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Thread: 1983 GS850G Race Red & Wimbledon White, first attempt at 2-Stage paint job

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
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    Minneapolis, Minnesota
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    Default 1983 GS850G Race Red & Wimbledon White, first attempt at 2-Stage paint job

    So I've been working on this '83 GS850G I got a couple years ago and let sit after riding for a season because it had some electrical and carb problems I have since taken care of, it also needed valve shims replaced which I just did over the winter. Anyways, I did a pretty gross rattlecan job on it back when I got it, just to improve on where it was. tank had cracked paint and the beginnings of rust underneath, so I cleaned that up and I spray painted it a sort of robins egg blue to at least stop it from rusting, but the fender was left with the black spray paint that came on it when I got the bike. Both looked not that great, and the fender had a good size crack which was welded up and body filler applied after sanding it down to bare metal. The issue with spray paint is that the look degrades quickly, and that a single drop of gas on the tank wrecks up the whole thing. Given the nature of gasoline and motorcycle tanks, spilling some on your tank is inevitable. I decided I'd try my hand at a proper 2 stage basecoat/clearcoat job. I picked up a set of guns from harbor freight, found a dirt cheap party tent to use as a spray booth, and got to work. I'm new to forum posting, and still trying to figure out how to reliably insert images, hopefully the images load in correctly, I used Imgur to host and inserted the correct BBcode links, but if they don't load right bear with me and I'll try to fix it.

    First things first, stripping off the old paint - I did the side plastics and rear cowl as well but didn't get pictures of those. Here are the tank and the fender. Apparently some time ago this was a Minnesota Vikings themed bike, as you can see here in the picture of the fender. Pretty gross looking, but quality paint though, really didn't wanna come off of any of the pieces. I now understand why someone spray painted the bike black.




    After everything was sanded smooth and prepped to go (which took forever, prep work really sucks) I used some adhesion promoter on the plastic pieces, and laid down a coat of sealer on everything so the basecoat would have something to adhere to. I had a set of two guns, and accidentally used the detail gun for this, thinking it was the right size when in fact I should have used the larger gun with the 1.4 tip rather than the 1.0 on the detail gun. It didn't ruin the project, but it did cause me some headaches when I had to sand down some runs I ended up with because of it. Here's some pictures I took after I had sprayed the white on the things that were getting it and taped off for the red. The cowl is still all grey, because it's just sealer at this point - decided to go all red on that.




    Sprayed all the red, let it dry enough and then removed the tape from the two tone pieces to prep for clearcoat. Here's a shot of the tank with the tape off, before the clearcoat went on.


    Finally time to make it all shiny. As a side note, make sure you're wearing protective gear. The paint and reducers are bad enough for you to be around as is, but that clearcoat is some seriously nasty stuff. If you decide to do a paint job like this, invest in adequate protective gear. Xylene is not to be trifled with. It will make your arm hair stand up and hurt your eyes even wearing regular safety glasses. I had a good respirator on, as well as a raincoat, and ski goggles to keep that stuff out of my eyes, obviously gloves and jeans are a must too. Anyways, here's all the shots I took after the clear had dried and cured. I think it turned out really well! I got a little bit of orange peel on one part of the tank, but other than that it went great. The orange peel doesn't bother me, and I can still see my reflection perfectly despite that little section, So I'm calling it a win.









    Total cost for the project was around $300 USD, guns and paint included. Savings of roughly $1000 vs having a shop do it. It's not 100% perfect, but gas won't be melting my paint and this should last for years to come. Hope you enjoyed this write up, it was a time consuming and at times very frustrating project, but I learned a lot, developed a new skill, and find myself pretty happy with the outcome. Feel free to ask any questions you have, trying to find reliable info about automotive painting processes is apparently really hard, I planned this project for months and a lot of the research I did only further confused me. There seem to be a million wrong ways to do it if you ask the internet. Cheers!
    '83 Suzuki GS850G
    Minnesota

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Mifflinburg, PA / Land of Tar & Chip
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    Awesome. I don't know if I'm impressed more by the paint work or that a relative newbie to the GSR figured out how to post multiple pictures, and good ones, in one post.

    Well done on both counts.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    St. Catharines, On.
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    Call it a BIG win.
    Excellent results and write-up.

    Just seeing the opening in your tank it reminded me of an excellent tip from nvr2old
    Have a look on page 5 of this thread.
    https://www.thegsresources.com/_foru...to-bikes/page5
    2@ \'78 GS1000

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
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    Minneapolis, Minnesota
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    Thanks for that link! really cool write up he has there of that project. I actually did sand that down first, and taped off to leave it as metal. Hard to see as it is now, but the ring of paint around that filler opening where it looks like it's just painted is entirely tape underneath, so when I remove that I should be left with a bare metal filler ring there.
    '83 Suzuki GS850G
    Minnesota

  5. #5
    Redman's Avatar
    Redman is offline Forum LongTimer Past Site Supporter
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    Impressive two tone paint job.

    Had 850G for 14 years. Now have GK since 2005.
    GK at IndyMotoGP Suzuki Display... ... GK on GSResources Page ... ... Euro Trash Ego Machine .. ..3 mo'cykls.



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