Feb 5
My Maggie” width=

My Maggie, a Honda VF45 Magna

Actually the first motorcycle I loved. My Maggie. She’s not the first one I’ve owned, nor the first one I’ve been fond of. But there is something special about Maggie. And lest you think Mrs. Sharon is jealous, she’s just as crazy about Maggie as I am.
It’s hard to say why Maggie is so different from my other bikes. I’m sure some of it is because she was the first bike I bought intending to keep. I knew the Nighthawk was a starter bike when I bought it, and knew that I’d be moving up to another bike soon. Somehow that knowledge prevented me from forming a deep attachment to it. The Nighthawk was an inanimate object I was fond of, but never formed an emotional attachment to. But Maggie was different.
It wasn’t that way on the first day I brought her home. I’m not sure exactly when I started to think of her in emotional terms. I anthropomorphized my sail boat to some degree. But I never really thought of it in truly organic terms. I never treated it like it had feelings, or felt an obligation to be loyal to it. But somewhere along the way, I started treating Maggie as though it was a person, an extremely close friend.
Some of that may have come about as I learned that she truly was a special bike. I didn’t know much about the technical details of motorcycles in those days. When the previous owner kept emphasizing this was a “Magna,” a V-4, I just didn’t understand. So with no real understanding of what I had, the months and years to come were filled with one delightful surprise after another. And as I realized that this wasn’t just another cookie cutter V-twin, the attachment grew.
As my horizons expanded and I realized I’d need a larger bike to carry more gear greater distances, it never once occurred to me to sell Maggie. I’ve made the statement that if my fortunes fall and I wind up living in a tent eating dog food, Maggie will still be parked in front of it.
So I was surprised to find myself seriously contemplating putting Maggie on the market. She’s not running right now. She needs some carb work done, and I just can’t seem to get around to it. There are other projects I can’t put off, and the work Maggie needs is not something I can do in a weekend. Not being familiar with this particular system, I’ll need to proceed slowly and cautiously. I’ll also likely need to leave my work spread out over at least a couple of weekends while waiting on parts or information. Right now my work bench is too cluttered up with other, half-finished projects. So rather than just let her sit there and get worse and worse for lack of use, I considered selling her.
But as I mentioned earlier, Mrs. Sharon is just as fond of Maggie as I am. She’s encouraged me to bite the bullet, swallow my pride, haul the bike to the shop and get her fixed. So that’s probably what I’ll do. It irks me to pay for a repair I could probably do myself. But who knows when I’ll get around to it. And in the meantime, Maggie just gets worse. She deserves better from me.

- Guy Wheatley

Jul 10
The film trick
icon1 Guy | icon2 Wrenching | icon4 07 10th, 2012| icon3No Comments »
Film used to repair leaking fork seal” width=

A piece of film can be used to repair a leaking fork seal.

I replaced the fork oil and upgraded to progressive springs on my Magna back in April. I no sooner finished that project when I noticed a leaking fork seal in my Valkyrie. I really didn’t have time to do it myself, so I got a quote on having it done. It was only about $100 in parts, but the labor was going to run close to $400. OK, so I do have time to do it myself.
Researching the procedure, I quickly realized why the labor was so expensive. This is not a simple repair. It requires a couple of special tools and, if done incorrectly, can damage the replacement parts. In other words, you can waste $100 in parts, and whatever your time is worth, and accomplish nothing. So I kept riding with a slowly leaking seal.
I hadn’t noticed any performance degradation yet. I knew eventually I’d have to tackle this problem, but I was hoping to put it off until winter. The Magna, with its upgraded progressive fork springs, was again out of action because of an ailing carburetor. If I tore into the Valkyrie, I’d have no bike to ride. So I wanted to get the Magna running before I pulled the front end off the Valkyrie. But there are just too many projects lined up in front of the carb job, so I just keep riding and watching the oil spot where I park the bike get bigger and bigger.
I found a wrench session about 5 hours away where they were doing fork seals on a Magna. One of the participants has experience replacing Valkyrie fork seals. He even has the special tools we need. He invited me to come up. But there was no way I could leave town that weekend, so I thanked them and suggested I might try to get up there later in the year.
In the meantime, however, somebody on the discussion thread mentioned the “film trick.”
I’d never heard of this, but apparently it is common practice among the riders of dirt bikes. It seems that leaking fork seals are part of off-road riding from debris working its way in between the fork tube and seal. Rather than replace the seals every time they see a leak, dirt bikers will take a piece of film, like used in old- fashioned cameras, and use it to try and clear the foreign material. They simply remove the dust cap, then cut a slight point on a strip of film. Then they slide the film up the fork tube, in between the tube and the seal. Then they push the film all they way around the tube, with the film at an angle. Very often this forces the contaminant out of the seal. You then wipe the oil off the tube and bounce the forks to reset the seal. You may have to repeat the bouncing and wiping several time until the seal reseats and you no longer see oil on the fork tube. But once that happens, you’ve just saved yourself a $500 repair.
So Sunday morning, I found myself kneeling at my Valkyrie’s front wheel, film in hand but no real hope in my heart. This just seemed to be too good to be true. A chrome shield that is supposed to protect the tube was in the way. But I eventually got the dust cap off and the film in between the tube and seal. Again, the shield made a complete 360-degree circumnavigation of the tube difficult, but I eventually succeeded. I looked to see if I could spot any material dislodged by my effort. I didn’t see anything. I wasn’t surprised, figuring there was little chance of this simple solution actually working. But as I began to wipe down and bounce the forks, I noticed that the seal had stopped leaking. As of Tuesday morning, the tube is still clean, and the oil spot on my sidewalk has stopped growing.
I’ve watched a lot of high-dollar, special-effect movies. I watched blue humanoids ride flying dragons, and a man in an iron suit fly. But stopping a leaking seal has got to be my favorite film trick.

- Guy Wheatley

Apr 9
Leaking fork seal” width=

Leaking fork seal on my Valkyrie.

I finally got around to replacing the fork oil in my Magna. And while I was at it, I replaced the stock springs with progressives.
The bike sat in my carport for a week while I worked up the nerve to get started. I’ve only seen this done once before, and that required pulling the tubes out of the triple tree. Reading and researching, I discovered that I had lucked out on my model. On the Magna, there is an oil drain plug on the back of the tube. You don’t even have to remove the wheel. Just put the bike on a lift so that you can lift it, to decompress the tubes before opening the cap. Drain the old oil, reach right in and pull out the old springs, pour in the right amount of oil, put the new springs and spacers in, then replace the plugs and cap. Voila, you’re done.
You do have to cut the new spacers. The optimal length I need is 5.12 inches. The progressive kit included a single 10-inch piece of 1-inch schedule 40 pipe that you are supposed to cut to use as spacers. To keep each one from being a little more than a tenth of an inch short, I just popped down to the hardware store and bought another piece of pipe. Then, you have to add back the correct amount of oil. A little less (521 cc) for the progressive springs than the amount required for the stock springs. But last Sunday, I finally got it done. I was so happy to have both bikes running again.
I decided to ride the Magna for the next couple of weeks because it’s been setting up for a while. So I pulled the Valkyrie up on the sidewalk, inside the gate, where I keep it. I put the cover on it to keep off any dust, or rain that might fall. As I came out this morning, I noticed a spot on the front tire. I often let my little Yorkie out in the front yard to do his business, and my first thought was that he had marked the bike. No such luck. Closer examination revealed it to be fork oil, dripping from a busted seal.
If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

- Guy Wheatley

Mar 26
Faith in the bike
icon1 Guy | icon2 Wrenching | icon4 03 26th, 2012| icon32 Comments »
Left side of the

Left side of the 1520 cc, “boxer” engine on my Valkyrie.

The wife, Binky and I took a ride up to the Jonquil Festival a couple of weekends ago. The weather was great and we were just looking for an excuse to ride. We left the house about 12:30 pm and got there in a little less than an hour. We checked out the vendors, bought a few trinkets, showed off Binky in his stroller and just generally enjoyed the weather and atmosphere. By 4:30 we were ready to load up and head for home.
Instead of taking the same road back I headed west on state Highway 73, intending to go back through Ashdown. I made a mistake where 73 intersects state Highway 355. I should have turned north and followed it up to where 355 meets with state Highway 32. Instead I turned south and followed 355 back to Fulton. But the road was pretty, so there’s no real tragedy here. I just had to rerun the part of U.S. Highway 67 from Fulton to Texarkana.
But with Fulton still in my rearview mirror, the bike started to sound strange. It’s hard to describe the sound except to say it sounds harder. It’s as though there is a harder bang when the cylinder fires. At first I wasn’t sure I was really hearing anything, but it got worse and worse. Then it started to slowly lose power. By the time we got to within 5 miles of Texarkana, I had the throttle wide open trying to maintain 55 MPH.
I kept the throttle cranked open trying to shave every mile I could before the bike finally died. I figured that as soon as I let off the gas, it would die and I’d be calling somebody for a ride. Every mile closer I got, was a mile I wouldn’t have to trailer it.
We finally got into town. I hoped that I might get lucky and hit the first few signal lights green. Fat chance. The first one I came to changed to red, just as I got to it. I got in the far right lane and looked for a place to push the bike off the road when it died. I let off the gas expecting to hear the engine sputter and stop. To my pleasant surprise, it idled down and sounded fine. I cranked the throttle a couple of times, winding the engine up to red-line. It revved perfectly, never missing a beat.
I was convinced that the engine was suffering gas starvation. Even though it would rev up in neutral, I figured that I’d have to really pile on the RPMs and slip the clutch to get it moving without dying. The light turned green and I cautiously eased out on the clutch, ready to give it all the gas I could if it started to lug down. But it eased right through the intersection as though there was nothing wrong. I hit several more red lights on the way home, and never had a problem. The bike ran just fine the rest of the way home.
I rode it the 10 blocks to work all week and never had a problem. Sunday the three of us ran about 40 miles up 67, cutting back west at 108, then eventually coming back into town on Summerhill Road. This was as much to check out the bike as it was a joy ride. It seemed to do fine.
That’s not necessarily good news. It might have been a little water in the tank that I finally burned out. Possibly it could have been a clogged vent tube pulling a vacuum on the gas tank. It could have been several things. The problem is, I don’t know what it was. More to the point, I don’t know that it won’t come back. I’d feel much better if I had found something to fix. Now I keep listening to the bike, wondering if it sounds a little strange. Buzzing around town is one thing, but I don’t have the confidence in it yet to load up and take a long trip. And unless I find the cause of that episode, I won’t trust it for some time.
All I can do is ride it until it happens again, or I eventually stop waiting on it to happen. I don’t enjoy not having faith in my bike.

- Guy Wheatley

Feb 28
Braking my Valkyrie
icon1 Guy | icon2 Wrenching | icon4 02 28th, 2012| icon31 Comment »
Old brake pads from the Valkyrie.” width=

Replacing worn out brake pads on the Valkyrie. Old pads far right.
Recalcitrant bolt in center circle.

The last time I rode the Valkyrie was in September, just before the surgery. I hit the brake pedal and heard the warning screech of metal that told me I needed new brake pads on the rear wheel. I knew that I wouldn’t get it done before I went to the hospital, but thought it might be a good project for afterwards. I could put the bike on the lift under the carport and work on it as I felt like it. If this two-hour project took me a week, that would be al right. It would give me something to do, and a feeling of accomplishment during my convalescence. But as I’ve mentioned earlier, I just couldn’t build up a head of steam to mess with the bikes until last week. I rode Maggie to work all but one day and decided to take the wife for a ride this weekend on the Valkyrie. I ordered the brake pads a week ago and have them ready to go. The plan was to just pop them on real quick Saturday morning, and off we’d go. I’ve replaced the brakes on my car, so I had a good idea of what the job entailed. The bike should be no biggie.
I decided to get a head start when I got home from work Friday night. I pulled the bike under the carport and slid my little lift under it. I raised it just enough to stand the bike upright so I could more easily get the the port side where the brake caliper is. I took off the saddle bag and quickly located the front mounting bolt. But look as I may, I couldn’t find the rear mounting bolt. Looking behind the caliper I found a strange little rod that went from the mounting bracket to the backside of the caliper. Looking even closer, I could see a hex flange right where it goes into the bracket. I’m not at all certain what I’m supposed to do with it. Desperate enough to check the service manual, I see that the rear wheel suspension is detailed in chapter 14. Sure enough, chapter 14 of the manual shows it to be a combination mounting bolt and caliper slide. You have to reach around behind the caliper with an open end 12MM wrench to get it loose. It takes a little finessing, but I eventually get it loose. With the caliper off I remove the pad pin and the old pads fall out. I grab my trusty C-clamp and a block of wood to push the pistons back into the caliper, insert the new pads and replace the pad pin. I’m still congratulating myself on quickly and efficiently finishing the job on Friday night as I start to replace the caliper. With the replacement of two bolts, I’ll be finished and not have to start my Saturday with a maintenance project. The front bolt goes in fine, but as I rotate the caliper down to line up the rear bolt I discover that I can’t pull the caliper forward far enough for the threaded end of the bolt to go into the hole. The new and thicker pad won’t allow me to pull the caliper far enough away from the bracket for the bolt to go over the sleeve. I pulled the front bolt out and tried to get the rear bolt in first. No good. I used a long screw driver to try and pry things into place. I didn’t get the caliper in place, but I did manage to jab my finger. Nothing I tried, including verbose speculation of a genealogical and theological nature, helped. I could see it was a simple matter of physics. No two pieces of matter can occupy the same space at the same time. As long as that physical law held, there was no way that bolt would ever go into that hole with the brake pads in place.
I decided to stop before I damaged something on the bike. I left everything where it was and went inside to clean up. After supper, I pulled up the service manual again and started going through it page by page. Though it’s not listed in the index, chapter 15 shows how to replace the brake pads. And here’s the kicker. You don’t have to remove the caliper. You just pull out the pad pin and the old pads will fall out. Push the caliper toward the disk to retract the pistons, then slide in the new pads. Replace the pad pin and you’re done.
Sometimes I feel sorry for good mechanics. Their lives must be so much less exciting than mine.

- Guy Wheatley

Aug 23
Giving back
icon1 Guy | icon2 Wrenching | icon4 08 23rd, 2011| icon3No Comments »
Honda_CBR550” width=

Helping friends figure out the wiring on this project bike.

When I first began working on my bikes, I had a lot of help. I wasn’t much of a mechanic and originally planned to simply haul my motorcycle back to the dealer for any maintenance or repairs. But hanging around other riders, I quickly saw that besides saving money on regular maintenance and necessary repairs, I would be able to afford changes and modifications if I did the work myself that would be beyond my reach if I relied soley on the dealership. But additionally, there is a peace of mind that comes from understanding your machine and having confidence in your ability to repair and maintain it. I now carry tools and enough experience to handle most problems I’m likely to encounter on the road. If a problem arises, I can start to fix it rather than feel helpless about it. I also know maintenance is performed routinely and correctly. I don’t have to simply trust that the dealer did it right. I know that I did. But all of that starts with taking a wrench to your bike. And in the early days, I needed the support, guidance and encouragement from other riders.
The earliest efforts involved more watching than wrenching. I’d haul my bike to somebody’s shop for a wrenching session. Often this would be an open session with many people and several planned projects. Occasionally, mine was the only bike in the shop. The folks with the most experience would take the lead, and the rest of us followed along as our skills allowed. In my case, that was mainly watching and learning. As I attended more wrenching sessions, I began to occasionally pick up a tool or two and tackle part of the project. Success with these ventures led me to buy a few tools and start to work on my own bike in my own garage. Each successful project gave me the confidence to tackle a harder one. But knowing that help was a phone call away also played a part in my willingness to try it on my own.
I now find that I rarely need to work on my bike at a wrench session. I’ve already taken care of most things that need to be done on my own. But I still go to those I can make. And I still pick up a tool when I think I can make a contribution. My tools and experience are always available to a fellow rider. And when I am able to help in some small way, I think back to those early days I was completely relied on others. Every time I’m able to help a beginning wrencher, it’s like I’m paying back a little of the debt I owe to them.

- Guy Wheatley

Aug 15
Rope on bike” width=

Correctly securing your bike can mean the difference between an
enjoyable trip and a costly repair.

Actually the title should be tying down a phat lady. I just thought the other way I’d get a few more clicks. This will be a blog about safely transporting my Valkyrie on a trailer, not the other subject that probably came to mind.
While my bike is certainly not a trailer queen, I’m not beyond loading her up on the trailer when circumstances dictate. There are times when I simply have to be in a larger vehicle. Having a trailer often means I can haul one or more of the bikes along when they would otherwise have simply stayed in the garage. A trailer can actually mean more time in the saddle, not less. It can mean riding after the other business is done, not simply sitting around, wishing I had the bike with me.
Now that the bike is on the trailer, I want to be sure it rides safely. I don’t want it to fall or bounce out or over. My trailer is 16 x 6 and I’ve installed two locking wheel chocks. It has rails all the way around that allow plenty of anchorage points to secure the straps. But now several questions arise. Kickstand up or down. Forks compressed or not. Where on the bike do I attach the straps?
Putting the Valkyrie on the trailer, the wheel chock stands the bike straight up, rendering the kickstand question moot. When I put the smaller Magna in the back of my pickup, I use the kickstand. Many bikers tell me this is a bad idea because hitting a large bump could break it. I disagree. If a bump breaks the kickstand, you didn’t have the bike properly tied down, and it is probable the bike would have been jarred loose from its tie-downs. The kickstand gives you an additional support point and will help keep the bike in position, and in its straps. A broken kickstand, in my opinion, means you had other more serious problems.
I used to ratchet the forks all the way down to prevent the bike from bouncing. Several people have suggested that this may not be good for the forks. Keeping the springs fully compressed for hours or days might weaken them. While I have no empirical data to either confirm or dispel this notion, it does make sense to me.
On the other hand, taking no compression out of the forks leaves a lot of bounce. Even with the wheel locked into the chock, the front end would be bouncing from every bump, just as it is designed to do. That would cause a lot of jerking on the straps, but also a lot of negative pressure on the forks as they fully rebounded, then were snatched tight by the wheel locked into the chock. They were not designed for that.
My compromise solution is to pull them down a little less than half way. This stops any negative pressure because the straps will stop the upward bounce before the forks reach their maximum distention. And the front end is less prone to bounce around because there is some tension already in the forks. I’m still compressing the spring some, but only in the upper end where it is less likely to become permanent.
For anchor points on the bike, I used the rubberized hooks through the luggage rack on the back. These are fine and are unlikely to cause trouble. For the other places, I run the straps through the engine guards and around the risers on the bars. This will eventually cause trouble if I trailer long enough. Those straps will eventually rub through the chrome and I’ll start to get rust. A simple solution might be pipe insulation to protect those pieces.
I use ratchet straps for the primary tie-downs, but also run safety rope as a backup. Always have at least two means for each direction of restraint. Ratchet straps are the best way to go, but there may be times when they are unavailable or unusable for some reason. For those times, you need to know how to tie at least three knots. One is the bowline, another is a truckers-hitch and the last is a half-hitch.
Learn these knots and practice them. You’ll find they can bring a lot of pleasure to binding your phat lady.

- Guy Wheatley

Jul 25
A Half baked idea
icon1 Guy | icon2 Wrenching | icon4 07 25th, 2011| icon31 Comment »
HotHarleyHead” width=

photo illustration
The back cylinder on an air cooled V-twin can generate a lot of heat when
the bike isn’t moving.

In the interest of full disclosure, let’s get this out of the way. I’m not a big Harley fan. I’m not a Harley basher either. At least not in the usual sense. I don’t think they’re incompetent. I don’t think modern Harleys are junk or they are incapable of good engineering. I do think image and style are more important in the company mindset, and they intentionally and frequently make design decisions on that basis. Their engineers, far from being incapable, are masters of finding ways around intentional design limitations.
A case in point. I’ve only recently become aware of a change in Harley engines beginning in 2009 called EITMS, or Engine Idle Temperature Management System. This system goes on Harley Davidson touring bikes. Harleys are infamous for the amount of heat their engines produce, especially when road conditions or traffic cause a lot of stopping. If you can’t keep air flowing over an air-cooled engine, it’s going to get hot.
All of my motorcycles have had some variation of liquid cooling. Both of my Hondas use water and my Victory had an oil cooler. When my bikes are stopped for some reason, oil or water continues to shuttle heat to a radiator where it is cooled. In both cases a fan is able to keep an adequate amount of air flow over heat dissipating fins, whether or not the bike is moving.
But Harley style sensibilities have declared radiators verboten. Apparently broiling your gizzard is considered cool by someone high up in the Harley hierarchy. So Harley engineers had to figure out how to keep the inevitable heat of an internal combustion engine from cooking the rider, or seizing up the engine during times of reduced air flow. My hat is off to them. It’s an ingenious solution, but to a ridiculous problem.
EITMS shuts down fuel to the back cylinder when the engine is idling and when engine temperature reaches some pre-set level. The piston and valves still operate, turning the back cylinder into an air pump that, hopefully, pumps heat away from the motor. I’m sure that it is comparatively cool. Compared to the surface of the sun, the heart of a thermonuclear explosion or a regular Harley engine, it is probably quite cool. Probably not so much when compared with any other motorcycle engine equipped with a radiator.
And then there’s the “I” in that acronym. Idling. This cooling scheme won’t be much help hauling that hog slowly up a hill. It’s an immutable law of physics that producing energy produces heat. The more power an engine produces the more heat you’re going to have to get rid of. Bugatti engineers understood this when they put 16 radiators in the Veyron.
I don’t doubt for a second Harley understands this. As I’ve said before, their engineers are quite capable and intelligent. Harley upper management has decided that the “style” of an air-cooled engine is more valuable than the efficiency of a radiator. And the motorcycle riding public seems to agree with them. According to a July 20 article in Manufacturing.net, “Harley now expects to ship between 228,000 and 235,000 new bikes worldwide this year, representing an increase of 8 percent to 12 percent over 2010.”
I’m clearly in the minority here. As impressive as the EITMS is, I can’t help thinking that a radiator would be a lot more efficient and reliable.

- Guy Wheatley

Jun 29
Being Fuelish
icon1 Guy | icon2 Wrenching | icon4 06 29th, 2011| icon32 Comments »
Gasoline” width=

Ethanol is being added to gasoline in increasing
amounts.

I’ve heard a lot of bikers proudly state, “I only use premium in my bike.”
I usually ask, “Was it knocking with regular?”
I can’t recall anybody ever telling me their motorcycle engine knocked using regular gasoline. If it doesn’t, then there is absolutely no reason to use premium except you’ve got too much money and are looking for ways to get rid of it. The only purpose of increasing the octane rating is to prevent knocking. If your engine doesn’t knock using regular, then you’re solving a problem you don’t have. Increasing the octane rating in no way helps remove deposits, prevent deposits or perform better. Premium and regular gasoline have the same energy density. Energy density refers to the power per unit. You get a bigger bang with a gallon of a high-energy density fuel than with a lower one.
Gasoline distributors put additives in their product they claim will do various things such as prevent and remove carbon deposits. The EPA actually requires a certain level of carbon removing additives. While there may be some variation in the formulation of additives between octane levels of a brand, it’s unlikely. I don’t see retailers hawking increased additives in higher grades, which means there is no financial reward for doing so. In fact, it is almost impossible for the average consumer to get the facts on additives for a particular brand. I’m not aware of any place that information is posted. In fact, Scripps Howard news service recently commissioned a lab to test 10 samples from five major brands for an article it was doing. An independent lab is just about the only way to get reliable numbers on the additives in a product. And since there is only a minimum level demanded by the EPA, those levels may change before you get the results back from the lab. There is simply no way to know, or any reason to believe, the additive package for premium gas is better than what you get with regular.
I’ve been a longtime proponent of ethanol. I’m originally from farm country and would like to live in a world where American farmers produce our energy instead of Middle East terrorists. Unfortunately, ethanol has some serious shortcomings when used with existing infrastructure. It has a shorter shelf life, it can damage certain seals and hoses in older engines. It attracts water and, finally, it has a lower energy density than gasoline. You’re mileage will not be as good with an ethanol mixture as with pure gasoline.
I’ve had other ethanol proponents tell me adding ethanol to gasoline is like increasing the octane. There is a little truth to that, but it doesn’t apply at the pump. A higher-octane rating, in simple terms, determines the combustion temperature of the gas. Adding ethanol to gasoline will increase its combustion temperature. But that is factored into the reading at the pump. You’re still getting a fuel with 87 octane. They’ve just used ethanol and less of another component such as MTBE. But because your fuel now contains ethanol, it is a less energy dense mixture. Mileage will go down. And if it sits in your tank too long, you may wind up with water in the tank.
But the seals and hoses in vehicles newer than 10 years old are safe with ethanol blends. And if you use your vehicle daily, then the ethanol won’t have time to attract a significant amount of water. And the loss of mileage, while real, is small enough that you’re likely to burn more gas looking for an ethanol-free supply than you will save with the better mileage.
My advise is fill it up with regular and go for a ride.

- Guy Wheatley

Jun 20
Boy am I red
icon1 Guy | icon2 Wrenching | icon4 06 20th, 2011| icon32 Comments »

I finally got around to putting some paint on my trunk. Rather than haul it to a body shop and lay out a pile of dough, I just busted down to a local home improvement store, bought some spray cans of paint, and did it myself. For just about $20 and a lot of sweat, I’ve got a paint job on my trunk that looks absolutely …… uhhh …. well ….
It looks like a $20 paint job.
Call this an experiment. The red color on my bike is Honda’s R223 Red Sedona Pearl. I found that Valspar’s Royal Garnet is almost an exact match of tone and hue. Unfortunately, I could only find it in a satin finish. I figured/hoped that a top coat of clear would produce the gloss finish I needed. It didn’t.
I haven’t given up on the idea of a cheap do-it-yourself paint job. The cream section is beautiful. It was Valspar’s Ivory Almond in a gloss finish. I’m happy with it. But the satin finish on the red left an unacceptable result.
Additionally, I didn’t properly wet sand between coats, leaving a rough finish. I know this is doable because of the way the cream section turned out. I’m going to try and find the Royal Garnet in a gloss finish and try again. I’ll also be sure to have some 300 grit sandpaper. I may also see if I can get the clear coat with some pearl in it.
You can check out my efforts in the photo gallery below..

click thumbnail for larger image in a new window.
















- Guy Wheatley

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