Dechroming door handles and deckplates

21 06 2010

I’m a big fan of Teh Shiny on my car. I’m trying to make sure that I don’t over-bling the Eunos – sticking with interior chrome bits like KG Works brace, vent rings and the like.
At the opposite end of the scale is Jon and his Eunos. He’s been slowly deleting anything shiny on his – if I were still driving VWs I’d call it “Cal-look”.
He’s swapped the stainless grille for a black one (guess where the shiny one ended up?), and we swapped the gauge face surrounds for the all-black variant when we switched dials last month. The rather nice Mk2 Sport wheels he fitted the other month have been sprayed anthracite. You get the picture.

Atone for the Chrome

This left a couple of obvious external shiny candidates to dechrome – door handles and rear deck plates.

By chance, my father in law runs a powdercoating business. This gave me an idea…

Before we started, a second set of door handles and locks was sourced off eBay – from past experience getting stuff coated may be free, but it can take a while. Fair enough, really.
I suggest you start on the passenger side, just in case you have any problems. For what it’s worth, we started this job as it was going dark and completed it for the first time within an hour – including the time taken to ring up Wayne at Onestop Roadsters to ask how the hell you disconnected the locking mechanism rods! Before you get anything powdercoated, you’ll have to remove all plastics and strip it back to the shell of the handle, and the handle itself. Remember to remove the almost invisible plastic washers that fit between handle and shell. The two main metal parts are separated by banging the pin out using a centerpunch or a pointed screwdriver.

Removing the locks

First off, remove the door card.
This is an easy job: two crosshead screws on the door handle (top one covered with plastic blanking plate), one screw on the lock side of the doorcard under plastic cover. Remove the screw in the cup of the doorhandle, and slide out the plastic cup from under the handle. All you need to do then is pop off the clips at the bottom and sides – the doorcard lifts up and off. Oh, if you have door-mounted tweeters, you’ll want to undo the connector for this, too.

Now you’ve got access to the inside of the door.
You should see a plastic sheet covering the inside to prevent water getting in the car – you’ll need to either peel this back near the lock, or slit with a sharp knife, then re-tape later. The black sticky mastic gluing it on is very sticky indeed – suggest folding the plastic back on itself to limit the amount you get stuck to you.

If you look up at the handle mechanism, you should notice that there are two 10mm nuts holding it to the door skin, both of which are accessible through matching holes in the metal of the door. First, there are also two long metal rods which allow the key and handle to operate the releases in the door. Removing these is easy once you know how: and a royal PITA if you don’t. One quick phone call to Mazdamender and 30 seconds later these were unclipped.

There are two places they need to unclip – the big white nylon connector in the middle of the door first. If you look carefully at the white connector, it has a plastic clip on the hinge side of the door that you can pop open with a long flatblade screwdriver. Once this clip’s out, the metal rod will pull out of the connector and move freely. Make a note of the position of the rod within the connector first so you can refit in the same place later.

Next, you need to pop off the plastic clip for the long rod that runs from the handle down to the base of the door. To do this, reach up towards the lock with your hand, and follow it up to where it joins the lock mechanism at the top of the door. On the end of the rod, joining it to the handle, you’ll feel a 90 degree bend attached with a small plastic clip. This clip just flicks sideways with your thumb, allowing you to remove the rod completely.

You can now undo the two bolts holding the door handle to the car with a 10mm socket and lift out the door handle from the outside of the car.

Protip: remember that black mastic we peeled off the door earlier? Get a tiny blob of that – peel it off your shirt! – and stick it in the socket before you use it. When the nut comes off, it won’t vanish into the depths of the door this way.
Whilst you’re at it, now is also a good time to check the drain holes in the bottom of the doorskin are clear.

When you’ve got the lock out, you need to transfer the barrel from old lock to the new, powdercoated handle. This is pretty easy to do – everything unclips, and the lock mechanism barrel will just slide out. Take your new powdercoated handle and as Haynes say, “refit is the reverse of removal”. Job done.
Deck plates
OK, so you’ve got dechromed doorhandles. Now, the rear deck plates stand out a bit. These come off very easily by simply unscrewing the two big screws on each one and lifting off. Remove the rubber from the rear and put it to one side before powdercoating.

These look just great.
We tinted the side indicators and sidemarkers last month using tint spray.
All we have left to do is the chrome ring on the base of the electric aerial, and maybe the stainless sill kickplates.

Disclaimer: any work you do to your car is your own responsibility. I’m not accepting liability for anything as a result of this guide – this is for your information only, whilst being as accurate as possible!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: