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jpage

'36 Dodge Horn Cover Spear

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A week or so ago a member mentioned the repair of the horn cover spears on '36 Dodges. I'm sure many owners have pondered what to do with these thin chrome strips. They're usually heavily pitted and since they're fastened by peened studs taking them off will likely destroy them,also they would be expensive to replate. I kept thinking of an alternative that would last longer than the chrome plating and finally hit on the idea of stainless steel. Looking at how the spear is constructed I determined that a piece of stainless keystock would work. I begged a 3 ft. pc. of 1/8 x 3/16 keystock sample from one of my suppliers at the time and got to work. The spears are taller than they are wide so the key stock made a good base stock. I gound the upper edges to a curved profile and finished them with a fine file. After forming the main shape I bent the piece to the proper contour and fine tuned the final shape. I then drilled the stock and fitted no.2-56 threaded studs so that the parts could be bolted to the horn covers. Then I sanded them with 220 wet-dry paper followed up with progressively finer grits until all traces of grinding and filing were gone. Then I polished them to a high luster on a power buffer. Now I have new spears that fit like the originals and will last forever. They toughest part of making a pair of anything is duplicating the second part! I included a couple of pictures but couldn't get the really close detail!

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Edited by jpage
transfer photos (see edit history)

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Hi Jpage,

I just encounter a similar problem and I was lucky enough to find a complete horn cover...but when this fragile spears are breaking what do you do ?

Good info.

Thanks

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Those do look nice, maybe post a picture of an original and your repro so people can see how close they are to the originals. Might be you will have others requesting you to pay them some.

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They weren't terribly hard to make as the stainless stock is relatively soft,but as with anything small they're labor intensive. I sometimes wonder if I could duplicate them myself! I'll try to get a photo of the originals,but most of my originals are painted over. I did have to redrill a couple of the holes in the cover because when I went to drill the part sometimes the drill would lead off. There is not much room on a 1/8 wide piece for error! If they were off a little the holes would not line up. This was all done freehand..

Edited by jpage (see edit history)

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Quote.........They weren't terribly hard to make..........anything that anyone does with their hands these days is a great accomplishment in my opinion since many of us have become accustomed to letting our minds turn to mush including myself in many instances, very few people anymore have the skills their forefathers had.

Labor intensive is the key-word that usually discourages most people.

Quote.....I did have to redrill a couple of the holes in the cover because when I went to drill the part sometimes the drill would lead off..........I bet the next time you do it you wont have this realitively insignificant problem, in my line of work I have always kept in mind that the first job is always the loser, the second and any that follow are the money makers since you have figured out how to make it all work with the mistakes from your first job.

Edited by 1930 (see edit history)

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Not to get off track but look at this post......http://forums.aaca.org/f190/1939-delahaye-165-replica-build-326463.html#post1023609...........do you think the first job these guys did was perfect.......for the record I think many of the posters on this thread are way out of line.

I wish I had the opportunity to work for these guys but if I did than I would be the guy sweeping the floors. ( still would go home with a grin on my face every night though)

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I've always envied the folks who can do work like that;I'm not one of them. I have to stick with the little things. What I like most about auto restoration is the challenge to repair or reproduce parts ,usually to try to save money,without too much to work with! Like 1930 said ,it does exercise the mind!

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WOW! Now THAT is some nice work!

I managed to get mine off (very carefully) and found a chrome plater that took care of them and did an excellent job of replating. I was able to re-attach them with most of the original peened studs but some needed epoxy to keep the studs in place. I was very surprised that my car's ribs lasted through all that process. I give a lot of credit to my plater. (Too bad that was done over 25 years ago and the plating shop has changed hands twice since then.)

jpage: I think the source of those ribs you have there has found a new sideline job!

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I might be persuaded to try another set! Ha Ha

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Beautiful job! I am jealous! Now I have two ways to go to fix mine - neither one of them easy BUT at least now we know how other folks have dealt with the problem.

Jim

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Probably the hardest part is finding the ss keystock. You have to buy a 36 in. pc. as the strips are about 13 ins. long. Very few companies (local anyway) stock anything other than square keystock and very rarely in anything longer than 12 in. Macmaster Carr is a good starting point. I just went through the Thomas Registers and called any company selling ss keystock asking for samples(I worked for an industrial hardware company then) ,I was cheap then Ha hA! I think I still have some of the screws lying around!

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Sounds like you are ready to go on starting your "side business". There are around 30 built in customers right on this Forum!

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After I completed these I thought about recasting the horn grilles in stainless steel. A number of years ago I put a request on the Dodge Bros site to check interest. At that time replies were slow in coming and with further investigation I was told by a foundryman that stainless is very hard to cast,especially with fine detail and it probably wouldn't be feasible without a lot of extra finish work so I abandoned the project. I am leary of the platers refinishing these grilles because the fins are so delicate and sometimes they are a little too aggressive with parts like these,but it looks like the only option at this time! Still thinking!

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Quote.........I was told by a foundryman that stainless is very hard to cast..........I belive SS has a very high melting point so that is a major issue for the home foundry

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jpage, Great job!! I wish I were as talented as you, I am going to be in need of a pair myself as soon as I get to the reassembly of my 1936.

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