high speed grinder using a fine grinding tip.I cut the retainer through the clamp screw hole then lifted one end & peeled it out like you peel a piston ring off a piston.I was then able to remove all the rust off the retainer & have it copper plated & the bezel replated. On reassembly, I put the retainer back in the same way I removed it, locating the lense centrally; the retainer snapped back into position. I aligned the split in the retainer with the clamp scew hole in the bezel & applied some silastic through the rectangular slots in the flange of the retainer to hold it in position. I should add that I put a scriber in the clamp screw hole to spead the retainer outward as far as it would go. I would be very reluctant to tap on the retainer to remove any dings in the bezel as you could damage the edge of the lense. Hope this is helpful. Bob

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Tony, I removed the rings on a set about a month ago.1st most platers will tell you their chemicals will not remove the internal rust and most likely some chem. will be traped and continue to leach out over time damaging the finish..so remove them.I used a tiny screw driver to gently bend the ring inward inserting slim pieces of spring steel as I worked all the way around,finally grabing the ring with a needle nose,pulling it out.This had no affect on the shape of the bezel.Once out ,I hammered the ring back to its original shape.I also applied a liberal amount of WD40 where I could move the ring around inside the bezel.

My bezels were perfect and plating was OK but without removing the ring you would always see the dark(rusty) rings thru the lens.


Edited by Texacola (see edit history)
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