A lot of This is Incomplete


Repainting a GSX1100E Tank

The Lacquer over the Suzuki legend on my GSX1100E tank was cracked and flaking, the exposed writing was retaining dirt, it generally looked messy and as I am going to sell it I had to repaint it.


Side of tank with inch paper showing size of lettering
Figure 1. the Tank legend with a paper scale(inches) surrounding it.

In Figure 1 the dark line across the K and I are where some Lacquer remains, it  is missing on all the other letters.

I usually repaint lines and writing rather than buying stickers. Apart from being a cheapskate, painted stripes and lettering is more durable and you don't have to wait for someone to cut them out.

There were a couple of  blisters on the tank otherwise the paint was in good shape and there was only one small dent, it isn't visible in Figure 1 but the centre of it is in the middle of the second "U". So I sandblasted the blisters with a pressure washer and wet blasting attachment. The wetblasting attachment came free with a Hobby 88, I didn't try it until recently and I am quite impressed.  The original stripes and writing are stickers, the remaining Lacquer was sanded off them and with a bit off heat and/or thinners they were cleaned off. The tank was blocked(sanded) with 120 grit and bare metaled in the area surrounding the little dent, which I skimmed with filler then blocked with 80 grit. Don't fill on top of paint, that's just asking for shrinkage and scratches to show. The tank was sprayed with 3 coats of two pack primer and the primer left overnight before being blocked with 600 wet and dry.

The tank was to be painted Orange then sanded before applying the black panel. The tank would then be sanded again, prior to the lettering and stripes being applied, the whole thing finally being Lacquered. 2 pack solid colours would be used for the orange and black and  basecoats for the stripes and letters.


Tank after painting Orange/Black and with guide stripe on


The first colour coat was the "correct" Suzuki Rosso, the black was stock black tinter, the silver was BMC silver leaf, this is a nice fine silver and the lettering was white with red pearl. The correct colours are usually quite subtle, micas and candies being very common. Look at a black bike tank in strong sunlight, FZRs were blue mica basecoats with the black pearl over the top!! The orange on the GSX had fine orange mica in it, the colour I used, the "correct" formulation from a paint company(Sikkens), is almost the right colour but it's just solid colour. 

Three coats of Rosso were applied and flatted with 600 then the tank masked for the black panel to be squirted on. While not absolutely necessary -as the edge would be hidden- 1/8" fineline tape was used for masking the edge. Fine line tape is easy to get round curves and prevents fuzzy edges. Two coats of black were sprayed on the top of the tank. The black was allowed to dry overnight and the whole tank flatted with 1000 grit and 800, anywhere near the edge between the black and orange that needed much sanding was done with the 1000 grit, I didn't really want to feather that edge;-)

The original stipes were 20 mm wide, so I masked the shape of the stripes with 19 mm masking tape. The edges of the tape would be used as a guide for masking the outer edges, Figure 2 shows the tank with the "guide" tape stripe. The outer edges were masked up to the "guide" stripe with fine line tape, then the guide stripe removed, so the gap between the stripes just needed masking now. As the original stripes are 10 mm and 6 mm with a 4 mm gap between them, I thought I would get away with a single 1/8" fineline tape stripe to mask the gap.

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  Cobbled together on the 1 May 2002


{last modified on 16 may 2002}