Motorcycle Side Cover Repair

Disclaimer: I'm no expert in automotive body repair, just an amateur with a camera and a desire to do things my way. Sure, I could take it to a pro, but I like the idea of learning how to do things myself, which provides me with confidence and gusto. Or I could try to find one on ebay, but they're so rare these days that it will cost a gigabuck and it's likely to be just a cracked, brittle, and broken. What fallows is my attempt at repairing them with a few supplies from the hardware store and willingness to learn and take risks. The side covers where busted up, cracked and ugly.

Materials:

After cleaning them really well (do NOT clean them with carb cleaner, and don't ask how I know that), I used a special type of epoxy resin called "plastic weld" and fiberglass for reinforcement. I applied this to the side the faces the inside of the motorcycle where it can't be seen, and applied it anywhere I thought there could be a crack, where a crack could form in the future, and any week points. I had a least half of each side cover reenforced. Then I used bondo on the outside, sanded, and followed up with spot putty.

I could (should?) have had a professional painted take over at this point. For one color it would have only been around $100, but I just gotta learn the hard way I guess. So I painted them myself with spray paint outside. It should be noted that I'm doing all of this in the middle of January, and for some reason the temperatures kept going up and down all week. I was blessed with two days of upper 40 degree temps before it dropped to below 20. I rushed to spray on some primer (I used special primer made for plastics), let that dry overnight, then I gave 4 or 5 very THIN coats of color. The color spray paint is Dupli-color automotive paint from autozone and it's a pretty damn close match!

Well I'm not sure why exactly but the paint wrinkled after the second coat. The next day I tried to wet-sand them out but this just turned the wrinkles white because of the primer below. I was ready to give up and put them on even though they where unacceptable to me (I needed to finish ASAP so I could have everything ready for a vintage motorcycle show in a few short days away) when the temps spiked back up again and I had one more chance to paint them. I put on another 5 coats of color, let them dry overnight, and then wet-sanded and polished with a polishing compound for paint. They looked great!

And the grills.. While I was doing all this work I decided to cut the "gills", as I call them, out and install perforated aluminum in their place. Again, plastic weld epoxy was used to glue them in place. They turned out great, and it's a big improvement and a nice custom touch.

Update!

About a year and a half later, they're holding up really well. Only a few small chips in the paint, and, more importantly, no cracks in the plastic!