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Discussion Starter #1
Well, with winter comming, I've started compiling the list of big projects to do during bike downtime. On top of my list is painting of the engine block - I grow weary of that aluminum gray, and am looking forward to a nice flat black coat to cover it. Here are the questions I have :

1) What kind of paint should I be using, considering the operating temperatures of engine block etc? I'm aiming for satin/flat black. Is powder-coat a feasible option, or will it be too thick to allow for unhindered heat dissipation? Should I be using special car engine block paints instead?

2) I'm considering sandfing the paint off the leading edges of radiator fins once block is painted, to get those cool-looky accents. Anything I should be careful of anything in particular as I do that? What should I use to preserve the shiny gleam of metal after I sand off the paint?

3) Any general caveats or experiences from those who've already done this?
 

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1. Any high temp paint will work fine. As you wish for a flat black, you are in luck there as this is the easiest to find. They make some specificly for aluminun BBQ grills that would work well.
Make sure you degrease the engine really well and clean it off with paint thinner or contact cleaner before painting. Most of these paints will leave a harder finish after they have been heated up..so until you can get the bike started up to "bake in" the paint, be carefull as it will be soft and easy to scratch off.
Powder coats will not work because they will get softer when heated and can actualy run off.

2. I would sand the ends of the fins nice and flat before you paint. This will make it easier to get the paint off afterwords. A sanding block and some 220 grit should be fine. You might need to use some powered sander for bad nicks or grooves. After you paint, befoe you "coook in" the paint, you can remove alot with a laquer thinner rag. Just be carefull to wipe only where you want the paint off. After 'cooking' use the sanding block again.
Once painted, you can always touch up areas that need it.

3. I had an engine out of the frame, so it was easier to do this, some parts I baked in an oven, others I waited until the motor was back in and could be run. No real tips here other than to make sure the engine is clean, and you may have to sand some parts as they can have a clear varnish on them. I know the side covers and lower fork tubes do, not sure about the other parts of the Vulcan engine. (I painted a yamaha engine)

KM
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice, Knife :)

At this point, one item that worries me the most is making sure that paint goes only where it's supposed to - I can imagine paint on various 'sealed' joints causing massive problems down the road. Any idea how many locations like that am I looking at? Other than that... well, we'll see what happens - wish me luck come first snows :D
 

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Any high temp paint will work fine. As you wish for a flat black, you are in luck there as this is the easiest to find. They make some specificly for aluminun BBQ grills that would work well.

KM

It's called BBQ Black, you can ususualy buy it at a hardware store. (other places too I am sure) It comes in 2 varieties. Brush on or spray on (rattlecan).

Good luck, looking forward to seeing this. Since I want to paint my whole bike black, this'll be somethign I'd want to follow.
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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Thanks for the advice, Knife :)

At this point, one item that worries me the most is making sure that paint goes only where it's supposed to - I can imagine paint on various 'sealed' joints causing massive problems down the road. Any idea how many locations like that am I looking at? Other than that... well, we'll see what happens - wish me luck come first snows :D
A LOT! :doh:
Check HERE, at Ron Ayers.
Look at Cylinder Head, Cylinder Head Covers, Engine Covers and Front Bevel Gear.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Heh, way to encourage a man, Hyper :)

I suspect I will have to make plastic templates to bolt over all the openings etc, and 'fill' the remaining screwholes with disposable screws...

Does anyone have experiences with painting the assembled engine? (instead of taking it apart)? I foresee numerous problems with that, but I guess it's worth asking.
 

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Well, the VN700A1s came with flat black engine blocks, but I suspect that it was painted before final assembly...
 

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It is possible to powder coat the engine block as I have a bike that had been treated in this way - not a VN750 though. I don't ride it much at present and can't give advice about how well it stands up, but it looks pretty good - it is not a matt black finish though, thrwere is a certain shine to it. I have a couple of not very good pics but don't know how to post them on the message board. If you want to see them just for a very vague idea I can email them over.
I also had a Virago where the cooling fins were painted matt black. I don't know what paint was used but I never noticed that it suffered from a heat problem.
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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Heh, way to encourage a man, Hyper :)

LOL, Sorry Andro!! I owe ya one for that :beerchug:
If you just plan on using regular, Hi-temp paint, I wouldn't think it'd be too much trouble if some kind of engine teardown would be needed in the furture, as long as the paint wasn't put on too thick.
As for powder coating, if that's done while the engine is assembled, it could make disassembly a little more difficult, but not entirely impossible.
 

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I found the easiet way to do the cooling fins was to go ahead and paint them and then after the paint cured, I used a dremel with a little sanding drum to take the paint off. After this, i used one of those little buffing wheels on the dremel with a little of that red polishing clay. It came out really nice as pictured below. For the paint, VHT actually makes a textured black engine paint that does a great job and covers any little imperfections...

DSCN0545.JPG
 

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You could powder coat, the engine heat will not reflow the powder. I powder coated the exhaust tips on my Meanie's pipes with no problem.

Powder coat needs to be baked in an oven at 350F, I do not think the block, heads, or any other part get that hot.

I am considering doing this myself.

Jon
 
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