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 Post subject: Body Repair by Videonut
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:21 pm 
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This summary was compiled and edited by Videnut.

Contributions by Clivester et al much appreciated.

How to do Body Repairs

The plastics on these scooters are made from ABS. I've been able to successfully rebuild whole missing sections, cracks, and broken tabs with the following:

Buy ABS pipe cement from the plumbing section of your local hardware store. Most is black in color (eg Oakley brand).

Also get a sheet or 2 of glass fiber mat (the woven kind rather than the random fiber sheet) from you local auto parts store.

Remove paint with sandpaper from the area to be repaired. This is important to ensure good adhesion.

For a crack, make sure to completely fill the join with the ABS cement, and then place a thin layer at the back on both sides of the crack. Cut some glass fiber mat to cover the repair area and place it over the back. Then dab with ABS cement. Only do thin layers of cement to allow it to dry, otherwise the cement stays soft and flexible if too thick. Build up about 3-4 thin layers of cement over the mat.

To fill a missing area you can cut a piece of mat about the size of the area plus 1-1.5 inches larger all round. Put on aluminum foil and dab a small amount of the ABS cement on the mat in an area a little smaller than the repair area and allow to set. This is to stiffen the mat prior to sticking it in place. You can shape the piece to some extent by shaping the foil before the cement dries. Once dry you can adhere the "patch" onto the repair area from the back. Build up the "right" side of the repair to be flush with the desired surface using thin layers and sand down to match.

NOTE - you have to wait at least a week before painting for the cement to fully cure and harden. I much prefer this technique to using fiberglass resin. The resin is a different material to the ABS panels and is less flexible and tends to crack and flake off over time. The ABS cement actually contains ABS resin which bonds extremely well to the original plastic and is almost as flexible and strong. It’s also superior to the plastic glues found in auto parts and hardware stores (and cheaper too!).

It’s amazing how much shaping you can do using this technique along with a Dremel. Just remake the damaged screw holes and re-drill them. Only problem is the color difference - black vs white.

You can also make very good repairs using a plastic welder and ABS rods (available from Harbor Freight), but this tends to be better for clean cracks.

By the way, the foot panel is a different plastic to the panels. I believe its polyethylene so plastic welding is a better option there.

Clive.

Question: Which sort of sander would you recommend for the job? Red paint on white plastic with black filler, nice, if I do any of this I'll almost definitely follow it with a full new paint job Also, where can I get these fiberglass mats? Guesstimates on how many standard cans of spray paint it will take? (Preferred brand?)

Answer: I always hand sand with a block. It’s too easy to take off too much plastic with anything else. I start with 150 sandpaper for the rough work, and then go down with wet-or-dry, finishing with 600 grit wet sanding. I'd figure on at least 2 cans of sandable primer and 3 cans of color. I've used Duplicolor from an auto parts store with good results. Buy the larger cans of generic color rather than the smaller color match ones for economy. You can get the glass mat from most auto parts stores like AutoZone, Pep Boys, etc.

By the way, if you have missing or broken tabs they can be rebuilt using the mat and technique I described. You'll be surprised how strong they are. Here are some examples:

Front nose of Elite E repair on inside for large crack and front damage same area as above on outside after primer waiting for final wet sanding Inside of front panel left leg. Everything above red tab is rebuilt.

Image

Same area as above on outside after primer waiting for final wet sanding

Image

Inside of front panel left leg. Everything above red tab is rebuilt.

Image

Outside of front panel leg above. Everything below red area is totally reconstructed from flat ABS sheet, glass mat and ABS cement.
Image

Question: Got another question, how can you tell what plastic things are made of? I've got a garage door opener remote that's made of black plastic that I just drilled and zip tied to the foot panel just next to the steering column under the turn signals, In time I'd like to use the stuff mentioned above to form the remote into the panel to look natural, but I don't know that it's the same plastic, and if it isn't what method would I want to use?

After that I'd also like to get some of that spray-on truck bed liner and paint the foot panel with it, will it stick good?

Answer: No it doesn’t. I put it on mine and it just comes off on the bottom of your shoes and little thing that scrape or bangs it, it acts like it doesn’t dry and adhere to the plastic, and the more humidity you have the worse it is. If you want something so that your feet don’t slip try grip tape I found some at my local hardware store that I think will work nice if you say spray down some contact cement then place tape down. That’s what I’m going to do when I finish painting my spree.

Question: Ziraya wrote: I just went to two and a half hardware stores (sears essentials doesn't quite count) and found no abs pipe cement. There was some all purpose cement that listed abs as part of 'all', but this was a little tin of brush on goo that would be very hard to get into the holes. What about epoxies? there's one in a syringe with this mixer tube thing that would let me squirt it right in, it did say not to use it on two poly somethingerothers, I'll have to check.

Answer: ABS cement is outlawed in Michigan. You either have to drive to Ohio to buy it, buy it from the internet, or make it yourself. To make it, fill a GLASS (very important) jar half full with MEK (Methyl Ethyl Keytone). Where gloves and eye protection, as MEK is very nasty stuff. Add ABS pellets (find a factory near you) stirring slowly until it's the consistency of cold chocolate syrup. Keep the lid on tight until you use it. If it dries out, add more MEK. KEEP AWAY FROM FLAMES! USE OUTDOORS ONLY! Check around your neighborhood factories for ABS pellets. Plastic injection molding places.

Question: Will an epoxy work instead?

Answer: You will really get a much better result with ABS cement. The epoxy stuff you can buy from the stores does not dissolve the underlying plastic to surface bond with the panels. It cracks off eventually with vibration and flexing.Here is some on eBay. For the $3 or $4 more you would pay over epoxy it’s worth the result and goes much further.

Tip!!!Just make your own. All you need is ABS and MEK. BTW, model airplane glue also contains a lot of MEK!Tip!!!I never had much luck trying to make a mold to create the pieces. First of all, if you have a section missing, without access to an original, you only have maybe the part from the opposite side of the bike to go by, and that’s a mirror image. In the end, I purchased ABS sheet. You can use a hot air gun or hair dryer to heat it enough to go soft and shape it a little at a time. Cement that in place, then use the ABS cement to build up any imperfections. Best way though is to use 2 of the same part (if you can pick up a damaged one cheap) that are broken in different areas then cut and splice to make a good whole piece.

Question: BTW has anyone ever tried using one of those cheap eBay plastic welders before? I’m thinking about getting one for fixing the cracks.

Tip!!!Just a note to fellow Michiganders: You can use "universal" plumbing cement (available in most stores right alongside the pvc and cpvc cement) to do body repairs with. I had some random orientation glass mat sitting around and thought that I'd try that too. Both work great together! I found that scraping away the paint was a lot faster and more efficient than sanding. On serious cracks, I taped the opposite side together with packing tape, coated the area with cement, laid the glass down and saturated it. Lots of glass stands come up and it's a bit messy, but I'll only be using this cement for this type of work. Three coats of cement, each a day apart, are stiffer than the surrounding plastic.

I've also used the green extruded wall anchors to replace missing screws on the front panel. I reinforce the sides with some scraps of glass mat and a couple of layers of cement. They're holding well so far.

Question: I'm going to try using this ABS cement method to fix my cracks.What do you recommend for smoothing out scratches and scuffs? standard bondo? Also, what grade of sandpaper do you use?

Answer: I wouldn't use bondo - it tends to flake off flexible pieces. You can build up layers of ABS cement. Brush on a small amount, wait ~30 min, then another layer, etc. Allow several days to cure if you can. Smooth down initially with 200 grit, then 320 grit. Use a couple of coats of sanding primer; it will fill quite a few imperfections if sanded down level between coats. You don't need to use it on the entire panel - just feather onto the areas that you've fixed. Use 600 grit for final sanding of primer before color coat. Do all you’re sanding with water to prevent the wet-or-dry from clogging?

Tip!!!! What we have been using for the past few years is West Epoxy and various reinforcements. The reinforcement can come from Carbon fiber, fiberglass or from cotton fibers stirred into the epoxy. Instead of bondo we use some lightweight filler in the epoxy and spread it on. It is quite sand able. Epoxy by itself isn't that strong. It takes some sort of media to make it strong. To apply it to the fairing plastic I usually use either 36 grit sand paper or my angle grinder and roughen the surface up.

Most of the time I put a layer of rip stop nylon over the wet epoxy to help shape it. The nylon is peeled off and can be added to. Most of the time it takes 2 or more coats if the surface is to be painted. Usually we use some generic latex spot putty to fill the smallest imperfections but don't use it for structural stuff. You don't want to add too much that it takes a lot of sanding. Once cured, I shape with 36, if it rough. Wet sand with 100-150 before painting with primer then sand the primer with 200-300. Reprime then resand with the 3-400. Then use finish paint and clear coat. Sand the paint with 600 before the clear coat.

Tip!!!The problem with these Honda plastics is they are flexible. Paint with a flex agent must be used or spider cracking will occur. If you decide not to use a flex agent in your paint, it will look great at first. But one true constant is you will have to take the panels off again for maintenance and when you do flex usually occurs screwing up your nice paint job.

Question: So is this the key to Fusion?

Answer: No, fusion means it will adhere to plastic, that’s all. It will not stop spider cracks. A fusion type paint with a flex agent added is what you want. Most people on here are looking to spend $3 to $5 a can. A paint job with this cheap paint like I said "will look great at first" but in the long run it will not.

Tip!!! My recipe for the cheapest GOOD paint job.

1. Buy a Preval refillable sprayer for about $6. I found the Preval actually sprays better than most cans.http://store.fastcommerce.com/prod_Pain ... a6bf5.htmlMany auto specialty paint stores sell these - even my local Home Depot had them.Since you fill it yourself, it has the advantage that it can be used with 2-part epoxy or urethane paints.

2. Hunt down a local store that mixes and distributes paint for professional auto paint shops. Some NAPA stores do this. Ask them if they have any mis-matched urethane paints that on clearance. I sometimes find quarts for $10-20 of professional (e.g. PPG, Dupont, etc.) paints. If you find a color you like purchase the correct flex agent and reducer for that paint. For a REALLY good finish, purchase the clear coat too, but you will be paying full price.

3. Take your time prepping the panels with careful wet-or-dry sanding.

4. Buy some adhesion promoter in a spray can to use prior to the color coat for a longer-lasting finish.

5. Mix the paint and apply with the Preval sprayer. Practice first on the inside of a larger panel so you can get the spraying technique down.It’s as close as you'll get to a professional finish without buying the compressor and sprayers.

Dumb question: So it's okay to re-drill holes through the fiberglass/ABS?Is there any sort of special technique?I definitely don't want to screw this part up and have to start over.Thanks!

Answer: You can and I have. Nothing other than a regular drill bit is needed.

86 spree with honda cb750 rear shock xr50 knobby tires, 32mph on slightly restricted craftsman air filter. All Black and lovin it90 Honda Elite 80 CH80 that is in the process of being restored.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:34 am 
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I plucked and added some pics from Clive's early posts. Besides Clivester's excellent instructions and pics, props belong to DJPhatman, EliteDio, Novs86 and - sorry if I'm omitting anyone. I'll add as I work through the thread.

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