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This is a special type of adhesive called VHB-it's made specifically for bonding metal par
My everyday driver is a Ford F-150 Lightning pickup. I'm installing some engine-turned aluminum panels to finish off some areas made of plastic-the sill plates, and the edges of the lower rocker panels.
Should I use .030- or .063-inch material thickness? How should I attach the pieces? My first choice would be to use glue, but if that is not recommended, I'll need to know what type of screws to use, such as self-tapping, stainless steel, etc. If gluing will work, I need to know what type is best.
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I'd prefer the .030-inch material, since it's easier to cut and form. You would only need the .063-inch material if it was used in a heavy-duty or structural application. It sounds like your use is merely cosmetic, so I'd stay with the thinner material.
There is a very easy-to-use adhesive tape called VHB, made by the 3M Corporation. (VHB stands for Very High Bond.) It's similar to double-sided tape, except there's no tape. When you apply it and peel off the paper backing, there's only a thin layer of adhesive left on the part. It's designed to bond metal, and it bonds to most plastics too. It's a lot easier to apply and clean up than liquid, spray, or gel adhesives.
The tape doesn't appear to have a lot of strength when it's first applied, but it develops its maximum bond after 24 hours. It helps to clamp or weight the panels into place as the adhesive is setting. Holding the panels down with masking tape should work in areas where clamping or weighting is impractical.
Here's a tip for trimming the tape-you can lay down strip after strip on the back side of the panel, being careful not to overlap it, but leave the ends long so they hang over the edges. After you have all the tape positioned, you can use a file at a 45-degree angle to cut through the tape, which trims it neatly right at the edge of the panel. Scissors don't work well, since the tape is so tacky it gums up the blades pretty quickly.
There are many places that sell this tape, and it comes in a wide range of thicknesses and widths. The material I use is 1-inch wide, and the adhesive is .010-inch thick. Check with your local 3M dealer, or a large industrial supplier like MSC. The core number of the roll I'm using is 2-1300.
I'm looking for information to help with the restoration of my '79 Ford pickup. The grille bezel is aluminum and has many light scratches on it. I want to remove them, but I'm having a rough time. I was told to rub it with aluminum foil, but I had no success. I was also told to use light sandpaper and then buff it out. Do you have any suggestions on how I can restore this piece?
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The grille bezel on your truck is aluminum, but it has a bright anodized finish that's pretty much impossible to match in terms of color and texture. I'd check with both OEM and aftermarket suppliers to see if a replacement part is available. Lacking that, perhaps you could find a good used part on eBay, Craigslist, or some other source.
If none of these leads pan out, you'll have to give a uniform finish to the part you have. You might consider using a different finish completely, such as paint (either the same color as the truck, or a contrasting color), or a different finish, such as the bright silver ceramic coating that's often used on exhaust systems (this finish is available in other colors, too).
If you want a more brilliant finish, the original part could have the anodizing chemically stripped (I'd suggest sending the part out to a plating shop for this), and the part can be polished. Polishing a part as large, convoluted, and thin as your grille bezel is no small feat, and I'd only trust this to a very experienced polisher. Another option is to strip the part and give it a matte finish with a non-woven abrasive.
Unfortunately, a bare aluminum part is not as durable as the anodized original, and it will probably require occasional maintenance to keep its luster. One thing in favor of this approach is that if it ever gets minor scratches, you can probably "touch it up" without removing the bezel.
Chrome-plating the aluminum part will give it the shiniest and most durable finish. While this is expensive, it will produce a very durable finish that is easy to maintain. Again, because of the size and fragility of the part, I'd only entrust this to a chrome shop with an excellent reputation. The only downside to this approach is that the chrome finish will be brighter than the original bright anodized finish, but you might like this look even better!