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Whether you’re completely restoring your motorcycle or you simply want to touch it up a bit, you can be left with a lot of questions during the process. You will be able to create a beautiful project if you ask the right questions.
A question that’s pretty common among the DIY motorcyclist is the best paint to use on their frame. Although spray paint has been used by many, it can be confusing to know which one is the best.
So what’s the best spray paint for a motorcycle frame? Engine acrylic aerosol paint is the best spray paint for motorcycle frames. It has proven to be durable and works well on motorcycle frames. This spray paint is easy to use and will give your frame a professional look, if it’s used correctly.
Spray paint can be applied to motorcycle frames correctly and it will create a beautiful look without costing too much. Over twelve motorcycles have been restored in my time. Through trial and error, I’ve found the best paint brands and paints for motorcycle frames.
Why engine acrylic spray paint works well on frames
When it comes to painting the frame of your motorcycle, you’ll want to always make sure you do it right the first time. It can be quite a chore to paint the frame due to all the parts you need to take apart and disassemble. This can save you time and frustration later.
In the last six-years, I’ve restored 14 motorcycles. Every single one was repainted. I’ve also helped several friends paint the frame of their motorcycle. Needless to say, painting a motorcycle frame isn’t anything foreign to me.
An automotive acrylic aerosol works great on frames, according to my experience. Dupli-Color aerosol paint for automobiles is my favorite (available on Amazon.com).
Engine paint has a high heat tolerance. That is one reason why I like it. A motorcycle frame does experience extreme temperatures being by the engine so it’s appropriate to use a paint that can withstand those conditions.
Acrylic aerosol is easy to make at home because it dries quickly. But because it does dry fast, you have to be quick and thorough; any runs you get will likely dry quickly which means you’ll have to sand it down later and repaint.
An automotive acrylic aerosol can has proven to be extremely durable for motorcycle frames. This paint has been used many times to paint the motorcycle’s rims and then have the tires attached to the rims without any scratches from the mounting machine. If the paint is properly applied, rocks and other road debris will not scratch the paint.
Warning: because it’s so durable it can be a bit difficult if you get over spray on anything other than the frame. This engine paint can leave behind unwanted paint spots that are very difficult to get rid of. The sooner you get it off, the better chances you’ll have at succeeding it’s removal.
What about The Primer?
Though it’s not unheard of to simply spray the frame without any type of primer, primer can still be an extremely helpful element when painting a motorcycle frame. Particularly if the frame is stripped to its bare metal.
I have seen some of the best results by using primer before spraying the frame. You’ll need to make sure you do the proper preparation of the frame (which will later be explained) for it to give the best results.
Priming your frame before painting is a good idea. If you are serious about this project, it will be a great help. Priming helps paint stick better to your frame. This will eventually make the paint last longer.
Preparing a motorcycle frame to be painted can cause it to look uneventful. What I mean is that you’ll have some spots that are bare metal while other spots may still have some faded paint on it. Priming before painting a frame will ensure those spots won’t show through the paint while giving your paint that extra glow. Primer also prevents corrosion and rust.
Here are some things you should do before painting your frame.
There’s a lot more to painting a motorcycle frame than just simply painting it, waiting for it to dry, and calling it good. You will get the best results if you do some prep work.
This will depend on the extent of your frame that needs to be painted. If it’s just a small spot that needs to be repainted, the prep work is still required but won’t be near as intensive as compared to having to spray the whole frame.
Whether it’s a small spot or the whole frame you need to repaint, First, remove anything that might be in your way. It can be very difficult to remove parts that have been sprayed with too much. If you find it difficult to remove certain parts of your motorcycle, be sure to tape it.
The bottom of motorcycle frames is most vulnerable to dirt, grime, or gunk. Dirt can get in crevices that a car wash can’t reach and will eventually get caked on. Motorcyclists commit the greatest mistake: they don’t clean the frame thoroughly enough before painting. Paint over dirt will make it easier to chip in the near future.
To remove large chunks, use a scraper or wire brush. You can also use some sand paper for those harder chunks that won’t budge. To get rid of all the grease and grime, scrub the area with a grease remover.
Next, make sure to scuff up the rest of the paint you’re planning on painting over. It doesn’t need to be sanded down to bare metal, but paint adheres to the frame much better when the under layer of paint is a little scuffed up. Once you’re done with that, use a wet rag to wipe off any dust.
When you’ve ensured that all the grease is off, the frame is scuffed enough for paint, and that it’s clean and dry, you’re ready to begin priming. Use a respirator of high quality and ventilated location to prime. Do several layers of primer and make sure it’s completely dry before applying your layer of actual paint. To prevent drips, spray paint should be applied in thin layers.
If you’re still unsure about whether or not you should paint your motorcycle and thinking about powder coating instead, click here to see my article about the pros and cons of both priming and powder coating a frame.
An entire video series has been created about how to restore motorcycles. The series features in-depth videos that show how to clean, prep, and paint a motorcycle frame without having to remove the engine. Also included are tips and tricks you won’t find anywhere else online as well as hard-to-tackle components such as electrical, motorcycle tank body work, and carb rebuilds. Click here for more information if you’re interested in restoring or building your dream motorcycle!
Do you have to take everything off the frame in order paint it?
Most people have the misconception that if you’re planning on repainting the entire motorcycle frame, you have to remove everything including the engine. This is what I did on several occasions when I was restoring motorcycles.
Removing the engine is a daunting task and can be damaging to your motorcycle if you don’t know what you’re doing. After a few motorcycle restorations, I actually found that you don’t need to remove the engine at all for the frame to still get a high quality, brand new look when you paint it.
You’ll need to make sure you tape off the engine extremely well to ensure no over spray gets on it. You can save a lot of time by using newspaper and masking tape. Click here to read my article on how to paint a motorcycle frame with no engine removal.
Are you able to paint a motorcycle’s gas tank without any experience? It is not necessary to have experience in painting motorcycle gas tanks. However, it helps to get some practice. If you’ve never done it before, paint some unimportant object and get a feel of how the paint works before starting on a project like this.
What is the material used to make motorcycle frames? Frames for motorcycles were made of tubular steel at the time they first appeared. While some motorcycles nowadays are still made from steel, you’ll also see an array of frames made from aluminum or carbon fiber.