Repairing Rusty Electrical Connectors

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Some of the electrical connectors on my '63 Corvair have heavy rust. They are plated steel. I can use rust remover to clean them up but the bare metal
will rust eventually. I am looking for ways to tin, plate or seal the metal. The only idea that I have is to use silicone grease.
Any suggestions?
Thanks, Scott
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Scott Buchanan a ιcrit :

Good idea, just fill the connector with Nylogel or any other dialectric grease
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Homer wrote:

Idiot: Do you know what dielectric means?
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No, why don't you explain, asshole!
Pop` wrote:

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Since it seems that you can read, use a dictionary.
Ken
No, why don't you explain, ***hole!
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Scott Buchanan wrote:

No, don't coat them or tin them or anythign else. Clean and replace as necessary. A light coating of grease will sometimes help AFTER the connections are tight, but once they're rusted the protective coating is gone and cannot be replaced. They're cheap - much better to replace them.
Pop
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Scott Buchanan wrote: ( '63 Corvair )
Some of the electrical connectors have heavy rust. They are plated steel. I can use rust remover but the bare metal will rust eventually. I am looking for ways to tin, plate or seal the metal. The only idea that I have is to use silicone grease. Any suggestions? __________________________________________
Homer wrote:
Fill the connector with Nylogel or other dielectric grease. __________________________________________
"Pop`" wrote:
Idiot: Do you know what dielectric means? __________________________________________
Dielectric means electrically non-conductive.
Homer is correct - if an electrical connector is to be filled with grease to prevent further corrosion, the grease must be dielectric.
Rodan.
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Pop` wrote:

You coat them with grease before, not after, making the connections. The metal will pierce the film, so the grease will not impede conduction.
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Replacing the connector is a no brainer, the big issue is the steel the screw bites into. I recommend a gentle blast with a hand held spot blaster, than apply some tinning compound, heat the tinning compound [ propane torch ] until solder beads form, than wipe with wet rag, reheat, and apply some plumbers solder to the tinned area.
After a through cooling, sand lead smooth, fasten replacement connector with a stainless steel screw, paint connection with whatever your using on chassis. I did this 20 years ago, and the tail lights are still bright.
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Paul
What is tinning compound? Does steel need a special flux? I have some lead-free plumbing solder with silver in it.
Thanks

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Scott Buchanan wrote:

I don't know what the chemical is, but it's a liquid that coats the metal with tin after it's dipped in it for several minutes and is used for making circuit boards easier to solder without having to remove the copper tarnish. Here's a description of one type:
www.transene.com/sn.html
The kind I used was from GC Electronics (www.gcwaldcom.com) and was a 1-part liquid.

I've used ammonium chloride (acid flux, common) and regular rosin (non-acidic) on steel, and if you clean the steel and then apply rosin flux to it, it should make it much easier to apply solder, even solder that contains its own flux. But plenty of heat always helps make the solder stick and flow better.
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This stuff does not work as well on steel as it does on copper, but it can work. The metal underneath must be IMMACULATELY CLEAN with no oil residue (not even fingerprints) on it. It is not as effective as a dip but it works at room temperature. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Using your ideas, this is what I did. I applied some kind of liquid flux to the sand blasted surface. Heated the metal with a soldering iron. The a lead/tin solder did not flow well so I rubbed the solder into the surface with the iron and it seemed to cover well. The solder was very thick so I used some de-soldering braid to wick off the excess solder. This left a nice shinny and smooth coating on the connector. Unfortunately, some of the flux also remains and it is difficult to remove.
Next time I'll try another type of flux and maybe some silver solder.
I am checking into that tinning compound. Some of the parts cannot handle heat well. It might work to re-plate fasteners too.
Thanks
wrote:

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If it's rosin flux, you don't have to remove it.

For the most part, I think you are MUCH better off replacing all of the connectors if you care even a little bit about reliability. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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You want metalworkers tinning compound, not electronics grade tinning compound. Metalworkers tinning compound is a mixture of lead dust, and acid. You apply it with a paint brush, to clean metal, than heat it with a propane torch . The lead dust forms solder balls, at this point, wipe area with damp rag, and a thin layer of solder will remain. Reheat this solder, apply quick wipe of plumbers paste [ flux ] and add some plumbers solder, which melts at a lower temp than tinning compound.
When sanded smooth, you will have the ultimate place to sink a ground screw into. Your problem is corroded contacts in snap connectors ?
Your better off finding similar connectors at the junkyard and change out your bogus ones one at a time. Failing that, get a dental pick and gently scratch each connector. A FiberGlass Bristle Brush is available for shining up rust nicks in car bodies, called Rust eraser, its plenty abrasive, while short lived, does wonders on mildly corroded contacts. Good luck. One last tip ! Coat the contacts with water mix valve grinding compound, snap them together, and apart a few times, than brush with toothbrush [ the contacts ! ] Use water mix because its easy to wash away.
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Scott Buchanan wrote:

Replace them. Apply dielectric grease to the new ones so that this doesn't happen again.
Once they are rusted, there is no way to get a nice clean tinned surface again. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Scott Dorsey wrote:

So you're saying they can't be electroplated? Isn't that how they were made in the first place? I know I've seen DIY instructions & kits for electroplating all over the web. A simple google search for DIY electroplating should get thousands of results. I'm wondering if there's some reason they can't be used for electrical connectors.
Of course new ones aren't real expensive. Fixing more hassle that the new ones are worth maybe?
Cheers, - JJG
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The problem is that the original metal underneath is now pitted. If you remove the rust from the surface, you now have connectors that have an uneven and pitted surface. If you plate over the pitted surface, you get an uneven and pitted plating.

Most of those connectors were probably hot-dipped in tin rather than electroplated. You could electroplate them, but it might be easier just to dip them in a solder pot. Regulate the pot temperature to adjust the thickness of the coating. The nickel-plating pens would work, though, IF you could get the original surface smooth and if IF the original metal has not become brittle.

It's more than just hassle, it's the fact that you'll find most of those connectors are pitted and even if you're willing to spend a couple hours on each connector with a Dremel tool smoothing down the finish, you're going to wind up with thin and breakable metal.
Note that a lot of those contacts are spring steel, and after a few years they are no longer springy. It is possible to re-anneal them on the bench with a jeweler's torch and a small furnace made from firebrick. It will cost you a lot time and a lot of money in gas, though.
I think it's a bad idea, though, to put five or six hours work into a connector that sells for a dollar or two, especially when the end result will be a connector that is less reliable than the replacement. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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When I redid my Jeep, I replaced all the rotted ones. I found the wires were even rotted at the connection buried in the rubber so there really isn't much there to fix.
I got lucky and a friend gave me a used harness out of a full sized GM van for a hand I gave him so I just cut out all the bad ones and used solder and heat shrink with dielectric grease inside the heat shrink to replace them. I also used dielectric grease inside each. My Jeep uses GM connections.
I figured that was the best way to go short of rewiring. I did change wires that were discolored while I was in there.
Mike 86/00 CJ7 Laredo, 33x9.5 BFG Muds, 'glass nose to tail in '00 88 Cherokee 235 BFG AT's Canadian Off Road Trips Photos: Non members can still view! Jan/06 http://www.imagestation.com/album/pictures.html?id !15147590 (More Off Road album links at bottom of the view page)
Scott Buchanan wrote:

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Scott Buchanan wrote:

There are tin plating solutions that may help, provided you can first remove every bit of the corrosion. They're sold by electronics supplies and are used for tin plating copper circuit boards.
Are the connectors made of steel, or are they tin-plated brass? Bare brass will work.
Apply silicone grease to the connectors before plugging them in so the grease seals better. This will not interfere with the electrical conduction since the metal will pierce the film of grease.
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