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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-13-2008, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Question ABS plastic repair?

What is the best way to repair ABS plastic and give it back structure? I have lots of plastics on the bike that will be coming off and getting fixed in the future and I want to start getting the stuff together.

I stress the word sturcture here since several of the plastics are badly cracked or damaged (2 have to be replaced) and the front fairing is salvageable, but it has stress cracks on both sides of the headlight. I need something that will be the equivalent of welding for the ABS.

Would Fiberglass be the best route?

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-13-2008, 04:56 PM
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NO

Do not use fiberglass. It will crack out from the vibrations because it never really adheres to the plastic.

The best thing I have found is this:

Get a soldering iron. One with a nice, big tip works the best. You can get them at home depot or menards, something at least 25 watts.

Sand all the paint off where the cracks are at... burning paint sucks. Then take the soldering iron and melt the cracks back together. I like to trace the entire length of the crack in one stroke, but it'll kind of cut a groove in the plastic.

Then, I go back through and push the plastic that oozed out on both sides of the crack back into it. You can cut up junk plastic pieces and melt them into bigger cracks as filler.

This will sand down nicely and be pretty strong.

THEN- to finish it off, the best thing I have found is to buy a roll of the aluminum screen door mesh. Not the plastic, not the fiberglass, the aluminum stuff. Obviously.

Then, on the inside of the fairing where the crack is, cut the screen door mesh so it'll cover the whole crack, and then press it into the plastic with your soldering iron. This will keep the crack from re-opening, and really helps to strengthen everything back up.

Some people use stainless steel hardware cloth for this, but it's really thick, like chicken wire. It has to e cut with tin snips, and does not transfer heat as fast as aluminum. Takes forever. The screen door mesh can be cut with scissors and goes faster.

Then just sand down the front and paint it. You MIGHT need to use some bondo or glazing putty to make it 100% smooth... there are sometimes some tiny pinholes that you miss. But it takes no time at all to fill those in.

I have also gone back through and just filled them in with plastic before, too... but that obviously takes a lot longer.

Anyways- I've never had a crack re-open from this method.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-13-2008, 05:07 PM
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Welding. I use the cheap plastic welder from Harbor Freight ($30) and it works quite well. It's like a super-concentrated heat gun. You do need an air compressor too, but most any one will do.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-15-2008, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Awesome write up KW! We have an old school soldering iron that is huge, I'll try to find that. Since I'll probably buy 2 used fairing plastics, I'll have the old 2 fairings to use as soldering fodder. I know we have several thicknesses of metal mesh, so that'll be easy.

If I fail in epic proportions at the KW fix, I'll look into the plastic welder. As always for me, $0 > $30

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