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Advanced Carb Refinishing

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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Recently, after doing a search for information on plating I discovered that, today, the term plating is commonly referred to in cooking circles for the artistic presentation of meals on plates.

Wow, talk about something I could care less about.

The plating I'm interested in is the good ol' industrial process of applying thin layers of a different — sometimes sacrificial, more durable, or prettier — metal onto another object.

What specifically caused my foray into plating, recently? The Quadrajet on the 283 in my Grandfather's El Camino.

As I mention in my review of How to Rebuild and Modify Rochester Quadrajet Carburetors, I discovered it wasn't only in need of a rebuild after nearly 30 years in storage, but a total restoration due to some serious corrosion.

In that book, author Cliff Ruggles of Cliff's High-Performance in Mount Vernon, OH mentions plating Quadrajets using a set-up I was long-ago familiar with: Caswell's Copy Cad and Zinc Plating Kit.

Plating on a carburetor?


That yellowish look on Holleys and the OD green on Rochesters is actually zinc plating, not paint. In order to replicate both the look and durability of the original finish, it's necessary to go for a more advanced carb refinishing technique than you can get from a rattle can.

In my review of How to Rebuild and Modify Rochester Quadrajet Carburetors I mention in the Conclusion that I wished there was a tutorial included in the book on how to plate the Q-Jet, as well as a list of the finishes used on the various parts. Although neither a tutorial nor a list of finishes is included in that book, Caswell does offer its own guide to plating known as the Caswell Plating Guide, which is included with the Copy Cad and Zinc Plating Kit — that I happen to already own. More than a decade ago — while working on the LX — I bought one of these kits to plate some gnarly, corroded components, but never got around to it.

While it doesn't have any specific pointers for carburetor plating (at least the version I have, which is Version 8 — from a little internet research I found the current version is Version 10), Caswell does intend the kit to be used for carburetor bodies and its main use is for little components like the brackets and linkages found on the Quadrajet. It even offers four different chromate colors for use with the kit: yellow, OD green, clear/blue, and black.

As of now, the Caswell Copy Cad and Zinc Plating Kit is part of my plan for rebuilding and restoring my Grandfather's Q-Jet.

I just thought I'd share this information with you in case refinishing your carburetor is something you're interested in and have been unsuccessful in finding a solution for re-creating the original look and durability of your own fuel mixer...or mixers as the case may be — if you're like me, you have a tendency to have multiples in your collection.


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