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topic 12150

Dichromate and carbs


I am in the process of restoring some old vehicles. One area that could use some expertise is renewing the finish on old carburetors. I understand that the manufactures used a dichromate finish. Could you explain how I might set up at home to renew that finish. What chemicals and where I could get them in small quantities. I have most of the PPE needed to work with chemicals. How would the metal of the carb need to be prepped?

Thank you,

Lew Ladwig
- Lafayette, Colorado


Have you ever watched the movie, ""Erin Brockovich" [link is to movie info at Amazon]" starring Julia Roberts? The subject of the movie is hexavalent chrome, and it revolves around dozens of cancer victims suing a polluter of this chemical. This movie is based on a true story. Dichromate IS hexavalent chrome. So, are you trying to make your own personal version of the movie?

A much better idea would be to get this job done by an industrial plating shop. They have the expertice to work with, handle, and dispose of these chemicals properly. You will have to pay a good amount of money for a custom job, but it really is the only way to go.

tim neveau
Tim Neveau
Rochester Hills, Michigan


While it is possible for a beginner to follow the procedures and get a reasonable finish, carb housing will try most experienced shops. Reason, they are typically a casting that can be a pain when new. These casting will absorb a lot of hydrocarbons (gas/oil) that are very hard to get out and will give you a very poor quality appearance. It can be done, but there will be a lot of trial and error.

Most reputable vendors will not sell to you unless you have a haz waste disposal number from the state.

Handling haz waste can be very expensive unless you are very familiar with the CFR,s--These are books in size and written by lawyers.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

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