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Plating a water jacket?


Bill Bauder
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I have a water jacket that is very pitted and is just starting to weep a tiny bit. I was wondering if copper plating it would save it from further corrosion.I thought of using some type of epoxy on the inside but I don't want to have it fail and plug up any  part of the cooling system.  

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We repair and silver solder them all the time. We then put heavy copper on them, and we will then nickel or chrome them depending on application. It works fine.

 

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I am now in the process of replacing two water jackets on one engine.

I have NOS covers and gaskets to replace them.

 

However when removing covers from three other engines I found a clever repair.

 

On  one engine a previous repair was performed.

 

A thin sheet of copper tinned on one side with mounting holes was placed  next to the block, then the old  gasket and the cover was bolted on.

This allowed the old cover to be used, maintained water integrity.

 

In my case will allow the use of the old covers with the patina on them.  However the bolts will be new, but acid dipped to appear old.

 

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The water jacket cover is for a 1931 Hupmobile model L 8 cylinder.I will get a picture tomorrow.The idea of silver soldering sounds like a good possibility, if I can get it super clean. I am not sure if "Heavy Copper" is plating but if it is that was what I was hoping to do. The holes are mostly very fine and there are some places that have pretty deep pitting but they have not gone through yet.

Thanks for the suggestions.  

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Yes, "heavy copper" is copper plating. The copper layer is built up by leaving it in plating tank longer.

 

Many plating shops use it to fill in rust pits and surface imperfections.  Then grind the copper and polish to get a smooth finish for nickel and chrome. Much like you would use skim-coat Bondo, spot putty, and primer/surfacer in paint work.

 

Paul

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Ordinary plumber's soft solder should be strong enough and heat proof enough. The metal must be clean - clean - clean! Brushed with acid flux and tinned with solder. Then you can solder up holes and thin spots, solder on a patch of thin copper or tin if necessary. If you have not done this before you may need an old time radiator repair man or plumber to help.

 

If you were doing a Pebble Beach restoration you might need to use silver solder so you can polish and plate it with copper, nickel or chrome and make it look like something from Tiffany's window. But for ordinary use, tinning the inside to rust proof it and painting the outside should be sufficient.

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My 28 DB had a similar problem . I took it to have it powder coated. The fellow sand blasted it. That showed up all the pits. I cleaned up the pits and used 50/50 plumbing solder on most of the deeper pits. Problem solved. Watch out for bolts that weeps and use a special washer.

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11 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Ordinary plumber's soft solder should be strong enough and heat proof enough. The metal must be clean - clean - clean! Brushed with acid flux and tinned with solder. Then you can solder up holes and thin spots, solder on a patch of thin copper or tin if necessary. If you have not done this before you may need an old time radiator repair man or plumber to help.

 

If you were doing a Pebble Beach restoration you might need to use silver solder so you can polish and plate it with copper, nickel or chrome and make it look like something from Tiffany's window. But for ordinary use, tinning the inside to rust proof it and painting the outside should be sufficient.

Sidenote: Correct - Ordinary solder does not plate well - Silver Solder is best choice for items you want to plate

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That looks pretty bad. Neither plating nor powder coating will help. Cindy Meyers has new reproduction made of stainless steel for around 300 dollars. By the time you fart around trying to repair that, it will probaly cost you nearly as much.  

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If you can buy one for 300 bucks.....jump fast. The copper and silver solder will run twice that. When we repair them, they are on cars where you would pay in excess of 1500 to 2000 for the covers.

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That doesn't look too hard to replicate yourself. Get an oversized sheet of 16- or even 14-gauge stainless, make a crude die set for your press to make the channel, cut to size once it's pressed into shape, and drill the mounting holes. No complicated or expensive equipment needed, a weekend of work at most. I've made similar parts with a hammer and dolly, although stainless can be a little tougher to form so your die may take a few tries to get it to stamp into the right shape.

 

Probably faster and easier than trying to solder every single one of those pits and hope it doesn't leak once you're all done.

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Mat is correct.....you would be surprised with that you can do with a one time fiberglass die and a 20 ton press. Also, water jetting a new cover would also be a good idea, and you and weld and make the jacket look correct that way. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

On my 32 REO the covers were in pretty good condition so I used 0.050 stainless steel as a liner. On m 33 they were useless so I had a local machinest/car guy fab me up a pair from 3/8” stainless steel. They are a little heavy but they’ll last long after I’m gone. I still have to clean up the engine and polish them and even thought about possibly engraving the REO logo on them since this is going to be a driver. 
 

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