Bringing the color back to sun faded plastics

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by markk53, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16,591
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    My KLX has some pretty bad sun fade on side covers. I am about to do some new graphics, but the fade will be some issue.

    I am aware of Krylon's Fusion paint, so I don't need that suggestion. I am looking for a method besides painting.

    I have wondered if anyone has ever used heat to bring back color - does it work and what is used?

    The other possibility is some sort of buffing. Anyone done that?

    I'm open to hearing about anything, but paint. I already know about paint and don't need information about that. Don't take it that I rule it out, I just don't need the information.
    #1
  2. kruzuki

    kruzuki Gear in the Machine

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    989
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    The problem with fading is that the sun has actually bleached out the color from plastics so the color is gone; you can't really 'bring it back'. Paint or replace plastics, they're not that expensive.
    #2
  3. Racerman27410

    Racerman27410 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    751
    Location:
    Greensboro NC


    sand off the oxidized top layer of the plastic using fine grit sandpaper.

    propane torch...... dont hold it too close or in one spot too long!

    the plastic will shine like new money!

    a heat gun will probably give the same effect with less risk of melting the plastic.
    KOokaloo! :norton

    Frank
    #3
  4. GordMounce

    GordMounce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Maybe mine weren't too far gone, but on my old KLR there was a lot of bleaching in the green plastic. It looked really dated. But it actually came back to good as new with a bit of Armor All. I was as surprised as anyone.... Anyway, worth a shot.

    If that fails - I agree, painting infused plastic with Krylon looks like shit. Might as well just replace the pieces. They're cheap enough.
    #4
  5. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    12,526
    Location:
    the 'Ha
    I've used a heat gun to experiment on my KLR's faded plastics. It does bring back some color and shine.
    #5
  6. crazybrit

    crazybrit Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    8,753
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    This is what I used on my 08 KLR also. Don't use too much heat, move the gun around constantly and don't touch the plastic until it's totally cooled. Obviously make sure it's thouroughly clean before you start.

    The blue coloured plastics on mine had been whitened by some cleaning agent the previous owner used. Was almost perfect after.
    #6
  7. Jack D

    Jack D Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    164
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    I had a faded green KLR that also had white streaks where the plastic had been stressed. I used a heat gun on the white streaks to restore SOME of the green color. You must be careful as it appeared to me that the green would not return util the plastic was on the verge of liquifying. The only thing I found that helped to restore the fading was Sumner 210. This is a cleaner/protector for windshields. I bought mine through Tulsa Windshields. I could not find it locally but that is normal in New Mexico.
    #7
  8. jonpcovington

    jonpcovington Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,052
    Location:
    Northern NV
    I have had some success with drenching the plastic in Bel-Ray 6-in-1. It also softens dashes and seats. seems to restore some of the volatiles to plastic that UV bleaches out. Spray it on and let it sit, spray again, etc.
    #8
  9. NOTAR_520

    NOTAR_520 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    602
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Before you break out the heat gun or Propane torch,

    Linseed oil and mineral spirits in a 50/50 mix, apply twice then armor all. It's worked great for me on sunfaded red plastic on a KLR. If needed, you can use a green scratch pad LIGHTLY to remove any old polish or treatment.
    #9
  10. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16,591
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    You obviously don't know about KLX650C plastic - unobtainable new and very rare used. That's why the question. Like I said, I know I can paint it as last ditch. So I'm reading on...

    But thanks for the input. I do appreciate it and am not dissing you by any stretch. I only wish I could use your "replace" suggestion. I may on the fenders, but even then I am limited to black, white, and green for the KLX, that's what has been made for the 300, which is a bolt on. I've thought about doing the black, having red/black combination, because I'd like to have the Maier MX style rear fender over the "broken leg" look of Kawasaki's rear fenders... Just looks old and clunky.

    Again, thanks for the input.

    Respectively,
    klx678
    #10
  11. crazybrit

    crazybrit Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    8,753
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Hmmn. Belray Oil, linseed oil and mineral spirits. Lots of good ideas to try here. :thumb
    #11
  12. LILBIT

    LILBIT Ride you must.

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,675
    Location:
    Lake Placid, FL
    Being how hard it is to get replacements try the heat gun in a hidden spot first. It works pretty good but if you get a spot too hot it will leave a mark,blister. The second you see the gloss show up move the gun fast.
    2000 grit sand paper and plastic buffing compound should work great but i haven't tried it. You have to polish plastic at a super low speed or it will blister. I'd start with 600 and get the big uglies off before going to a finer paper.
    #12
  13. fixer

    fixer KLR-riding cheap bastard

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Oddometer:
    7,439
    Location:
    Lost Wage$, NV
    i've seen people dye gray rifle stocks black with Rit fabric dye.

    dunno about other colors... but black dye should cover up almost any other color.. it's cheap, won't flake, simple to do... i'd use a Rubbermaid or Sterlite tote to dye the plastics in.
    #13
  14. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Omnia mea mecum porto Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    12,068
    Location:
    Tulsa... it's OK
    Dang, that's an interesting suggestion, fixer. Wish I'd heard it before I spent several days painting mine black. I'd like to see some images of dyed plastic though.
    #14
  15. deadbird

    deadbird Very Large Bird

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    Oddometer:
    153
    Location:
    santa cruz,ca
    Use "pro honda spray cleaner and polish".
    I have also gotten good results covering the plastic part with a paper towel soaked in the stuff to marinate the part.
    #15