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My Road to Rod
Old 07-11-2012, 01:19 PM   #1
Aced It
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My Road to Rod

I consolidated my thread from another site eliminating all other commentary in-between. Please let me know if you see any errors in imagery or links. Thanks!

07.18.2011
As with anyone, I'm not made of money and this is probably going to be as inexpensive as I can get. However, I've certainly gone and did it now; started sanding down the flawless factory paint on my '03 ACE. Post dis-assembly, I noticed the front and rear dividing stripe was simply a decal which was pretty easy to peel right off. I then went at it with combinations of 400 and 600 grits. I wet-sanded simply to keep the dust down as I'm working next to my other baby in my garage. This also made the process easier to boot. I only got to the rear fender tonight, but I'll be tackling the front tomorrow. The fuel tank clear coat is a bit thick over the striping, so I'll just be sanding that down without peeling first. I bought some semi-flat black Dupli-color paint that I'm going to test. If not, I'll be hitting the professional automotive paint store for some hot-rot black or anything else that strikes my fancy! So far, so good (crosses fingers) ......

The Goal (or the general idea anyway):


Progress:





The Other Baby (behind the bike ... no, it ain't stock :wink: ):


Last edited by Aced It : 07-11-2012 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 07-11-2012, 01:27 PM   #2
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07.19.2011
More sanding today ... I find it interesting that the fender pinstripes were stickers and the tank seems to be painted. At first I thought it was a decal from the slight bump in the clearcoat, but it sanded completely smooth. I also happened to find a simple air-brush gun that I used many years ago when building scale models ... hmm, I guess we'll see where that goes. So continuing on my quest. Will finalize sanding details tomorrow. More boring pics ...








07.20.2011
Finished final sanding details and degreased and washed all the parts. Did a bit of research on a few things and found two alternatives for DIY white wall tires. Behr Elastomeric roofing paint available at Home Depot has been used by some with pretty good results as it can stretch up to 600% of it's application when dry. Also found that Krylon Fuzion satin white spray paint does very well considering it's for plastic and also permits flexing. There are ups and downs to this process, mostly browning and cracking, but one thing is for certain that it's the preparation that is the crucial part ... scuffing the sidewall, degreasing, etc. Don't yet know which way I'm headed, but $10-$30 sure beats the price of new tires right now! That's it for today; tomorrow (time permitted) I prime.





07.21.2011
I painted the fairing covers this evening and I am very pleased. I tested a few blacks next to each other on a test board to see how close I could get to what I wanted and found the perfect one. I did not prime as the sanding of the factory paint proved a more than adequate surface. After last night's degreasing and washing, I simply wiped them down with a tack cloth and sprayed a couple of coats back to back within a few minutes of each other. Here's some info with pics below each ...

The Paints:


The Test:
Sprayed each side by side and compared sheen, texture, spray patterns and flow. I narrowed my selection down to three that I thought would give me the result I wanted. From left to right, #1 Krylon Rust Tough Semi-Flat Black, #2 Rustoleum Satin Black, #3 Rustoleum Professional High Performance Semi-Gloss Black. Some thoughts regarding these products:
- #1 Had the best spray tip, smooth flow and obviously for me the right sheen.
- #2 Had horrible flow with blots of paint landing on the surface.
- #3 Flowed better, but had a much smaller spray pattern; it was by far too glossy for me.


The Result and the Winner:
The first pic is inside the garage under florescent lighting. The other two are outside on my driveway in indirect evening light, partly cloudy with the sun behind the clouds. The paint cans are there only to emphasize the sheen.




I'll be hitting the tank and fenders on Saturday, maybe tomorrow night depending on conditions. Now my thoughts are rambling on about either airbrushing some ghost flames in a dusty white or silver, or pinstripe painting in white and red with a theme not yet to share.

Last edited by Aced It : 07-11-2012 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 07-11-2012, 01:30 PM   #3
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07.22.2011
Anyway, as for 'gas-proofing' the tank - I'll be clear coating with a satin finish. I used another test board yesterday with gloss but it did exactly what it was supposed to ... gloss. So I'll test again this weekend with a satin. I don't want to spray until I've chosen and completed any artsy-fartsy stuff though, obviously.:mrgreen: Remember, this is a rattle-can job so it's a bit experimental for me.

Painted the tank and fenders this evening. Turned out really nice ... like satin ... duh! You'd never know this was two-tone before ... yeah, I'm a good sander. Anywayyyyy, I'll be wetsanding them later for a silky finish and then hitting them with a clear satin (gotta test it first). I placed the tank on the bike and have to tell you it is definitely another bike now. :wink: Well, it's getting there. And the chrome looks great against it. On with the pics ...

Tank:



Rear Fender:



Front Fender:





07.23.2011
The Photoshop pic shows a two-tone, which is clearly not what I am doing ... I just suck at PS and couldn't get it all solid. :P Anyway, I used three coats on all but the tank. I sanded that today and painted another coat after seeing it was a bit thin in some areas. I'm too much a perfectionist and while true rat-rods are imperfect in finish, it's killing me not to have this all baby-butt smooth. So anyway, today I did some scuffing of the sidewalls while letting the tank dry. I first shot them down with Formula 88 degreaser, then used steel wool to scuff all around up to the edge where it meets the tread. Then I shot them with Bleche White, hosed it off and I'm letting the tires air dry overnight. I'm looking to attempt the white walls tomorrow. As for the rims being painted red ... well, the chrome is so stubborn that steel wool won't even scuff them. It will take muratic acid or the like so I may just wait until I can afford the reall white wall tires so as when the rims are off the bike I can get them to the powder coater. However, my goal here was to be as thrifty as possible. We shall see; I may like them left alone afterall. Sorry I'm rambling, tired and hungry ... going to dinner. Pics from today ...





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Old 07-11-2012, 01:32 PM   #4
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07.24.2011
So started today with a really nice "early" birthday present from my wife ... a Harbor Freight motorcycle jack! H3ll, my birfday aint til August 30! I love my wifey!! When I divorced my practice-wife 4-1/2 years ago I sold a lot of stuff off to pay off some debt - my '64 Skylark, my GSX-R 1000 and worst of all ... my old jack. :mrgreen: Anyway, this morning I masked off the tires that I prepped yesterday. I used 3M automotive paint tape (the green stuff) because it's very flexible and easy to work with. Then I further masked them with the typical painter's tape you find at home improvement stores. I applied the first coat of Elastometric and I'll let it dry 4-6 hours and apply another coat; then a third tomorrow. But guys, I need your prayers because then something terrible happened; the absolute worst possible thing a man can have occur on the weekend - just awful (see last pic) ......







... Well, off to sand the tank ... again.



07.25.2011
The tank looks really good now after sanding. Probably going to sand the fenders and fairings, but they really turned out smooth so we'll see. Put on a second coat of the Elastometric last night ... white walls are looking really good. Will do a third and final coat this evening, then removing the tape. This stuff is pretty thick and rubbery, so I'll have to delicately assist the tape removal with a razor. I also think I came up with an alternate solution to my red rims.

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Old 07-11-2012, 01:33 PM   #5
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07.26.2011
Did the final coat on the tires last night. The 3M automotive painter's tape did extremely well (click on the first image below for video; it's the thin greenish tape). Tried getting ahead of myself and putting the front fender on ... yeah, not a good idea while the white walls were still not dry ... little touch up, no big deal. Looking forward to doing some re-assembly tonight to get a better idea of where I'm headed with any further design. Here are the results:









07.26.2011
Eh, family duties got in the way of assembly tonight, but I did get a chance to accomplish my alternative to red rims. I have a few rolls of 7-year automotive vinyl that were left over from my day as a speed shop owner. I decided to cut strips and adhere to the outer rim lips. It's a nice touch and will do for now. I experimented with 'inside' the rim too, but it just didn't show as well (neat as it were). Finally, I have a design in my head regarding a painted design-work for the tank and such and once the bike is back together it will further help me envision it ... it's simple, but I like it. So far my project expense is under $60; so far so good ... I don't count the jack as it was a gift. But for now, on with the pics.

Red Stripe Inside:



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Old 07-11-2012, 01:35 PM   #6
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Red Stripe Outside:




Done ... Sorry, it was dark by the time pics were taken:


... and tank on for giggles ...




07.27.2011
Back together! Took her around the block ... oh man, that felt good! My neighbor thought I bought another bike. Anyway, I know it's just basic black, but I'm still planning some other paintwork; just need to get some creative time. I also need some 3000 grit sandpaper to finalize some of the finish ... gotta be careful because some areas are glossing up on me :shock:! I can't stand the OEM airbox ... it's gotta go and I need to think up something either in paint or actuality for little $$$. AND, I despise the seat. Kept it under $60 so far! So stay tuned .... Here's a few shots:

Before:


Concept:


After:


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Old 07-11-2012, 01:37 PM   #7
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08.01.2011
A buddy of mine is working up a Von Dutch striping pattern for me. He's really good with artistic layout and I told him I'd wait to see what he's got before doing any kind of accent painting as I mentioned before. I don't know either, because the simple black mode is working for me! :wink: On another note, my dad came over and said, "Where the h3//'s the bike you just bought?" I giggled and walked away ... He just stood there with a confused look; but then he is 85.



08.03.2011
Outside pics of the bike with my custom forward controls finished! Man does it feel and ride like a different bike! Now I need to wear my boot straps cuz the derned pant legs are blowin' up to my knees!




Side note: Man, I can't wait to get those rims powder coated red!

I'm looking into a custom seat, the cheapy route if possible. I know a guy who does custom auto/boat/airplane interiors. He's never done a motorcycle seat, but hey it's just shaped material. I spoke with him yesterday and I'm going to try utilizing the stock pan and foam for reshaping that I'll most likely do myself. He can get any material and stitch any design; no embroidery, just stitching - but that suits my idea well. We'll see ... I'm still contemplating the Von Dutch theme over airbrush or just plain.

I think I said it here somewhere in my thread that I just don't dig the factory air box. It's wide and boring. :| So never to be outdone nor suckered into buying two-three hundred dollar "motorcycle" intakes (which I've done in the past) I set off in my own way. I wanted something kind of old school hot rod (duh!) and obviously did not want to break the bank. So I'll let the pictures do the talking. I present to you with a little bit of fabrication and reusing of OEM parts ............








08.06.2011
Okay, a little premeditation here. Originally I was going to use the ever so popular K&N style cone filter. Probably would have looked cool, as an open filter does. However, I then thought why not go for a kind of Harley Street Bob look with a smaller roundish air cleaner box. What? Harley? Never. Then something else occurred to me with respect to "hot-rods" AND flowing with the lines of the V-Twin, but a little custom work would have to be done to accomplish this. Ooo, FUN! Again, pics will tell the story ...




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Old 07-11-2012, 01:39 PM   #8
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Ta Da! My wife even likes it! :shock: She was thrilled that it looked so much more like it should (her words). It is slimmer and when used in conjunction with my custom forward controls, my leg doesn't feel crammed around that OEM box. I'm happy! Big difference for $28 ($26 for the Pro-Flo and a couple bucks in hardwared). Little bit of savings there, eh? And I didn't tear up the factory intake box, which can be put back together if necessary. Bike runs nearly the same, if not better. Yeah, not for heavy down pour riding, but then I don't ride in the rain anyway.





As far as the "next" stuff goes, well I'm working on doing the seat but may enlist help with the final "stitchings" of it all. I also still would like some accent striping or the like, but I still don't know on that one as the solid scheme is growing on me. Handle bars are on the list; deciding on apes or pull-back drags (obviously a big difference) ... haven't decided. Little things like LED accent lighting and an HID headlamp are also next, along with license plate relocate (have a side mount from my Sabre 1100) and exhaust wrap (already on the way). And I've said it before, I really want the wheels powder coated in red. So most I can do myself, but some I'll leave to the pros and their equipment.

As for tomorrow, I'm planning on putting a couple of self-tapping screws into the OEM footpegs to slightly angle them outward. This will increase foot stability on my forward controls. Simple, but effective! :wink: Oh, and total project cost so far is well under $120.



08.08.2011
I've started (probably prematurely) on the seat. Some of you may recall I did a mild reshape a while ago, but I'm starting the more aggressive approach now by shaping the OEM pan to accommodate further foam modification. Here's the beginnings with part of the planned cut. Don't focus too much on the yellow cut lines as it's only me thinking in 3D. One thing that I'm not happy about is that the two bolts that hold the rear bracket to the fender are really high and I'll either have to heavily modify that area in order to lower the seat height the way I want it, or simply leave it alone. We'll see if I can come up with something. I might be able to cut out a bit more foam in that area in order to compensate. But I might even go as far as glassing my own custom pan - What? What's that you say? Oh, of course, of course I have more boring pics .....






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Old 07-11-2012, 01:42 PM   #9
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08.10.2011
So yesterday I stopped in at the auto trim shop and looked through their in-stock fabric selections. I found a dark gray oxen weathered faux leather that I think may look good. I was aiming for black, but this one struck a nerve for my kinda-retro look. The best part is, I got a 4'x5' piece ... for free. Dude said he'll never miss it. Hey, if I muck it up, I can always bring it to him to complete, but I just gotta try things on my own. :mrgreen: So I started really tearing into the seat (again) last night. Here's some progress pics of the OEM pan and foam. It is no where near done.

Free stuff!



OEM seat pan mods:




Showing cut pan compared to soon to be reshaped foam:




08.10.2011
I went back over to the auto trim shop just few minutes ago with some questions and got more free stuff to assist with my DIY seat attempt. Scrap headliner (to use as final top layer below the cover) and some 1/4" and thinner ABS plastic (for the extension off the rear). Also started getting an idea from the dude how much he would charge if I screw it up.

Got back to the office and this arrived ... came with a free Kevlar safety sleeve, not that I'm gonna be working on a hot exhaust, but hey free is free.



Did a little work on the seat foam this evening, but my air sander needs new discs. So put that aside and wrapped the exhaust. You cannot see it from the pics, but the seat material I have is a dead on match to the color of the exhaust wrap. Nice! Now, I do not like the stainless bands that come with the DEI kit. You cannot undo them once they are tightened and they are hard to get very tight to begin with. I'll be making a trip to the auto parts store for some standard screw type bands. I installed the wrap 'wet' like the instructions give you the option of doing; this makes things much easier. I'll have to wait for them to dry before spraying them with the included sealer. I will add that it is much easier to install the wrap if you take the pipes off the bike. Here's a few pics, however it's inside my dim garage so the lighting isn't terrific. And before you say anything, yes the top exhaust wrap ended up a little shorter at the tips; I'll fix it ... trust me.




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Old 07-11-2012, 01:43 PM   #10
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08.11.2011
Well you know I have to check in ...

I really went to town tonight on the seat. So much so that it's ready to be covered with the finishing inner layer, the scrap automotive headliner foam, which will tighten the edges and eliminate any flaws during shaping. I'll get to that this weekend, if not tomorrow night. Let me explain a little about my seat design. You'll notice in the pics below that I've designed a rear 'flap' that will cover the factory seat bolt. Using the stock bracket bolt locations, I shaped the flap base using cutters and a heat gun, added more foam, and finalized the shape into the seat design. It is very rigid, yet with slight effort can be lifted to access the bolt. Once the final material covers the seat, the shape will compress a bit thus forming my design. The only thing I'm still up in the air about is stitching. I can pull and stretch the vinyl to form fit with no problems, but I have a few stitching patterns in mind that I may bring to the auto interior dude. We'll see. Here's tonight's action:






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