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Here's more information from the Porsche RennList. There are metallurgists who claim hydrogen enbrittlement can happen to any alloy, but it is so uncommon with anything but high-strength steel, that it's not established or accepted as a real issue in the industry. Decent platers are very aware of this issue and bake the newly plated items to eliminate it, as well as follow other steps in the preparation process to reduce hydrogen accumulation.
The primary objection Porsche had about plating was poor cosmetics, although they do comment that pitting and weakening may occur. Here is the full text of the TSB:
======General Information: Porsche does not approve of chrome plating Porsche aluminum road wheels.
Corrosion tests by Porsche AG on chrome plated aluminum wheels have shown heavy pitting, especially with winter use.
The high difference in potential between the base metal of the wheel and the plating material (chrome, nickel) may cause pitting and could reduce wheel strength.
Polishing road wheels is an acceptable alternative. When polished, the wheel's protective coating is removed. To avoid corrosion and discoloration, wheel maintenance will need to be increased. Warranty Information: Corrosion and/or discoloration due to a lack of maintenance are not a warranty matter. Important Note: Please make a copy of this bulletin and give to your dealership's Sales Manager and General Manager.
December 14, 1990=====
Ron Brown at Wheel Enhancement is fully aware of the controversy and will discuss it with anyone who is concerned.
Hope it sheds some light.
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