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Vintage dirt bike Restoring lessons learned

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Thought I would start a thread on lessons learned as you go through a restore.

Hopefully all of you that have gone through can share your lessons learned, what works, what to stay away from, if you were to do it again.

Top 5 lessons I learned from the last restore I just completed: (top 5, trust me I have 50)

  1. Doing a complete restore?...in other words, taking the frame to the bare metal, prime, paint, seal....pay a local shop to do it, support your local economy. You can get a frame sandblasted, oils cooked out, powder coated for $250. Trust me, its worth it..... TRUST ME B)
  2. Have plenty of zip lock baggies of different sizes on hand, and the perm marker to label them. I do this on all my builds and even top end jobs if it is going to be over just a few hours/same day. Be religious about using them as you tear things down. Take stuff off, drop it in a baggie and mark it, seal it, drop it in a container/box etc. too easy to forget when you are taking things down to the last individual bolt and washer. Guess Im getting old....
  3. Get a manual, Google your bike and find a Yahoo group or enthusiast web site set up just for that model. They will point you to tips, parts suppliers, and the all important GURU that every model has. That one person that has forgot MORE about your bike than you will know. Priceless
  4. Getting into something that makes you pause for a second? Get your digital camera out and take photos. Used this a few times on this build and four-stroke top ends
  5. Time and $$$ estimate. Lay things out for your rebuild and estimate (honestly) how long and how much $$$ is it going to cost you. Once you have that number, take a calculator and enter it, then use the multiply button and enter at least a 2, if not a 3 and hit enter. There you go, closer to the actual. :smirk:

People asked me at our Vintage show we had this past weekend, what was the hardest, the most challenging thing on the rebuild of the 465...

splitting the cases?

rebuilding the transmission?

pressing out bad bearings etc etc....?????

I said...easy....

Frame prep/sand/prime/paint/seal. NEVER AGAIN

That said, already told the wife I am in the hunt for the next one....

and I already know the Powder Coating Shop that is getting the frame.

:busted:

HR

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you have pointed out the steps very well for a full on restoration or even a a"working one". What is a working one? That's what i call - taking a complete bike that is all there, but needs cleaning, paint, tires, brakes, cables, bearings (maybe) a top end job, maybe a clutch. I remove the engine from the frame and sand / wire wheel clean it, wipe it down with laquer thinner and paint, Install all of the above items, cables , tires etc, send off the tank and fenders for professional painting and wa-la.

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I am with you on the frame I got hooked up with a powdercoater that is doing my frames for me.Just did a cr480,yz465,ts250,klx110,crf150rb,rm100 and

rm400. I would not even think of stripping on my own.We have been very busy getting bikes ready for this racing season.

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I agree for the most part!

However i don't agree with the final finish as powder coating, unless it's truly NEVER going to be rode. Of the 6 retores that iv'e done in the past three years only the latest one has been powder coated,(only because the owner wanted it) Putting it together was a real pain,chips where bolts tighten down etc.

Sure it's a tough coating but if it gets damaged or ever needs to be refinished?? It would be almost impossible to remove.

My other restores worked out real nice with a REALLY good stripper or sand blasting.

(I prefer blasting) My latest,a 1970 Johnson sled,blasted, primed,painted in two days.

DSCN6860.jpg

DSCN6839.jpg

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I agree for the most part!

However i don't agree with the final finish as powder coating, unless it's truly NEVER going to be rode. Of the 6 retores that iv'e done in the past three years only the latest one has been powder coated,(only because the owner wanted it) Putting it together was a real pain,chips where bolts tighten down etc.

Sure it's a tough coating but if it gets damaged or ever needs to be refinished?? It would be almost impossible to remove.

My other restores worked out real nice with a REALLY good stripper or sand blasting.

(I prefer blasting) My latest,a 1970 Johnson sled,blasted, primed,painted in two days.

I hear you...no question if you need to touch up on the PC on the frame.

I hear both sides...

I have NOT had a frame powder coated yet...I know its tough and I have talked with some folks on the firms to do it and the firms to stay away from.

The one our guys point to, he:

strips/blasts

cooks out the bare metal of the 30+ years of oil etc

tapes everything off etc...then

powder coats etc.

After more input from folks like yourself, I will decide either on a good paint and clear coat or PC....all I KNOW is I AINT DOING IT>

:smirk:

Do you have a preference on type of paint/clearcoat that holds up best to rock chips and related?...any type over the other??

HR

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Best thing I have used on frames. High Heat Engine enamel with the ceramic additives. Let it dry in the shade then let it sit in the sun on a non humid day or a shed that is really warm. It was super hard when done. Total cost. about $15 in sandpaper and $15 in paint. Do not use primer. sand it down or sandblast. 1 coat, light wet sand, touch up areas that are low and wet sand. then top coat or 2. This of course is not for a show bike. Cheap mans alternative.

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I agree for the most part!

However i don't agree with the final finish as powder coating, unless it's truly NEVER going to be rode. Of the 6 retores that iv'e done in the past three years only the latest one has been powder coated,(only because the owner wanted it) Putting it together was a real pain,chips where bolts tighten down etc.

Sure it's a tough coating but if it gets damaged or ever needs to be refinished?? It would be almost impossible to remove.

My other restores worked out real nice with a REALLY good stripper or sand blasting.

(I prefer blasting) My latest,a 1970 Johnson sled,blasted, primed,painted in two days.

I'll second that. Powder Coat is also a bad thing for restoration in the future. The next owner will curse you. It covers up real well. Leave it for the chopper guys who sleep with their bikes not the MX bikes.

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I'll second that. Powder Coat is also a bad thing for restoration in the future. The next owner will curse you. It covers up real well. Leave it for the chopper guys who sleep with their bikes not the MX bikes.

Okay, lots of votes on Powder coating out....

:smirk:

what these threads are for...learn and share...

then what to use?

If I am going to take the time to remove everything, the cost of replacing worn parts, stripping the frame of all the junk...

what paint to use in this situation (dirt bike, fairly easy touch up etc)?

I can split cases on a bike, go through transmission, weld etc...but this old phart doesnt know squat about the proper paint about putting on an old MX bike.....

yikes

Standard automotive?

Appliance?

BBQ

Engine high temp

enamel?

Sealant....

TOO MANY OPTIONS!!!!!!

B)

aagggghhhhhhh

HR

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Yea the high temp paint drys fast and cures really well and hard. It costs more but its worth it imo.

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