Saturday, May 5, 2007

Restoration: Front Shock, Fork, & Hub

A friend & co-worker of mine, named Ted Witmer, is an old shop guy turned middle school guidance counselor. He's of the ol'school when it comes to shop work, like Christopher Markley (he's also a bit older than Christopher) he believes in the way of least resistance. Ted's passion is KTM motorcycles and his wife and he both ride and own multiple bikes each. Ted has love the scoots too, but likes the bigger bikes. Because he is a super nice guy, he is rebuilding my front fork assembly and restoring the front shock (a detailed post to come on that later) -- my son, Hudson Rogue, is 7-months and to be honest my time is limited and I'll take help where I can get it.
After Ted disassembled the front end, I busted butt stripping the paint and naval jelly'ing the rusted areas. First I applied a degreaser and used a brush with plastic bristles to degrease it and get the goo and gah off of it. Then, I used a stripper brush to apply aircraft gel stripper and a copper brush to scrub the paint off. It took a couple hours.
After that I applied PPG metal cleaner and conditioner. I then delivered the parts to Christopher Markley for powder coating. Christopher explained to me that the front fork would NOT take a powder coat well because it was too pitted. Here are the options Christopher gave me, "The shock housings have pitting and damage. If you would very carefully sand
and polish them, they would be a good base for a very smooth, mirror powder
finish. As they are, the powder will not fill in the chips and pits. I'm not
interested in prepping the metal on those housings. The time I'd put into it
would be more than you'd want to pay for, and it's easy no-brainer work that
you don't need to pay me for. Tell me if you'd like to finish those shock
components before I powdercoat them, or if you're OK with me doing them
Before I had a chance to respond, in the usual Christopher fashion (this happens way to often -- this guy has so much good karma stocked up that if he kicked over our completed SS I couldn't get mad at him) he emailed me a witty note, which basically stated he polished and powdercoated the front shock already and would NOT charge us for the polishing. He put the shock housings, upper then lower, on his milling lathe and they polished up nicely. They even look better powdercoated.
The front hub was a mess too, but fortunately did not require polishing.
Due to the abuse, from road debris, these parts take, Christopher laid down three coats -- one color & two clear coats (it may have been four with some sort of primer, but I need check that with Christopher, because I don't remember him saying that to me). The outcome as you can see nothing less than gorgeous.
The front fork itself was too large for Christopher to powdercoat; therefore he baum sprayed it (multiple coats as well I believe) and it has a little *sparkle* to it.
I opted not to try to save the rear shock because it was terribly pitted and I can purchase quality repros easily. The reason I had the front shock restored is because the reputation of the repros for GS/SS sucks, but according to Motorsport (for $90) and ASC (for $70) there is a new GS/SS repro front shock available now that is "quality" -- I can not confirm or deny this. It has some sort of black rubber around the middle of it. I wanted to post a pix of it here, but I can't copy the image. I like the way the original one looks more.


Mega Munch said...

Looks awesome. Can't wait to see when the body is done.

Jeremy & Lisa Sutton said...

Body is done . . . a post or two earlier.

Blogger said...

I've just downloaded iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers dancing on my taskbar.