Silver Ghost Restoration-Part 12 Painting Frame, Subframe, Swing Arm

I finally got decent weather for painting this Sunday, low humidity and temperatures in the low 70’s.  I had prepared the frame, sub-frame and swing arm for painting over the past two weeks during the evenings after work.  I used body putty to fill in where the paint was chipped from stones and where acid from the battery had removed the paint when the bike tipped over. (Would anyone who owns a bike for 35 years and never had it tip over, please raise their hand?  Hmm, is that a hand up way in the back? 🙂 ).

Rear Frame Ready to Paint

It was hard to sand the putty on the tubes since they are round.  I found using 400 grit paper and just curling it around the tubes and using light pressure worked.  I had to apply the body putty several times to fill in low spots and holes so this took a couple of nights to get the frame and swing arm prepared.  Since I stripped the subframe down to the primer, it was ready to go.

I built a paint booth in the garage.  I used several plastic drop cloths and stapled them to the joists to create an enclosure around the frame with enough room to paint the swing arm and subframe as well.  I taped the seams between the drop cloths in several places to help seal them.  I didn’t tape one seam so I could get into the booth.  I used clothes pins and rolled the edges of the two plastic drop clothes together and fastened them from the inside with the clothes pins to seal the entry.

Do It Yourself Paint Booth

Do It Yourself Paint Booth

I removed the cars and the other bikes before I painted as spray paint sends small droplets of paint everywhere even though I was painting inside an enclosure.

Prior to painting, I used windex and paper towels to clean all the surfaces and remove any dirt or oil traces.  I wore nitril gloves to keep finger print oil off the surfaces.  Then, I wrapped all the surfaces on the bike that I wasn’t going to paint with newspaper. Finally, I covered the floor with newspaper as well.

Wrap What Isn't Getting Painted

Frame Read To Paint

Sunday, I taped off the bearings and covered the ends of the rear drive in the swing arm with newspaper and hung them from the rafters.  I used wire for the swing arm since its heavy and string for the subframe.  I had left enough room inside to hang those behind the bike and could walk around the front and back end of the bike to get to all the parts.

Swing Arm & Subframe Ready To Paint

I used a hat, mask, nitrile goves and a long sleeve shirt when painting.  It gets all over you, so covering up is a good idea.  I also recommend wearing safety glasses to keep the paint out of your eyes.  I opened the back door and cracked open the garage door to get some air circulation to remove the fumes, but not enough to have to worry about dirt and dust getting on the parts.  I painted each part with about 4 coats of gloss black enamel paint available at my local auto parts store.  I painted 2 coats in the first pass and let that dry for about an hour.  I filled a small butter tub with Laquer thinner so I could clean the spay head in between uses to eliminate paint globs.

As I painted, I found the newspaper got very sticky and I was pulling it up when I walked on it.  Perhaps, using some wax paper on the bottom of my shoes fastened with duck tape might have prevented that.   I’ll have to try that next time when I prime the tank and fenders.

I inspected everything using a drop light after the first two coats and was amazed to see a half dozen places that didn’t get covered well.  When painting black paint on top of black paint, its hard to see where the coverage  is thin, and it’s especially hard to see when painting tubing.  I painted the final two coats starting with the areas that were thin from the first two coats.  I kept the final 2 coats light but made sure they wet all the painted surfaces.

Despite covering up, I got paint on my cheeks and forehead, so taking a shower right after you finish painting is a good idea as the enamel takes several hours to really dry and a shower seemed to remove most of it from my skin and beard.

Here’s a picture of the mask I wore after I finished painting.  This is a pretty graphic demonstration of why you don’t want to paint without a mask.  Most of that would have ended up in my lungs.  I suspect that’s equal to a month or two of a 2 pack a day smoking habit 🙂

Why You Wear A Mask When Painting

I’m letting everything dry for two days before touching them.  Enamel takes awhile to harden, so its good to be patient and avoid touching the parts so you don’t get finger prints in the paint.

Silver Ghost Restoration-Part 11 Removing Subframe and Rear Drive

The Ghost has an oil leak from the transmission neutral switch and, the subframe is broken.  So Branden and I removed the old subframe, shocks, swing arm and rear drive and the transmission.   Well, he did the work and I watched 🙂

Removing the subframe is straight forward.   We removed the rear tail light and turn signal assembly earlier when we removed the rear fender for paint preparation.  To remove the subframe, we disconnected the wiring harness from the tail light assembly and pulled it forward out of the front hole in the subframe.

Pulling Taillight Wire out of Subframe

Pulling Tailight Wire out of Subframe

Then we removed the bolts connecting it to the frame, the swing arm and the shocks so we could take the subframe off.  You can see the broken section of subframe tubing Branden is holding.  I had it welded about 8 years ago, but it didn’t hold up.  Hence, the used subframe I scored on eBay.

Broken Subframe

Lower Subframe Bolt

Detaching Subframe

Next we removed the battery and battery box.  In getting the battery box out, one of the lower rubber isolation bolts had a nut that we couldn’t remove.  It had corroded and rusted enough that it was in between a 10 mm and 9 mm wrench size.  So, we had to drill it out from top side to remove it.   It’s the one on the right.

Frozen Battery Bolt

At this point, I put a board under the front of the oil pan to help support the bike so it wouldn’t fall forward when we removed the rear drive, swing arm and transmission.  Then Branden drained the gear oil from the transmission, drive shaft and the rear drive.  He also removed the tachometer cable from rear of the transmission by loosening the bolt.

Before Tranmission Removal

There are four bolts that that attach the transmission to the engine.  You can see one of them in the upper left in this picture.  There is a nut on the upper right used to attach the right side air cleaner housing and then two more bolts on the bottom.

Top Transmission Bolt

On the bottom of the transmission is the clutch throw out rod.  Remove the clutch cable and then pull the C-clip on the top of the pin that attaches the throw out rod to the transmission.

Next, we loosened the drive shaft rubber boot to expose the universal joint.  It attaches to the transmission output shaft with four twelve sided bolts.  You can see one of them in the picture.  Use a box end wrench to take these bolts off. We found that sitting on the rear tire while pressing the rear brake kept the drive shaft from turning while Branden loosened the bolts on the universal joint.

 Pulling Rubber Boot Exposing Universal Joint

Sitting on Tire to Keep Drive Shaft from Turning

Next, we pulled the swing arm nuts using a socket that had been turned down to fit inside the swing arm housing.  Then we backed out the bearings the nut secured so we could slide the swing arm and rear drive off the frame.

Cut Down 27mm Socket

 Pulling the Swing Arm Bearing

Swing Arm and Rear Drive Removed

Rear End Removed

After that, we slide the transmission to the back and off the spline on the rear of the engine.  When it cleared the engine output shaft, we  pull it out on the left side.  It wasn’t too heavy, but both of us supported it as we witdrew it so we didn’t score the splines or put let the transmisson hang on them.

You can see the old transmission neutral switch on the bottom of the transmission (I turned the transmission upside down, so the switch is on the top in this picture) just above the shift lever.  The phenolic securing the switch to the nut had separated and I could spin the center of the switch inside the nut.  Yeah, that would let gear lube leak past the switch all right.

Transmission On the Bench

The transmission splines were dry and need to be lubricated, but otherwise, they look to be in good condition.  I had them replaced at about 50,000 miles when they failed.  I hadn’t lubricated them at 24,000 miles, so I deserved that 🙁  It looks like they can do with some molylube again.

Tranmission Splines In Good Shape

Last, we removed the rear drive from the drive shaft by removing the four nuts that attach the swing arm to the rear drive.

I cleaned up the transmission, rear drive and the swing arm which was pretty caked with dirt and dried gear lube from the leaking neutral switch.  I’m going to paint the swing arm and also do some spot painting of dings on the frame which are a lot easier to get to with the transmission removed.

Rear Drive Removed from Swing Arm

Silver Ghost Restoration-Part 10 Paint Stripping & Preparation

The pace picked up as the weather improved.  I focused on stripping the paint and getting the parts prepared for painting.  Everything is plastic on the R75/6 except the gas tank which is steel.  So, sandpaper is your friend 🙂

Folded Sandpaper for Detail Sanding

I found that sanding the short radius curved areas first prevented rounding off the profiles.  I used wet/dry paper and wet sanded to help the paper last longer.  I dipped the paper in water and cleaned out the paint accumlulation from the paper frequently so it continued to cut quickly.  As soon as I could see a good deal of paint flakes in the water on the parts, I’d wipe it up with rags so the paper wasn’t resanding removed paint flacks.

Brian told me to use 2 strips of paper, folding them in half, then inserting them so the seams are opposite each other.  For sanding flat surfaces, this gave me four sanding surfaces and I got two strong edges for sanding the grooves and tight radius contours.  With the paper wet, having the rough side of the paper under myu palm helped keep my hand from sliding off the paper.  Go slow in the tight radius areas and contours to keep the edges crisp and avoid rounding them off.  In the tighest areas, I used a small flat blade screw driver to crack the paint off.  The blade is thicker than the paint scraper so it doesn’t gouge or scratch the plastic.

Removing Paint Along Detail

Sanding Front Detail

I wet sanded using 220 grit to start. I stripped the clear coat, color coat and primer coats until I started to take off  the next to last primer coat.  Then, using 400 grit, I stripped the next to last primer coat.  This left a smooth surface so hopefully I wFon’t have as much sanding to get the new primer coats smooth.  We shall see.

I found a used R90S bullet fairing with mounting hardware and windscreen on eBay for a good price, so I picked this up and added it to the stack of parts to strip.

R90S Fairing Ready to Sand

R90S Fairing Sanded Ready to Paint

I saved the gas tank and subframe for last and used aircraft stripper to get the paint off.  I found that process was less labor intensive than sanding.  I found it took several applications of the stripper following each with a paint scrapper to get the loosened paint off.  The color coats and top primer coats would bubble up, but the lower primer layers required use of a paint scraper to get them off as all the stripper would do was soften them, not lift them.

Paint Stripper Bubbling Up Paint

Stripped Sub Frame Ready To Paint

After the paint was removed, I took a dremel tool to grind out any cracks that had developed in the plastic parts.  Then, I used fiberglass resin to fill in the ground out areas so they won’t crack again.  Any cracks will grow cracking the pain. The other impact is they also will soak up the paint and develop blisters, so you need be sure you get all of them ground out and filled.

 Dremel Tool Ground Out Cracks

Plastic Crack Filler  Fibre Glass Resin Filling Cracks

After the resin had cured, I sanded the area where fibreglass resin had spread on the surface near the crack.  Then I used spot putty to fill in low spots and to smooth out and level the fiberglass resin filler in the cracks.

You need to keep the putty layers thin.  It usually hardens in about 3o mins.  I lightly sanded with 400 grit to smooth it out and if I needed another layer, added it.  This part of the prepartion is fussy work, but getting the surfaces smoothed out as much as you can goes a long way to having a high quality paint finish, so take your time.

Stripped Gas Tank & Spot Putty

Fenders Sanded w/ Spot Putty Ready to Paint

I had a small crack in the dashboard of the R90S fairing between the cutouts for the two instruments.  Again, I used fiberglass resin on the back to fix the crack.  I found the fairing had been painted over the top of the original paint, so there was a lot more sanding required.  Along the seam at the bottom of the wind screen the paint build up was quite thick so I took it down to the plastic using the folded sandpaper sandwich.

I estimate it took me about 30 hours to do the preparation for two fenders, two side covers, a gas tank and the bullet fairing.  Patience is a virtue when it comes to preparing parts for painting.  By the way, your finger tips are very sensitive and good measuring tools to feel high and low spots.  Use them to check your spot putty filled areas as you sand them.  If you can’t feel the edge you have it feathered into the surrounding surface correctly.

Silver Ghost Restoration-Part 9 Update on Carbs, Engine and Painting

Parts Cleaning

Well, not as much progress as I would have liked, but progress nonetheless. The weather has not been very cooperative for working in the garage until today. So, I washed and cleaned the fenders, tank and side covers in preparation for sanding them down.

I’ve also been grinding out the cracks in the fiberglass around bolt holes in preparation for repairing these stress cracks.

Grinding out Fiber Glass Cracks

Today I also got the cylinders and cylinder heads back from Clem.  He has the rings gapped, and provided a new carburetor top as mine had a cracked throttle cable bushing.  I also expect the repaired carburetor back from the Bing Agency next week along with the carb rebuild kit.

I sent out the cylinder head with the cracked fin to Randy Long of Long’s Custom Services in Pennsylvania.  He specializes in head work and can repair the cracked fins.  You can see the blue paint from the wheel well of my Saturn where I hooked the cylinder head when I was backing out of the garage.  When I get the repaired head back, I’ve got a couple of places who can bead blast the cylinders and heads and I’ll get them cleaned up.

Cylinder Head Fin Damage

I’ve decided to go ahead and add an R90S fairing and may have located one in good shape with most of the hardware.  I picked up the correct turn signal stalks which are longer than the ones on the R75/6 on eBay last week.  The longer R90S stalks are used for the lower mounting points for the fairing.

I’ve been updating the budget as I go and right now I’m just a bit over budget based on current purchases and estimates for the remaining parts and materials, so that’s good.

Silver Ghost Restoration-Part 8 Update on Parts, Engine & Work Plan

Parts have been coming in and I’m under the impression that I’ve ordered most of what I need.  To date, I’ve received:

  • Battery Box, strap and hardware
  • Bar end mirrors
  • Electronic ignition and 2-port coils
  • Ignition wires
  • Exhaust and mufflers
  • Instrument cluster circuit board and back  plate

I sent one of the carburetors to Bing International  last week.   See part 5.  I ordered the #6 rebuild kit and Bing Carburetor maunal which I’ll receive when they return the repaired carb.

Other items I still have to get include:

  • Clutch neutral switch and gaskets (leaking and bike doesn’t start in gear when the clutch is pulled in)
  • Gas tank rondels
  • Gas tank nuts and washers
  • Cylinder head gasket (seems I only have one, not two)
  • Rings

I also have to decide if I am going to keep the stock seat, or get the Bushong cafe seat w/ tail cone and have that upolstered and paint it .  And, I  have to make the call on the R90s aftermarket fairing.

I heard back from Clem at BMW of Denver last week on the engine.  The good news is it checked out fine.  I was concerned the valve seats may have needed replacement, but they are doing well.   I’ll need new rings, but that’s about it for engine parts as I have all the gaskets except one.

One of fins on the right cylinder head got broken [I hooked my car bumper on it a couple years ago when I was backing out of the garge … one of the lowest days I’ve had in a long time 🙁   I found a guy in Kansas, Cycle Works,  that repairs them, and sent a note for a quote.

I realized that there are quite a few rennovations being done.  I put together a spreadsheet of the work and then grouped the tasks by major subsystem.  Finally, I organized them into a work flow that I hope will keep the work orderly and prevent forgeting tasks or having to remove what I just installed to do the next step.  I was surprised by how many things are getting done.  The task list will come in handy to help Branden and I coordinated.