Thursday, February 28, 2013

A special texture: Reproducing coolant tubes

One of the items we needed to reproduce were the coolant tubes that are in the engine bay and transfer coolant to the engine from the hoses that run down the center of the chassis originating at the radiator. Our original tubes were intact but had been welded many times over the years to repair them. Correct replacements are not available anywhere as the dimensions, finish, and construction materials are not correct. To this end we needed to make our own.

The first challenge came in finding metric tube. The large diameter was not terribly hard but the smaller tubes had to be machined from scratch from thicker wall steel stock. Next came finding someone to bend the tubes and bead the ends. Unfortunately this came in the way of two separate shops one that formed and welded the tubes and another that beaded the ends for us. Lucky for us we found very good shops to do both jobs quickly on the first try.

Lastly came the peppered finish that the original tubes had. This has been a stumbling block for more than one restorer who just could not get it right. Paul had other ideas and he ended up in a specialist shop that shot blasts military airplane wings. There he found the right people to perfectly blast the tubes to the correct finish.

The last step which is not pictured here is a thin plating of nickel to give the tubes their distinctive colour and some corrosion protection. We are most proud of the result and are happy to have been able to replicate the original tubes so faithfully.

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