This project started as just a "project idea" in the Wake Garage Shop Talk forum. Thanks to everyone who helped shape the result. It's now a completed project.
My 2007 Malibu LSV is now ten years old and featured chrome dipped aluminum dash bezels to give it the shiny bling. It looked great stock, but the problem is the chrome started peeling. It was only later years than Malibu used all stainless pieces (more expensive) instead of the chrome dip, or currently all anodized aluminum. Chrome will not last -- eventually it will peel and pit, and start to look like crap like mine did.
My choices were to strip the bad chrome, and then either:
1) re-dip in chrome to last for another ten years. Not bad option as it would restore the factory look, but without the peeling.
2) Replace with new stainless parts from Malibu. Expensive and not all pieces had stainless counterparts.
3) Anodize the aluminum pieces. This was my original plan and I even had the chrome chemically stripped to do this.
4) Powdercoat the pieces. Fairly inexpensive and opened the door to endless color options.
I chose the powder coating, partly because my dash had pitting underneath the bad chrome but also because I wanted to change the look. I chose Black Wrinkle, which is about as opposite from chrome as you can get. Plus the dark matches my sense of humor.
I chose to chemically strip the chrome because I wanted to keep the aluminum smooth underneath in case I wanted the anodized finish. I used Sherm's plating in Sacramento. Great people there and they know what they're doing. This was not cheap though, about $150 because you pay chrome disposal fees and labor. I could have just blasted it had I known I would end up powder coating.
For the powder coating I used TNT Powder Coat in Cameron Park. Lance is the owner, great guy. He and his son wake surf behind a Centurion.
TNT media blasted and prepped the pieces before finishing it in Black Wrinkle. I love the results.
Here's what the chrome was doing on my dash pieces.
Some didn't look as bad, but they were all destined for the same fate.
This is what they looked like after chemically removing the chrome. Hard to see, but there is some pitting in some areas. Still could have anodized it though I think.
I threw a quick polish down on half of the main bezel. There was some pitting but not too much. If you plan to anodize it, you really need to polish it after stripping it. I made my decision at this point to switch to powder coating, mostly to update the look as well.
Lots of options when you powder coat. I had a ton of blacks to choose from.
Here's how the pieces came out. I really liked the look and texture. It's actually smoother than it looks.
And here it is installed. Loved the red against black. Exactly what I hoped for... kinda dark. Not saying it's better than shiny, but fun to change the look. More Gotham City than Bling.
Before doing this I bought a used stereo remote that had 2 extra switch holes (my stock one just had the stereo remote hole), so that I can use them for Surf Gate switches later. I also added a piece of the steering wheel so that the whole thing would tie in with my dash. And my wakeboard tower (swapped towers last summer and bought a G3.2 tower meant for a 2016) is all black, including half in wrinkle black. It all ties together now.
Also.... I took a few extra minutes to polish my gauge clear plastic covers. Ten years of boating, they had some water spots (not bad). I dropped a tiny amount of polish, and orange pad and a DA polisher. Just about a minute is all it takes and the glass (plastic) looks like brand new. Might as well do it while the dash was apart anyway.
Totally happy with the results. I've already replaced a few of the small Malibu emblems with stainless versions. That small one above is starting to look like crap too (up close, trust me), so I ordered a new one of those too. Expensive -- about $30-40 for that 3.5" emblem.
Powder coating all seven pieces cost less than $75.
Thanks to those who gave input on this idea in Shop Talk
I hope this helps someone else with the same problem. Lots of options!
EDIT/ UPDATE: Replaced that dash emblem with stainless version. While ordering, I also decided to grab a new throttle knob. My Isotta know was worn out, and its about $90 to replace with the same, so I chose to replace it with.... the wrinkle black beehive one for about $39. Cheaper and now it matches.
Edited by Rugger