If you thought putting the primer on was a pain in the ass, wait until you get to the sanding. The most difficult part of dealing with these fairings is that there is NO STRAIGHT SURFACE! Every article you read stresses the point of spraying straight onto the surface. Of course, the fairings of a sportbike have more curves than your favorite pin-up girl…
The primer used for this job was sandable primer – also used for filler. This should help fill any imperfections in the surface, and make your job easier when it comes to sanding. Sanding the primer began after letting the fairing dry overnight, which is about 12 hours longer than the recommended minimum. This time-lapse is suggested to make sure the primer is as dry as possible, before you go digging into it with rough sand paper. Figured the extra time couldn’t hurt.
The challenge with sanding primer is that you are supposed to go VERY LIGHTLY over the piece, without applying too much pressure, so as not to sand though the paint, which exposes the original color underneath. Curves and angles are where this becomes difficult, if not impossible. And as stated earlier, there is NOTHING but curves and angles on these damn fairings!
Because of spraying a few wet coats of primer on the tank (as opposed to 3-5 light coats), it was in need of more aggressive sanding. I also realized that the two spots where the Yamaha wording decals had been, were not sanded thoroughly enough. I could still see the faint letting under the primer, which would end up being a blaring mistake once the shiny top coat was on. Time to whip out the course sand paper – in this case, 180 grit, and get down to the raw plastic. This will require more primer, and more sanding…
For clarification, this sanding is in fact, wet sanding. Light wet sanding. Put some fresh water in a large bowl, with a dab of dish soap. Soak your sand paper in the bowl for 10 minutes. The tutorials on the web suggest various grits of paper for this job, anywhere from 400 to 1200. I split the difference and used 800. Lightly…ever so lightly. The goal is to not sand through the primer and get back to the original paint. I ‘mostly‘ succeeded in doing this. Some of the spots on the curves sanded through to the undercoat, which will require a respray of primer.
While wet sanding, you are looking to get rid of any texture, and make the piece as glass-smooth as possible. This is the base layer that determines the outcome of all layers to follow. This is the time to get rid of any “orange peel” effect, which will most certainly cause you heartache later.
My next phase is to repaint the pieces which are showing exposed plastic. This should be accomplished with some light primer coats, and then more drying, more sanding, and then on to the color….