Flattened and Broken could it be saved.


Look away to painful to watch

Look away to painful to watch.

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

Extensive damage shown from the inside

Extensive damage shown from the inside.

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.

Damage from the outside

Damage from the outside. We were told not to rebuild the dummy air vent.

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

Flattend area reformed

Flattend area reformed. Showing missing lug.

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.

Shaped and scraped

Shaped and scraped

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’.

New lug made from plastic.

New lug made from plastic. Also shows internal stitching together.

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.

Reformed and welded corner.

Reformed and welded corner.

Rebuilt corner with new plastic. Shaped and scraped

Rebuilt corner with new plastic. Shaped and scraped. The darker areas show where the new material has been added.