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Along with my Sky Shield and Belt Extenders, I also ordered a set of Lil’ Chromies, which are stainless steel lock levers. They are not really chrome but they do look nice (Kappa Sphere does explain that they are not chrome on their web site). They arrived in a little velvet pouch along with some lock tight.

The idea is that they replace the existing lock levers, which screw off of a threaded rod. Well, they are supposed to screw off. Mine were too tight to remove by hand. So I phoned Kappa for advice. Things went downhill quickly from here.

I think it was someone named Brian who answered the phone. I asked how to get the factory levers off and he said they can be tight and that I might need to use a vice grip. Okay by me, but since I had him on the phone I decided to ask if the lock tight was really needed, as I didn’t think these could screw off on their own. At that point he explained that the stainless levers they sold me are not threaded, but rather just are bored out and smooth. Therefore, the lock tight is absolutely necessary. I commented that this sounded like a permanent replacement. Brian explained that they could be removed by using a torch. He said some people who “messed up” putting them on had been able to remove them this way.

I quickly decided I didn’t want to make a change that could not be easily undone, so I asked if they would take them back. They said they would, but they would charge a restocking fee. I asked if they would waive the restocking fee since their web site does not explain that these are a permanent change. Brian replied that this is explained on their web site. I said it was not, and he checked and said that it is in the installation instructions, which they have posted. Well, it does not, it just says to use 4 drops of the lock tight. It is not clear that the Lil’ Chromies are not threaded. He also told me that this is not actually a permanent change, since the levers can be removed with a torch! I asked how then the glue could be removed from the threads and he said it would just rub off. I can’t imagine how that would be, if I need a torch to get the lever off.

At this point I decided that there was no further point in discussing this with him. Anyone who asserts that removing lock levers with a blowtorch is reasonable is not someone I can have a rational discussion with. I told him I would think about it and get back to them.

So in summary, Lil’ Chromies replace the factory lock levers, which need to be removed with a vice grip. The new Lil’ Chromies, which are made of stainless, not chrome, must be glued on and can only be removed by use of a torch. Install them carefully, because if you screw it up you’ll have to destroy them with a torch to get them off. Kappa Sphere does not make this clear before you buy them and will require a restocking fee if you decide to return them once you learn this.

I have decided not to install them. If anyone wants a set, I’ll sell mine to you for what Kappa Sphere charges and I’ll pay for shipping in the continental US.
 

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A couple of notes from my Li'l Chromies experience...

These were the first "customization" that I did to my SKY. I, for one, really like them. And I found installation to be really easy. When I get my Red Line, I will add them to that car, too.

First of all, the "pins" that they mount on are not "threaded" in terms of standard threads that could take a nut or other type machine part. They do have "spiral ridges" on them, but they're not threads. About the closest thing that I can describe them as are like a twisted steel cable, but with sharp edges - or think of "rifling" more than "threads." The factory "pulls" are soft plastic, and as they are forced onto the pin the ridges chew into the inside of the pulls and form a friction fit. So, if you are thinking that in order to "unscrew" them up about an inch up the shaft that you'd have 50 or 60 rotations on the threads, you'd be way off. You're probably talking only half a rotation to go up one inch. If you try to "twist" them like a threaded nut, they are not going to budge at all as you are going against "vertical" threads on the pin, not "horizontal" threads. So to remove the existing, I just used a pair of regular pliers; some moderate pressure and a gentle twist while pulling up and I had no problems at all. I don't know if that makes any sense or not, but that's the best that I can describe them.

Now, for the installation of the Li'l Chromies...

Since the "pin" that they mount on doesn't have machined threads, naturally the Li'l Chromies can't have machined threads either. And the stainless steel won't allow the pin to bite in as it does on the soft plastic. And, therefore, you need the LockTite goop. The ONLY problem that I had was that it was very hard to judge the "four drops" that need to go into the hole, and on the first one I overfilled it. I was able to siphon out the extra goop and start over, counting my four drops very carefully. When placed on the pins, the goop is very, very runny. If you pull immediately on the Chromie it will just come right off. But after 24 hours of only using the fob unlocker, they are snug and tight and not going anywhere.

Which is good, because I like them snug and tight and not going anywhere.

Unlike some of the old pulls - you know the ones: shaped like "golf tees" that you can catch with a coat hanger wire when you lock your keys in the car - these are straight shafts with grooves cut in the top to allow for a good grip. But you'll never get a coat hanger to catch - which is okay, because you have OnStar to get your keys out in a pinch. And since the top doesn't "flare" like a golf tee, you can slide the door panel right over the top of them if you have to remove the door panel for service. (I would think you would do this with the cheap plastic factory pulls, too, as taking them off and putting them back on would chew them up more and loosen and/or damage them.)

My overall assessment is that they are pretty inexpensive, easy to install if you take your time and follow the directions, and they add a perfect "chrome" accent to the door to balance the door latch and grab handle when viewed from the inside, and they balance the chrome external door handle when viewed from the outside. They are subtle, but add a nice, luxurious look to the detail of the interior.

I understand jarcher's concerns. I'm probably a bit more bold when it comes to mods (I have a custom exhaust, modified rear valance, CAI, stickerless visors, under hood color accent, and stubby antenna) but I found the installation to be easy and well worth the effort.
 

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Yikes!!!!!! I had lil chromies on my list of must have items but I just scratched it off my list. Thank you so much for sharing.
 

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I also had the problem with the LockTite...made a big mess, but it cleaned up alright. Also when I put the chromie on the passenger side, I pushed too hard and pushed the wire almost all the way through the hole. Fortunately, I was able to pull it back up and got the chormies on with just the aforementioned mess. :)

They really look great and I'm glad I made the mod. They look so much better than the plastic pulls.
 

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I'm sorry, this might just be my opinion but what did you think lock tight was when they described it on the web site. When I read it it was pretty obvious it was a glue of sorts and this would probably be a pretty permenate instalation. Just my opiniopn and I know prro Brian can't say it too you because he wants to keep his job and have respect for his customers. I think you just didn't read every thing before you bought it. I'm sure because of you Kapasphere will be ULTRA clear now and say its a permanate modifiaction.
 

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is it blue or red if blue no problem if red hahahahah that is pita to get off. and the torch would proabley olny used if the door pannel was removed. i am going to get them. hell i replaved my struts with bags i cleared my corners in my alero and installed a cai and a 160 amp alt. after the forst time you will be able to do it in at least 1/4 of the time. when i removed my struts and installed my bags it took me 3 hours each but i had to change out a plate on one after i installed them it took me 35 min.
jack 5 bolts with inpact wrench remove rim, 2 more nuts pound out 2 bolts. 3 nuts and 1 air line strut removed.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ruledawg said:
I'm sorry, this might just be my opinion but what did you think lock tight was when they described it on the web site. When I read it it was pretty obvious it was a glue of sorts and this would probably be a pretty permenate instalation. Just my opiniopn and I know prro Brian can't say it too you because he wants to keep his job and have respect for his customers. I think you just didn't read every thing before you bought it.
Lock Tight is usually used to keep a screw or similar fastener from coming loose, not as the primary method of securing something. Most people are used to lock catches that screw on and off. This is very common. As such, using lock tight might just hold them from losening. This is why I asked, because it didn't seem necessary.

ruledawg said:
I'm sure because of you Kapasphere will be ULTRA clear now and say its a permanate modifiaction.
I hope so. That would be a good outcome of this. I know I'm no stuipd or unreasonable and if I can see it this way other can and will as well.
 

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theirishgonzo said:
is it blue or red if blue no problem if red hahahahah that is pita to get off.
The provided gooperoo is RED.
 

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the original lock levers can be removed by first using a hair blower to heat up the lever...and then using plyers...easy as pie....of course u r nervous trying to unscrew them but they come off easily....no complaints from me.
 

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Lots of people on Sol forum have had good experiences with the Lil Chromies too. The process is not all that bad really. You may still want to consider using them. However, if your really that uncomfortable with using them, I am sure someone else on this forum, or even on Solsticeforum would be happy to purchase them from you.

You may want to post a for sale thread in Solsticeforum's parts for sale section.
 

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LOVE my lil chromies! Red locktight was messy for the first day, as I used too much. You know, if a little is good more should be better. If you do install them, go EASY on the Red Lock Tight!

my two cents,

This thread is GOOD info for those thinking of installing. I didn't know any of the cons when I ordered mine.
 

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Either way you go with the upgrade, thanks to all for posting your experiences... its good fodder for the forum and helps us decide what to do to our own Sky.
 

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Yes thanks for everyones info and the start of this thread. You can say what you want about any product or proses of installing or uninstalling of said product but if a company does not stand behind the product with good intentions it leaves a bad taste in everyones mouth. Just my .02!
 

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These will most likely be the ONLY appearance mod on my SRL
 

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I think I'm still going to order them.:thumbs:
 

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I like em!

I put them on at the dealership....5 minutes and I was done !!! Several service techs came out to see them..... they really dug em. :cool:
 

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I have decided not to install them. If anyone wants a set, I’ll sell mine to you for what Kappa Sphere charges and I’ll pay for shipping in the continental US.[/QUOTE]

:willy: Wow, thank you so much for the heads up. I was just about to order them. Glad I read your post. I had a problem with the car cover too, and was unable to return it. Albeit, they were very nice about trying to accomodate me, but end result, got a cover I wish I could have returned. Oh well, live and learn huh?
:confused: Terry
 

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Curious...why couldn't you return the cover? :confused:
 
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