120 Grille Repair

Recently purchased a '53 OTS and have a question re: loose grille slats. What is a proper repair procedure. I remember from the 50s and 60s that I was able to align the slats without breaking them loose from the surround, so I guess the attaching medium was chosen to allow this, but how is a slat that has broken loose at the bottom, repaired?

Soft solder worked for me.

+1 for soft solder
just be careful with acid it will eat the chrome

I used rosin core solder. Clean it off afterwards of course.

The acid hazards of making a solder repair are well noted. Having made several “loose grille bar” repairs, I can only add that it is not uncommon to find that, the heat required to re-solder the loose vane, will melt the solder holding the adjacent vanes… An “accomplished solderer” may know how to deal with this but it can present an unpleasant circumstance if unprepared.
Alternately, while a purist for 99% of my repairs, I would strongly suggest using a “Dremel-type” tool to clean and smooth the slat/surround contact area and then, using … yes, JB Weld, (or a similar bonding agent) conveniently and more safely, make a long-lasting repair.


That is the method that I used not having any skills in the welding /soldering department.


Two reasonable solutions. I tried a little muffler weld a short time ago as a temporary fix with no success, but admittedly no prior preparation and it had been opened a year ago and may have lost some strength. I’ll give a more committed try with a fresh product.
I hate to remove the grille for a professional solder job; those little aluminum holding tabs make me nervous.
My thanks for the replies.

The grille was originally assembled with silver solder, which has a much higher melting temperature than soft solder. You should be able to apply soft solder as a remedy if you’re careful controlling the temperature, without disturbing the silver soldered anchorages of mounting studs or the adjacent vanes. Take the grille off the bonnet. Start by thoroughly cleaning both surfaces to be soldered then tin them carefully with a little flux. Position the loose vane and apply heat to it incrementally until the soft solder flows on contact. Fixed.

Nick is 100% right. I have done more repairs in different temperature solders including silver solders and soft solders than could be kept track of. Take a sharp knife and scrap the adjacent solder vanes. Soft solder will readily scrap away. I repaired mine with an easy silver solder grade using a jewelers torch. But it is not a problem to use a propane torch. You can protect adjacent soldered vane joints by using the old trick of wrapping the joint with a wet paper towel if it has already been repaired with soft solder. If you would like to contact me via message I would be happy to walk you through it so as to not bore the others.

Well, my one loose grille slat is stable now. I kneaded some JB Weld epoxy stick to an even color and pushed it around the contact area. It seems firm enough, but I can see it there, along with some yellowing glue a prior owner used on about four other slats. I’ll live with it for now (its summer afterall) , but I think it’s going to bug me to the point a proper repair will be required.
I agree the soldering is the best method to meet an originality standard, but am reluctant to initiate elementary soldering skills on this otherwise pristine example of sculptured art.
Next question. When I can’t stand looking at the hard glue anymore, where should I send it?