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COB
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Discussion Starter #1
I started this thread on the sister site, but seeing as I am going to hang my hat here I will re-post and pick it up from where I left off.

I have a 06 VR$CR "Street Rod". I originally bought the bike after admiring VRODs for a few years. I have a lot of buddys who really gave me crap for wanting a 'rod, which is typical behaviour for the average HD knucklehead type that I hang out with (god I hope none of them read this and kick my ass). I bought the Street Rod without a lot of research. If I were to do it over again I would not buy the same bike. Nothing wrong with the Street Rod, in fact it is probably the best bike I have ever owned, I just don't like the limitations that come with it vis-a-vis aftermarket parts.

As I said, I bought the bike for 3 reasons. First of all, even though I am a GIANT Sportster fan, I got real tired of the small gas tank. So my first purchase reason was the 5 gallon tank on the R. Second, I wanted a black frame and that was available on the R. And finally I liked the looks and performance promise of the upside-down forks. So I bought one from a wholesaler friend of mine and had it shipped. In between the time I bought it and got it I logged back onto the Vrod Forums site and did some reading. What I found disturbed me as it seemed that the R was not a very popular model and most of the guys who liked them did not seem to be "Harley Guys". Worse yet the aftermarket parts all seemed to carry the same note..."Fits all models except VRSCR".

My first impression of the motorcycle was a mixture of delight and depression. I simply could not believe that a Harley could handle this good. I also felt that the power delivery was pretty lackluster. This did not worry me too much as I have paid the "Harley Tax" in the past and knew how much that would perk it up. More research on the VRF site brought yet more somber news. No easy 20% HP gains by paying the tax. While all the guys assured me that the power was well in excess of what I had on my FXST, I was still unimpressed by the perceived lack of torque. Eventually I put on a Rinehart pipe after reading StreetRodder06's and BrianVRSC's reports on the pipes performance. I also got raped by the HDealer for $500 for a SERT. Add a K&N and a gift map by Mike (StreetRodder06) and the bike was transformed. The seat-of-the-ass torque was magnitudes better and the thing finally sounded like a motorcycle.

But the thing was old man ugly to me......and I'll continue in the next post.

 

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COB
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Discussion Starter #2
So I know a lot of people like the look, but I am not a fan of silver. It seems like all the cars I have had lately have been silver, but more than that, silver reminds me of when I was poor and broke and drove primered vehicles. So I looked into having someone paint it and ran into the "Painter Paradox". Good, talented painters are flakey and very busy......crummy ones can start tomorrow. After going thru a couple of gyrations and getting nowhere near having my bike painted, AND being horrified at the $2900 that I did not have to commit to the project, I just decided to do it myself.

So lets get this clear. I am not a painter. I have never painted anything other than stripping down my old Suburban and spraying an impressively orange peeled and sandy feeling coat of primer on it (theres that damn silver again!). But I had the stuff and way more time than money, so what the hell. After talking with some guys on the VRF about it, I realized that painting advice, while well intended, would not surpass actuall research. I went to Barnes and Noble, copped every body and paint book they had, got myself a frothy, faggy, coffee, and plopped my fat ass down in one of them worn out easy chairs (do they buy them that way?) and started reading. Right away I learned one truth- while motorcycle painting and car painting are similar, they are just as different.

Eventually I ran thru all the books, was wired outta my mind coz I don't drink coffee very much, and REALLY had to take a whiz. I ended up with two books by a chick named JoAnn Bortles called "How to Paint Your Motorcycle" and "How to Custom Paint Your Motorcycle". While these books were about the best I could find, they suffer from the curse of any How-To book written by experts- they assume you know certain things. The books have a good amount of information, but NOWHERE is there anything as simple as a project task list i.e. Step 1- paint, Step 2- Sand with X level, Step 3- Sand with Y level......etc.

Not to be deterred, I got my wife's undying support-



and forged on!

.
 

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COB
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Discussion Starter #3
Seeing as I was just going to perform a single color job, all information I had pointed to the fact that all I had to do was scuff up the surface and paint. That's easy!! But hold the presses. As I scuffed the airbox cover I found that the graphic on the side was a big assed sticker/paint combo. Back to the books and I find out I have to sand ALL the stickers, both graphics and pinstripes off.



Eventually I was able to sand thru them, but came up on bare aluminum....uh oh. Even I know that bare metal vs paint is a whole different animal. Off to the paint store I go to get my dumb ass schooled. Turns out I need a primer to etch the metal to adhere better. Although I confused the shit outta the paint store guy, he assured me that this was needed for aluminum also. So I ended up using Valspar DTM 2000 Direct to Metal Primer.

Here is the cover ready to paint.

 

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COB
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Discussion Starter #4
I was worried that the silver primed airbox cover would show a different final color than the black front fender. The answer was to prime the fender too. At this time I learned from the books the theory of filler prime coats and seal prime coats. A filler prime coat is a heavy primer coat put on with little or no reducer to thin it. It is applied heavy and is intended to fill sanding scratches and other blemishes and to supply a heavy base to sand on. Prior to spraying the filler prime coat I needed to provide "tooth" for the paint to adhere to. The recommended level of sanding was with 180 grit. Before spraying I degreased with a rag and laquer thinner (which is VERY efficient at melting latex gloves) and then just prior to shooting blew off with an airgun and used a tack rag.




As I was going to spray in my garage, I decided to try and make my garage as paint friendly as I could on a budget. I had a guy come in and prep and texture the walls and then I painted. Part of the garage now had industrial indoor/outdoor carpet and the rest is bare concrete. When I was ready to shoot the primer I swept and vacuumed the floor then let everything settle. I then vacuumed again. Then I sprayed the garage out and laid down a 9 x 12 plastic drop cloth and moistened it too.




Ready to shoot the primer! I mixed up the primer and activator, donned my respirator. HEY! These paints are dangerous, you HAVE to wear a respirator. This isn't like the old days of Lacquer, this stuff can really make you ill. And here we go......Uh Oh! My HVLP gun had a 1.5 tip and was not moving the thick primer very good. I had to close the fan size down and get close and just do the best I could. Eventually, I got what I considered a good, thick and relatively smooth coat on.



Now I needed to clean up my gun and let everything dry. Time to wet sand!
 

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COB
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Discussion Starter #6
Wet Sanding!

So this is an area where I learned a LOT. While I would have just been happy to grab some paper and sand the whole mess, I read in the book about this concept called a guide coat. The chick said to take any old rattle can and spray a very light coat over the pieces to be sanded. I did that, and in the future will not use glossy red but probably a flat black. The red gummed up my paper pretty bad. The theory behind the guide coat is that the paint will cover the deep pocks and pits. You just keep sanding until all the guide color is gone. Here is a pic of the cover with a guide coat on it. You can see where I have started to sand on the top.



Here is the cool part. If I had not put that guide coat down I would have stopped sanding probably an hour earlier than I did. It felt smooth to me, but I could still see a shitload of red specks. ESPECIALLY in the nooks and crannies. When I got all the guide coat off, the parts were as smooth as glass. Another point is to use the right blocks. You cannot sand this by hand as you will leave ridges and furrows. But bike parts are different than car parts and you have to use the right blocks. I bought a couple of sanding blocks that are somewhat flexible. These follow the surface of curving motorcycle parts yet are firm enough to distrubute the sanding force. Here, I will take a picture of them-



After wet sanding the guide coat down with 180 grit I was ready to spray the prime/seal coat. This is accomplished by mixing up the primer and adding the max amount of allowable reducer. In the case of the primer I am using I can add 25% reducer. That ends up being 4:1:1. For this thickness of paint my HVLP gun tip was adequately sized. On went the final seal primer coat.

Now the rear fender produced another issue. It is plastic. Had it been "green" plastic I would have had to pre-prime it with a plastic primer such as Bulldog and then primed it as I did the parts above. As it was already primed and painted all I really had to do was scuff it up with a maroon Scotch Brite pad and then prime and paint. But, as a learning experience, I wanted to see if I could discern a color difference between the color shot on gray primer and direct on the black. So I cleaned out my gun real well and loaded up some color. I originally wanted to paint the bike a Tangerine Orange, but in cruising the gallery at VFR I found this absolutely GORGEOUS bike and did not want to copy it-



So I looked through a boat load of color books at the paint store and found this color that was used on the Copperhead Viper concept car. The color is called amazingly enough Copperhead Orange! It is still orange, but has a copper tint and is metallic and irridescent (sp?)-



On goes the color and Mikey gets another lesson in painting. The color is even thinner and comes out like a waterfall compared to the primer!!! :eek: But as I shot the back edges first I was able to get it under control before I shot the side that shows.

So here we are as of today. The fender and airbox cover are in final primer and are flippin PERFECT! In prime they are smooth as glass. I still need to wet sand with 400 before I shoot the color, but they are going to be great. The rear fender is in color, but it needs to be wet sanded also-



Between the time that I shot those coats and when I could sand, the weather took a dip here in Utah and dropped into the 50's again. I cannot paint my color and below 70 and due to my windy location I cannot maintain a constant temp in my garage other than ambient. Next step is to wet sand all the pieces and shoot color on the airbox and fender. After that, wet sand the airbox and cover and start spraying the clear coats. I will post more on that, as there are enough variants of clear to make your head spin!

Unfortunately I have to leave on Sunday for a business trip to Austin for 2 weeks. Due to family and other time constraints I wont get to work on this project until my return.

I hope you enjoy this thread and that it inspires you to try this yourself. If I can do it, ANYONE can!
 

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COB
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Discussion Starter #7
I should up load some of my How-To's to this site. Could possibly have saved you dollars on books, however its great that you did go out and buy them. Now you have quick at hand references when needed. :cool:



Badger
Don't hold back, my brother!!!! ANY information is greatly appreciated! :dance
 

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Custom,
Congrats on the story and the job up to this point, looking forward to reading the rest and seeing the finished product. It will give you many smiles in the years to come. first time bike painting comes with many rewards( and several hangovers). Did the same myself not long ago, bought a totaled ultra and brought it back to life. not a painter or bodyman, jumped in with gusto. Smile every time I look at it. Just remember to only work at it when the mood suits you. If you force yourself otherwise you will not be happy. Good luck.
 
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