In 1996 I wrote about chrome stripe restoration on Rover SD1 side rubbing strips using the only tape then available to me, Tickitape, a self adhesive aluminium foil from the ventilation and heating trade but it was dull and delicate. With great care it was possible to produce a neat (but drab) job. I then located an easy to apply Chrome Tape that gives a stunning finish. It requires equal care in preparation and application and one must slice off up to 1 meter long 10mm wide pieces to treat the longest side rubbing strips.
Furthermore, being so thin its possible to "mend" short sections of damaged chrome using well-worn 1200 grade wet and dry paper to feather the overlap until it's virtually invisible. In several sessions, I re-chromed a dozen or more discarded spare side rubbing strips on my work bench under good illumination and clean conditions. It is less easy to repair strips still attached to a car but it can be done providing the job can be done at eye level.
When I discovered the tape and developed a process, durability was the unknown factor, but repairs to my Vitesse have held up for more than 5 years with no delamination of the new chrome stripes due to sun, rain, frost, etc. With this magic material, SD1 owners should be tempted to have a go. This is my technique and with time and care, I promise you, it works just fine:
• It's easier if the items are off the car on a clean work bench but it’s quite possible to do the renewal with them "in situ".
• In this case, jack up the car as high as possible to bring the side rubbing strips to eye level when sitting on the ground with feet under the car. Use support stands to prevent injury.
• Remove the existing chrome residue along with its protective membrane, clean up the substrate to leave a smooth grey surface.
• Finish with pads of fine wire wool or folded wet/dry paper progressing from medium to fine. Mask paintwork as required.
• Cautious use of cellulose thinner on cotton buds will clean off any old adhesive but take special care not to damage paintwork.
• Use a sharp scalpel, steel straight edge and softish cutting board to cut a strip off the edge of the roll of tape exactly 10 mm wide and long enough for the rubbing strips being restored.
• It is very forgiving and doesn’t ruck or tear but the blade must be really sharp. Inspect the cut tape for neat edges. Cut enough for your needs with a few to spare in case of application problems.
• Eliminate all dust and get really comfortable in front of the work piece. Peel off some of the backing paper exposing the sticky reverse side.
• Position the exposed sticky tape over the substrate overlapping the end. Press gently in position ensuring it is centred on the convex substrate and curves nicely into the edges of the recess.
• There is no need to pull or stretch the tape other than to just keep it straight and tight to avoid wrinkles whilst moving along the work piece. Work slowly, pulling off the backing paper as you go.
• Care is needed but the tape appears to have no vices and can be lifted and repositioned if it starts to go down incorrectly. It doesn't stretch so dont try, but do avoid those loose wrinkles.
• Keep moving to the end of the work piece and cut off the excess. Trim the ends with a sharp scalpel to emulate the angled finish of the original stripe.
• For big time mishaps, pull it off and start over. Use thinners to wipe off any residual ‘sticky’, which detaches from the tape and re-prepare for another go.
• It is possible to do a patch repair with this tape, in which case remove the original protective film, feather in the old chrome and the new patch with well worn 1200 wet and dry paper using water to avoid losing any shine. To extend durability, seal with clear lacquer.
• Cleaning up the black rubber surfaces can be achieved with several grades of wire wool, fine wet/dry paper and a generous application of black boot polish buffed with a soft cloth.
• It may seem a lot of effort to go to but with decent side rubbing strips either not available or costing a fortune this is a rewarding way to improve the appearance of the car for minimum outlay.
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Rover SD1 Tips 'n Tricks - #6 - ReChrome Rubbing Strips & Door Cards
• This tape is so forgiving it can be used it to re-trim the chrome stripes on interior door cards which fade away and spoil the interior decor. Take the door cards to workbench to make it easier.
• Although more difficult to apply it requires less preparation other than cleaning up. It's best to use shorter pieces, overlapped, butted or mitred as required when negotiating the curved sections.
• The finish is less than perfect to a critical eye but far superior to the faded decor most of us endure. Imperfections/wrinkles/overlaps can be treated with mini-dabs of contact adhesive or CA.
• Finally, use the same tape to repair small sections of the Plastic Chrome finisher above the front grill that easily get damaged.
• To reattach a rubbing strip to the door, use good quality badge tape, black, usually with a dark green pull-off plastic membrane, comes on rolls from paint factors, various widths, 3/4" or 1". Use one length on each top and bottom plus a snippet at each end to stop road dirt getting up the void.
The Chrome tape is available from Flint Hire and Supply Ltd, Queens Row London SE17 2PX. U.K. (Tel 020 7703 9786. www.flints.co.uk) in widths from 15 to 50 mm on 50 meter rolls starting at about £7.00 plus VAT and P&P. A full catalogue is on their web site for online orders.
All above Door Cards & Side Rubbing Strips have been ReChromed