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2007-02-15, Linda’s Trailer Gets Repainted

Russ sent in these photos and description of what it takes to properly paint a Goldwing, or any other vehicle, for that matter.


The apple towing a grape
Linda’s red GL1500 Hannigan trike and purple trailer

Many of you wonder why it cost so much to do any paint work on your Goldwing. In an attempt to help you understand, and to make you think when you choose colors on a new one, I thought I would explain and show just how it is done when you have any of the candy colors like Specter Red, Wineberry, Magenta, etc.

If you will look as we go along you can better understand why one can not just “touch up” a spot on these paints. The whole panel or part has to be repainted.

If you will recall, Linda bought a purple trailer and wanted it Specter Red or candy apple red to match her trike. True candy is a three step process that enables you to look through both the clear coat and the red tint into the metal flake, and that gives it a depth that can not be duplicated any other way.

Step 1: The Prep Work

First, we took new paper shop towels and wiped everything down five times with denatured alcohol to remove any wax or polish. Any household rags you may have laying around, even though straight from the washer, may still contain traces of furniture polish or other contaminants. Anything of this nature will cause paint to “fish eye”.

Then we wet sanded it with 400 grit paper to allow the new paint to bond. Any spot that is not sanded means a spot where paint will not stick and will eventually peel off.

Then it all gets washed with soap and water, wiped again with denatured alcohol, blown dry with air, and taped up. I like to remove as many attached pieces as possible to avoid pulling paint off when the masking tape is removed.

The trailer, stripped of trim, cleaned, sanded, and masked
Linda’s trailer after being stripped of trim, thoroughly cleaned, sanded, and masked
The trailer lid is cleaned and prepped for painting
The trailer lid is cleaned and prepped for painting
Additional parts prepped for painting
John’s mirrors and Linda’s spoiler

The parts hanging up are John Williams’s new mirrors and the spoiler from the back of Linda’s trailer.

It’s now ready for the first coat of paint, called the base coat. Time invested so far is about eight hours.

Step 2: Metallic Base Coat

A base coat with a high metallic content is applied that gives it that “glitter” you see in the paint. Really, it is not in the paint, it is under the paint.

Sorry if the photos look a bit hazy, but all that paint overspray was lit up by the camera’s flash.

The metallic paint provides the sparkle underneath the tint coats
The trailer’s metallic coat is drying
The trailer lid after the base coat
The trailer lid before applying the tint coats
Additional parts prepped for painting
Additional parts await the tint coats

The base coat is now on. Cost for just this one color is $100.00 for the paint and $13.00 for reducer. We still have to add the cost for masking tape and paper, sandpaper, labor, etc.

Step 3: Color Coat

Now we begin what is probably the most difficult part: adding the tint coats, in this case the Specter Red.

Here you see the first tint coat, which comes out a light red. Additional tint coats must be added until you get the tint or shade you want. While it sounds easy enough, the dry paint has no gloss, so all you can do is compare it with a part of the bike out in the sun and “imagine” or hope you got it. Too few coats and the color will be too light. Too many and it will be too dark.

All the parts in these photos are actually the same color. Tungsten light makes the tint look more orange, daylight makes it look more blue.

The first tint coat is on
The first tint coat barely covers the metallic coat
Sunlight, or maybe the camera’s flash, adds a blue cast to the color
It sure looks different from this angle
The first coat is applied to the other parts
Waiting for more tint coats

Step 4: Color Matching

Here you see Linda comparing our paint job with one of her side covers. We felt it was just a tad light, so we gave it one more coat of tint. Total cost for the tint: $100.00.

The tint looks a bit lighter than the side cover. That orange streak is a light fixture reflected on the side cover.
From this angle, the side cover looks a little darker
From another angle, the trailer looks like a different color
Linda compares the trailer paint with her trike’s color
Just about finished with the tint
The other parts

Step 5: Clear Coat

We can now add the clear coat, which is another $100.00 in paint. The clear coat gives it the luster or shine we all like so much, and it protects the color coats. All these parts got three heavy clear coats, so if something gets a scratch you can usually sand it out and just buff it back up.

Clear coat has no reducer added. It is mixed four to one with a hardener. Once it’s mixed, it’s going to set up soon, so you’d better get on with getting it on.

The first clear coat
The first clear coat starts adding gloss

If all goes well, you wind up with a good color match, and we feel we did. It took another almost eight hours to shoot all this paint, as you have to wait between coats while it dries or you will have runs in it. Then we spent about five hours putting all the goodies back on and trimming it out.

The Finished Trailer

The clear coat is complete
The finished trailer
The finished trailer and trike
The whole assembly now matches
Ready to roll!
Linda’s big rig is ready to hit the road

Total time invested was about 21 hours. Cost of three different kinds of paint. reducer, paper, tape, etc. was around $400.00 plus your time. That’s just what it cost to do it right.

I hope you can better understand what is involved in some of these colors. White, Yellow, Black, most any solid color can be “spotted” in and cleared over, and off you go. The last thing I want anyone to think is, “Russ is a good painter.” Anyone can do it with just a little practice. The purpose here is for you to think before you buy, and to be careful what you scratch.

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