Thursday, April 12, 2007

More RD250 Progress

I've spent the last couple nights working hard on the restoration of my 1975 Yamaha RD250 (NOT the bike at right). I've taken what seems like a couple dozen parts to TCFWIW to perform some restorative work on them.

The majority of the parts are steel, and the black paint on them has weathered off long, long ago. Due to the paint's slow disappearing act, rust has decided to show itself, sometimes in large, destructive amounts. Fortunately, like I said, most of the parts are steel, so repair is not that difficult.

So, I loaded up the family truckster with some parts, some tape, some spray automotive primer, and some Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer and headed to my place of employment.

I'm lucky to have place like I do to perform this kind of work. The company for which I work (TCFWIW) used to have full-scale manufacturing capability under its expansive roofs, but as of late 2004, it's moved on. But, the large and well-equipped model shop has remained intact. Since the place is pretty lenient about after-hours work (especially if you're friends with the facility manager), I've got a full shop at my disposal whenever I'd like.

When I got to work, I let the guard know I was going to be there for a couple hours and toted my stuff inside. I powered up one of our solvent baths and made short work of all the grease, oil, and grime that had built up on the parts over the years. The swingarm was the worst. because of the drive chain, I'm sure.

Once that was completed, and the parts were thoroughly dried with compressed air, I fired up one of our media-blasting cabinets and went to work on the parts. Because the media and the through-wall gloves were recently replaced, getting rid of the rust and old paint was a comfortable and easy task. As I finished cleaning each part, I made sure it was dust-free and hung it in our paint booth. Some automotive primer did a great job covering the bare metal. In the places where the sandblaster couldn't remove some of the rust, the part was hit with some Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer (which is good stuff, by the way).

A couple of the parts had some pretty severe rust damage, so I had to fire up the welder to add some metal to them and then reshape them. Fortunately, that was pretty easy, and I got them cleaned and primed as well.

I left the parts hang and cure all night, and they should be ready for another coat this evening. Soon after, I'll hit them with some satin black and some clearcoat and they should look good as new. Heck, even in just primer, they look pretty darn good.

I've still got to find a place to blast and powdercoat the frame, though. unfortunately, all of the cabinets at work are too small to fit the frame, and I'm not going to make a mess of the backyard with an external blaster. Besides, I'd rather have the frame powdercoated, so I've got no issues paying someone to do it.

I also recently received the new (well, undamaged) steering stem and triple clamps, to replace my damaged ones. That's a headache lifted. I thought for sure that I was going to have a really difficult (and expensive) time figuring out how to replace the stripped threads on the main stem. I did a lot of swearing when I found that lovely surprise.

All in all, things are cleaning up pretty well. Once the frame is painted, I'm pretty much ready to start reassembling.

Once the paintwork is done, it's time to order a few new parts!


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