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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,

I used an acrylic paint and applied a clear coat finish to my gas tank and it looked great until I spilled some gas on it.

Now I have it stripped back down to bare metal and am wondering what to use. Is laquer ok?

I'm not a paint guy and body shops want $400 just to paint my tank black. I could maybe understand $300 to $400 for some special metalflake color.

Thanks for all replies.
 

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10drum. I would skip those paints and just use urethanes. I have been custom painting bikes for 35 years and all I use now are the urethanes. My preference are the paints made by Spies Hecker but any good brand will work. If you find a shop that only charges $400 you are doing good. The paint alone runs around $60 or so and then there is the cost of the clear. Factor in the rest of the materials and time to strip, prime, paint and buff if needed and the costs are understood rapidly. Good luck with your paint job. Good color choice!
 

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Are urethanes available at local paint/hardware places?
I am also thinking of painting my tank. However, I want to actually attempt to paint it a flat black color.
With all the prep and cost of paint, I'm sure that I could still do it for less than 300-400$.
However, I'm not sure where I would get the paints. Any ideas?
 

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Anyone can do it for less than a paint shop! In fact, you can do it for the cost of paint, sandpaper, primer, clearcoat, more sandpaper, steel wool, thinner/reducer, paint gun, compressor, jitterbug sander, detail sander, paint booth, electricity to run lighting, fans, compressor and extractor, and rental of the shop location, plus property & business taxes.

...oh yeah, and LABOR.

So, yeah, you could save the amount spent on LABOR, if you do it yourself!
 

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for urethanes you need to go to an autobody supply store . at the very least you're going to need a compressor , spray gun , regulator , seperator and a respirator .

i've seen how to paint books in auto parts stores . maybe grab one and read some first .

cheers , Woody
 

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Anyone can do it for less than a paint shop! In fact, you can do it for the cost of paint, sandpaper, primer, clearcoat, more sandpaper, steel wool, thinner/reducer, paint gun, compressor, jitterbug sander, detail sander, paint booth, electricity to run lighting, fans, compressor and extractor, and rental of the shop location, plus property & business taxes.

...oh yeah, and LABOR.

So, yeah, you could save the amount spent on LABOR, if you do it yourself!
"So you're saying there's a chance?" - Lloyd

Read ya - loud and clear
 

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You can do it yourself like many others have done. It is a big investment though for all the equipment and supplies. The major factor to keep in mind is that you can't just grab a dust mask and start spraying. The urethanes are DEADLY! You either need a full face mask with proper cartridges or an air supplied mask which has to run off a second compressor designed for it. I just use the full face mask and a good one will cost you well over $100. Not trying to discourage you at all but just looking at it in a practical way. If you do decide to do it yourself, don't hesitate to ask questions!
 

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If you just want your tank painted, Empire GP will do it for about $275, maybe less if it is a solid color. They did two tanks for me and although one got damaged in the painter's truck on the way back to me (met him at a job site) and the other had a stripe that was done crooked (let his shop guy paint it) he is fixing both of them, no questions asked. He's a pretty stand up guy. Does a lot of race bikes, including plastic welding that does not crack later. Here's a link to his website. http://www.empiregp.com/gas-tank-repair.cfm

His name is Bob Brown. He can pull dents, line your tank with Caswell's liner, whatever you want. He sealed the neck on both of mine with Caswells instead of silver soldering. I pressure tested the tanks when I got them back and no leaks at the necks. He said people ship him tanks and plastic from all over the country for him to fix. He's very proud of his low prices.
regards,
Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the replies.

I realize the investment a body shop has in their facility, but I still think $400 is too high to paint a 3 1/2 gal gas tank black.

My wife ran over a raccoon and busted up the front valance on her car. The bill was $600 to replace & paint the valance...Fair enough.

I was bringing the body shop(s) a smooth glass beaded gas tank.I even offered to prime it for them. I could've had it blasted and powder coated for $100, I just didn't want something that permanent, I may want to change the color someday.

I did some checking on urethanes and that is what the clear I used the first time was. I also found out that I should've baked it in an oven at 150 degrees for about 30 minutes. I'll probably hit it with some laquer this time and see how it does and if I don't like it I may try the oven trick.

Thanks again for all replies.
 

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Shootin' Lacq...

There's an entertaining read @:

http://www.chuckhawks.com/harley_paintin.htm

on how one guy chose to shoot lacquer on his sportster to save $$.

I've not played with the stuff before but have seen and heard from guys with more experience in a spray booth that any shade tree interested in painting can do a good enough job with lacquer to make a garage resto look purdy until more $$ grows on that tree out back.

If nothing else, the read is worth the 7.5 minutes of your life you'll never get back and waay better than any time spent pulling weeds or edging lawns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Jake,

I pretty much follow what he has recomended. I just need to find some 1200 grit paper, The Napa store only has 400 & below.

This bike is a rider not intended to be "hands off" show bike. I have not hesitated to spend some extra cash on items like a electronic ignition, new chain, sprockets, and other items that no one will see.

Thanks for the article, I marked it as a favorite.
 

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You can do some impressive paint work with rattle cans. Years ago I had a pristine Sportster that was for sale. An old racing buddy asked if he could take it for a spin. They took him to the hospital in an ambulance with two broken legs and my bike came home in the back of my pick-up.

I bought replacement parts at a local swap meet and fixed the rest. I repainted all the sheetmetal with Duplicolor rattle cans. Bought the paint at an auto parts store. Used HD decals and Duplicolor clear. Bike looked like brand new when I was done. It turned out so nice that later that same year I bought a very ugly Superglide and transformed it into a swan over the winter. Duplicolor rattle cans provided the paint once again. This was in the 80's when gasoline was not like it is today. Not sure how that paint would hold up to a spill of today's gas. But back then, it held up just fine.
Most privateer roadracers are painted with rattle cans for obvious reasons.

I suggest you get a can of Duplicolor, paint something and see how it holds up to a paint spill. There are even better paints in rattle cans sold at autobody supply houses. Our local autobody suppliers will put any color you want in rattle cans, including 2 part urethanes. I think it's about $26 a can plus the paint. Or that could included the price of the paint.
regards,
Rob
 

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Lacquer is definately the inexpensive way out, easy to spray and very forgiving. Any blemishes can be wet sanded and buffed out. The odors are still not all that good for you(toluene, xzylene etc.) The major issue is the longevity with fuel spills. Since you may be painting it again in the future, I would shoot it with lacquer and carry a tissue with me. I used to carry some and if I spilled any gas, I dipped it in the window wash tank at the pumps and wiped it off!
Good luck and keep us posted on how it comes out
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Duplicolor is what I used the first time. It looked great for a rattle cans. It had just a little bit of orange peel. I had to tape each side to get the clear coat right without over spray. The clear coat is what didn't like the gas. I have a glass bead machine at work and it'll take the paint off in about 10 minutes so It's no big deal to try something new. I'm gonna try some MartinSenour laquer in a can and see how it holds up.

When I was a kid I had a friend that use to paint go-carts and dirtbikes with rattle cans in the 60's. He did some great looking faded lace work with those cans.
 

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urethane is what most body shops use. I buy PP&G paint. The shopline products are good enough for me. but Like someone else said there is a lot of stuff you need to have. a compressor that can maintain 6SCFM per min if your using a HVLP pressure gun. I use a 1.4 mm tip to shoot paint. The paint isnt cheap your looking at 30 bucks for the primer, 50 bucks for the paint and 50 bucks for the clear. Painting is a expensive habit but dont paint with lacquer, its way to soft and if you get some gas on it you will be wishing you hadnt.
 

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I paid $440 to have my tank and side panels painted. (one colour, no poop hooks)
I did not want a base coat/clear coat, but the guy who ran the bodyshop used to ride and he said the only paint I use is emron. Now I have heard of it cause that is what they paint semi-trucks with cause it is a bit resistent to stone chips. He also said that the tree huggers almost have this type of paint banned, so next time I need a paint job I might have to settle for less. I have spilled gas on it a few times and it seems to stand up well.
 

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From experience seeking out a "frugal" paint job on a tank I have some advice. $400 for good color and bullet proof clearcoat is a deal. Having done the Do it Yourself job (spilled gas lost paint, looks cheap), then paid for a "bargin" paint job (held up to gas, but didnt look much better than do it yourself, I finally sucked it up and dropped $600 for a tank and fender paint job. I wish I had just done it in the first place. The difference between what a Pro shop can do and the best you could do as an amatuer is ridiculous. There is an art to paint (even a single color) that can be learned in one go.

My two sense, save up some dough and let a pro do your paint, besides if they screw it up they are on the hook to fix it, if you screw it up (and on your first go you probably will) you could easily spend double the money anyway.
 

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Painting 365 Days a year

IMPORTANT! Any bare metal surface must be primed using "ETCHING PRIMER" It contains substrates that ETCH (eat) into the metal (all metals) It comes in rattle cans at your local paint store. NO LAQUERS! I thought that went out last century. Basecoat(the color)/Clearcoat, which is also called 2-stage, is the best way to go. So.Cal. prices are 25 basecoat(pint),25 clearcoat(quart), 15 cearcoat hardener/activator(half pint), 12 basecoat stabilizer(reducer) Paint gun at Harbor Freight or a swap meet -30. Your paint store has an airasol can with a detachable bottle that works great. Ask for product instructions and spray a toy or something (practice) then spray away! Any runs in your clear can be wet sanded w/ 1000 then 2000 and buffed. Thats a whole nuther art. Never had a problem with the gas. Be careful for a couple weeks and the clear will do its part. then again, the heat down here does its job also. G.L. Oh, yeah the color red can double/triple the price. Lots of cheese for that pigment baby!
 

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DNK has got it right!
2 stage or 2 pack as we call it here works well. I did my gas tank and fenders with a couple of rattle cans and it looks pretty good. I used etch primer, followed by primer/filler, a silver base coat, metallic blue top coat and then the clear coat. I wet sanded everything between coats, used a good mask (free from work) and painted the lot outside. To help bake the paint I borrowed my girlfriends hairdrier (don't tell her :))
I figure the whole lot cost me about 100 euros (150 US)

Here's a couple of pics.

Webby
 

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I used semi-gloss black Duplicolor engine paint no clear coat. It says the engine paint is ok with gas. I have spilled gas all on the tank, and so far everything is ok...but I am doing the flat black primer look.....
 
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