- Materials and Parts
- What I Started With
- Stripping the Old Paint
- Masking the Fairing In Preparation for Painting
The bike has a Vetter Windjammer II series fairing, serial #14231. According to Craig Vetter’s web site, the first Windjammer II was made in October 1973 with serial #13648 and the last one was produced in May 1974 with serial #43986, so a little more than 30,300 units were produced. This fairing is the 583rd in the series so it’s an early unit. Vetter manufactured Windjammer III and SS models and then sold the company in 1978. The bike itself was manufactured in May 1973, and purchased in California by a mechanic for United Airlines based in Los Angles. I think the previous owner added the Windjammer either at the time of purchase or soon thereafter. He put just about 50,000 miles on it before I bought it in August of 1978 in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a wedding present for my wife.
Craig Vetter started building motorcycle fairings in 1966 with the Phantom series as documented on his history page. The Windjammer series was the one that made him well known as an innovator and inventor. If you price used Windjammer’s on eBay they are typically available for a few hundred dollars or about what they cost new, so there’s little collector value in them today. In fact, I think the cost of the paint will double the resale value of this faring 😉
But, in the 1970’s, Craig Vetter’s fairings were well respected and a popular touring upgrade on Honda CB750 and Gold Wings, BMWs, Moto Guzzis, and many other 750, 900 and 1000cc touring bikes. At one time both Harley and Kawasaki had contracts for special designs they offered with their bikes. Until BMW introduced manufacturer designed fairings as standard with the R90/S and the innovative R100/RS with full wind tunnel tested fairing, the after market was where everyone went to get touring grade wind protection.
In keeping with the restoration goal of “close to stock”, repairing this one restores an accessory that was often found on a /5 bike. The previous owner painted the fairing the same color as the bike, Monza Blue. I’m going to do the same and ordered enough paint for the fairing. But first, I need to dissassemble it and make some repairs.
Materials and Parts
I bought parts and repair kits from Craig Vetter. When I ordered them, I got to speak with Craig’s wife directly. Part of the fun restoring old bikes is when you get to talk to suppliers whose name is on the front door. You can find a number of parts at the online store.
Windjammer fairings are made of ABS plastic and it can be hard to find a glue that will stick to it. Craig provides “Hotcha” glue with his repair kits and it sticks very well to ABS plastic, your fingers and anything else it touches, so be careful when you mix some up.
- Original Windshield Foam Tape
- Edging Replacement Kit
- Hotcha Repair Kit
- Original Decal Kit (Debating if I will order this or not)
Craig provides a wire harness connector kit, but is has 9-pin connectors which were not used in the Windjammer II series which uses the earlier six pin connectors.
I also bought some Epoxy for Plastic that can be used with ABS and some super glue “gel”. I use the super glue gel in the top of cracks where the patch is visible. The Hotcha adhesive is yellow and I don’t want to use where it will be visible. And I wanted to compare how well the Epoxy for Plastic works compared to the Hotcha adhesive.
What I Started With
This is what it looked like coming out of the barn and on the floor ready for disassembly.
As I cleaned out the side pockets, I found this orphan glove.
It is from the first pair of riding gloves my wife wore with her first bike, a Honda 500 Four, back in 1976.
She used this pair in the winter and it was part of her riding kit when I bought her the R75/5 as a wedding present in 1978. Memories.
I remove the leather side pocket covers, clean them up and remove the windscreen. This is straight forward.
Here are the leather pocket covers after I cleaned them and restored them with leather preservative.
The windscreen mounting has been upgraded with the later bracket for the top mounting holes. This was stronger and prevented shearing the top mounting screws at high speed. DAMHIK 🙂
Remove Turn Signals and Side Reflectors
The turn signals are the stock chromed ones from the /5 and are added to stalks that came with the fairing. The stalk mounts to a hollow bolt through the side and the wiring goes through the hollow bolt to the turn signals.
The side reflectors are glued on. I carefully pry them off with a 1 inch paint scraper.
Remove Headlight Assembly
The headlight does not use the BMW lens and reflector. It was sold with a standard automotive headlight and can be upgraded with an H4 bulb, lens and reflector. I may do that upgrade.
I remove the screw on the bottom of the outer chrome trim ring to remove it.
The headlight is secured to the adjustor bracket with an inner chrome ring using three screws. A spring fits in a slot on one side of the inner chrome ring which provides the resistence for headlight adjustments.
I Remove the three screws and use pliers to remove the spring from the slot.
The headlightis still connected to the three prong bulb connector.
The inner adjustor ring is secured to the headlight frame at two points, the top and left side, with adjusting screws that have a slot underneath the screw head. I loosen them and then rotate the adjustor ring to remove it from the headlight frame.
The headlight frame is glued to the fairing with adhesive. I use a screw driver to carefully pry it out of the headlight hole in the fairing.
Here is how the inner adjustor ring fits in the headlight frame.
Remove Chrome Edge Trim
The chrome edge trim is chewed up in a number of places. I use a large screw driver to get underneath the trim and then slide it along the edge of the fairing to remove the trim. It is very tightly secured with glue in places and I find levering the screwdriver up separates the trim from the glue.
Of course, the paint is chipped in a number of places but overall, the fairing is in good condition.
The name plate on the dash has come loose, but I found it tucked in one of the pockets.
There is crack on the lower edge of the left storage pocket.
And a small crack starting on the left dash.
The wiring harness connector tabs that held it in the metal mounting plate have broken off so it hangs loose.
Clean and Polish Headlight Chrome
The outer chrome trim ring has rust on the inside and needs to be polished. I use rust remover and a toothbrush to get the rust out and then AutoSol Aluminum Cleaner and Semichrome polish to get the shine back.
Clean And Polish Turn Signals
I take apart the turn signals and stalks.
I use Autosol Aluminum Cleaner with “0000” steel wool to get the oxidation and grime off the turn signals and stalks. I clean the rust off the hollow bolt and use AutoSol Metal Polish to clean them up. I use Semichrome polish to get the shine back in the polished aluminum. I clean the turn signal lens with soap and water and then apply some 303 Aerospace Protectant to polish them. I replaced the pinch bolts that attach turn signal housing to the stalk with new ones from my local Ace Hardware as they were pitted with rust.
Repair Fairing Cracks
After I had removed the chromed edge trim, I found that the crack at the bottom of the left storage pocket was pretty extensive and had separated the inner fairing shell from the outer.
I decided to use a scrap piece of ABS plastic in the repair kit to bridge the crack from the edge of the pocket and to apply the Hotcha glue inbetween the inner/outer shells and clamp them.
The kit includes scrap ABS, mixing sticks and brushes.
I cut a piece of flat ABS for the patch to bridge the crack near the pocket edge.
The Hotcha is mixed 2 parts adhesive to 1 part activator.
It sets up in about 10 minutes so there is plenty of time to work with it. It stinks, and it is very sticky. I wore nitrile gloves when I worked with it and it stuck the fingers of the gloves together. I ended up using two sets of gloves before I was done as I couldn’t work when too much of the Hotcha was on the gloves.
I slathered the Hotcha between the inner and outer fairing shells.
And put it on the patch ABS and then clamped everything together using clamps to hole the inner and outer shells together and one to hold the ABS patch across the crack at the edge of the storage pocket. I used some acetone to clean off any of the Hotcha glue that squeezed out of the repair where it would be visible.
As this patch setup, I used the super glue gel to fill in the small crack at the crease of the dashboard. I tested the super glue earlier and it will adhere to the ABS. And after the patch for the pocket crack was set up, I used a small amount of super glue gel to seal the top of the crack.
Reattach Fairing Wiring Connector
NOTE: I managed to break this repair when the turn signal stalk interfered with the electrical connector and cracked out the ABS patch. I tried Plast-aid. Here is a write-up about how I used it.
I cut a piece of ABS out of a flat piece in the repair kit so it would fit over the hole for the wiring connector. I cut a notch so I can slide the connector into the center of the plastic so it rests on the bottom of the notch. I found it very hard to reach inside the storage pocket and work since there isn’t much room. I measured where the patch plastic had to be on the end of the connector and then used the Epoxy fo Plastic to glue the connector in the notch. The expoxy sets up in about 5 to 10 minutes, so I had to hold it until it got stiff.
When the epoxy holding the connector to the patch got stiff, but hadn’t set completely, I mixed up a new batch of epoxy, put it on the patch and then pushed the connector through the hole and held the plastic patch in place until the epoxy set. While holding the patch in place I tweaked the position of the connector so it would be square in the hole and held it in place. It helps to practice your Zen breathing when holding parts waiting for glue to set and before you know it, 10 minutes have gone by. 🙂
After 20 minutes, the patch was solid. The connector should not break loose again.
Stripping the Old Paint
Unlike the fenders, the fairing has a lot of flat surfaces. It took me 12 hours or so to strip all the paint and primer and get the surface ready for paint.
I use my drill with 150 grit sanding disks to remove as much of the paint and primer as I can on the flat surfaces. The edge of the sanding disk can create a scuff or gouge in the plastic now and then, but I can sand that out by hand. It would have taken twice as long to hand sand this much surface area.
I hand sand the areas with transitions and edges using 180 grit wet paper and use that to remove any scuffs from the sanding disk.
In the tight corners and creases, I use a small screw driver blade to chip the paint out and then sand with 180 grit to remove any nicks from the blade. Don’t gouge the blade, just use it to catch the edge of the paint and chip it off, then sand out the remaining bits of paint.
Finally, I lightly hand sand the entire fairing with 180 grit to get rid of any deep scratches. I use a circular motion so there are no linear scratches. Here is the repaired fairing stripped of paint and ready for painting.
Masking the Fairing In Preparation for Painting
I need to mask the fairing to keep the primer and paint off the inside surfaces. I use 3M painters tape and some painter’s masking paper. I start by applying a layer of painters tape along inside edges of the fairing where the chome edge strips will mount, along the inside edge of the bottom mounting area and along the edges of the headlight opening.Then, I apply the painters masking paper with tape to mask off the inside of the fairing and tape the seams of the paper as well. It’s important to make sure the masking is secure and ther are no holes or gaps that primer or paint can sneak past. It took me about an hour and a half to complete the masking.
I will paint the fairing upside down as it rests on the masked edges.