Painting Fairings - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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Painting Fairings

You know what they say about a little knowledge.....?? Preparing to paint my outer gray fairings, I've been crawling all over the web and have a bucket full of new questions.



The right side fairing got scraped up pretty good, but no material missing so it should sand out well. The left has a few scratches, so will do it at the same time.

Looks like you guys were right on sandpaper, too. Looks like I should start with 400 grit on my random orbit sander, then finish with 600 grit. Does that sound reasonable ??

I did re-consider rattle cans after some of the previous comments, but this is an area I've never worked in and I'd like to learn more about it.

After talking to friends, I surfed a while, read buyer's comments on quite a few paint guns and finally ordered a Tool Force A-C1 HVLP, (I think) and it should be here Monday. It's the only one i could find that no one bitched about in the reviews. Also ordered a cleaning kit for it.

I'd like to do a super keen job and all, but am working under a tight budget too, so I'd like to ask opinions on paint.

I'm not going to be entering it in shows and will prob'ly lay it down again anyway - I'm still un-easy on gravel roads - and I'll definitely steer clear of rocks in loose sand.

I like things to be nice, tho', and after reading about various paints and the pros and cons.....I'm really confuzzled.

Sounds like the top choice would be BC/CC urethane.....but it's awful spendy. Then got into a whole bunch of others - single part urethane, acrylic lacquer, acrylic enamel, and on and on and on........ugh.

For a fairly handy newbie with a spray gun, which would give good results and fair longevity ?? Why ??

Thanks..............Lar.
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:57 PM
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The basecoat/clearcoat system you mentioned is probably the easiest to do, but as you say, it's pricey. Personally (though it's probably almost as expensive) I would go for a catalyzed polyurethane. Shiny like crazy and resistant to gas being spilled on it. It's also pretty durable when it's cured. The bad part, it contains isocyanates... Very toxic when your spraying it, and it should be used in a well ventilated area and good respiratory protection is a must. We use supplied air when spraying it in enclosed areas. If you have excellent ventilation you could probably get away with a good dual cartridge mask with cartridges for organic vapors, though OHSA would still say supplied air.

I would stay away from the acrylics as they are emulsions (basically, latex paint!) True acrylics take a very long time to dry completely and scratch and mark up easily until they are fully cured. I would also stay away from laquers. Extremely brittle and susceptible to cracking on flexible pieces.

The single component urethane's are alkyd based and would be your most economical alternative. Bad part is that they are soft and prone to scratching as well. Also, you probably wont be able to match the existing grey, especially since it's a metallic. Single component urethane is basically machinery enamel like Tremclad, though there are a lot of different manufacturers.

The fairings would probably be easy to touch up with rattle cans but I can understand you wanting to learn how to spray. Catalyzed polyurethane would be my first choice. Metallics can be a little tricky to spray though with some being prone to "tiger striping". Be sure you buy a compatible primer/sealer with flex agents for the plastic as well. Wishing you all the best with it .

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Old 12-20-2012, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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The fairings would probably be easy to touch up with rattle cans but I can understand you wanting to learn how to spray. Catalyzed polyurethane would be my first choice. Metallics can be a little tricky to spray though with some being prone to "tiger striping". Be sure you buy a compatible primer/sealer with flex agents for the plastic as well. Wishing you all the best with it .[/QUOTE]

Many thanks. I'll take your advice and go to Napa tomorrow for catalyzed urethane. The Color Rite codes didn't come up in his book, so he said to bring the bike by and he'll match it up. I'll be spraying outdoors - if the d----d wind will ever stop - so ventilation won't be a problem.

If this works out well, I might just take a crack at a little damage on my 4Runner...............Lar.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:19 PM
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It's definitely not rocket science, just practice . I think it's cool that you wan't to learn to spray... I wish I had pics of it, but one of my first spray jobs was an old Comet 2 door car. I used the single component urethane on it (machinery enamel) and it turned out flawless! Lol, pretty sure it was beginners luck but it sure felt good to turn out such a nice job on my first go . If you want to practice up a bit first it might be a good idea to pick up a cheap gallon of machinery enamel and have a go at painting an old fender or door or something, anything metal that you have no use for anymore. That way you'll learn how to handle the gun before your using the expensive paint on your KLR.

Not the greatest pic in the world, too far away and you can't see detail on it but here is one of my paint jobs. This locomotive was shot with an automotive catalyzed urethane enamel that I cleared after. Lot's of body work on this one as it was very rusty when they picked it up. The welders cut out bin after bin of rotten metal and welded new stuff in.

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Old 12-20-2012, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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It's definitely not rocket science, just practice . I think it's cool that you wan't to learn to spray... I wish I had pics of it, but one of my first spray jobs was an old Comet 2 door car. I used the single component urethane on it (machinery enamel) and it turned out flawless! Lol, pretty sure it was beginners luck but it sure felt good to turn out such a nice job on my first go . If you want to practice up a bit first it might be a good idea to pick up a cheap gallon of machinery enamel and have a go at painting an old fender or door or something, anything metal that you have no use for anymore. That way you'll learn how to handle the gun before your using the expensive paint on your KLR.
You're reading my mind. I've got a raggedy looking tin shed for my stove pellets that could only look better, regardless of paint or color. I'm planning to practice on it. What kind of cheap paint would have the spray characteristics of catalyzed poly ??.......or are there any ??

Thanks again............Lar.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:34 PM
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You're reading my mind. I've got a raggedy looking tin shed for my stove pellets that could only look better, regardless of paint or color. I'm planning to practice on it. What kind of cheap paint would have the spray characteristics of catalyzed poly ??.......or are there any ??

Thanks again............Lar.
Thinned out machinery enamel would be the closest as far as spray characteristics. The catalyzed polyurethane is very thin so you have to be sure to apply light coats until it fills in as it runs easily. That's why base/clear is so popular these days, the base is easy to apply and if you get a run in it or the surface is pebbly you can wet sand it out before clearing it and it will still look like a million bucks. Stay away from the acrylics for practice, they are unique to spray and nothing like the urethanes. I can't really give you any tips on the HVLP guns as I haven't used one... I've only used regular cup guns and more commonly pressure pots with lines to the gun. Big jobs get airless sprayed but I prefer a conventional gun for urethanes.

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Old 12-20-2012, 10:49 PM
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I too admire your guts to learn a new skill especially this one.
But, will you get a paint that will last and work with the plastics of the fairing pieces? Some paints, I don't know which, don't like plastics and won't stick well to them. They also could react I think if you don't get it perfect.....
Take all of what Stew says about Isocynates very seriously! They will kill you in time many years down the road and you won't know when or why when the time comes. They are very bad for you.
If you plan to paint outside you also need to worry a bit about temperature and air quality as in water content or humidity to get the best finish. Then there is the added frustration with wind and what is blown into the paint after you have sprayed ......
If you just want to practice you could almost use water based paints and see where the spray pattern is and how to use the gun. You need a 50% overlap as stew has said before to get the best coverage or you will find a streaked finish when you are done. You also need to hold the gun consistantly at the same angle I have found and complete a full stroke on each pass at an even speed at all times. Start the paint off the part you want to cover and keep it going until you exit the part on the opposite side. Never start on the part or finish on the part. There will be heavier paint build up in those areas.

I'm by no means an expert painter but have learned a few tricks over the years. Solid colours are much easier than metalics........those are a whole other ball game.

You should be fine.....I would buy very cheap paint and get used to it and then go and buy the expensive paint for the parts......you may decide it isn't your cup of tea and get a better job done with a rattle can at a very small fraction of the costs of the paint you are thinking of using. Just think about it just incase....

Hope this helps......Oh....if and when you do paint the parts...paint them both at the same time using the same paint mixture.....if you mixt some paint and paint only one part and then get it finished, then start the next part using the same colour.....if you do not mixt it perfectly the same, you will get a slightly different shade and once it's finished you will see it......ask me how I know......lol.
The first time I did the frame off restoration of my Willys Pick-up I prepped each piece and painted each piece independantly. I was 100% sure I mixed it the same but you could see that each part, a fender, the hood, a door etc was slightly off from the other parts. It also depends upon coverage too. Mind you I was spraying metalic maple burgandy.....I ended up repainting the truck sorry I had it profesionally painted is what I should say. The cost of my mistake for the paint alone was staggering!!! The paint job on my truck cost more than my KLR!!! easily!

Willys
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:20 PM
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I think the big thing is to not rush or skip steps... One very important step is to make sure that the surface is thoroughly degreased before you start prep. A little wax left on the finish will cause fish eyes in your finished product, nasty looking! Moisture or oil in your air supply or lines can cause the same thing. Take your time and be sure to read the directions with whatever paint you decide to use. A lot of the industrial/automotive stuff doesn't have much literature with them but if you google the paint name you can usually find out lots . Don't forget to post lots of pics!

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Old 12-21-2012, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by willys View Post
I too admire your guts to learn a new skill especially this one.
But, will you get a paint that will last and work with the plastics of the fairing pieces? Some paints, I don't know which, don't like plastics and won't stick well to them. They also could react I think if you don't get it perfect.....
KLR!!! easily!
Today I went to the Napa store and since the ColorRite code didn't show on their computer, he got a portable "something" and held it to the paint and it gave him a color to work with. Pretty nifty. He's going to sell me a pint of catalyzed polyurethane base coat and primer - all flexible - but the reducer and catalyzer come in quarts, so I'll talk to some friends at a body shop on Monday and see if they'll sell me enuf reducer, catalyst, clear coat and catalyst for that. I get along pretty well with the manager and have had several small jobs done there - one reason I'd like to learn how to do it myself.

I'll be painting outside, but bought a respirator today anyway - I'm experienced at working with toxic substances and don't fool around with them. I told the guy at Napa that I'd like to buy a small quantity of enamel that would shoot similarly to the BC/CC for practice and he said "no problem." I "think" what I read on my little spray gun said that it has a 1mm tip and he said that would be perfect for this stuff 'cause it's so thin. He also said a pint will be more than enuf to give it several coats.

I think the clincher was Stew telling me that the base coat could be sanded if there were runs or such and the clear coat would take care of it.

Thinking of that, my black tank has an ouch right behind the filler - right in the middle - and looks like someone scrubbed it with an abrasive....maybe scotch brite pads. I tried waxing it and it helped a bit, but still very noticeable. Is there an easy out for that ??

Willys, your experience with the car is similar to when I bought this place 3 years ago and it needed some TLC. (quite a bit) I've avoided painting like the plague all my life, so that was an education, too. Guy at the paint shop matched what I had and I went to it. Part way around the house I found that the previous painter had switched paints or something and there were several shades........not big differences and not normally noticeable, but if you stand back and look with a critical eye, you can see where I did repairs - all the way 'round. I don't care, it looks fine and is set for more years than I'll be around.....but if I hadn't done that when I did - it was borderline and would have been pretty ratty by now and much more difficult to bring back...if it could have been.

Thanks..............Lar.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:11 PM
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Ah, so you are going for the base coat/clear coat system? It is more forgiving to apply than the standard catalyzed polyurethane (That's what I was actually referring to). In the base coat/clear coat system the base coat is usually flat or semi gloss and the clear gives you the mile deep shine. With the standard catalyzed polyurethane it's shiny from the get go and you don't need to clear it.

As far as your tank is concerned you can work wonders with fine polishing compound. As long as the paint damage isn't all the way down to the primer you can usually bring it back. Trick there is to use very fine compound and be careful to not polish all the way through the finish coat! Once you get it nice and smooth it should be pretty shiny again, a coat of wax on the tank and it should be invisible.

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