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eddd

DIY System Cases Painting/Refinishing

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eddd

System cases are durable, but they can be scratched, scuffed, and are prone to fade over time. There have been several threads over the years offering various ways to deal with the cases. I bought a bike that had a Givi top case that was looking pretty rough. Feeling I had nothing to lose I decided to try to refinish the case. The results were very satisfactory.

 

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I decided to use the same techniques on a set of BMW system side cases. I've since done an additional set of BMW system side cases and a BMW top case all with good results. While this hardly qualifies me as an expert the results were more than satisfactory for a DIY project. Here is the procedure I've been using.

 

I removed the lids from the cases in all instances. It made the job much easy and will result in a better final result. As you have heard before, preparation is key to a good finish, and this applies here as well. If you try to spray a coating over scratches or dry bug guts they will still be very obvious. Here is some of the damage I needed to repair prior to coating.

 

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To deal with this part of the job I purchased Bondo Bumper Repair Kit.

 

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This is a two part epoxy with an applicator that makes it easy to mix small amounts. It dries quickly and is easy to sand down. Prior to using the epoxy be sure the surface is clean. I washed the cases, let them dry, and then sanded the surfaces lightly with 220-320 grit wet/dry sandpaper to remove any stubborn dirt or scratches that left material above the surface. You might find a straight razor blade is useful for slicing off plastic sticking up at edges of deep scratches. The sanding also helps remove any residual film from products like Armor All or Back to Black. To fill scratches mix the epoxy in very small quantities and apply with the spreader included in the Bondo package. It dries quickly so you do not want to be trying to work on too many scratched areas with a single mixture. The double tube dispenser makes it really easy to mix small portions. After the epoxy dries sand it down with a 220 grit paper If the layer of epoxy wasn't deep enough just add additions layers as needed. I followed up the 220 with a light sanding with 500-600 grit sandpaper. Keep in mind, any imperfections in the surface will show up in the final finish.

 

With the scratches, scrapes, and gouges filled rinse the case/lid with running water. Mask off any areas you do not wanted coated. I wanted something durable that had the same basic look. I did not want a thick built up finish like you get with a commercial truck bed liner spray. I found Rust-oleum Truck Bed Coating to be ideal for the task.

 

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It is easy to spray, not too thick, dries quickly, and is quite tough while still being easy to work into a good finish.

 

Be sure to protect areas from over spray. Following the directions on the can you will lay down a nice even coating. The product is quite forgiving so if you are too close and get a run it should just blend in on its own. If you miss a spot or are too thin just go over it with an additional spray. The coating dries quickly and will be ready for the next step in short order.

 

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At this point the finish looks pretty nice. It is very uniform but quite rough, like 150 grit sandpaper. You might be tempted to leave it as is, but I think you'd eventually find out that the rough surface will become an issue. As an experiment I ran a high quality wet paper towel across it as you might do if you were cleaning a dirty area. As you might expect the towel shreds after a short time and now you have shredded paper to brush out of the finish.

 

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The approach I took was to wet sand with 500-600 grit wet/dry sandpaper. You just want to knock off the sharp peaks. Some might want to stop at this point, but I found that the finish was still too rough. I followed up wet sanding with a 1000-1200 grit sandpaper.

 

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Again, you are only taking down the roughness so use a light touch. Feel the surface as you sand until you get a uniform smoothness. I did not worry too much about a super smooth finish on the back side or the bottoms, but you do want to remove the roughness of it will attract and hold dirt. All that remains is to wash the lids and cases with running water and re-assemble.

 

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A good thing about this procedure is that you can stop at any level of smoothness you desire. If you stop before getting to the 1000-1200 grit, and you determine it is too rough, you can always do some additional sanding later on.

 

Here is a before and after:

 

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Here is a link to additional pictures.

 

If you haven't sanded anything for a while keep in mind that you want to try and sand using hand pressure rather than just finger pressure for the wider areas. This will leave you with a smoother and more uniform finish and will prevent removing too much material. Another general sanding tip is to use care at all edges where it is easy to sand too much due to the small surface area.

 

Feel free to ask questions, comment, or add your suggestions. If you think this is beyond your skill/available time, send me a PM so I can give you some ideas on what this might cost to have it done locally.

 

I've placed this thread here in Oilheads because this section gets more traffic than the DIY section, and I wanted the greatest number of interested parties a chance to see it. The thread will be moved to DIY after a time. We'd like more people to become aware of the DIY section.

 

We encourage people to contribute your own procedures. We have a wide spectrum of readers, so just because you are not an expert or as skilled as others on the board, that does not mean you don't have valuable tips and information to share in the DIY section.

 

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Selden

Outstanding write-up! Thanks for the tips and photos.

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smutny

Looks great! Thanks for the tips, was thinking of using a bed coating, but didn't think about the wet-sanding for a smoother finish.

 

Well done.

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Tri750

We had a customer who used a similar product to fill the scratches. Then flexible Bumper and Trim Paint to repaint. The bags came out pretty good as well. A matte black.

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Rod C

I absolutely love this! I wonder about also doing the inner halves, though? I think that would be pretty straight-forward except for the multi-function box.

 

 

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eddd
I absolutely love this! I wonder about also doing the inner halves, though? I think that would be pretty straight-forward except for the multi-function box.

 

 

You definitely can refinish the inner halves. Just tape off the areas you don't want coated. The LINK to the other pictures shows examples.

 

Here is a before and after of an inner case:

 

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Lighthiker90

Awesome! Thank you for the write up. I now have my winter project.

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PAS

Very impressive! Thanks for showing.

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clem

Looks great! Any feedback on durability? I saw a comment somewhere, that said the BMW bags were prone to being scratched by passing feathers and dust mites. Very accurate!

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eddd
Looks great! Any feedback on durability? I saw a comment somewhere, that said the BMW bags were prone to being scratched by passing feathers and dust mites. Very accurate!

 

No feedback yet. I did not use any of the bags myself, but did some testing on the Givi that I did first. Being that it is a truck bed coating it is designed for some tough treatment, and my testing showed this to be the case. The plastic step stool I used to hold the cases during coating is covered with the stuff, and none of it shows any signs of coming off despite some rough treatment.

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Twinsig

nice job!

sure glad i don't have to do all that, well, i could but to match my bike I'd need replace rims, repair/paint our replace ALL plastic parts. the old girl is like a truck, its a 50/50 bike.

Fifty feet away and fifty miles an hour it looks great!

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NEBeemer

Nice write up.

Do you think that the bondo kit would be good for fairing repair?

 

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Gooner

Excellent write-up! The cases look great.

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eddd
Nice write up.

Do you think that the bondo kit would be good for fairing repair?

 

The company states that it works well as an adhesive and filler. They also state it works well on flexible parts. So I guess it depends what you are trying to do. As a filler on the fairing I would say it would work well. The same would go for its use as an adhesive on the fairing, but I think this product, and others of this type are not going to do do well to re-attach a part of the fairing that has broken off. It could be used as part of a system to repair that type of damage.

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PAS
Nice write up.

Do you think that the bondo kit would be good for fairing repair?

You would need to find out what the fairing is made of first. For instance my 81 RT fairing is made of SMC which is not compatible with regular polyester based fiberglass resin. It requires an epoxy based resin. I tried repairing it years ago and the patch came loose.

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EffBee

Ed, this is great. It needs to end up in our DIY section.

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lkchris

In the first years of the Oilheads, BMW itself actively promoted the notion these cases were paintable. That to match the lid color to the fairing color usually.

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RAMBLIN RED

wonder how that would work on my ugly wheels....

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eddd
wonder how that would work on my ugly wheels....

 

I think the product has lots of potential applications, but keep in mind that you need to be able to do some sanding. On the R1100RT wheels it would be possible, on the R1150RT wheels, no way.

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eddd
In the first years of the Oilheads, BMW itself actively promoted the notion these cases were paintable. That to match the lid color to the fairing color usually.

 

They paint up very well. I had mine painted about mid-ownership and never had any issues. I was careful but the paint proved to be very durable, and the change in the look was remarkable.

 

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I had those done professionally as that type of painting is way above my skill set. The DIY procedures shown are really doable for almost anyone. The coating is very forgiving, and the required sanding is nothing special either.

 

 

.

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FarmallA

I purchased the top case that eddd had advertised on the Classified forum a couple of weeks ago, and it arrived last Friday. It is the one edd refurbished and refers to in this thread. There's a few pictures before and after in the link a few posts back.

 

My impressions:

Firstly, eddd is a pleasure to do business with, this is only one of several items I've bought from him.

 

The finish on the top case looks great. The before picture condition would not have been good enough and I would now be preparing to do just what edd did. In fact, now I'm looking critically at my side cases.

 

Speaking of side cases, the finish on the top case is now more flat than the factory finish side cases. It doesn't bother me much, but it is noticeable. The fix, of course, is to do the sides. Some time in the future. Later. :)

 

As far as durability goes, it's too soon to tell. Being a top case, I don't expect much damage from riding. If I'm scraping that up in a tumble I'll be having bigger problems than a scratched top case. :P If I do get any boo boos on it it's more likely to be from storing it in my garage.

 

So that's my story, for now. I'll comment later as it gets used a little bit.

 

Steve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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eddd

 

Steve, you might want to experiment with Mother's Back to Black on the underside in an inconspicuous place. I used it on the Givi, and it brightened the finish. I didn't use it on the other cases.

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FarmallA

experiment with Mother's Back to Black

 

Eddd.

Might be worth a try.

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mneblett
Firstly, eddd is a pleasure to do business with

+several. I just opened a box with a couple Touring lids I purchased from Ed. The packaging job was impressive, and the lids are in better shape than they looked in the ad pics (a rare occurrence for anything sold over the 'net!).

 

I'm watching his part-out classifieds for more goodies :D

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dan cata

It does look good. But my passenger always leaves a mark on them every time she gets up on the bike :)

 

I can exactly tell you how many times that happen by just counting the rubber stripes on the R/H luggage :)

 

Dan.

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VoipWizard

Holy Thread Wake-Up Batman!

 

Eddd: I am a believer now...

 

These are my son's beat up cases. Bike is an R1150R.

 

One of them suffered "massive trauma" ( I asked but I got evasive answers...)

 

Anyway.

 

It gets pretty scary when you apply the paint and the texture is not even close to the dry product. But after an hour it dries up.

 

I've followed Eddd's tip on sanding with a bigger grain sandpaper, then sprayed etching primer.

They are ready now for a second coat. These cases may go back in without finishing sanding.

 

Thank you for an amazing write-up!!!

 

 

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fabim37

VERY GOOD JOB

 

HAT'S OFF

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Cdnrtowner

Very impressive job Ed. I looked at the additional photos on your link and I am interested in the windshield in the bottom pictures. Have you done some scratch removal work on them? If so, what method would you recommend? Finally, I have some gouges on one of the black lower portions of my fairing on a 2016 RT. I believe that you would probably recommend taking both sides off repairing the gouges with epoxy and then painting both sides to match. Does this make sense to you? Again, great DIY! Cheers.

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eddd
Very impressive job Ed. I looked at the additional photos on your link and I am interested in the windshield in the bottom pictures. Have you done some scratch removal work on them? If so, what method would you recommend? Finally, I have some gouges on one of the black lower portions of my fairing on a 2016 RT. I believe that you would probably recommend taking both sides off repairing the gouges with epoxy and then painting both sides to match. Does this make sense to you? Again, great DIY! Cheers.

 

The windshield pictures ended up there by mistake. I had a few shields that I was selling, and the pictures were to show potential buyers the condition.

 

I've used two products to try and remove/reduce scratches in plastic:

 

-Mequiar's Mirror Glaze 17 followed up with Mirror Glaze 10. Link

 

It takes some serious work, but the 17 followed by the 10 can really improve SCRATCHED plastic. It will not do anything for crazing that we see most often in older windshields.

 

These products are available from Amazon if you have trouble finding them locally.

 

As for your fairing, I don't have any experience with that material so I'll let others give you suggestions for filling scratches/gouges. I will say that exact paint matching isn't always necessary. Looking at your bike you will notice that there is quite a variation in tone depending on how directly light is hitting various surfaces. Some components will be partially in shadow.

 

The distance to a similar colored component also makes a big difference. A car door needs to closely match the body around it or it will really stand out. The color on a motorcycle's parts may not be as critical if they don't form a more or less continuous surface.

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Cdnrtowner

Thanks for your advice, Ed. Cheers

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Stoneman

I've been mulling the idea of painting my side cases and found your posts. I noticed that you taped off the badges on one set of cases and removed them on another. Do you just pop them off and how do you reattach the badges? Thanks for your help.

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eddd
I've been mulling the idea of painting my side cases and found your posts. I noticed that you taped off the badges on one set of cases and removed them on another. Do you just pop them off and how do you reattach the badges? Thanks for your help.

 

At least one of the bags didn't have the badges to begin with so I purchased new ones. At least one of the bags had the badges, but they were in rough condition. If they were good I taped over them; for the others I purchased new ones. The new ones came with an adhesive back so mounting them was simple. The old ones came off quite easily with a little prying.

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Dave P

Eddd, I did have one suggestion. My right side bag was really scratched when I bought the bike, and I did a repair and repaint. I like the idea of the bed liner paint. Often instead of "blocking" the sandpaper, I use spray mount to the sheet to double the thickness. It stiffens the paper and makes it easier to hold. Kinda in between blocking and single sheet. Also it is my preferred method for drywall finishing. Dave

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