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.