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Paint for both metal and plastic?

9403 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  TahoeTW200
I'm giving some thought to repainting my TW. I would remove and strip the fuel tank, which of course is metal. I'd like to also paint the plastic parts (fenders, side covers, etc.) to match. The trick is... I know of rattle can paints (Krylon Fusion) which are ok for plastic, but what about the metal tank? I want to have the colors match. Might I be best to take the parts to an auto body shop for painting once I havr them stripped and prepped?

Any what about the vinyl (the seat). What would work for that?

Whatja think?? Anyone done a repaint job on their TW? What did you use and how did it work out?
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If you're wanting a really nice look and you're going to ride primarily street and easy trails (dirt road style), you could get a body shop to paint it, and they could use the same paint for the tank and for the plastics. They would add "flexative" to the paint for the plastic areas to prevent the paint from cracking. It's the same stuff that they use for the front spoiler on corvettes and most any car these days with a plastic bumper. A friend of mine painted his KX250 like that one time and actually raced the bike every weekend on the motocross track. It held up fairly well, although the paint eventually gave up on the fenders. You're probably talking about a good amount of money, unless you know a paint and body man (maybe a fellow tdubber) who'd give you a discounted deal.

Personally, I would use regular paint on the tank, and the plastic paint on the fenders. I do alot of "exploration" type riding and I know mine would take a beating. You might not get a perfect match, but you could do it all yourself and re-touch up the fenders as needed. Another thought is to setup a two tone scheme, so you would paint the plastic and tank a different color on purpose. I've never tried the plastic paint on metal, but I'll go out there today and put it on a test panel, see what happens, and report back.

I would get a new cover for the seat. You can get them on eBay for cheap (I think about $30), either in regular or all-gripper. I have read some posts on this forum where people have painted their seat with the vinyl paint. Basically, it sounds like it wears off and you have to recoat it on occasion. A new seat cover works wonders for the looks of a bike.
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I tried the Krylon Fusion on a metal test panel. It went on smooth, just like a "normal" can of spray paint. I see no reason why it couldn't be used, and that may solve your color dilemma, if you can find a color you like in the Fusion. The can actually says its good for metal as well.

If it doesn't any strange when it tries, I'll chime back in.
Sorry, I can't help you because of all the changes in paints since I had a body shop 30 years ago. My son owns a body shop and does all my painting these days.
I'm not really happy with the Fusion on plastic. It's a bit brittle and doesn't stick super well.
I know there are vinyl dies for seat covers. I have no idea where to get them or how to use them. I'll call my son tomorrow and find out the best way to match paint on metal and plastic.
I picked my son's brain at breakfast this morning.


1) Wash off dirt;

2) Degrease/dewax;

3) Wash off dirt;

4) Degrease/dewax;

5) Scotch-Brite Hand Grey Pad Ultra-Fine;

6) Wash off dirt;

7) Degrease/dewax;

8) Wash off dirt;

9) Degrease/dewax;

10) Wipe with clean tack cloth;

11) Apply solvent-based non-conductive "adhesion promoter";

12) Apply tinted primer (no-sand if possible, sandable if necessary);

13) Sand primer if sandable is used;

12A) Repeat 7-13 until surface is smooth.

14) Wash off dirt;

15) Degrease/dewax;

16) Wash off dirt;

17) Degrease/dewax;

17) Wipe with clean tack cloth;

18) Apply low temperature bake, solvent-based base coat with "flexibility improver additive";

18A) Apply 2nd part with "flexibility improver additive" if using a 2-part base coat;

19) Bake basecoat at 120*F (easily obtained by putting parts and a lightbulb in any box, oven, old frig, etc.)

20) Wash off dirt;

21) Degrease/dewax;

22) Wash off dirt;

23) Degrease/dewax;

24) Wet-sand base coat;

25) Wash off dirt;

26) Degrease/dewax;

27) Wash off dirt;

28) Degrease/dewax;

29) Wipe with clean tack cloth;

30) Apply low temperature bake, solvent-based clearcoat with "flexibility improver additive";

31) Bake clearcoat at 120*F.

My son uses only Dupont products in compatible families. Stick with one product family, all from the same manufacturer, to avoid compatibility issues. It is not possible to wipe dry sufficient for painting--after washing and degreasing, wipe with a clean, dry, lint-free chamois and set the part aside to air dry. Wear clear plastic gloves when handling parts because the oils on your skin will cause problems. Note that if plastic vibration and/or flexing is excessive, paint will still fail.
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I've used Rustoleum plastic primer and plastic paint on the trunk I purchased for my TW so I could match the bike. The paint went on smoothly with no problems. I've had the trunk on my bike since around late June, early July of last year, and it's held up just fine. I've even kicked it many times with my boot while dismounting, and was able to wipe the scuffs off just fine. I got the primer and paint from Auto Zone, for around $5 or $6 a can.

And if it helps, what I did was purchased an all black trunk. The bottom half was flat black, and the top half was gloss black. I scuffed the top of the trunk with some 600 grit sanding paper. Then, after covering the bottom of the trunk, which I left flat black, I painted two coats of the plastic primer, than three coats of the white plastic paint, and the trunk came out looking like it came with my bike. I just recently added a cycleracks rack, and now I can't get the trunk to fit, but if I get one that does, and the colors are wrong, I will be doing the exact same thing.

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Do i really have to spray paint my TW ? Where do i buy new plastics ? The frame is one thing but the plastics i want to replace .

thanks mike
Do i really have to spray paint my TW ? Where do i buy new plastics ? The frame is one thing but the plastics i want to replace .

thanks mike


That sucks for me.

That sucks for me.
That sucks for me.
eBay and patience.
Yup... if there were a good cheap source for plastic do you think we'd go to the trouble of painting? A couple guys here have already tried vinyl wrapping. I'm looking into in myself. Looks like it could offer a better finish than paint and if you're into graphics, you could really do some fun stuff. The other nice thing is if you decide you don't like it anymore or wanna do something else, it's easy to strip off.
Seats are easy. You can do a basic d.i.y reupholster yourself if you're handy with a stapler.

I'm not sure how the availabilty/pricing here in soCal compares with other states/countries, but I can get a seat recovered in simple stretched vinyl for about 20 dollars at any upholstery shop unless you want a weird color or special order material.

For 35 my local guy sews them up with gore points and stitched noses, just like O.E.M.

I wouldn't mess with paint/dyes.
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thanks alot fellas.
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