Frame Coatings

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FRAME COATINGS: as I understand it I have several alternatives: (1) PAINT as per original factory, some sort of enamal or Imtron ? aircraft paint. Relativily cheap and easy to touch up nicks. Easily masked off, Medium thickness and easy to control. (2) POWDER COAT, Expensive, limited colors, signifigant thickness buildup requirering careful masking or chipping. Difficult to touch up small nicks. (3) Industrial HARD CHROME process. Expensive. Possible thickness buildup (how did the original Matisse frames get around this problem?). Very corrosion resistant! Looks nice. (4) PARKERIZE - difficult to find large enough tank to submerse entire frame. Chemicals are corrosive and require heat to work with. Difficulties from a practical stand point as lots of outdoor room and tank fabrication required with a heat source. Coating is very thin, on order of a few thousands of an inch but Parkerization holds oils in it's porous surface and looks differend, sort of a charchole or deep grey matt colour. Parkerizing is not completely rust proof and can be scratched or worn off and is hard to touchup. (5) GUNCOTE - commericial trade name for a spray on coating for firearms. Must be baked at normal oven temperatures (300 F) but is thin, 0.003" to 0.005", very hard and durable and can be touched up without having to redo the whole frame. About the same cost as enamal paint but some sort of temporary oven would need to be built. Colour selection is limited but not bad.

Has anyone experiance with the pros & cons of different coatings for the frame? Any other suggestions?
 

Ron L

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1) PAINT as per original factory, some sort of enamal or Imtron ?
First of all, the original paint certainly was not Imron (polyurethane). It was a modest quality enamel. Straight polyurethanes should only be used with a self contained breathing apparatus in a professional booth. Most 2-component auto refinish enamels are acrylic/urethane and are much easier and safer to spray and give good chemical resistance and flow. Plus they are relatively easy to repair. I have a frame that was painted with Imron 10 years ago and while it is tough, it chips and is a bear to touch up. A 2-component industrial electrostatic epoxy spray might be the best choice if you can find someone to do it. Not a do-it-yourself operation. Contrary to your statement, I don't find a good paint job inexpensive. A quart of black auto enamel and catalyst can cost about $70. Custom solid colors can be $120 or more. Pearls and flake even more. Plus you need a good epoxy primer (another $60 quart with catalyst) and clear topcoat for gloss and toughness.

(2) POWDER COAT, Expensive, limited colors,
I have never had a frame powder coated, but the prices I hear quoted are $200-300. This usually includes blasting the frame. Actually a good deal compared to a well prepped liquid paint job. Cons- no primer coat. The powder must adhere well to the bare surface. There are several different chemistries for powder, some better suited to frames than others. Any bare edge is a source for corrosion to creep in. There is nothing magic about powder. Its major selling point is it is very environmentally friendly. Like a good paint job, a good powder job depends on the painter, preparation, and the type of powder.

Colors are not limited. Harley uses powder exclusively on the entire motorcycle. The company I work for supplies it.

(3) Industrial HARD CHROME process

You don't mean hard chrome. Hard chrome is dull to matte. You probably mean nickel plate or "show" chrome (copper/nickel/chrome). I don't know if I would agree about the corrosion resistance. One problem is the entire frame is dipped into very acidic solutions. If this is not completely neutralized you could have issues with the metal being corroded from the inside out.

I never heard of any one parkerizing or "gunkote" on a frame.

My preference is paint. 2-component acrylic urethane like Deltron, etc. Pretty tough, easy to repair the gravel nicks, etc. I'm trying to negotiate with a small industrial painter to do a frame with electrostatic epoxy, to see if it's any better, but I'm not there yet.

Ron L
 
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Here is my painting plan bearing in mind the steel has been stripped, repaired and phosphoed. Prime with rustoleum auto primmer. Color coat with rustoleum metalic silver. 3 clearcoats ( generic automotive type). easy to do. Fairly easy to fix. Very tough stuff. I don't care for powder coat. It can rust beneath the surface and is hard to spot until it starts to swell. I may regret it but I want to try a color frame. Frame tank and covers will be metalic silver first then I will use duplicolor translucent cobalt on the tank ,covers and fenders. Next a clear with metalflake. Last will be a few more clears for some depth. Script will be added on top of the flaked coat. I may paint the script. haven't decided yet . Harder but safer after all that work.
I have shot clearcoat on these paints with no problem. When I use phospho for rust killing I brush it on throughly then wipe it off with clean rags. If it turns white I scotchbrite it before the primer goes on. Paint really latches on that phospho treated steel.
Forgot to mention that I live 100yards from salt water so corrosion is a primary concern.
 
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Re. RonL's comments - Educational and interesting. Actually, I did mean hard chrome for the frame. Wasn't aware of the potential corrosion issues with either the chrome or the powder coat. I was aware that Imron had safety issues but I am not a painter or body person, just threw the Imron in there to solicit discussion.

2-component acrylic urethane like Deltron or the electrostatic epoxy are looking pretty good at the moment. I may try the Guncote on a smaller component like the swing arm and see if there is any advantage over paint.

Figure I have a few years to play around here so I am in no rush on this restoration.
 
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I used Deltron PPG black base on my last bike. It covered nicely. I heard it is getting scarce. A guy told me they no longer make it. Someone gave me about a cup full and it covered a tank and two fenders with some left over.
 
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I don't want to make light of the health hazard from inhaling nasty urethane paint vapors but...... I talked to the coatings folks at work and they didn't freak out over the idea of spraying Imron in a well ventilated area while wearing a cartridge type half face filter respirator. A couple of times, not every day. Imron is some incredibly tough stuff, looks good and sprays easy. With proper surface preparation I ended up with good results using my Harbor Freight $15 gun.
If anybody's interested I can get some more details on any of this from people that deal with coatings every day.
 

Ron L

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I don't want to make light of the health hazard from inhaling nasty urethane paint vapors but...... I talked to the coatings folks at work and they didn't freak out over the idea of spraying Imron in a well ventilated area while wearing a cartridge type half face filter respirator.
I have been a coatings chemist for PPG and BASF for 35 years and currently responsible for regulatory affairs in North and South America. This includes Safety, Environmental, and Health regulations. I know the studies on inhalation of isocyanate vapor. I will unequivocably state that anyone who sprays isocyanate containing materials without the proper safety equipment is a fool. (and a half mask respirator is NOT proper safety equipment!)

Don't do it and don't let your friends do it!
 
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Thanks RonL ... The Imron is a no starter partly for cost reasons but also for the safety issues ... I was in the Canadian Armed Forces at the time Imron came on the market ... for aircraft as I recall ... took several years for safety issues to be identified. My brother in law was a refinisher tech and painted inside Lockheed Herculeas with the stuff ... said the cheapest high was to paint an A/C and then drop by the mess for a beer ... and he WAS wearing a full body suit with an outside air supply!

Any ideas about this GunCote product?
 
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Brit303 said:
Thanks RonL ... The Imron is a no starter partly for cost reasons but also for the safety issues ... I was in the Canadian Armed Forces at the time Imron came on the market ... for aircraft as I recall ... took several years for safety issues to be identified. My brother in law was a refinisher tech and painted inside Lockheed Herculeas with the stuff ... said the cheapest high was to paint an A/C and then drop by the mess for a beer ... and he WAS wearing a full body suit with an outside air supply!

Any ideas about this GunCote product?

Has there been anything lately (aside from powdercoat) to replace Imron?
 

Ron L

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The new acyrlic-urethane two pack systems are getting quite close to the polyurethane (Imron). However, fleets and aircraft still use polyurethane for its toughness.
 
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I've been waiting for the humidity to get below 90% down here so I could try some 1 part epoxy from PJ-1 called Fast Black on my center stand. It is supposed to be "porcelain hard" and gloss black and comes in a spray can. If it's any good it might be an option for parts that get scuffed up easily and need to be touched up from time to time. Almost anything you paint the frame with today will be a big improvement over what the factory did and using a Phosphoric treatment and epoxy primer will ensure good corrosion inhibition. It's a shame that Imron is such a nasty product and difficult to use because it sure did flow out nice and shiny with no need to rub out or buff.

Scooter
 

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Scooter,

I looked into that epoxy they call it, and what it is is an enamel that supposedly doesn't need primer. I used some on some metal outdoor chairs and it is ok for that, I am not sure I would use it for a M/C. I even got some of the bar paint VHT had and was not too impressed with it. I think most spray can paints are either enamel or lacquer. I don't know what the original paint was, but it is pretty tough, I can't get it off my battery tray without a lot of sanding. I put some spray can enamel on my frame and was ultimately dissapointed because it would not hold up to the gas and oil. Easy enough to fix if you can get to it, but the cradle and swing arm were a mess in the end.

Dave
69 'S' project
 

Ron L

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I think most spray can paints are either enamel or lacquer.
Even in the paint industry there is much confusion as to the definition of "enamel" and "lacquer", especially when you include Europe.

Traditionally a lacquer cures solely by the evaporation of solvent. Originally based on the secretion of the lac bug (really!), what was used until the early '70's was nitrocellulose based (also called "gun cotton"). This type of paint was easy to spray and work flat by sanding, rubbing and buffing. With the advances of acrylic resin technology, nitrocellulose was replaced by "acrylic lacquer" which was basically a lightly crosslinked acrylic enamel.

An enamel was defined as a chemically crosslinked system. So as the nitrocellulose was phased out the distinction between "lacquer" and "enamel" got very gray. Today, most major refinish suppliers do not even use the term "lacquer", which has come to mean an easily worked finish to achieve high gloss.

As to the PJ-1 Fast Black, I tried some on small parts and found it OK, but certainly not outstanding. It also seemed to chip fairly easily.
 
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Ron L said:
I don't want to make light of the health hazard from inhaling nasty urethane paint vapors but...... I talked to the coatings folks at work and they didn't freak out over the idea of spraying Imron in a well ventilated area while wearing a cartridge type half face filter respirator.
I have a friend that has 1/3 lung capacity due to Imron painting.
 
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