Out of curiosity, I just took a magnet to the trim on our ’64 300K convertible.
Magnetic (Ferritic-stronger-less corrosion-resistant):
Non-Magnetic (Austenitic-weaker, more corrosion-resistance) :
Note to restorers: The two different types of stainless steel may require different buffing compounds and different buffing technique. The resulting finish may be brighter on the non-magnetic S due to higher chrome and nickel.
I then found a good description of the differences:
Is Stainless Steel Magnetic? The Type of Stainless Plays a Role
There are different families of stainless steel and all have different physical properties. A less expensive stainless steel would be considered a ferritic steel. Ferritic stainless steels typically have better engineering properties than their counterpart, austenitic, but have reduced corrosion resistance due to lower nickel and chromium content. This makes ferritic stainless steel magnetic.
Ferritic steels provide an advantage in many applications in which thinner materials or reduced weight are required. They are also non-hardenable by heat treating.
Typical applications for ferritic stainless steels include automotive and truck exhaust systems, catalytic converters, agricultural spreaders, heat exchangers, kitchen equipment, and roofing just to name a few.
Austenitic stainless steels are the more common types of stainless. These grades have higher chromium and nickel content. The higher nickel content makes austenitic grades non-magnetic.
Austenitic steels are similarly non-hardenable by heat treating, but also have excellent formability and higher corrosion resistance.
These type of steels are commonly used for kitchen equipment, appliances, automotive trim, architectural applications, chemical equipment, pharmaceutical equipment, and much more.
So, the next time you are shopping for a refrigerator be sure to bring a magnet. Higher quality (and typically more expensive) stainless steel
Stainless steel can, does and must corrode:
"Stainless steel, the dominant material in rigging today, is susceptible to its own special form of decay: crevice corrosion, also known as oxygen starvation. Stainless steel contains significant amounts of chromium. When exposed to the atmosphere the surface oxidizes slightly and a thin film of chromium oxide forms, preventing any further oxidation. If exposed to water, salt or fresh, without the presence of air, this film will not form and the metal will corrode. If the water in question is salt water, the process is accelerated.
Chrysler’s most famous stainless steel trim may be on the cap of the Chrysler building-completed in 1930 and still shining: http://architectuul.com/architecture/chrysler-building
I don't know the '64 trim specifically, but I have repaired and polished a fair amount of stainless for my own cars.. Probably the most accurate answer is to say that it would certainly be possible to polish the stainless in situ, but it would be a pretty ungainly effort to do so. The compounds used to dress up the stainless would be damaging to either the windshield or any adjacent paint, so you would have to use several layers of protective tape on these surfaces to protect them before taking the polishing wheel to metal. Then you would have to use small buffing wheels to handle them on a drill motor or other such power, rather than the large diameter buffing wheels typically used in a polishing shop.
The small wheels will be much harder to produce a mirror finish with and not show swirls in bright light. And it will take you for absolute ever to get the job done satisfactorily. Further, without taking the stainless off the car, you will not have an opportunity to address all the little dings, scuffs, and deep scratches I guarantee you will find. These need to be worked out from the back side of the trim, and cannot be done with the trim on the car.
Personally, I don't think you are at much risk of harming your windshield at all by cautiously removing the trim around it. That's a commonly done procedure. If you are uncomfortable taking it on, a windshield replacement shop or any good body shop should be able to it in their sleep for you. Might not even cost much if you know good guys in the business. Then the job will be one you're proud of..
Let me know if you need the name of a good repair/polish shop for stainless, and I'll hook you up with someone you can send yours to and count on.
Posted by: "Rich Barber" <c300@xxxxxxx>
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