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Discussion Starter #1
When I got my bike last summer, there were several things about it that I disliked. The biggest of which was the rear tail graphic which consisted of a pink spade with 3 skulls and a logo for Steel City Choppers. It might float some people's boat, but its not my style and have been hoping to to ditch it ever since. You can see it here:
Rear View Before

Additionally in the photo you can see other things I am not keen on. The swing arm plate mount for instance. In order to use sagglebags, the PO added an extension to move it further back so the brake light was more visible. He used a steel bar which looks ghetto to me. Rear plate/light and Side Angel of Rear Plate/light

Also as seen in those photos and the ones in my gallery, you can see the two-tone classic studded seat. I don't like the studs or the two-tones.

The tank had some damage which was repaired rather poorly (not by me) as can be seen here:
Tank Damage. I also made it much worse when I spilled some gas on the repaired area and found out the repair paint and gloss was not fuel safe. I have no picture of that. But it was bad. It ate right through down to the metal.

You can't tell by any of my pics in my garage, but the chrome on those Spiked grips and foot controls have started to flake. Not only that, but they are slippery and not that great for actual riding. My feet want to slide right off if I don't angle them just right. It's a bit annoying and takes some inner thigh muscles to keep them on the pegs so they need to go.

Needless to say, there was lots to do to remedy these issues.

This winter I've been addressing some of them. I've picked up new grips, new foot controls and oem non-studded seats to replace the ones on it now. This part was easy.

The other issues, the rear graphic, plate/light and tank damage weren't so easy. So I decided to tackle the repairs and graphic delete myself as a winter project. I'm an amateur and weekend warrior for sure, but I figure the worst case, if i really mess it up, only then I'll take it to a professional painter.

For the rear fender, first I selected a new plate/light combo that I decided I wanted to mount back on the rear fender. What I settled on from Ebay would require new holes since the old holes had been deleted by a previous owner. I used some bondo to fix some dents, drilled new holes, then sanded it all down ready for paint. After a few calls to local painters and getting quotes ~$1200 for a solid color, I decided I'd try to tackle this myself using spray cans. Yep. Spray Cans. In my attempts to at least do it as good as spray cans can do, I decided to go a real automotive paint store and get some high grade primer, paint and a 2K clear coat that was fuel safe. The place I went to locally was able to put the color of my choice into a can. The 2K Clear Coat they carried was Spray Max which I've seen on Amazon. I chose black as my color for simplicity and also because I was going to try and blend into the tank to repair the damage. I wanted to preserve the skulls on the tank rather than repaint the entire tank. Even though they are also cheesy, I like the uniqueness they bring to my bike and I can live with them. They make me laugh.

Here is where I am now. This photo of the rear fender is after drilling new holes, bondo/sanding/priming and paint. Before Clear Coat has been applied.
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPaNTUUEwMgthzAxDax7WDW0LKGFKHw5cPLmj_qcKsz2hgcMF6TsEChUae3krLDhQ/photo/AF1QipMfL4UFlBkR7iFb-me6APuIhI_EFUU6eIwM18Q3?key=M3NMdVd0Ukk5eEZMeERvMU1EWjFZRnRJLVkxRVpn

And this photo is of the Tank after bondo/sanding/primer/sanding/base coat but before the clear. You can see here where I've tried my best to preserve the tank skulls and blend the new black base coat into the existing paint. Tank repair before Clear Coat. After this shot, I sanded the whole tank down with 800 grit paper to give the new clear something to stick to on the existing clear coat and also blend into the repair better. I probably should have used something more coarse, like 600 or even 400 but I was nervous it would show through after clear coating.

Both the fender and tank are now curing in my basement. I'll get some pics of how it turned out, but I think they both turned out great. You can't see any of the paint blending on the tank nor the marks from the 800 i did on the existing clear. I plan on waiting 3 weeks before I tackle it with some 1500/2000/3000 to get rid of the orange peel in the clear and then I"ll cut and polish it with the DA I have coming in the mail.
 

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It's looking really great. Can't wait to finished product. Keep the pictures coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)

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I painted my tropical green 1974 beetle bright yellow in my garage when I was in college.

I had an air gun that was suitable for painting bridges, and borrowed a neighbors compressor that could not keep up with continuous paint application.

A guy in the neighborhood came over to see what I was doing. He pointed to sections that were dry, and said" we talked about painting in shop class, thats called orange peel".

Oh so... cool... what am I doing wrong?

he didnt remember what caused it, he just knew it was called Orange Peel :^O

the internet was still 20 years away.....

BTW, if you are painting with enamel it really helps to bake the paint. I use to put bicycle parts on the dashboard of my SUV and point it south on a sunny summer day. You could also bake parts in your oven, if your wife is not home... google that before you try it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
LOL. I live alone with my 2 kids half the time. I could put them in the oven if i wanted but they won't fit. LOL. But, that's why i want it to sit for a couple weeks to cure before I start sanding the orange peel out.
 

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The 2nd best thing to baking enamel, once its dry to the touch point a fan or blower at it. You would not think a little air flow would have any effect, but it does pull the solvent away faster as it outgasses.

You can also bake it with heat lamps, but that is trial and error and its easy to cook the paint back off.

I guess I should say for future readers of this thread, if you bake paint in your oven it really stinks up the house, and to some degree the smell will linger in the oven the next few times you use it.
 

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I was watching Bitchin Rides the other night and they said they put 5 coats of clear on so they have lots of room to cut it down to a glass finish. Might be more than you need but it can't hurt to put a few coats on.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I've read alot about that as well. I have at least 3 to 4 good coats on there. I'm not super clear on how thick a coat is considered because you can spray it down super thin or fairly thick even without it running. I think when it lays down with a wet look that means its thick. I also think that the thick coats lead to deeper orange peel but I was a bit impatient because it smells to high heaven.

In any event, I used a full can on each piece. A combo of thin and thick coats because I'm really just guestimating here from watching youtube videos.

My plan is to take it slow and steady with the first round of sanding which ill do by hand with a flexible foam block. I'm mostly nervous about burning through to the edges on the fender contours.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
So here's the pieces post sanding. This is after 1000 and orange peel is gone. And here is where I got really nervous.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/S5RBhocQkgVVijRS9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/C1sdQFFUUUPGYHmA7

https://photos.app.goo.gl/p125sDH3rTMZJxVP6

It worked out though...mostly. If i wasnt so inexperienced.
Here is the fender after 2 levels of compound but before final finishing polish.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/egzcDuY4QJcsZqs56
https://photos.app.goo.gl/KdJW7xqH192t9fZ86

Unfortunately, my lack of experience with the polisher lead to me burning through the new clear coat in a few spots under the seat and new plate area. My OCD wont let it go so I will have to spot paint and re clear the whole piece. Hopefully I don't make the same mistake on the tank.
 

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From the pictures it looks great. Good job!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Fender is done. It looks great but I don't have pics yet.

I do have pics of the used passenger floorboards I fixed up. I got a set off of ebay for a low price, but they were very pitted and the chrome was flaking off:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/w6VcB8W86MPrTYki7

So I sanded/wirebrushed them down as best as I could and then used some bondo to fill in the low spots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/LweAw647ngYHcqua8

Then after discussing options with people, decided against powder coating or plasti dip and went with paint matching my tank, fenders and controls. I think they turned out better than I expected:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/woj97zGLfvGGxX1i9
https://photos.app.goo.gl/CRDHHowhMUYd3qFu6
 

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Excellent job! Is that a pop up bag? I was looking at that bag I think. How do you rate it?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks. Popup bag? In the first pic on the passenger seat? That's my laptop bag. Not moto specific. It's just strapped there. I was on my way down to visit my father in that photo.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well. I'm almost done. Got 'er mostly back together but didn't have time to add fuel and start it up. I am partially worried about a leak around the petcock even though it was brand new last fall. Hopefully that's an unwarranted worry. But anyway..here's the rear fender with the new tail light.

Before:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/uzoUAUuANo355Gah7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/nLN1GhcnNLfR9m98A

After:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/ftqhWAP4zjiASPrr5

So, the cool thing about that tail light is the integrated turn signals, the associated side of the tail light blinks yellow in unison with the bullet style turn signals so there is double the signal lights. The Led's seem bright. Definitley an improvement over the tiny iron cross light on the previous setup.

Here's the Painted switch housing and flaking grip:
Before:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/nrYWp67bjJZofnsV8
After:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/oCQC41dSwpV5TfEM8
https://photos.app.goo.gl/mhD1PVJ8nx1atdBM7

Once I got it back together and out the daylight, I could see that I still need to do some more buffing and polishing. I also don't have the new foot controls on yet. Still a few other things to do, but so far, with the cleaned up taillight/plate, new handgrips, painted control switch housings, new studless seats and repainted passenger floorboards, I'm quite happy with how it turned out and am really itching to get out and ride it as soon as I can.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/2mrCGi2EUd6yuEry6
https://photos.app.goo.gl/27qh6tt7KzUvX9SL8
 

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Looks like your hard work paid off. Great job.
 
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