Thursday, March 28, 2013

Paint and progress

The sun is starting to come out and the bikes are going by my house. It has been a short winter and I have lots of work left to do.

I am, however, making progress. I have my headlight bucket and fender rails powder coated gloss black and I  have my tank primed and sanded and read for the first coats of paint. Today I got the first coats of paint -- real paint -- on the highlight areas of the headlight bezel, the air cleaner and a few other trim pieces. It took a while to get the right red -- I wanted something dark, but that would still jump out. What I ended up with is Regal Red from Rustoleum - which is actually pretty close to the stock red. So far it looks good and glossy and I'm pretty excited about what the final product is going to look like.

I haven't settled on the paint job for my tank and fenders. That's why I'm focusing on trim pieces where I have a better idea. This is either going to be a red bike with black trim or a black bike with red trim.

AIS is gone. New pegs is on!
Meanwhile, I've been cleaning up the front of the bike. I took the AIS system off - a common mod -- and then noticed the California emisssions can on the other side. Turns out, I don't have an California tank, so I took that off too. Now the front of my bike has a cleaner, more open look without all the nanny-state plastics. That said, I could not get the AIS plugs out of the engine, so I sealed them off. The back plug elbow  broke off while I was trying to use the slide hammer to yank it out. So I sealed that up with some steel reinforced epoxy. The front one is sealed with a little bolt. I'll paint them black -- maybe put a little copper plumping cap on -- give it that steam engine look.

The two hoses left behind by the removal of the AIS and the Cali Can are plugged with a golf tee and a rollover valve respectively, but I might remove the rollover valve and extend the hose.

I also put on the new front pegs, which are much better than the bent ones that were on there previously. I took the exhaust off and discovered a lot of rust and dents. I bought all new gaskets and I'm giving it a nice coat of ultra hi-temp Rustoleum gloss black. My goal is to get it looking like an old un-restored bike - no chrome, just a tough old donkey ready to go anywhere.

I still have a lot to do. Even if the paint progress is encouraging, there are still a lot of projects left before I get on and ride. I have a braided brake line and new brake pads for the front. I need to take the rear wheel off and lube the splines of the main drive shaft. While I have the wheels off, I want to paint -- or plastidip -- them.

Ready to paint - I'm using a total of three
different kinds of primer on this project. 

Fenders are almost ready for paint.
Another coat of primer and some sanding first. 
Good bye rusty pipes. 

This is my blank canvas. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tank Boy

Okay, I got El Burro cheap. It had a dented tank, bent foot pegs and rust. This winter is my chance to correct all those problems, and do a little custom work as well. I've been working on it, but I really need to get down and dirty over the next few weeks if I want to have it on the road for Spring. Already on a sunny day, I can hear the bikes going by on the highway as I wrench away in the garage.

Before - Rust and Dentitude. 
Repairing the tank is probably the one thing that will get the most attention in the long run and will make me happiest when I look at El Burro across a parking lot and say "that's my bike." It's also something I have tackled before.

First step was the get it off the bike and get the old paint off. For this I used my old stand by Citristrip. It's non-toxic. Smells like oranges and cuts through layers of paint.

The first coat's results were not impressive -- I was just eating through the clear coat. Once I scraped that off and put on the second coat, things started to get interesting.

Citristrip after.
The whole side peeled up to be stripped away. WD-40 will take off stickers, but I didn't bother -- I just let the Citristrip do the work for me. I brushed it on and walked away for a few hours. This is what I found when I came down stairs. Easy-peasy to scrape off with a plastic scraping tool. We used a grocery bag over one hand like a glove and the scraper in the other, the stuff is a little sticky and like's to stay on the scraper so we pull it off with the bag/glove. Works great. We (and by this I mean mostly Amy) have done all the trim in our house this way.

You don't really scrape this stuff off. It is more like the effort you'd use to lift a pancake off a greased griddle. Not a lot of sore elbows, which I like.

After the paint is all down to bare metal, It's time for repair. Bondo is my dent remover of choice here. If you've never used it, there are tons of tutorials on YouTube to school you.

My impression is that it is easy to do, hard to to right. My last tank was adequate, but I could still see the imperfections. This one I took my time on and I hope I'm getting better. I've noticed that it is easier to go by feel than look. Took me multiple tries to get all these dents filled, and the more I worked on it, the pickier I got. That's probably a good sign.

I am learning patience ... slowly but surely. I just wish I'd learn it a little faster.

Once the Bondo work was done -- and all the sanding that went with it -- it is now time for paint. I start with a filler-primer that is supposed to fill in the imperfections.

First thing I notice is that while my main dent looks pretty darn good, the small dents need a little more sanding to be perfect.

Oh well, back to work. While I'm working, check out this guy's rattle can paint skills.