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Thread: K75S DIY painting (& polished tank) thread

  1. #1
    BMW uber alles! Zagando's Avatar
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    K75S DIY painting (& polished tank) thread

    Recently started work on my big summer project---painting my Dakar Yellow K75S a different color and polishing out my aluminum tank.

    Thought I'd start a potentially long-running thread here to show the whole process for anyone interested and to solicit comments, questions and advice.

    I'll begin by posting some photos of my bike as it was, how it is now and some of the steps of the painting, polishing and preparation process now in progress.

    BEFORE:





    NOW
    (June 28th):




    After reading many different posts on this and other Forums (ADVRider in particular has lots of painting/bodywork experts) I decided to DIY the whole job instead of farming out the work to a paint shop.

    I decided to use a Fuji Mini Mite* 4-stage HVLP turbine paint sprayer with a Fuji gravity fed (and pressurized) gun---instead of going with a more conventional big air compressor/conversion gun setup---for a number of reasons:

    The powerful turbine's compact size, warm & dry air that won't require moisture filtering, ability to work in tight spaces, very fine paint atomization and far less overspray. The Fuji also has rec'd. excellent reviews and features the same 4-stage Ametek-Lamb turbine found in all of the top tier HVLP turbine systems. Overall cost was about the same or actually less than the good quality big compressors.

    I will use 1.0mm and 1.4mm aircaps for paint and primer.

    (*I bought mine from a Wisconsin Fuji distributor who had many informative video clips on his website that helped clinch my decision---Google Roger Phelps or Phelps Refinishing for his url---I certainly will recommend him to anyone considering such a system)

    I also purchased a Breath Cool II fresh-air respirator system (available on ebay) to protect my health during spraying. The PPG polyurethane paint I will be spraying has extremely hazardous isocyantes in it (they can glaze over your lungs and dramatically shorten your lifespan in no time!) so I decided not to take any chances (facemask respirators with paint cartridges don't cut it with this type of paint).

    For the polishing of the tank I bought a Makita 7" professional-grade buffer/polisher and got some extra foam pads and polishing compounds. I am still loooking into clearcoating the aluminum once it's polished but I am hearing different things about that subject. I may first try waxing the aluminum to protect it against our highly corrosive atmosphere here in Volcano, Hawaii.

    Besides the salty and humid air of the lowlands we have year-round volcanic acid rain here in the highlands. Kilauea's summit is only 4 miles from where we live.

    This will be an interesting "polished aluminum experiment." I will probably be asking for further advice on this subject as I go along. I also plan to cover the low Sargeant seat with a black sheepskin or leather look-alike and remove the rubber tank surround completely. I'll build up the saddle to fill in the gap between the tank and seat and also make it a bit higher for the benefit of my long legs (and aging knees) If my results with the tank are worthwhile I'll want to show more of it off, too

    I will be doing most of the spraying and polishing either outdoors on a (rare) dry and sunny day or in my small bike shed (not pictured) that I will convert to a makeshift spray booth i(f I get too many bugs in the wet paint).

    That's most of the info for now. I'm going to start soaking all the tupperware from the bike in Simple Green for a thorough cleaning before I begin the sanding...

    Stay tuned if interested---I will post pictures, questions and comments from time to time and I welcome all of you reading this to feel free to respond as you wish anytime
    ---Jeff '94 K75S Berlina

    ex: R100GS/PD , K100RS , R75/5 , R60/2

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    Registered User jhgilbert's Avatar
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    Count me among the interested.

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    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    scott conary - BMW... err...umm... bikes are dangerous
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    www.scottconary.com | new paintings

  4. #4
    BMW uber alles! Zagando's Avatar
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    Smile Hope you guys don't run out of popcorn...

    Been busy with other stuff and haven't had much time to continue work this week.

    I did remove the fuel pump and filter for the first time and posted my findings elsewhere in this forum. Had some varnish crystals in the tank and the fuel filter needed replacing. Inside is all clean now.

    Tomorrow I hope to put everything back inside the tank and seal it up before starting to sand off the paint.

    Progress here may be slow but that's because I'm getting older and don't seem to get as much done in one fwell swoop like I used to.

    But once I progress to the next significant stage I'll take and post some pictures to keep everyone interested and informed.

    Cheers, Jeff
    ---Jeff '94 K75S Berlina

    ex: R100GS/PD , K100RS , R75/5 , R60/2

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    I'm looking forward to following this. My K75 tank has some scratches and I'm trying to decide how to proceed.
    '03 R1150R, '03 F650GS, '97DR200SE,'78 Honda CT-90, '77Honda CT-90

  6. #6
    BMW uber alles! Zagando's Avatar
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    Smile Getting started on the tank at last

    Good timing on your post, Acejones.

    This is how I spent part of my Fourth of July (about two hours of hard work even with the help of my electric detail sander used at the start, with 60, 100 & 150-grit sanding discs).

    Here's the back of my tank after reaching the 220-grit stage wet-sanding by hand:

    (I decided to do the back first in case this all goes horribly wrong and I decide to paint it instead)





    Still has a couple areas of imperfections that I need to attend to:





    ...but overall I'm getting excited with my results and looking forward to proceeding further (320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 2000 and then rubbing & polishing compounds with the Makita 7" buffer).

    I'm pretty tired today after all the work I did yesterday (also had to fill in for my wife at her housekeeping job while she's out of the country for two weeks) otherwise I'd be back out there again today working on the tank more. I also have my regular bartending job tonight and tomorrow night so I'll probably continue with this fun project on Tuesday or Wednesday when I have some free time. (stay tuned; I'll post more photos soon after completing the next stages)

    I plan to go through all the grits on just this small section and polish it to see how it turns out before doing the rest of the tank.

    Meanwhile I put a post over on the ADVRider Garage Forum wondering about protective coatings for bare aluminum.

    Any ideas here on wax or Eastwood's Diamondclear? I've heard clearcoat doesn't usually stick to bare aluminum well.

    A couple of ADVers suggested anodizing (clear anodizing will dull the color a bit, I think) or clear powdercoating. Hmm, am giving these a thought but am hoping to hear other ideas, too. What about a good paste wax?

    I might still end up just leaving it bare except for weekly polishings with Mother's Mag Polish---that stuff is great!
    ---Jeff '94 K75S Berlina

    ex: R100GS/PD , K100RS , R75/5 , R60/2

  7. #7
    BMW uber alles! Zagando's Avatar
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    Followup to my previous post

    I've been informed that my sanding may be both too aggressive (esp. the 60 to 320 grits) and labor intensive by an ADVer. Am now looking into aircraft coating removers or other types of paint strippers that I can brush or spray on and let sit overnight.

    Hope I can find something suitable that doesn't have to be FedX'd over here with a Hazmat fee.

    Apparently much easier on the user as well as not removing so much aluminum in the process.

    Anyone know the thickness of the K tank aluminum?
    ---Jeff '94 K75S Berlina

    ex: R100GS/PD , K100RS , R75/5 , R60/2

  8. #8
    Registered User jhgilbert's Avatar
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    I would guess that it's "not all that thick." I'd think twice about attacking it with a power sander of any type.

    I've always taken my stuff, plastic, aluminum and otherwise, to my friendly neighborhood soda blaster. But even soda can be too hard on aluminum. There was the time I tried to strip some plastic side panels with some orange goop. It took six months for them to re-harden.

    I think for aluminum, any non-methanol type finish remover would work.

  9. #9
    BMW uber alles! Zagando's Avatar
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    Thanks, JH---I plan on hitting the auto/paint store tomorrow and find a paint stripper.

    I reached inside the tank today and felt the middle seam in the back. Yeah, I bet the wall thickness it's not very thick at all---I'll be treading lightly from here on out.
    ---Jeff '94 K75S Berlina

    ex: R100GS/PD , K100RS , R75/5 , R60/2

  10. #10
    BMW uber alles! Zagando's Avatar
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    Smile Got the back of the tank partially polished; DIDN'T sand through the aluminum!

    July 10th update:

    Went ahead and light wet-sanded up through the grits all the way to 2000, then tried Mother's Mag polish by hand. Beautiful with only minor flaws.

    Here's some pix---but it actually looks much better firsthand, believe me. I was worried I might sand through the thin aluminum but fortunately that didn't happen (I had only used my power detail sander to sand off the paint and primer and was careful once I got to bare metal).

    So far, so good. I ordered a 1 pound tin of Blackfire Aluminum Polish (supposedly the best alum. pol. on earth according to an aircraft owner I know of) that should arrive in a few days. I will use it for the final buffing with the Makita.

    Will soon strip the rest of the tank with methylene chloride (and wear nitrile gloves and my fresh-air respirator---very nasty stuff from what I've read) and then go through the rest of the sanding process with 600 grit thereafter.

    Been plagued with rainy weather continually which is slowing my process down a lot. I am hoping for the dry season to arrive any day now and will get back to work as soon as I can. Even though I have a covered shed to work in, I hate having to deal with the soggy swamp our back lawn has become and using power tools on long extension cords when it's this wet.

    Will just have to wait for some elusive sunny days that are so overdue...


    Looking through my clear vinly shed:






    I think this tank is really going to shine like a mirror once I'm all done. Can't wait to do the rest now!
    ---Jeff '94 K75S Berlina

    ex: R100GS/PD , K100RS , R75/5 , R60/2

  11. #11
    BMW uber alles! Zagando's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Started stripping the tank

    July 16th update:

    Got some aircraft stripper (methylene chloride) last week and as the rain stopped for a couple of days I finally got around to stripping the tank. I'm not completely done as there's a little bit of paint left here and there but that will be completed next chance I get.

    Meanwhile, here's the before/during and after photos to illustrate what I've done:



    Covered the tank with cling-wrap to hinder the evaporation of the stripper:




    It was a fair amount of work but overall much easier than sanding all the paint by hand (or with power tools). I had to apply the stripper a couple of times to some areas of the tank and let sit under the plastic wrap. I used an 86-cent two-inch wide paint brush to apply the thick, gooey stripper to the clean and ready tank.

    Was nice to not have to worry about thinning the aluminum further by sanding with coarse grits, too. I wore my fresh-air fed respirator for the first time and it was great---no problems. Methyene chloride is very nasty stuff and highly carcinogenic---if you are thinking of using it, do so with the proper protective gear and/or plenty of fresh air. The fumes are heavier than air so will drift down from your work but it pays to be safe in the first place. Also an extreme eye irritant so wear eye protection.

    Stay tuned for the fun part---fine sanding and polishing---once I finish getting the last bits of paint off.
    ---Jeff '94 K75S Berlina

    ex: R100GS/PD , K100RS , R75/5 , R60/2

  12. #12
    BMW uber alles! Zagando's Avatar
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    Talking Next photos will be smaller (600X800) for easier viewing

    Just rec'd a PM from another forum member asking me to resize my pix a bit smaller---so will do so from here on out.

    Didn't realize my 1028 pixel-wide photos were making my thread dificult to read on laptops and smaller screens, sorry!
    ---Jeff '94 K75S Berlina

    ex: R100GS/PD , K100RS , R75/5 , R60/2

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    3 Red Bricks
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    But they look SOOO nice on my 24" monitor!


    LONG MAY YOUR BRICK FLY!

    Ride Safe, Ride Far, Ride Often

    Lee Fulton Forum Moderator
    3 Marakesh Red K75Ss
    Mine, Hers, Spare

  14. #14
    BMW uber alles! Zagando's Avatar
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    Talking Size does matter

    Yeah, I know; mine is a 22."

    I just joined Netflix and have also discovered the joy of watching movies on the computer (and hooked up to Sennheiser headphones)---what a difference the bigger screen makes

    Needless to say, my current desktop wallpaper is one of those super-customized and chromed RK75S jobs recently posted on the K-bikes photo thread
    ---Jeff '94 K75S Berlina

    ex: R100GS/PD , K100RS , R75/5 , R60/2

  15. #15
    Don't forget your towel
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    What is your color scheme for the rest of the bike? Or are you going to surprise us?

    I'm waitng for your review of the Fuji HVLP system you're using. Been thinking about putting together the same set-up in my shop.
    Steve
    "...your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride" A. Bourdain

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