Friday, November 23, 2012

Winter Projects: XS650 Edition Part II

Its the day after Thanksgiving, got the day off from work and the weather is dark and dreary, looks like its time to make a few more baby steps on progressing the Tracker.  I got all the aluminum side covers off, cleaned and ready for a spit shine.  I'm new to shining/polishing aluminum so I spent a bit of time asking around and browsing different forums on the subject.  Because the Tracker is almost 40 years old, it has its fair share of pitting, scratching, and gouges; I thought wet sanding the pieces with different grits would be my best bet to get rid of some of these imperfections.

BEFORE                                                                                                                                        AFTER

I start by sanding each piece (8 pieces) with 800, 1000, and 1500 grit sand paper I picked up at the local autoparts store.  Just sanding the pieces made a world of difference even before I polished.  One of the nice parts about living in a bachelor pad is there is nobody to yell at me for doing all this in the living room in front of the TV.  I have been using a Power Rangers bed sheet I had from when I was a kid to protect the top of the table from getting scratched, (I really just thought it was cool, and wanted an excuse to show it off).  I keep the bottom of a milk jug filled with water and a wash cloth nearby to clean of the pieces to see the spots I have hit and missed, also a towel for when I make a mess.

I knew that the process in which I chose to clean these pieces was an all or nothing venture, if I started that meant that I HAD to finish each piece the same way.  After I am finished with the wetsanding process I clean the piece good with warm soapy water, let it dry and then polish it by hand.  I am using Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish.  The smaller pieces take about 45 minute each start to finish, but the larger side cover took about 5 hours itself, but it was worth it; it looks great.  I might hit the pieces again however, you can see spots that may need a little more sanding after you have shined them up.  It's all in the details, I cannot wait until they're done and I can re-install them on the bike.

1 comment:

Doctor Bob said...

Try and spend some time cleaning where the bolts are,as these areas are harder to keep clean when the casings are back on the bike. If you use `solvol blue` when they are back on then you should be able to get a mirror shine. When they are back on the bike you can use more pressure when polishing. I hope you are wearing gloves as you will get covered in black shit!