Plastic in the cold


Welcome to a freezing start to the new year.
 
This weather has implications for automotive plastic ( farings, bumpers, etc,etc ). Plastic looses its elastic properties when the temperature drops making it hard and brittle but this does depend on the plastic material used.
 
There are two main categories of plastic hard and soft. Hard plastics like ABS  used  in motor bike farings, can become very brittle and break easily. Soft materials like Polyprop , being more flexible , will not crack so easily but will show signs of stress in the cold.
 
With the weather as cold as it is, it means that any damage your plastic receives will be twice as bad. So take a bit more care around that bike stored in the garage.
 
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It’s time to retire and repair for next year?


bike-repair With the bad weather coming it is time to get all those crack and nicks repaired so your bike is in top condition for the new years season.

I’m reminding you now, it will be to late next year. You’ll be sorry.

 

The big clear out.


Check out the web sites items for sale page. We are having a big clear out of old farings. It it a mix of manufactures, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki. We need he space so they are priced faringcollectionto sell.

It is no good leaving them on the shelf gathering dust. It is time to put them back on there respective bikes and back on the road.

Some have been posted already with some more to come, when we have the time. They are not all completely repaired but in good condition. There is a description on what is left to finish the panel off, so there are no surprises.

Foam backing


foamback-panel

When considering whether or not a panel is worth repairing you need to take a number of things into account: Paint, decals, age and in some cases the foam backing.

Some manufacturers stick foam to the back of their side panels to stop the engine/frame work rubbing against the back of the faring. It also stops any knocking noises and vibration while the bike is being ridden. When a panel sustains damage resulting in a crack or breakage or both, it does not always transfer to the foam behind. Even if it has not, the foam needs to be removed to do a repair. Where plastic welding is used the heat from the machine will melt the foam giving of a noxious gas. In most cases we can separate the foam in one piece from the plastic panel. So it can be reattached after the repair is compete, there by saving the cost of new foam for the customer.

foamback-panel2There are some situations where it can not be removed in one piece. Foam, like plastic, deteriorates with age but at a faster rate. There are two types of foam backing – open cell and sealed. The former gets impregnated with road dirt, oil etc, this helps to degrade the backing more quickly turning it to dust, making it impossible to remove in some cases. Because the later is sealed it repels most of the detritus thrown up from the road and stops oil soaking into it. This increases the life of the foam, therefore making it a better candidate for removal when a repair is needed. The sealing helps to keep it in one piece making it easier to remove.

The pictures show.

Thunder cat side panel. One with the foam mat partly removed.

Bags of Trouble.


Badly broken nose cone  Plastic welding can rebuild this nose cone where glue cannot

Badly broken Plastic

A distressed looking man is walking towards the doors of the workshop, in his hands are two plastic shopping bags. We unpacked the bags and laid out the contents piece by piece on to the work bench. I started placing the jigsaw of a faring together, the shape it  formed was that of a Honda CBR 600F side panel. On closer inspection it became more complicated, there were a number of pieces missing, some of these major.

I looked at him, he said “I was told it could not be done” I replied ” The only limiting factor is price”  A smile crossed his face the first bit of good news in his quest to put his pride and joy back on the road. ” This is why we say bring it in let us see it in the flesh.” It was not a lost cause. After fixing the price, he left with a happier look, to return in a couple of weeks.

We had our work cut out, first thing to do was to fix all the bits together so the main part of the faring was in one piece, then we could start fabricating the missing parts, these would be cut from sheet plastic of the same material, if it is not the same type it will not weld together.

We are not like other repairers in that, we do not use two pack  fillers to replace parts that are missing in thermoplastic products which a lot of faring’s are made from. Other repairers will do this were they can get away with it or say it cannot be done. If you have a vintage farings on your bike would you not want the best repair possible for this rare item? I know I would!

When you use the same material to repair a breakage it should act in the same way that it did before it was broken. If you introduce another part whether it’s filler or fiberglass it will change the way the panel acts and can cause the repair to fail in the future.

When the man returned he did not believe that it was the same panel until I showed him the back with it’s fine lines of weld. He was very pleased with the result.

Closing season for biking.


Biking in the DalesThe season for biking is  closing.  Bikers are disappearing from the roads as they put their bikes to bed until next year. It is now the time  to put right all the bits of damage you picked up on your plastic through the summer.  If you leave it, you will forget untill it is time to  take the bike out for the new season. loosing days that could be better spent riding your favorite roads.

Skin Deep.


This has a short life spanAre you getting what you paid for?

IT seems that you are not. We had a gent in the Monday before the start of TT week. He had his Ducatti re-sprayed ready for the trip. Some cracks had appeared in the plastic that the sprayer said had been plastic welded.
mud-gaurd-beforeThe spray job was great but there was a problem with the so called plastic welding.  It was a bit of filler and fiber glass smeared across the back for support hence it had re-cracked, no surprise there!
Just recently another customer was almost suckered by a spray shop saying they could plastic weld. When they started talking about reinforcing the back to stop it cracking further, he decided not to go back because he lost trust in them. He felt they did not know what they were doing.
Plastic welding has been around for a long time. It is recognised by insurance companies as a proper repair meeting their very high standards. It is also part of the NVQ, SNVQ, National diploma, Higher National diploma and Foundation degree for motor vehicle engineering  and yet some repair shops still bodge repairs; there is no call for it; this is part of the reason we do not spray, you can see we have given you the ‘real deal’!
honda_vfr_seat_tabsWe have seen over the years repairs using super glue, rivets with metal support, soldering iron and super glue, filler and fiberglass and wire ties. All valid temporary repairs by the DIYer but have no place in the professional workshop.
If you are paying large amount of money for a repair you should expect the best, it’s not always a good idea to go to a one stop shop; once the paint is on you do not know what you have paid for. It may be a great finish but will it be let down by the foundation crumbling.