frame restauration

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frame restauration

Postby xlh59 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:23 am

Hi All,

After getting out stuck seat springs, I refabricated the tool box mounts and the ring for the oil tank bracket to get my 59XLH frame (date code J8 and engine number 17xx) back to (almost) original. Luckily all other brackets or threads are unmolested. Its time to get the frame painted and I stumbled about some unanswered questions.

  • As my seat springs were glued in a mix of sand,dirt, grease and paint, I can not distinguish wether the frame was painted inside the tubes or not? I assume that they were not, but if they were plain steel, how would the tubes be prevented from rust (if i.e. the dual seat was mounted)? Any ideas?
  • I know its not original, but anyone here strongly recommends to do a thin double layer powder coat on the frame. Are there serious cons for a powder coated frame (i.e. that the appearance is completely different)
  • Last but not least I could not find any picture or parts list that illustrates how the oil tank bracket is mounted to the ring in combination with the battery tie rod support. I assume the 5/16" bolt 3956 bolts the tie rod support and the oilt tank bracket to the frame. Now: is the tie rod support between the frame and the oil tank bracket or on the inside of the ring?

oil tank bracket mounting.jpg
oil tank bracket mounting.jpg (151.92 KiB) Viewed 721 times


If anyaone interested I can post pictures of the refabricated mounts before painting.
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Re: frame restauration

Postby chuckthebeatertruck » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:21 am

Personally, I avoid powder at all costs.

The problem is that you are totally reliant on the final prep work done by someone who is just as likely to be doing lawn furniture that day as your frame. If they don't prep it right or leave even a tiny spec of crap under the powder, it starts delaminating after a few years. Problem is that it's a mother to touch up powder.

Problem two is that you won't know whether or not the place used truly UV resistant powder for a few years . . . many say they do -- and I've seen many a muddy black frame over the last decade.

Is powder "tougher" -- yes. Does powder do a good job -- yes.

Do I want to go through the hassle of taking the frame in; waiting; traveling to get it back; and paying as much for powder as if I just painted it myself -- no.

Can't help you on the battery box tabs . .. I don't use them :-)
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Re: frame restauration

Postby xlh59 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:18 pm

thanks for that!

How would you paint the frame on your own? Rattle can or spray gun? Glossy black? I assume that originally the frames were painted in a bath? My main concern is to loose the cast structure on the cast parts through powder coating, not so much on quality of work(which is usually very good in southern germany) -- but I was told that will not happen with thin layers.

What do you do about the back frame tubes? Plug them and oil/grease them?

Thanks!
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Re: frame restauration

Postby chuckthebeatertruck » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:23 pm

I choose my paint based on the bike.

I've sprayed nitrose, lac, acrylics, urethanes, and epoxies. The first two aren't worth your time; but there are many excellent acrylics and urethanes on the market in a variety of forms. I've sprayed bikes, used rattle cans, and have even brushed frames (believe it or not; with the right paint properly thinned and a very good brush -- you can flow a very nice coat of paint on a frame with a brush. The hard part is waiting a month or two to buff it out -- but when you do the result can be every bit as good as a sprayed frame -- but it takes a lot of patience and time)

The only one I steer clear of are aklyd enamels. They work fine; but none are truly UV stable. Colours start to muddy or wash out in the sun after a few years. Clear urethanes don't adhere well to aklyds either; so that's not a solution.

The last 10 bikes or so were all media blasted to bare metal and in the same day sealed in true epoxy primer. I then spray a binding agent, followed by two or three very thin top coats. All the magic happens with the clear coats. I generally do 3-4 medium clear coats of a very high quality urethane. Let it sit 24-48 hours, and then flow coat. The result is a superb depth of gloss and after a week or two -- a finish every bit as hard as powder coating. However, I can easily repair it; buff it out; or even respray sections without much fear.

I have also done two frames in the last 5 years with "rattle cans" -- one set from VHT (chassis and roll bar paint) on a bike I thought I was going to sell right after I finished it and the other from SEM. Both have held up quite well with no issues -- with the 5 year old paint job looking the same as the day I assembled the bike. They look much more "original" than the finish of what I describe above -- complete with a bit of "peel" to the finish.

I don't plug anything -- I use 3M professional painters tape and fine line tape to take care of details.

Do not, under any circumstances, have any type of oil or grease near something you are painting. Any overspray that picks up that oil will deposit very nice fish eyes or solvent bubbles all around the area.

I've no experience with building up layers of powder so I can't comment on that.

To be very honest -- I only spray frames in gloss UNLESS the OEM didn't or there's some other reason. For example, several of my Guzzis came with a dirty, not even quite semi-gloss frame finish. So, I use a 50% gloss or a matte flat (not the hot rod flat stuff -- hate that crap). I've never been overly concerned about covering up casting texture.

The only real challenge to painting a frame is figuring out how to evenly cover all the tubes, top, bottom and sides. Again, I've done it a bunch of ways from saw horses to milk crates to hanging the frame from a tree. Currently, I use two painting racks I made out of gas pipe. The "big" rack is 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide. It can support 200 pounds easily; and I use stainless steel wire to hang the frame. I leave additional wires strategically placed so I can change the position of the frame to get at "hidden" areas. I still miss a spot from time to time and touch them up later.

There are so many ways to do this it's not even funny. Just pick something and go with it. You really can't go too horribly wrong UNLESS you intend this to be a 100% restoration and have it judged as such by an organization like the AMCA.
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Re: frame restauration

Postby starcain » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:14 am

[*]Last but not least I could not find any picture or parts list that illustrates how the oil tank bracket is mounted to the ring in combination with the battery tie rod support. I assume the 5/16" bolt 3956 bolts the tie rod support and the oil tank bracket to the frame. Now: is the tie rod support between the frame and the oil tank bracket or on the inside of the ring? [/list]


Here is a picture of the right side battery tie rod support bracket and shows how it should be fitted.
Attachments
Tie Rod Support Bracket.JPG
Tie Rod Support Bracket.JPG (130 KiB) Viewed 564 times
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Re: frame restauration

Postby DaveC » Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:59 pm

All good information and thanks Chuck. Years ago I was in a quandary as to how to get all of the black parts painted on a 66 XLCH I was restoring. That bike is now at the Barber Museum and in the gallery section. At the time I was working with a car restoration guy who put me on to a local commercial powder coat and paint company. I know that Harley had all of the black parts factory painted with a baked enamel. It was not high gloss and usually had some runs, orange peel and dirt in it. I took several NOS parts (chain guards, oil tanks etc.) to him to color match by a paint company called Cardinal Paint here in Los Angeles. Needless to say the results were a excellent reproduction as to the quality of what the factory did, orange peel, some dirt and an occasional run. Years later I followed up with another paint company and had Cardinal color match with a urethane. I instructed them to finish with thin coats, a hint of orange peel and dirt and run or two would be OK. They delivered and the 67 XLCH in the gallery section is an example. A friend examined my 68 and 69 XLCH's (same process) and his comment was that they just don't look like restored bikes. Scott Lange uses black tractor paint and the results are very authentic (go figure).

As to AMCA judging, a less than perfect paint job is more authentic than a base coat with clear coat, thick and creamy finish. Most bikes that I judge are over restored and paint is the most common area of over doing it. So don't get too wrapped up with this vs. that. The factory paint was never that great to begin with. Remember, better is the enemy of good.
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Re: frame restauration

Postby EKHKHK56 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:18 pm

As a expert rattle canner I have found this paint, INDUSTRIAL 15 ounce can to be the closest to 80% Gloss Black. Goes on nicely, resists rust, can hit it with a hammer. Lightly. No effect. :roll: GM Chassis Black is a nice paint also for real painters. Rattle on. Yes Early Harleys were painted fast, one shot, for protection and color more than beautiful deep finish, etc. like modern bikes or customs. Erik
Attachments
20181110_090548_resized.jpg
KRYLON INDUSTRIAL RUST TOUGH OSHA GLOSS BLACK
20181110_090548_resized.jpg (179.05 KiB) Viewed 520 times
20181110_090459_resized.jpg
KRYLON INDUSTRIAL #R00799 OSHA Gloss Black
20181110_090459_resized.jpg (260.17 KiB) Viewed 520 times
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Re: frame restauration

Postby MTaylor » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:42 pm

I've been told that the factory Parkerized the frames before painting, or rather dipping, with an 80% gloss. Apparently paint sticks very well to a parked surface. I don't think anything looks worse on a frame than colored primer exposed under the black paint. So, your choice is to use a matching primer or go with a primerless paint.
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Re: frame restauration

Postby EKHKHK56 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:44 pm

Yes I have noticed that on frames. On the Fenders, Tank etc of my OP 52K there is a dark gray, more black looking surface on the steel. It doesn't appear to be a primer, etc. Than just cover paint. One partial tacky coat. 10 minutes, than 1 full cover coat. I think... :?:
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Re: frame restauration

Postby xlh59 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:28 am

Thanks to all of you! Very valuable information. I did some research on the option painting on a parkerized frame and that seems to be very likely. It also solves the problem of protecting the inside of the down frame tubes with the seat springs. Maybe that technique was also applied for other parts (like hubs or the kicker arm?)

My ideal goal would be to get a "used but in good shape" look, which is propably impossible to achieve. I re-used most of the original bolts and parts and they are not "like new" anymore. So any high end finish would cause an inconsistent look, which I want to avoid.
I will have the frame blasted first and will then try to find a place for parkerizing. If succesful, the final layer will come from a rattle can ... I will keep this updated.
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