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Painting & Finish Maintenance

All insight below provided by Painter John:

So you want to paint your Harley...

I suggest you go out and purchase Jon Kosmosli's 'Kustom Painting Secrets' video. He also has this in a book format. He is extremely knowledgeable and his instructional tapes are very informative... dealing with setting up a shop, equipment, thru preparation and custom spray techniques. Another, less extensive avenue to take is to go down to your local body shop supplier (or jobber to us in the business), and ask for any technical info booklets they have, which are usually free. PPG has an excellent one and a separate book on custom painting. Much cheaper and also very informative. Another tip is to look at the can of paint. Most have a very condense but complete list of steps needed to take to prepare and then to spray the product your about to use.

Here's a link to House of Kolor's instructional video's.... I think the tapes are $49.95... There's a wealth of information on these tapes... well worth the investment!

On stock Harley paint formula's....

An excellent source for stock Harley paint formula's is the Ditzler Color Library. This info is extremely helpful to give to your local PPG (Ditzler) jobber (paint supplier). Many will tell you that they don't have any information or color formula's for Harley Davidsons but if you come ready with the formula number... they will appreciate it and mix your paint. The phone number for the Ditzler Color Library is: 216 572 6100. You can get the Harley Davidson color code by calling your HD dealer and giving him the year and model of your bike. If you get a dummy that says they don't have the info you need, ask for another dummy.... they *do* have the color codes.

Painting Chrome

Painting chrome is no big deal.. ruff it up by lightly sandblasting and then use a zinc phosphate primer.. Dupont makes a good one. #615s and 616s.. it's a two part mix. Then use your preferred primer. I use strictly urethane.. the paint won't come off.. and there you have it!

If the chrome is pitted you need to remove it before painting. If it's pitted baddly enough, sandblasting will work. You can also dip it acid... muriatic or sulfuric acid will do... but you have to be very careful when doing this. The acid will work on the metal so you have to watch it closely.. not to mention the safety hazards.. you need to work in a well ventilated area and wear protective clothing, a vapor mask and goggles... Don't use acid on chromed aluminum! The acid will eat the aluminum faster than the chrome (and you won't have anything left! ). Once the chrome is stripped, you prep the metal to paint just as you would any other bare metal and prime with your favorite primers. I recommend a zinc phosphate type primer to etch the metal and give you corrosion protection. Once again, Dupont makes a good one.. #615S and #616S. It's a two part mix.

So you don't want to paint it your self.... What can I expect to pay?

Custom paint jobs can vary greatly in price... depending on the artist and painter... their experience and their popularity. Most paint jobs you find for under $1000.00 are going to be amateur at best.

An average for a decent custom paint job with multiple graphics is going to run between $2500.00 and $3500.00. Decent flame jobs usually start around $1200.00. While searching for your painter, you should ask what the guarantees are and what type materials they use. There are many good artists out there painting bikes and you can pay as much as six, seven or even ten or more thousand dollars for these paint jobs! For that kind of money, they should be durable as well as beautiful. Now you may find an up and coming bike painter, who's still paying his dues, willing to work cheap... You just have to look around and ask a lot of questions.. If the painter is busy, with a two or three month backlog.... that's usually a pretty good sign. If he's spends more time at the bar than in the shop.... well...

I would also recommend buying new, OEM sheet metal, providing that you have a late model bike with the paint still in good condition. Why? The main reason is that your down time is kept to a minimum and you can recover the cost of your purchase when you sell your stock paint job!

I would stay away from aftermarket metal unless you going to change the design... i.e. stretched tanks or custom design fenders.... The factory sheet metal is tops in quality compared to the aftermarket...

The straight dope on clear coated aluminum

Painted aluminum parts are to treated like your painted sheet metal. If your experiencing stubborn water spots, you may have to wet sand and buff them out. Water spots are cause by hard water drying on your paint. If they are left alone too long, the minerals in the water will go to work on the paint and actually etch the effected area. If your experiencing corrosion under the clear, the parts have to be stripped and treated with an aluminum prep or Ospho works just fine. Ospho is a self neutralizing metal conditioner ( meaning you don't have to rinse it off but do wipe the excess off the chrome ). The active ingredient is phosphoric acid which is a mild acid ( it won't burn you on contact but will irritate the skin so you should wear rubber gloves). It's the same ingredient that's in navel jelly. Phosphoric acid converts rust or ‘red oxide’ into ‘iron’ or black ‘oxide’ which is a stable compound. It does actually kill rust and corrosion. Then they are ready to polish and re-clear.. Any good clear urethane will do such as Imron or I prefer House of Kolor's UC1 clear.

For polishing aluminum, X-treme Metal Polish and X-treme Metal Magic Sealer work great. The stuff is fantastic for polished aluminum ( not on clear coated aluminum ). The sealer protects the metal like wax protects your paint and protects from corrosion. I've put this stuff to the test and it works great. You can find E-xtreme at your local speed shop or auto supply store. It'll cost about $8.00 for each bottle but is well worth the dough.. (The polish comes in a plastic can and the sealer in a bottle).

If you have bare aluminum to polish.. the two part polish and sealer from X-treme Metal Polishes puts Mothers and Never Dull to shame..

If you have a hard time finding the stuff... here's the company info taken off the product containers:

Hulcher Enterprises, Inc.
611 Kimberly Dr.
Denton, Tx 76201
I believe it's also sold in the Custom Chrome Catalogue
Part # 02001
Part # 3001
Made in the USA

Waxing the wrong bits

This poster asks:

Seems that any time I wax a vehicle, I manage to get some on the grainy plastic trim (invariably black) of the Buell, the truck,the van etc.Trouble is, when it dries, it leaves an ugly spot that won't come off the grainy surface. I tried WD40, and several other cleaners but to no avail. As soon as the cleaner dries, the stain reappears. Is there some secret to getting this wax off? Raucous

Here's a tip that was given to me years ago at a custom car show... Get some semi-gloss black spray bomb.. Krylon is excellent... and spray it into a soft cloth. Then wipe the affected area with the cloth... like applying shoe polish... that's it.. it's simple, cheap, and permanent!

Removing Adhesive

A poster asks how to remove the glue left behind when he removed a decal from his air cleaner...

The answer is mineral spirits! Take a soft paper towel or cloth and soak it with mineral spirits. Then lay it on the glue you want removed... You may have to tape it to the area or use something to hold it against the glue.... then walk away and drink a beer, coke... have a smoke or what-ever... just give it about five minutes. You'll find it wipes right off... then a little chrome polish to remove the outline if any remains... If you don't have any mineral spirits laying around... look for some charcoal lighter... it's the same thing!

Paint Suppliers:

Hawgeye supplied the following:

 House of Kolor
210 Crosby Street
Picayune, MS 39466
(612) 729-1044


PPG
1 PPG Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15272

(216) 572-2800