Questions on cleaning and painting engine parts.

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by Bluethumb, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. Bluethumb

    Bluethumb Been here awhile

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    I just picked up a R80ST. It's pretty rough cosmetically but sound mechanically. Better that then the opposite!

    The paint on the bottom half of the air filter box, the starter cover and the timing chain cover is in pretty bad shape. What's the best way for me to refinish these parts? Is it possible to get a good finish out of a spray can? I'm operating on a slim budget.

    Question two ..... What's the best method for cleaning up the engine cases, transmission, final drive? I was told once to use mini Brillo pads but they crumbled into a mess pretty quickly and did little to clean the engine.

    If there's already a tread, point me to it. I searched but got dozens of threads with no info, maybe I searched wrong.
    #1
  2. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

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    The aluminum needs to be clean and free of corrosion. Heat it up to 120F, which opens the pores, and spray it. Rattle cans work fine. Semi gloss black.

    For cleaning aluminum, use Eagle1 Mag Wheel cleaner - for all wheels. Spray on a little area, then scrub with a green pad or wire brush. Use rubber gloves, the stuff's not good for you. It may take five or ten times over, rinsing after each scrubbing; at first it won't look like it's doing anything but as it gets cleaner it'll start foaming up.

    Rinse very well when done or it'll continue to work and corrode quickly.
    #2
  3. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    Most all rattle can paint is now crap IMO. I have recently tried a bunch. Dupli-Color seems to be the best that I have tried so far. Personally, I put it in an oven AFTER I paint it.

    I would not use Eagle1 mag cleaner. The stuff is bad news IMO. Soak it in WD40 for a day or two and then Scotch Brite pad it. That's the best way of all the different ways I have tried. Good luck!
    #3
  4. Bluethumb

    Bluethumb Been here awhile

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    Wow, now that's really funny, two totally different answers. Are you two guys on opposite sides of every topic?

    So what do others suggest? Do we have a tie breaker?
    #4
  5. scarygary

    scarygary Drawing blanks

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    Duplicolor Satin black.. beautiful stuff. Durable too..

    Super clean your parts with green scrubbie and hot water and dish soap. Handle clean parts with rubber gloves so you don't transfer any oils on to the parts. Many light coats of paint and you will achieve bueno results. I tried some parts with primer but I found I had better results with a good cleaning and a scrubbed dull finish.

    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

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    If you have any parts that you want a nice raw aluminum finish on, try using Autosol Metal Polish. Most quality auto stores should carry it, including UAP/NAPA.

    Use gloves when applying with a scotchbrite type pad. It will clean just about anything off of aluminum or chrome. Works fast and turns into a black pasty stuff that you just wipe off. Do it in small sections. Once you have gone over everything by hand, and wiped off well, you can use a buffing pad with some more and really makes things bright. I have done up carbs, forks, wheels and engine cases to the point where they almost look like they are chromed.
    #6
  7. R100RT Mark

    R100RT Mark Been here awhile

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    From this thread:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=839965

    #7
  8. caponerd

    caponerd Kickstart Enthusiast

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    Eagle one wheel cleaner contains two active ingredients; phosphoric acid and hydroflouric acid.
    The phosphoric acid is relatively benign (even though it's the component which stings the skin), it's the hydroflouric acid which is the bad stuff, and in concentrated form will soak through you skin without causing any pain to warn you that it's there. It attacks calcium and silicon.
    The silicon part is what makes it so effective at cleaning road grit. The calcium part is why it's bad for people. It attacks the bones and the nervous system, which is high in calcium. They claim that the only effective treatment for contact with concentrated hydroflouric acid (eagle one is a very low concentration), once it's absorbed through the skin, is amputation of the effected limb.

    Eagle one isn't anywhere as near as bad as concentrated hydrflouric acid, but wear gauntlet style rubber gloves when working with it.
    #8
  9. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    You guys actually use this stuff on BMW motorcycle engines? I use to use acid for etching aluminum before painting it in aviation but I wouldn't use it on my engine. It cleans but leaves run marks and stains all over and it is a PITA to get rinsed off entirely. I have seen many an engine treated with it turn into a dull gray sprinkled with what looks like salt growing on them.
    #9
  10. Fishnbiker

    Fishnbiker Tire smuddy, hook swet

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    My method is glass bead blasting. Leaves a perfectly clean surface that's washed off with dish liquid & ready to polish the fins, then paint. No strong ugly chemicals, just soft skin when done.
    #10
  11. Rob Farmer

    Rob Farmer Long timer

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    Vapour blasting is the best way of cleaning aluminium. Leaves a lovely satin sheen thats easy to keep clean. The down side is the parts need to be stripped and ultrasonically cleaned after.

    satin of matt finish for powder coated parts. Gloss black parts just never look right to me

    Heres the last one I did.

    Vapour blasted heads and barrels. Phosphoric acid wash for the crank cases (just cannot bring myself to let blast media near my crankcases) then wash down with a alkaline wash, then work over with a soft stainless brush.

    Takes hours and hours if you take it to the max. Just depends on what you're trying to achieve. Those powdered covers are my local coaters Matt finish and look very similar to the original BM finish.

    [​IMG]

    30 year old barrels after vapour blasting. Thats the finish that comes out of the gun. I always ultrasonically clean after to remove and trace of blast media.

    [​IMG]

    The whole lot in the bike

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. Bluethumb

    Bluethumb Been here awhile

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    Rob,
    The finish on your engine is exactly what I'm after, both with the aluminum finish and the painted finish. Beautiful bike!

    Are your pained parts professionally powder coated? As I said, I'll be doing mine out of a spray can.

    I'm not doing a frame up restoration. This is a scrub job with the bike intact. I'll be pulling the front end off to re-new the steering head bearings and pulling the timing chain cover to paint it, but the engine is staying in the frame, so any type of bead blasting isn't an option.

    So I'm still fumbling with the best way to scrub my aluminum areas clean, engine cases, transmission, fork legs, etc. I'd like to hear some more advice on how to get my aluminum clean. Seems to be disagreement over the acid approach.

    And I guess I'm going to have to put my parts in the oven before I paint them and after I paint 'em just to cover my all my options!
    #12
  13. Rob Farmer

    Rob Farmer Long timer

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    The black cases on mine are all powder coated. It's cheaper than buying rattle cans over here so a no brainer.
    I'd never blast crankcases with an abrasive media, I know some guys do but I'm just not comfortable with it.

    I've read all the debates on the different cleaning options but at some point you have to pick one. I use an alkaline cleaner afterwards to wash the parts down after the acid wash followed by a rinse in our rain water barrel. Works for me.
    #13
  14. Bluethumb

    Bluethumb Been here awhile

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    Apologize in advance for what may be a dumb question.

    When getting the parts powder coated, do you afterwards sand off the areas to show the aluminum? The ribs on the timing chain cover and the BMW on the starter cover. Or does the shop that does the powder coating mask the areas off?

    If you sand it off, with what and how?

    Thanks!
    #14
  15. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

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    You have to sand off the ribs to get them back to aluminum.

    As for Supershaft's streaky Eagle1 results - it all has to do with application, not the product. The streaks are a result of leaving the stuff on too long before rinsing. Rinse well between applications! In hot and dry weather, that may be as quickly as five minutes. And the handling for the streaks? Coat again! :wink:

    Scrubbing while the stuff works, helps keep the area from drying out so quickly and prevents the streaking. Also, if it's streaking, it still needs more work. This stuff isn't a 'spray on/wipe off, and everything's beautiful' magic formula. It takes some work, but it does clean and produce results.

    As for SS's paint issues, remember that he lives in California - they're not even allowed good gasoline there! :lol3

    Rob - beautiful job on that one!

    As for the vapor blasting - the name implies it's just water but I've heard it's some sort of media plus water. Correct?
    #15
  16. R100RT Mark

    R100RT Mark Been here awhile

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    Correct. <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]-->Typically a light slurry of water, glass beads and detergent. 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    #16
  17. Rob Farmer

    Rob Farmer Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    6,767
    Location:
    Loughborough, Leicestershire. England
    Not a dumb question at all.

    Personally I use a fine paint brush with nitromors paint stripper. Paint the paint stripper onto the powder edges that need exposing, wait a few seconds for the stripper to soak in, you can see the colour change, and then lift the softened powder with a sharp knife blade. Once it's all off I polish it with a piece of fine emery on a piece of wood to keep it flat. Finish it off with solvol autosol. Takes a while to get into doing it but it's very therapeutic if you're that way inclined.

    I bought a few covers on ebay a few years ago when they were cheap. Got them powder coated as a job lot and have swapped them out when needed. The covers I swap them with get sent off when I have enough for another batch.

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Rob Farmer

    Rob Farmer Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    6,767
    Location:
    Loughborough, Leicestershire. England
    You can use different types of media for different finishes. Just do a search on Youtube for some examples but it's essentially a slurry pump that circulates a mix of water and blast media. The slurry is accelerated using compressed air. The big advantage is that it's a dustless process and the water provides a cushion for the blast media stopping it cutting the material being blasted.

    This is the swinging arm of the bike in my previous photograph

    [​IMG]

    Close up of the surface. If it's done well the surface is peened making it easy to keep clean.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can buy small machines that are ideal for bike parts, they aren't cheap though. They are getting very common in the UK with a cylinder head clean up costing around $25

    http://www.vapormatt.com/products_vapormate_1_page.htm
    #18
  19. ywouldi

    ywouldi Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    Oddometer:
    51
    I've been thinking about soda blasting. You can leave the engine fully assembled and it's pretty safe stuff, rinses off with water and not too abrasive. Seems to leave a nice finish and I've been quoted £100 to clean the engine and bevel box completely. Any one else tried that?
    #19
  20. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,839
    Location:
    Back in Seattle, FINALLY
    Yes. It gets oil, dirt, and paint off nicely, but will not remove aluminum oxide. It's not aggressive enough to get down to bright metal. At least not with the soda and pressure that I was using. No matter how long I hovered in a spot it never seemed to leave a mark on the metal. It's also not nearly as easy to rinse off as you'd think. You have to rinse it for a LONG time with hot water to get all the soda off. Also, you should note that unlike glass bead or other blasting media, soda is not chemically inert. It will corrode steel and aluminum parts if not rinsed off VERY well.
    #20