Whether a dealer, a collector or the proud owner of a single precious vintage vehicle, you know exactly how hard it can be to keep them maintained and in the best condition. As time passes and your vintage car gets older and older, there will be elements of ageing that start to show and some parts may need replacing. The trouble with older vehicles is sourcing those parts and in many instances owners now look to find ways of prolonging the life of their vehicle, rather than starting the long and difficult search for a rage engine block or shift fork.
Thermal spray technology has been used in the automotive industry for many years. It is a standard process in the manufacturing and maintenance of many modern cars but thermal spray coatings could also be a great way of enhancing and prolonging the life of a vintage vehicle. The process involves improving the engineering function of the car through the spraying of a thermal coating which is designed to protect. Thermal spray coatings have been used in the automotive industry to improve electrical insulation and lubrication as well as prolong the life of elements of the car, through the prevention of wear, tear, scuffing and crucially for older vehicles, corrosion.
How Can Thermal Spray Coatings be Used for Your Vintage Car?
There are many different applications of thermal spray coatings for vintage cars but you’ll commonly find the process used for shift forks, engine blocks, cylinder liners, turbochargers, con rods, synchronising rings and many other internal elements of your vehicle.
There are different kinds of thermal spray technology too which may be used for different purpose as follows:
Also known as low velocity oxygen and fuel spraying involves the projection of molten material onto the surface to create the coating. The spray comes out in powder form and is fed through the centre of a flame and it is often used to spray surfaces which cannot be exposed to high temperatures. Combustion spraying is often used for repairs, efficiency enhancement and restoring the shape/dimensions of a surface or component.
A highly energetic and efficient plasma jet sprays a melted and highly accelerated ‘coating’ of particles onto the surface. The heat source is generated by a high density arc current and pure metal coatings as well as alloys, carbides and ceramics can be sprayed this way. It is used commonly for corrosion resistance, oxidation resistance and protection against wear and tear.
Arc Wire Spraying
Using two electrically charged metallic wires, this type of thermal spraying involves the creation of an arc using these wires. The wires feed through a spray gun system and can reach temperatures in excess of 4000 degrees. This particular spraying method forms a very high bond strength between the coating and the surface and the coating is usually denser than a flame sprayed version.
Protecting and prolonging the life of your vintage vehicle is entirely possible with the right thermal spray technology.