Welcome back folks,
Surprisingly I am still alive to write this post, not to give the story away but let’s just say adding the kitchen white goods to my arsenal of products to help me get this bike finished was not so popular..More on that later!
One of the most natural processes that happens when something is used and old is that it ends up looking a little tired (and in my case, the engine shitting itself and adding a lot of oil to the mix). The engine on this bike was no different and, you guessed it, if it’s going to be seen by thousands of people at the bike shed show in May then it may as well look as though it hasn’t been reassembled 3 times!
I have seen various guides for how to paint engines online, but all of them lacking a little detail, which led me to creating this one…because my cock ups will make for better reading!
Firstly, you need to prepare yourself mentally, this is a boring as shit task. Good now you are prepared you can order the supplies from amazon. I needed the following:
- Painting dust sheet
- Sanding blocks – Wet & dry, various grades
- Engine cleaner & degreaser
- Masking tape
- Tack Cloths
- High temperature engine paint
- …different high temperature engine paint
- panel wipe
Regarding the high temperature paint, I had issues with my first paint so tried another which worked out better, more detail below.
For some reason I spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning this bloody engine. I think it is because initally i tried to do it on my bench top and using a not so good degreaser
I soon discovered the Autoglym degreaser which is ace. And taking the engine outside so I could be liberal with the water also helped alot. See the below video for a quick how to. Note by this point I had already masked the engine because i thought i was good to go for painting but I just wasn’t happy.
Pretty much, clean with degreaser, agitate with a brush, wash with soap and water, avoid getting water in the engine, let it dry in the blistering Scottish February sun….also you can get the last of the drips using an air compressor.
This task is laborious. essentially mask off all the areas that don’t require painting i.e. the inside of the engine. After degreasing and cleaning the engine a second time, the masking tape adhered a lot better to the block.
One thing I found that helped with this is a teeny tiny craft knife (despite getting ID for this over the phone on amazon…weird, I’M 29 and all I want to do is use this for some knife crime!) Also, using the sharp edges of the engine block to rub something against the masking tape to help it cut…um see below video to help make more sense of that awful explanation:
Also a pretty laborious task. Unfortunately the engine has a lot of road rash just due to it being well used over the years. We are trying to reduce this as much as possible and leave a surface the paint will adhere to. I am using a paint that doesn’t require a primer.
Using a combination of sanding blocks and wet & dry sheets ( I think up to 320 grit) make your way over the whole engine, caressing it as you to feel out any lumps (weird).
One of the bits of road rash was particularly bad on the alternator cover. Using a fine file I was able to get a lot of this removed:
OK, onto the the final stages, getting everything ready for paint.
From the engine side of things, I needed to ensure there was no more sanding dust. I cleaned with an air compressor and then wiped with panel wipe. Just before painting i ran a tack cloth over the entire bike to pick up any remaining particles (see links for what i used above).
Because I was painting this engine in early Feb, in Scotland, the chances of getting ideal warm conditions for painting were slim. I decided to create a make shift spray booth in my gym. I have a squat rack which suited the job perfectly. I was able to wrap it in the polythene sheets I purchased, and a heater could be used to warm up the small area. I was also able to hand the engine and parts off the rack. Sometimes my genius knows no bounds.
I mean the result kind of looks like a scene out of Dexter but that’s ok…easy clean up
Ok, this part is relatively fun. The heater had been on for an hour or so to warm up the engine and the area. I suited up (ala breaking bad- add picture), and made sure that i had a decent face mask, because there was no ventilation in there at all.
The paint, PJ1, was warmed up in a bucket of warm water also and shaken vigorously before using. I mean my new SLR camera has been through the wars already, I thought I would let it sit this one out for footage.
I applied 3 coats leaving 20 minutes between coats and then let it dry. I think this may have been my mistake. These paints cure properly when subjected to heat. I thought i would get away with using the heat of my engine when it is running to get it to properly set.
Moving the engine around back to the garage I noticed a few bits flaked off. This was only compounded when I tried to fit the new stainless steel bolts (I’ll do another post on a cheap way to source these). The paint was weak…considering the 3 layers I was a bit miffed.
I decided to redo it (under duress). I had already spent some time torquing and changing out the new bolts so I left these in place and masked them up. Much easier this time…maybe getting used to it.
I didn’t manage to get any PJ! at short notice so i got some VHT paint from euro car parts instead (see link). This had also been recommended to me.
Back in the spray booth I did another 3 coats of this.
So I wonder….how do I cure this paint if it isn’t on the bike. Cue the handy device in everyone’s kitchen, the oven! Not content with only stealing kitchen implements out to the garage, i decided to really test the boundaries and bring the garage to the kitchen.
Up at 5:30am one morning I performed some covert ops I snuck the block into the house and baked as per the instructions.
It was all going well until the last 30 mins required 220C curing temp. Although i had forseen there being difficulties with the cable i left on, i wrapped this in 5- layers of tin foil to stop the heat getting in too much. the plastic fittings didn’t fair so well and melted causing an almighty plume of smoke to consume the kitchen which FUCKING STANK. Not to worry, girlfriend still asleep, i’ll open all the doors and windows to get rid of this. With the house now baltic and me having to go to work I kind of just had to leave the engine to cool and face the consequences later.
The good news is, i’m still alive! And the paint cured successfully. and looks good. It is now sat on my workbench ready to be reassembled. I have bought some new bullet connectors for the melted ones. The wires look OK, I may perform a continuity test actually before the engine goes back in.
The paint – was horrendously weak before it’s baked. I’m sure PJ1 is an OK paint, but how shit it was prior to being baked did not fill me with confidence. I’ll always make sure I have some kind of provision to bake it. The XS750 engine will not fit in the oven and I will be doing that later in the year…
Alternator cable – I was a bit under the cosh with this one, Had, Ihad a bit more time i probably would have taken this out….by the time i considered it, it was already in the oven.
Get better oven cleaner – self explanatory really!
To be continued,