It had been a wet damp day and with it getting dark at about four I had decided to shut the workshop early as we were up to date with work and had no bookings for people to drop or collect.
It was early spring when we had a call from a gent about doing some custom work on a Suzuki GSXR. He wanted to give his side panels that Yoshimura look. The out line was would we be able to make a series of air vents and weld them into the side panels. I was more than interested as one of my first custom jobs was a GSXR of roughly the same year. So I have a bit of a soft spot for these bikes.
Over the weeks that followed it became clear that there was not the budget needed to allow us to fabricate the vents from plastic and weld them in, as the customer wanted. Which was a shame! When it comes to making parts from scratch it is labour intensive. But all was not lost the customer had discovered a set of fibre glass vents that matched what he wanted to achieve and asked us if we would be able to make them fit.
After some weeks the vents turned up at the workshop and with a bit of trepidation I opened the package. I have nothing against fibre panels but I have seen some really bad ones. These surprised me, they had a quality finish and looked the same size. On very careful inspection one was slightly smaller than the other and they curved more than the panels they were being fitted into; which in the end lead to an over complicated fitting arrangement.
Once the holes were cut to shape in the side panels, some plastic material was cut to fill the gap left by the original vent. Then a lip was cut into the plastic where the new fibre vents would sit. If they had not been made with an exaggerated curve this part of the job would not have been necessary. It took two of us to bond each vent into place. When this was set the vents were then fibre glassed in with a water proof matt to stop weather degradation. When the fibre glass was dry we used a special flexible filler to fill between the two materials to reduce the chance of cracking.
It is always nice to hear that the customer is happy with the results especially when it is done long distance.
Lets hope there is a change in the weather soon.
- Yoshimura R&D of America Announces All-New Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R Limited Edition (motorsportsnewswire.wordpress.com)
- LED Turn Signal for Suzuki ts dr drz dr350 350 650 400 450 dl drz400 gsxr gs sv (wordprox.wordpress.com)
- Suzuki Gsxr600 Workshop Repair Manual Download 2006-2007 (manuals.typepad.com)
- 2002 Suzuki Gsxr 750 (katry.blogspot.com)
It is now possible to purchase a copy of our Plastic Welding Guide Direct, just click on the high lighted words which will take you to blurb.
The fun and games we had producing the book were posted sometime ago with that in mind this link will take you to that post.
You can also find a link on the web site Plasweld
This just a bit of fun. Our top ten repairs.
1. Welding up a cracked panels.
2. Windscreen finger replacement.
3. Sections broken out.
4. Relocating mounts on headlights.
5. Ground off plastic from bikes that have slide down the road.
We rebuild these with plastic not filler.
6. Panel support mounts.
7. Making mount post from scratch.
8. Broken panels.
9. Missing part taken from a donor panel.
10. Small parts made from scratch.
When we had the idea to do this everyone thought it was great. The reality is that we could not agree in what order they should be placed or if we had the images required to make the top ten. It would be fair to say that these are the most common repairs we see and to a certain degree can be complicated to complete.
Welcome to the New Year we hope that our customers are well and rested looking forward to what 2017 has to offer. As we look back at 2016 – it was busy for us but not in way we had expected.
On a few occasions we failed to keep up with the demand and thank those that were caught up in it for their patience. For the first time we had to close the workshop to all work, due to the unprecedented heat during the summer. Not that many of us remember it now with all the grey, rain and cold.
We have noticed that we are seeing more older bike plastic for repair. These have proved to be more challenging to repair technically speaking because of their age. Brought back some fond memories though!. One of the jobs in particular comes to mind which, came in the form of a rare battery cover from a classic Suzuki. As always we work with our customers to get the best possible out come.
We are happy to talk to anybody that has a problem with broken plastic. It is part of our service to inform not just sell our ability to repair. It is our way of giving something back. Maybe you will remember us in the future when it comes to that job that does need our expertise.
We have published a guide on how to repair plastic properly using plastic welding which is available from blurb and from time to time we run plastic welding courses. (At the time of writing we have no planed dates for these courses.)
Best wishes for the New year.
A very rare Kawasaki Z 400 battery cover turned up the other day. The cover managed to unclip itself from the bike while the owner was out for a spin. Before the owner could retrieve it from mortal danger he had the unhappy experience on seeing it crushed under the wheels of a car. So close and yet……
On unpacking the close to death part it was examined very carefully. Can it be saved? We rushed it into the workshop to start ‘life support’. There were a number of things that needed to be checked. Plastic of this age can suffer from age related symptoms – water retention and fishers in the surface when
heated. Also the material type had to be checked so it could be matched with one of our donor patches. Without this knowledge ‘life support’ would no longer be needed. Fortunately we had a good match, meaning the prognosis was good. In fact when we tested the material it was in excellent health if it was not for the crush ‘injuries’ and missing bits. So we could bring the panel back to full health but it would take time.
Before dealing with the breakages we slowly reformed it’s shape by heating the damaged areas that had not broken off. Slowly but surely heat and pressure was applied, bringing it back to its former shape. Then painstakingly we stitched together all the cracks. It is surprising how much stitching
was done – near on six metres! With a part this badly damaged it’s repair has to be staged so that it did not get over heated. Because of this it spent a lot of time in ‘recovery’.
Now that the panel was strong enough it was time to replace the areas that were missing.
For this we used brand new plastic. All the parts were cut to a rough size and then tacked into place. Again taking care not to use to much heat. As we worked, it steadily regained its ‘health’.
Now that the ‘surgery’ was complete the panel was placed in the recovery area to give the repairs time to settle in. Then the brutal task of flattening and shaping the welding and new material would begin. Once done it would be ready for a new paint graft.