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TOPIC: DT400E fork tube refinishing suggestions.

DT400E fork tube refinishing suggestions. 11 Jan 2019 12:26 #1

  • Bobv07662
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Winter has come to the Northeast and it's time to start the post solstice project, refinishing the lower fork tubes. They have a clear finish over brushed aluminum. Before I start, I've got some questions...Will paint stripper remove the original clear coat? I can spin the tube in the lathe to freshen up the brushed finish on the aluminum, I was thinking of using a small belt sander and Scotchbrite to get the correct effect on the aluminum surface, what do you all think? Finally, since I've never seen an NOS tube, do you think a gloss 2K clear is the way to go?
Thanks,
Bob V
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DT400E fork tube refinishing suggestions. 11 Jan 2019 14:37 #2

  • Schu
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I can't answer your specific questions, but I'm sure someone will. What I can do is show you the before and after photos of my DT400 (75) which was accomplished by using a fine wire wheel on a drill motor to remove the original clear cote and any nicks and scratches. I then primed and sanded repeatedly until the wire wheel marks were filled and finish was smooth. I then painted them with cast aluminum VHT high temp engine enamel SP995 and finish coated with VHT high temp gloss clear SP145 . Definitely not original, but that was never my goal. I Rescue, Refurbish, and Ride, with a goal of keeping my total cost under $1,000 not counting shop materials.
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DT400E fork tube refinishing suggestions. 11 Jan 2019 15:12 #3

  • 1971DT250
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When I experiment with a refinishing or restoring or repair procedure that is not proven by experience I test it on a similar or identical part that won't matter if it gets damaged.

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The hours spent riding my Enduros is not deducted from my life span.

DT400E fork tube refinishing suggestions. 11 Jan 2019 15:35 #4

  • KennyV
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Bobv07662 wrote: Winter has come to the Northeast and it's time to start the post solstice project, refinishing the lower fork tubes. They have a clear finish over brushed aluminum. Before I start, I've got some questions...Will paint stripper remove the original clear coat? I can spin the tube in the lathe to freshen up the brushed finish on the aluminum, I was thinking of using a small belt sander and Scotchbrite to get the correct effect on the aluminum surface, what do you all think? Finally, since I've never seen an NOS tube, do you think a gloss 2K clear is the way to go?
Thanks,
Bob V

Hi Bob, if you look at my RT fix'n up thread in the restoration section I posted pictures of sctochbrite wheels I use to clean and get the brushed finish. I did clearcoat with spraymax 2k, good stuff!

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Last Edit: by KennyV.

DT400E fork tube refinishing suggestions. 11 Jan 2019 15:40 #5

  • JONBENTON
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Bob, it’s a bit of a suck it and see job. There is direct application clearcoat available, I’m not sure how good the adhesion will be on to a non-ferrous substrate, probably not as good, so I’d wash with Deoxidine as a pretreatment prior to application.
Alternatively, would you consider Carnuaba wax? If you achieve your desired aesthetic finish, 5 applications of wax will seal it for a considerable time.
I’m currently restoring a DT360A, I have the clearcoat, but I’m sceptical, I do this for a living, and it’s against logic

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Last Edit: by JONBENTON.

DT400E fork tube refinishing suggestions. 12 Jan 2019 11:13 #6

  • Bobv07662
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The suggestion to use deoxidine ( phosphoric acid ) prewash is a good idea. Will definitely promote adhesion. I do want the original finish so wax, polish and aluminum paints are all not my answer. The modern 2K clears are very long lasting. Still hoping for some insight on what a NOS one looks like.
Thanks for all the suggestions.

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DT400E fork tube refinishing suggestions. 12 Jan 2019 17:24 #7

  • FrankC
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yes paint stripper will remove the clear coat easily on those lower fork sliders. There's more there than you would think even when it looks dull. I I clear coated my lower fork sliders with lacquer oil does not affect the paint. If you use Rust-Oleum it wont take the oil, but I think that 2K is even better. My forks did yellow over time but I don't mind cuz it matches the yellow on my tank. I believe I use 320 sandpaper and carefully sand the grain in one direction and parallel to the fork tubes but I think your idea of using Scotch-Brite is probably better. 400 grit looked ugly so 320 is what I chose. Be careful of sanding too much on the brake backing plate nub on your fork if you sand that area too much your backing plate will rock back and forth and your brakes and forks won't operate properly. This happened 2 me so I had to cut a soda can and use that aluminum to shim the backing plate nub no biggie.

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