We do from time to time get asked to repair plastic on bikes that are more than thirty years old. These panels present some unique challenges. Panels made of ABS, age, this leads to deterioration that shows it’s self in a couple of ways. The first are fishers appearing in the panel as you pass heat over the area to be repaired and secondly moisture leaching from these hair line cracks. It is well known that untreated ABS is hydroscopic.
Recently we had a gent in with two very old Triumph battery covers that had stress cracks. I say stress but to be honest these were signs of their age. The next indication was the way little rivers of water came running out of the plastic as heat was passed over the repair area, with numerous fishers opening as well. This complication turned a straight forward repair into a bit of a challenge.
It is difficult to know how far to to take repair’s like this. It was handy that the owner was in the workshop to experience what was happening. We agreed between us to only make good the cracks and some of the fishers that lead into those creaks. Otherwise the repair would have become very expensive.
We were asked to customize some Suzuki GSXR upper side panels. This a story from warmer times.
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.
From time to time we are asked, can you repair this or that and in many cases we can, as long as it is a thermo plastic. We are plastic welding specialists first; who just happen to have a good reputation for repairingmotor bike farings. We also “make good” bumpers .
Some of the other types of repair we have completed:
A repair to a canoe that had been nearly split in two. (and it rhymes)
A close friend cracked the wing tip of his light aircraft while he was giving it re-spray and overhaul.
Some of the more odd ball repairs we have done, a beard trimmer, the wheel housing on a folding push chair, A bucket! yes that’s right! not just any old bucket, but one from a jet ski; a Dyson vacuüm cleaner hose clip catch.
We have also fabricated things. A large water tray for a photographer; some mud guards for a mountain bike. Some requests are turned down because it is not practical or cost affective to do.
People have asked if we can adapt/customise farings and bumpers. Yes we can and have done so; adapting a Suzuki GSXR nose cone, so a set of Honda fox-eye headlights could be fitted.! A bumper from a late-model V.W Golf to fit an older one.! The list is long but we don’t want to bore you so that’s it for now!