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XRV750 RD04
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Not sure if this has been discussed already, but I got some plastic penetrating vinyl dye delivered this morning, and have just finished spraying the faded black plastic parts of my bike (chain guard, mudguard etc).

The results so far have blown me away. They went from old, tatty looking scuffed and faded, to what look like brand new parts apart from the odd little gouge here and there that betray their age (though even these are less noticeable once coloured and they can probably be plastic filled, sanded and re-dyed to make them perfect I guess - most of them are in hidden places anyway like under the mudguard etc.).

I spent ages searching for this stuff online as it doesn't appear to be very common in this country (online and at local stores here anyway). Only one online supplier that I could find that had it, that's importing it from the US:

USAutomotive - The UK number one supplier of American Car Parts

That's the stuff I used. The satin black is a good match to the original black colour (from what I could tell from matching it up to the unfaded areas like under the numberplate anyway). They also do gloss black and a range of other colours. I've heard that you can recolour darker colours to other colours by dying white first, then the colour you want (though haven't tried this myself so not sure how well it'd work on bike parts).

I think plasti-kote do one as well, but finding information online about the exact plasti-kote to use (for sale in this country at least), and finding an online supplier proved too difficult so I gave up.

I came across endless bumper sprays and coatings and other such things claiming to restore plastic, but they all seemed to coat the plastic (and effect the finish then wear or wash off if online reports are anything to go by).

Spraying this stuff on is unreal. The plastic sucks it up like a sponge and it kind of melts the surface layer of the plastic very slightly/gently (this seems to hide any light scuff marks and scratches you might have put on when cleaning but without effecting the actual texture of the plastic itself).

The result is that you end up with what looks like a new plastic part, with the colour actually 'IN' the plastic rather than on the surface, so it should be scuff and water proof (I hope - I've got 72 hours to wait now until it's fully set before I can properly test that - though it's dry to the touch in minutes and you can overcoat it in minutes).

I tried taking some before and after pictures on my phone, but my phone wasn't really up to the job and they look useless and don't do the outcome justice. If anyones interested I'll try to get my digital camera working and take some better shots. They really do look like new parts in your hand. If you look at the attached photo of the mudguard and compare the faded area to that behind the numberplate, then look at the after picture it'll give you an idea of how well it seems to work.

For an idea of how good they look have a look at: linear1 case mods » I’m high on vinyl dye - this was done using plasti-kote, but the vht stuff produced an equally good finish (perhaps a little better though it might have helped that the bike plastics are soft and black already).

One can was enough to do all of the big black plastic parts on the bike, and also a little rubber bit and my mirrors. Sadly I went a bit wild with it and probably put a couple more coats than was needed on a some bits and ran out before I could use it on the instrument panel and warning light holders etc. If you're a bit more careful a single can will probably stretch to all of the black plastic parts on an AT though.

You can only use it on raw plastic, so I don't think it'll work on any painted plastic (so probably no good for fairings - though I'm tempted to get another can of another colour and dye my hand guards and fork protectors with it which I think are bare plastic as well).

I've got a few tips for using it if anyones interested in trying it themselves that I picked up online and from doing it myself today.

If anyones thinking of trying it, don't do it in your kitchen btw - I just put them there to take the photos.

If anyones interested in trying this, let me know and I'll try to get some better pictures and keep you updated how it bears up after the 72 hours curing time is up. So far I'm impressed though and think it's going to work well from the looks of things so far.

EDIT>>> Here's the pictures displayed in the post for the people at the biker.ie forum who were having problems viewing the attachments (just got an email about your thread through a new link back tracking feature thats been turned on here):

before:



after:




Photos were taken on a crappy phone in bad lighting, so don't do justice to how bad the plastics looked to begin with or how good they came out unfortunately.

Make sure you get 'penetrating vinyl dye' and not plastic paint or scuff cover up or back to black type products or it won't work like this. There are other products available as well as this VHT stuff (though usually in the US only unfortunately) but the 'penetrating dye' part is very important as it seems to slightly melt and soak into the plastic somehow rather than just coat it and this is responsible for the nice finish and it lasting so long. If in doubt, try this stuff first as it's been proven to work (on these bits at least). It's been over a year since I did this now, and after use in all weathers the finish on these parts is as good as the day I did them (even on the chain guard that's been covered in scottoil for weeks on end in between degreasing and washing).
 

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Tropical Member
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Had to do a double take there with the "after" photos! Is there a white option? If so, do you think it would do white as well as it seems to have done your black? My front plastics (mudguards etc) are UV and time discoloured, have tried previous suggestions for various cleaning remedies, to no avail.:confused:
 

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That looks like a fantastic job - I think I'll have to get a can and experiment..........
 

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XRV750 RD04
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Discussion Starter #4
Had to do a double take there with the "after" photos!
The after photos really don't do it justice being taken on my crappy phone under a strip light. I'll try and get a better picture to show what they really look like in daylight tomorrow. The whole surface looks as good as the completely hidden bits which I'm assuming will be in their original state from the factory (like behind the numberplate that are covered and protected for example). Apart from a couple of very minor blemishes on a couple of parts where the can was running out and I didn't take the hint (best to toss the can or use it for some hidden or less important bits once you get a hint it's running out otherwise it doesn't spray evenly - though even those bits seem to be sinking in and flattening out over time and they're barely noticeable unless you know they're there and put the part close up to your eyes).

It also appears to work on rubber while keeping the rubber flexible and soft (though only done one rubber part so far and the can is on its last legs now).

Is there a white option? If so, do you think it would do white as well as it seems to have done your black? My front plastics (mudguards etc) are UV and time discoloured, have tried previous suggestions for various cleaning remedies, to no avail.:confused:
There's a white available as well from that site, but I'm not sure how well that'll work. This is the first time I've used anything like this and only bought a black can to begin with to test it (it's quite expensive in this country compared to the US so I didn't want to waste money if it turned out bad). If you search online you might be able to find someone who's used the white though (this stuff seems to be most commonly used for modifying pc and peripheral cases and for custom car body interiors, bumpers and vinyl seating - I took that as a hint that it'd be waterproof and wouldn't rub off - fingers crossed).

If you use the search term 'vinyl dye' along with 'case mod', 'controller mod', 'car interior' etc. rather than the brand name vht you'll find more results (there are a few different types available in the US).

I'm pretty sure I read somewhere when I was researching it that someone suggested using the white as an intermediate step to recolour a dark coloured plastic, so if it works for that I'd guess it'll work OK on a white part.

I'm really not sure though and you might want to wait until the 72 hours are up so I can see what they look like then (this is how long it takes for it to fully cure apparently - then I'll be able to test how robust it is - though I have high hopes).

I'm guessing it'll work OK on the fork legs, but not completely sure. I can't remember whether the front mudguard is bare plastic or painted either (one of the few parts I haven't taken off the bike yet - I seem to remember it being bare when I rubbed it down but not completely sure). It's intended for bare plastic so any painted or laquered surfaces probably won't work well.

I've been thinking of getting some white myself to dye the white chain runner/guide (? - you know the white bit under the swing arm), and the back brake guard, then thinking of the fork covers as well if those bits work. I've tried everything to get the chain runner white, soaking it in all sorts of concoctions and even sanding and polishing it to no avail. I have a feeling this stuff will work, but not sure (it's a different type of plastic to the black bits - nylon I think).

I got reasonable results tidying up the front fork covers using some boat polish I found in the shed (not sure where it came from as I don't have a boat!) and a lot of elbow grease, which I think has basically rubbed a bit of the surface off them and made them white, but they seem to have lost a bit of their sheen in the process. Hoping that the vinyl dye will tidy those up a bit as well as it melts the surface.

Anyone thinking of trying it might want to wait a couple of days to see how these bits are after they're fully cured though. I'd hate for them to start melting or have bits peeling off on day 2 or something then find that other people have sprayed theirs aswell (don't think that's likely to happen but you never know).

I'd be very interested to see the results if you try it on white (though probably best to test it under the mudguard or somewhere out of site first to see how it looks).
 

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XRV750 RD04
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Discussion Starter #5
That looks like a fantastic job -
It's down to the dye rather than any skills I might have. I'm not the best with a spray can as I get impatient and tend to spray too much on (even though I know I shouldn't - just can't help myself :D).

This stuff is much easier than spray paint though as it's thin and soaks in and dries really quickly as you're going. You still need to be careful about overspraying, so lots of fine coats are best, though you can get away with it a bit more than with spray paint.

I think I'll have to get a can and experiment..........
Some tips I picked up that might be helpful if you try it:

1) It needs to be applied and dry at 20 to 35 celcius, preferably indoors and away from dust or other airbourne particles. Unless you've got a nice toasty heated garage, this probably means spraying it in the house at this time of year. Best to wait until everyones gone out (and will be out for some time - days preferably!), and try to spray it in an area with at least two doors between it and somewhere you can get to to get away from the fumes for several hours. This stuff really smells bad (it's got acetone in it by the smell of things - amongst other things). I'm sitting upstairs at the moment with three closed doors and a flight of stairs between me and where I sprayed it, and the window open here, and I can still smell it (though I do have a good sense of smell). You also want to put lots of paper down and set up your work area well as there's lots of spray from it.

2) The fumes are really pretty bad. So a good plan is to spray it, then get away from it and close doors behind you while you wait for the coats to dry. Good ventilation is probably a good idea but I didn't do that as I was worried about the temperature getting too cold if I opened the back door. If you spend any amount of time in the same room with the stuff, you will get very high, very quickly (but not in a nice way!), so it's best not to stay around admiring your work for too long.

3) Definitely get yourself a spray mask or preferably use a propper ventilator thing if you've got one. I didn't and after the first coat on the first part, coughed up a black lump of phlegm (probably not helped by my nicotine addiction but it was definitely dye and this is after exposure of only a few seconds). A lot of fine particles seems to get airbourne that you can't see and it can't be good for you. I used a fine hanky pressed closely to my face for doing the rest and could see it on the hanky when I'd finished (should have probably waited until I got a proper mask but I'm impatient). Probably a good idea to use goggles also.

4) You need to make sure the parts are really very clean and free from any dust, grease, oil etc. I washed them several times using a degreasing bike wash (autoglym stuff), then for good measure dowsed them in washing up liquid straight from the bottle and left them to soak for a bit, then washed that off in a soapy bowl, then rinsed any final residue off under a hot running tap, then left to air dry being careful not to touch any of the parts. Not sure if I went over the top a bit, but any bits that aren't properly clean means the dye won't soak into the plastic (it'll still appear to work as a coating but won't be quite as good and will probably wash or rub off).

5) Try to avoid spraying it on too heavily and do several fine coats, the finest coat being the first one. You can really get away with a bit more than you can with spray paint, but if it runs or spatters then it won't look good, and I'm guessing will be harder to put right than spray paint. Try to leave it for at least 10 to 15 minutes between coats to give it a chance to soak in reasonably well (might be better to leave it a little longer).

6) Spray all the most important bits that are visible from the outside first while the can's still full. You get the best and most even spray while there's still a lot in the can. Once the can starts to run dry it sort of spatters a bit and this doesn't look as good (though where this has happened it seems to be drying in OK still so hopefully in a day or two it'll be as good as it looked before I made that mistake).

7) Try to avoid putting on extra coats 'for good measure'. Once you've got a nice finish that looks good and the colour is right, leave it at that then see how it looks several hours later and if you need another coat then. I didn't and a couple of the bits that I'd put the extra coats on thinking they'd work better and be better protected ended up looking not so good compared to the ones where I'd done less coats (though they still look pretty good anyway - just not as perfect as they did before I over coated them).

8) If you've got any deep gauges you might want to try melting a bit of suitable plastic into those and giving them a sand down and getting them nice and smooth before you spray them. I didn't do this and there are a couple of areas (mostly hidden thankfully) that kind of give away that they're older parts. I'm not sure how well idea will work, but I'm guessing it would work out well and be a good way to hide any damaged areas. If you try that I would do it on a hidden part that you can't see when it's on the bike incase it goes tits up.

I think that's about everything I can think of, and some things that I would have done differently doing it again. Hopefully goes without saying, that you want to make sure that you don't have any other plastic things near where you're spraying that aren't carefully covered otherwise you'll permanently dye those as well.

I'll let you know how they look tomorrow and if they're durable after the 72 hours are up.

Sorry about the essay btw - just a bit excited as it's one of the first things I've done that has come out so well (most of my tidying up of the bike so far has been a case of 'hmmm..it looks ok but it would have been better powdercoated' etc.).
 

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XRV750 RD04
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Discussion Starter #7
top company that US automitive...:D
Yeah, they were really helpful :)

Something I forgot to mention was that they said in an email that they had some extra stock that wasn't entered on their website at the moment, so if anyones thinking of giving the white or another colour a go, and it's showing out of stock, if you email them they might have it in.
 

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whys the rum always gone?
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fantastic stuff i might need some of that soon:D
 

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XRV750 RD04
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Well, I just checked it an hour ago, and it seems to be bearing up quite well. They appear to have got better if anything, with even the slightly spattered areas where the can was running out and where I put too much on, sinking in and being barely visible now (you really have to know they're there and hold them up to the light at an angle to see them).

Rubbed a couple of bits lightly with my finger and there appears to be a light dusty black deposit left behind. I've read that when there properly cured that you're supposed to wash them down with mild soap (or some vht stuff which probably amounts to the same thing), so this is probably to get rid of this dust. It seems the bulk of what was sprayed on has actually sunk in though and the plastic doesn't appear to have gotten brittle or bubbled or flaked at all, so it looks good so far.

I'll give it another day or so to fully cure then try giving them a wash and try scraping some of the hidden areas with things and with a bit of luck the finish will be durable and waterproof.

I;ll try to post some better pictures soon. Found my camera but one of the batteries is missing so I'll need to get some new ones (and the lens is a bit wonky where I dropped it so might not work so well), but I'll give it a go and post them up for you to get a better idea.

I'm really impressed with the stuff so far though, and have been eyeing up all sorts of plastic stuff on the bike and around the house to use it on if I get some more :D
 

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XRV750 RD04
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Discussion Starter #10
P.S. Did notice on one bit where I'd tried using another finish previously that I mustn't have got all of it off properly (even though it looked like I had before I sprayed it) and the areas where the other finish were left behind were visible (thankfully this was only on plastic guard behind the horn so not too visible).

So if anyone tries it and you've already tried using another product on those parts you need to be very careful that you get it all off or it'll stand out more when you spray this stuff on (though it seems to have sealed it and it doesn't rub off so will probably hold up OK at least).
 

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Hi Zenarchy,

Any luck with the new pictures, will be using myself shortly...
 

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Thanks for this.

I am moving to Kenya in Aug and have an old 4x4 lined up.
The interier is all faded.

This would do great for getting it back to new.

Cheers.
 

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XRV750 RD04
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Discussion Starter #13
I didn't manage to get any new pictures yet unfortunately. I tried a while back but My digital camera turned out to be knackered after dropping it and the lens going a bit funny (looked ok on the camera screen but very blurry when loaded on the PC) and the camera on my phone is next to useless sadly.

I've got a lend of a point and shoot one that might be a bit better until I get a new one myself (or get this one fixed) so I'll try to get some photos using that for you tomorrow outside if I get time and it's not completely p*ing down. All the parts are mounted on the bike now so you won't be able to see all of them clearly but should still give you an idea of how well it's worked. As long as you stick to the instructions and make sure you clean up the parts properly before you start I don't think you'll be disappointed.

There were a couple of places where I put a couple of little scratches on the underside of the wheel guard (bit that goes under the seat) when I was mounting it and it does indeed seem to have soaked into the plastic properly as I'd heard it would so seems like it'll be quite durable compared to those finishes that simply coat things with a layer of new material/colour.

For the price of it compared to the cost of replacing those parts with new ones, and the quality of the finish you get, I don't think you can go wrong really (at least using it on the parts I have - not sure how well it'll work on other types of plastic though considering people swear by it for computer cases etc. as well, I'd guess it'd work pretty well on the harder stuff as well).

I'm thinking of getting some more to do my luggage at some point. Will need to wait until I get my heating back on though as the back boiler burst over the weekend so I'm without heating at the moment (looks like it'll take weeks to get parts and people booked to sort it out).
 

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XRV750 RD04
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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for this.

I am moving to Kenya in Aug and have an old 4x4 lined up.
The interier is all faded.

This would do great for getting it back to new.

Cheers.
If you're ordering in from outside the UK you might like to have a look at the plastikote vinyl dye as well. If you do a google search there are some photos of car interiors that people have done with it. It's more or less the same as the vht stuff I think, though you need to be careful to get the correct type as they do other types as well that don't soak into the plastic but instead coat it (the plastikote stuff that is). I couldn't find it easily in this country but if you're buying abroad you might be able to lay your hands on that easier.

Also, if you're ordering it while you're in kenya and need to get it from abroad, you might like to try looking in the US for the VHT stuff. I think it's cheaper there (partly because it's a US product and the exchange rate might be better for you).
 

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Does it cover scratches ?
 

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XRV750 RD04
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
It won't really cover them like paint will as it isn't so much a coating - it's kind of absorbed into the plastic itself like the plastic's a sponge (I know that doesn't seem possible but that's the impression you get when you use it). So if you've got a gauge or deep scratch in the plastic, it'll still be there, but the difference in colour between the surface and the scratched area won't be there any more if that makes sense. For example, on my mudguard which was faded, there was a small but fairly deep gauge, and the gauge was more visible because it was revealing an unfaded part of the plastic under the surface. After spraying the gauge is still there, but it's all a uniform colour so much less noticeable.

In retrospect what I could have tried was melting some similar plastic into the gauge then sanding it flat, then spraying it and that might have hidden it altogether, but I'd already went a bit mad with it and used up the whole can by then (including spraying some parts that when back on the bike are hidden anyway which was perhaps a bit of a waste - though it's sill nice to see shiny new looking plastic when I take the seat off).

For any very light scuffs and scratches it does seem to hide them better though. I guess it's melting the surface of the plastic very slightly when it soaks in so that very light scratches are better covered.

Its most useful for bringing back faded plastic to it's original colour really, or changing its colour.

I forgot all about this thread (sorry kitped!), but I'll try to get out today and take some better photos. All the parts are back on the bike now, and some of them are hidden by the seat etc. but there are still a couple of bits I can photograph that'll show the results better.

P.S. Remember that it's probably only really useful on plastic parts where the colour is in the plastic itself and not a painted layer over the top like fairings. If you look at the parts I've done you'll see what I mean. Not sure how it'd work on other parts so if you're trying it on something else best to try a small hidden area first and see how it goes.
 

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XRV750 RD04
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Discussion Starter #18
Just a quick update with some photos that people asked for. I'm sorry this has taken me such a long time to get sorted. Needed to get sorted with another camera, and get an opportunity to take photos when it was bright outside to try to capture the colour right (still not great as it looks much better than these photos in person - they've come out looking a bit shiny but look matte in real life). And remember that I was actually supposed to be taking them and not get distracted by other jobs ofcourse!

Might help for anyone considering using this stuff though. It's been some time since I applied the stuff now, and the finish is still fine. Hasn't faded yet, and the guard shown has been all oily then cleaned/degreased using mr sheen a few times now, so the dye seems to have done its job really well.

The second picture looks a bit brown, but that's just the light. It's actually properly black. Well worth a try for anyone wanting to tidy up colour faded parts like this (chain guide was one of the most faded and several weeks later it still looks like new when I first did it).




 

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XRV750 RD04
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Discussion Starter #19
P.S. It's a bit dusty so those aren't imperfections in the finish but just bits of dust on the surface (when cleaned the guard looks like new!).
 

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Hi Zenarchy,

Thanks for the updated pics, was it the satin black that you used as I see they also do a glass black!!

I can't wait to start mine....:thumbright: great job
 
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