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Hardened and chromed steel rod

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C J19/04/2020 18:23:42
113 forum posts
86 photos

I am restoring a vintage 50cc motorcycle and decided to also restore the rear hydraulic shock absorbers for which I can buy new seals.

But I need to replace the chrome plated 8mm damper rods too, as they are scored, and can only find one supplier of hardened and chromed steel rod at the moment at that size.

So I wondered what kind of steel the live steam boys use for piston rods?

The new damper rod also requires a thread on each end!!!

S Gears & Sprockets

DC31k19/04/2020 18:53:44
662 forum posts
2 photos

Have you tried hydraulic ram suppliers and rebuilders? This material is their daily bread.

Alternatively, what about gas struts for toolboxes, hatchback car doors, etc.?

Once you get under the chrome, the rod is easy to machine. You could grind it off gently if you cannot turn it off.

Chris Evans 619/04/2020 18:55:29
2052 forum posts

I buy hard chromed rod for hydraulic cylinder repairs from local hydraulic cylinder makers/repairers. My applications are for farm equipment so never as small as 8mm. Once you get under the chrome the rods machine easily. Prices seem to have risen over the last few years. You could maybe use precision ground steel rod and keep it oiled to prevent rust ?

Steviegtr19/04/2020 18:57:12
2423 forum posts
336 photos

Or use stainless. Everyone seems to go for stainless spokes on the wheels. Not much side load on a shock, its all up & down.


C J19/04/2020 19:06:54
113 forum posts
86 photos

DC31K, I hadn't thought of hatchback struts for a material source! and I've got an old Golf?

C J19/04/2020 19:56:55
113 forum posts
86 photos

Hi Chris,

Do you hold the rod with collets or can you just chuck it without the rod marking up??


Edited By C J on 19/04/2020 19:57:25

Philip D19/04/2020 21:02:05
31 forum posts

These guys are good, but they only use one delivery firm (which is expensive). They do allow you to organise your own courier though ..or if your local pop in


Edited By Philip D on 19/04/2020 21:03:44

Hopper20/04/2020 02:17:51
6217 forum posts
321 photos

You might be able to fake it with a bit of stainless rod, good enough for the kind of miles most restored tiddlers do.

What kind of 50cc bike is it? Pics?

Paul Lousick20/04/2020 03:46:15
2019 forum posts
712 photos

Stainless rod is softer than chrome and will wear a lot quicker but may be OK. Just depends on how much use it will get.


Pero20/04/2020 06:18:41
157 forum posts

Price and availability may be the limiting factors, but 440 stainless may be preferable if opting for stainless. It is high carbon and harder and stronger than most of the commonly available varieties. It is also available as precision ground rod ( if that is a requirement ).

In chromed steel there is a lot of options available ex China and probably many other places as it is sold for guide rails for 3D printers and CNC machinery. Supply ex China ( Aliexpress ) may be problematic at the moment but some suppliers with warehouses may be able to help. Checking with local suppliers to confirm that they have the material in stock would be recommended.


mgnbuk20/04/2020 07:40:50
1179 forum posts
71 photos

8mm chromed bearing rod is available in shorter lengths from UK sellers on Ebay

More expensive than buying what is probably the same stuff direct from China, but you get it more quickly.

Whether or not it is a suitable grade of steel is another question.

Nigel B.

Chris Evans 620/04/2020 08:05:54
2052 forum posts

Hi C J. Up to 1" or 25mm I use 5C collets to hold the rod, bigger stuff is usually in soft jaws in the three jaw chuck.

C J18/05/2020 00:25:11
113 forum posts
86 photos

I managed to finish the rods today but had to anneal the ends first with a Mapp gas torch, and limited the annealing by sticking the ends of the rods through a piece of steel



C J18/05/2020 00:51:58
113 forum posts
86 photos

.. and my bike is an Itom like in the attached pictures


screen shot 2017-05-20 at 17.57.58.jpg

Edited By C J on 18/05/2020 00:52:47

Ron Laden18/05/2020 06:04:38
2297 forum posts
452 photos

When I read 50cc I imagined a little moped but seeing your pictures that is a proper motorcycle, I love the top one, lovely.

I had not heard of Itom so did a search and found a bit of racing video, couldn't believe how quick they are...amazing.


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