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How To: Refinish and seal your raw metal pipe

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Many on this site, especially ones who ride two strokes, have purchased raw metal exhaust pipes in order to increase their bike's performance and for the trick look. Unfortunately, many of us have realized what an absolute nightmare it is to keep that pipe looking nice and shiny. Many are forced to take out the good old scotch-brite pad and wd40 after one or two rides in order to make the pipe look presentable again.

There are several ways of getting around this problem. Painting the pipe, powdercoating it, or applying a ceramic coat. All work great but are either a bit on the expensive side or result in the pipe looking like a stocker. Below is my guide on how to refinish an old pipe that has seen better days and how to keep it looking good.

The test subject:

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As you can see, this pipe has a few dings in it, is covered in rust and rusty grime. Some would even refuse to run it on their bikes.

Materials Needed:

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  • Rusty pipe
  • Sand Paper - 320, 400, 600, 800, and 1000 grit
  • Paper Towels
  • WD-40
  • Carburator or Brake Cleaner
  • VHT 2000 Degree Clearcoat (check auto parts store)
  • Blow drier

Once all of the materials have been gathered grab the WD-40 and 320 grit sandpaper. Spray a section of the pipe then sand it, you can either use an up-and-down or circular motion. Once a section is complete, wipe the grime off with a paper towel and move on to the next one. After finishing your first sanding stage, wipe the entire pipe off, grab another sheet of 320 grit and do the process over again. Do this as many times as needed till all of the bad rust and grime is gone. On completion of the final stage, your pipe should look something like the picture below.

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After 320 grit

Now you're ready to go down to a finer grit sand paper. Take the 400 and go through the whole process again, this time only doing 1 stage. Do this till you get done with 1000 grit or however fine you decide to go.

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After 400 grit

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After 800 grit

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After 1000 grit

Ok now your pipe should look as close to new as possible! Maybe even better. You are now ready to clean the entire pipe in order to prep it for paint. Take the carb/brake cleaner and get ALL of the dirt and WD-40 off it. If any WD-40 is left on the pipe, the paint will get an orange peel effect and not stick properly. Once everything is cleaned off, clean an area for painting and hang up the pipe. You can see my poor-man's paint setup below.

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Floor is lined with paper towels, pipe is hanging from the ceiling by a wire

DO THE NEXT PART IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA!

Remember, painting in a cold/humid area will reduce the quality of your paint job. Take the spray paint and heat it with the blow drier or heat gun while shaking it till the can is warm to the touch. This will allow the paint to atomize better and give you a better coat. Start with two thin coats, allowing for 10 minutes in between each one. Then apply a final, thicker coat. It takes about an hour for the paint to dry enough in order to be able to handle the pipe. If more coats are desired (I did about 5 which is the entire can), it is suggested that you wait overnight for the first 3 coats to dry then apply more. Once done with all of the coats, let the pipe fully dry over night.

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After clear coat

After drying, be very careful not to scratch the paint, the pipe must be baked or run through a few heat cycles on the bike in order to gain full durability and chemical resistance.

For baking in an oven:

  • 30 minutes at 250F, then let cool.
  • 30 minutes at 450F, then let cool.
  • 20 minutes at 600F, then let cool.

For heat-cycling on the bike:

  • 10 minutes at idle, then let cool.
  • 20 minutes at idle, then let cool.
  • 30 minutes during riding, then let cool.

Once all of the heat stages are done, your shiny and sealed pipe are done! :thumbsup:

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I have used the same vht ceramic paint as you on my dep pipe for my spare 250. I ride woods/offroad. I had my nickle plated dep sandblasted right away from brand new then I coated it. I baked the pipe in the oven the first two heat ups. Then I rode the for the last one. As I didnt want it to get beet up in the first two bakes.

I did this 2 years ago and the pipe is missing half the coating now. I was not verry impressed with the durability of this stuff. Theres no way I could have gotten the pipe better prepred then sanblasting it.

If I ever do it again im just going to use high temp grill paint. It has held up better in the past and dosnt tend to chip off so bad

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I have used the same vht ceramic paint as you on my dep pipe for my spare 250. I ride woods/offroad. I had my nickle plated dep sandblasted right away from brand new then I coated it. I baked the pipe in the oven the first two heat ups. Then I rode the for the last one. As I didnt want it to get beet up in the first two bakes.

I did this 2 years ago and the pipe is missing half the coating now. I was not verry impressed with the durability of this stuff. Theres no way I could have gotten the pipe better prepred then sanblasting it.

If I ever do it again im just going to use high temp grill paint. It has held up better in the past and dosnt tend to chip off so bad

how did the sandblasting do on the nickle plated pipe? i wouldnt mind sandblasting my platinum PC pipe to a bare finish but wasnt sure how it would work.

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I wonder if there is a Polyurethane 2k clear that can handle high temp.

I use poly-U base 2k paints on car wheels. Its a bit more "rubbery" that normal 2k paint. So rocks etc tend to bounce off instead of chip. Its tuff gear. Great on frames too.

Great results mate!

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he means idling but blipping to clear er out im willing to bet

(NEVER rev a cold bike tho)

i always warm mine up for atleast 7-10 minutes...

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Did something similar except that I painted the "hidden" areas with VHT flat black and I scrub away at the "visible" areas w/ WD and Scotchbrite

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Am I reading that correctly, let a 2t idle for 10 mins, let alone 20?

I mean blipping the throttle once in a while as well. A properly jetted two stroke can idle for a very long time.

he means idling but blipping to clear er out im willing to bet

(NEVER rev a cold bike tho)

i always warm mine up for atleast 7-10 minutes...

+1 Especially if running a forged piston. Cold seizures are no fun. Properly warming up your bike every time before riding also ensures the long life of your top end.

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Both my 250's could idle all day if I let them without me touching the throttle. Most times they start without using the choke even if they have been sitting for weeks.

Sandblasting worked great. My buddy has a huge industrial sandblaster. Sandblasting is the olney way to properly roufgh up crome or nickle plating to repaint it. 2000 grit paper will not roufgh up steel enoufgh to properly adhear paint to it. I repaint industrial equipment for a living I should know. 180 grit is the most I will sand bare steel before I paint and prime it.

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I did the same thing to my GYTR FMF RAW PIPE, But use Brake Cleaner instead of Carb cleaner to clean off any oil before Painting carb cleaner will leave behind some oil residue, this will cause you High temp clear coat to Fish eye.

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I second the idling for a long time with proper jetting. I let my bike idle for close to 10 minutes before i ride, especially if it's the first start up of the day.

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I second the idling for a long time with proper jetting. I let my bike idle for close to 10 minutes before i ride, especially if it's the first start up of the day.

I'm going to have start doing that anyway because I'm putting in a Wiseco  Piston Kit in mine this week along with a Boyesen Spectra super Cooler kit.

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Think i might try this to my stock pipe. I crushed mine and bought a used one in good condition. But the previous owner painted it black and it has runs all over it. Plus I'm not sure it's high temp paint.

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Great write up.

Has anyone tried the Youtube way of de-rusting metal with a bin of water, baking soda wash, and a battery charger?

 

I'm thinking this would be ideal.

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