NC23 Makeover #1

In general the paint on the NC23 is in pretty good shape. I don’t know how old it is, but the blue and white is not an original scheme.

CBR400RR NC23

This post-purchase picture shows the NC23 putting it’s best face forward. The right-hand fairings are OK apart from minor paint chips and a grind mark under the clutch cover, barely visible in this picture. The left side was not so good.

However, it’s pretty clear that the bike went through a “severe event” at some point. The left-hand middle fairing is not an original piece, it’s thicker and heavier than the other pieces, and it had a significantly lighter shade of blue without clear coat. The lower piece was half-covered in the same paint, and there were chunks cracked off at the bottom and by the alternator cover. The left side of the top fairing also had the tab in the lower, rear end missing. (On the right side that tab was cracked off, but still there thanks to a chunk of JB Weld applied by some earlier owner. I set out fixing up these blemishes.

The missing and cracked off tabs on the top fairing with Plastifix. This is a plastic powder that you can use to rebuild ABS plastic with, and it’s awesome. You basically dissolve the powder in a solvent drop by drop and build up the missing piece. Repairing cracks is a piece of cake, just dremel out the crack halfway through and then rebuild with Plastifix. Fabricating missing pieces is a bit more work since you need to support the plastic until it hardens, but the result is infinitely better than epoxy or JB Weld which doesn’t really bond well to the plastic. If you need to repair your fairings, I can’t recommend it higher. Check it out at Urethane Supply Company.

With the tabs on the top fairings fixed, went to work on the paint. The shade of blue is really close to the color on the Passat, so I used my touch-up bottle to fix the numerous small paint chips and after sanding and buffing it’s virtually impossible to see unless you know to look for them.

The sky-blue pieces wouldn’t be so easy though. To see if the Passat paint would work on a larger piece, I sanded down the middle fairing and airbrushed a chunk with the “Indigo Blue Metallic” paint and clear coat. The result is shown below. While the shade is close, it’s got a more purple tone and the metallic flecks are too prominent. I guess there’s no alternative but to visit an auto paint store and get some matched paint.

Test of Passat paint

Here’s a test spray of the Passat “Indigo Blue Metallic” on the right-hand fairing compared to the left-hand side with the correct paint. It’s pretty close and clearly a lot better than the old paint on the rest of the piece, but it’s not quite right.

Until I get matched paint, I proceeded with stripping the paint off the middle piece. Not only is it a different material, it’s also clearly inferior to the original pieces. To begin with, there were numerous tiny cracks in the face of the plastic that didn’t seem to go all the way through. I Dremeled them out and repaired with Plastifix.

Stripped and repaired piece

Here’s the right-hand middle fairing after stripping the incorrect blue paint and primer and repairing some minor cracks with Plastifix.

The plastic is also warped and has depressions in it, so I proceeded to apply some flexible epoxy filler and try to get it flatter. In the process, I sanded through the top layer of the plastic and exposed a yellow material that almost looks like fiberglass, except there’s no fiber. I don’t know what this piece is made of, but it’s clearly not ABS like the original fairings.

With filler applied

Here’s the middle piece with filler applied. You can tell the wavy shape from where the filler is.

Mystery material

Here’s the yellowish material exposed where I’ve sanded through the top layer.

Does anyone have any idea what this material may be?

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