Fairing Repair Concluded

In our previous encounter, we ended with the really sad photo of the damage I did by violating one of my cardinal rules: "If you don't feel comfortable doing something, don't do it." The result was I smashed the fairing into the doorpost and broke my heart.

Image: This was very disheartening. A simple miscalculation has awful consequences.

I made a bad choice. Stupid mistake.

Image: The repair went well. A bit scarred, but fully functional.

Here is a progress photo after making the repair to the ABS plastic fairing and installing the eBay-sourced turn signal.

The method for repairing the plastic is actually quite simple and very effective.

I had purchased a recycled tail light assembly from a used motorcycle parts place in Denver. All I needed was the mount and the red lens. That left me with the black ABS back shell. I cut that up into small pieces, put it into a plastic food storage container and covered the ABS with acetone.

"Wait, what?" you may say. Yes, the acetone melts the ABS, but not the food storage container.

Image: As good as it gets. The old machine is together again.

When the ABS is melted, the result is a slurry in the plastic container. I used bamboo skewers to take some out and apply it liberally to the edges of the broken parts. I did not worry about getting it on the paint. This is never going to look like new anyway.

When you apply this slurry, the acetone in the slurry softens the edges and creates a bond like welding.

The hardest part of the whole exercise is getting the edges of the breaks to line up before the slurry starts to set. I lined everything up before starting to use the slurry on it. I needed to practice getting it aligned in a hurry.

I wore those blue disposable gloves and moved as rapidly as possible. The ABS slurry sets very quickly.

Image: I'm taking her down gently. Won't make the same mistake twice.

The end result is very pleasing to me. Everything went back together just wonderfully. You can see it's all symmetrical and straight. The scars? Well, they add character. Maybe one day I'll paint it, maybe not.

I found a nice new windshield at DennisKirk.com. I adjusted the valve clearances, synced the carbs, changed the oil, and we were ready for a test run.

The bike runs really well. I did notice under the right (wrong?) circumstances the clutch slips a tad, and I had to order (another!) starter solenoid, which is a bit frustrating.

I took 'er out for a spin, and I'm happy to report that all is well.

Keeping an old thing alive is a satisfying way to spend my time and energy. It's far too easy to throw it away and buy a new one. I'm much more pleased with an old bike that runs well than I would be with a more modern bike that requires a computer to maintain.

That's not to say I wouldn't want to own one of those. Not at all. I'm just saying that, like me, this old thing isn't quite ready to head off to the bone yard just yet. We both, you guessed it, 'still work'.

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