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Restoring original paint & logos

Old 06-14-21, 02:46 PM
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Wilbur76
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Restoring original paint & logos

Picked up these two 1989 Specializeds. Really sunfaded with a milky finish. Iíd like to restore some shine back to the original paint and logos. Heard about cutting compound but would that be too harsh/abrasive or is there a way to use it in a gentle way? Thanks in advance!



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Old 06-14-21, 02:52 PM
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How much of it is paint, and how much is decals?

I've heard that a good polishing compound can do wonders for oxidized paint on cars.

The fork should be easy enough to remove, and polish up as a test.
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Old 06-14-21, 03:30 PM
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I've been using Meguiar's Scratch-X. It does an amazing job on paint that hsa lost its gloss, but I've heard you may want to go light over the decals, unless they're under clear coat.
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Old 06-14-21, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
I've been using Meguiar's Scratch-X. It does an amazing job on paint that hsa lost its gloss, but I've heard you may want to go light over the decals, unless they're under clear coat.
This looks like clearcoat flaking off so I can assume I only have the basecoat left.
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Old 06-14-21, 05:37 PM
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Meguiar's #7 works very well to restore dry powdery paint.
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Old 06-14-21, 05:49 PM
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Were those bikes mine, I would start with the less aggressive approach - Mother's Cleaning Wax, to see if that achieves the results that I seek. Polishing compound would be next on my list but only if there is a clear coat over the decals...
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Old 06-14-21, 06:32 PM
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I would try a wax based non abrasive approach as bike paint is very thin and decals can be damaged easily. The wax will bring shine where possible without too much damage , in my experience of dealing with old bikes.
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Old 06-14-21, 08:15 PM
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I restored a Specialized Hard Rock from about 1993 that didn't have much paint damage at all (it was a bike that's always been in this family), and I remember it as having a clear coat. That may be what is "milky" in your case. And if it's flaking off, then that's a double-whammy, because my bet is that you won't get it all to peel off. While the product suggestions above are good, for a finish that just needs "renewing" (removal of oxidized material), the results involving some-flaking, some-adhering clearcoat may be "uneven"; probably fine for a rider, so long as that level of patina is OK with you.
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Old 06-14-21, 10:23 PM
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Beautiful bikes, and totally deserving of some love. Did you see that era of Specialized MTN bikes getting some retro-love at Unbound Gravel this year? https://www.gravelcyclist.com/bicycl...lized-diverge/

Veterans and experts can pick the right level of aggressiveness and work their way down to a pretty finish. The rest of us need to work our way up, from gentle to more aggressive and then back down, and bikes are harder than cars because the decals are not all equally protected by the clearcoat. I think most vintage bike people in the US seem to be working with Meguiar's products, but your local auto parts store will be happy to show you the safest order of attack. Anything called a "compound" or "polish" should work by gently grinding into the surface of the paint, so work slow and excercise care around decals. Surface treatments like waxes or silicone finishes work by filling in the gaps, and really can work wonders on old paint without the danger of rubbing something away. Good luck with those great looking bikes.
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Old 06-15-21, 07:17 AM
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I would wipe it down with windex maybe, I would wipe it down with oil. I go nonabrasive first and work my way to wax, if that's not enough I'll use rubbing compound.

This was in dreary state at the time of acquisition. I did use rubbing compound on the Trek but it left white everywhere the clearcoat chipped, I used motor oil after the rubbing compound. Came out sharp!
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Old 06-15-21, 08:05 AM
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Looks like the clear coat is shot. I'd remove what's left and re-clear it if that's the case.

Try using a nice microfiber cloth and a polishing compound like Meguiars Ultimate Polish or Mothers. I wouldnt worry too much about damaging the finish if you polish by hand. It's next to impossible to take off or damage the clear by hand polishing.

Last edited by tendency; 06-15-21 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 06-15-21, 08:37 AM
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I've been using Meguiar's Ultimate Compound lately. It works really well.
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Old 06-15-21, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by tendency View Post
Looks like the clear coat is shot. I'd remove what's left and re-clear it if that's the case.

Try using a nice microfiber cloth and a polishing compound like Meguiars Ultimate Polish or Mothers. I wouldnt worry too much about damaging the finish if you polish by hand. It's next to impossible to take off or damage the clear by hand polishing.
Iíve been thinking about reapplying clearcoat since it looks like itís peeling off. If I apply a polish to remove the milky clearcoat, wouldnít I have to remove the polish so I can apply new clearcoat. Donít I want to have a clear basecoat surface to apply new clearcoat? I would think the polish will not allow the clearcoat to adhere over it.
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Old 06-15-21, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. 66 View Post
I would wipe it down with windex maybe, I would wipe it down with oil. I go nonabrasive first and work my way to wax, if that's not enough I'll use rubbing compound.

This was in dreary state at the time of acquisition. I did use rubbing compound on the Trek but it left white everywhere the clearcoat chipped, I used motor oil after the rubbing compound. Came out sharp!
I had the same Trek Jetta edition bike when I bought a VW Jetta in the late 90s. I loved that car.
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Old 06-15-21, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilbur76 View Post
Iíve been thinking about reapplying clearcoat since it looks like itís peeling off. If I apply a polish to remove the milky clearcoat, wouldnít I have to remove the polish so I can apply new clearcoat. Donít I want to have a clear basecoat surface to apply new clearcoat? I would think the polish will not allow the clearcoat to adhere over it.
It's hard for me to say w/out seeing the bike in person. You'll first need to either remove what's left of the existing clearcoat (which can be done by gentle sanding or using a clear coat removing chemical) or try to repair the clear coat if most of it is still good. That would involve sanding off any damaged sections of the existing clear then blending those sections in using sandpaper (wet sand) with the existing good clear. You can then re-apply a good 2K clear or, at minimum, 1K clear. You can spray clear over clear as long as the underlying clear has been cleaned.

As for removing polish just give the bike a good wash with warm soapy water then a good rinse. Allow to air dry in the sun or (while wearing gloves) wipe down with clean microfiber.
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Old 06-15-21, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dbhouston View Post
Beautiful bikes, and totally deserving of some love. Did you see that era of Specialized MTN bikes getting some retro-love at Unbound Gravel this year? https://www.gravelcyclist.com/bicycl...lized-diverge/.
I did see it. Also saw the Gravelcyclist picked up an 89 Rockcombo in Florida with plans to bring it back to full retro.

All this reminded me to get off my ass and start working on the Stumpy and RH I had sitting in my yard.
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Old 06-18-21, 09:32 AM
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The finest cutting compound I have used is Tamiya Polishing 'Compound', it is a liquid paste cutting compound designed for plastic scale model polishing. Absolutely incredible stuff, and much more delicate than the automotive alternative. It comes in three grades.



Should be available in your local hobby shop or eBay.

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Old 06-19-21, 02:34 PM
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I have spruced up quite a few bikes with faded paint. Here is what I do

strip everything off frame and fork
wipe everything with paint thinner or wd 40 to remove the heavy grease.
Wash with simple green and rinse well, making sure you have cleaned off ALL the grease and dirt
Rub out with 3m white polishing compound. this will remove embedded grease , light scratches, other contaminants like tar or latex paint.
clean with alcohol wearing rubber gloves to keep finger print oil off bike
set up frame for painting. I do a rotisserie with a dowel sttached to a table and the seat tube pushed onto the dowel
wipe down with tack cloth to remove any hair/ dust on metal
Spray frame with Rustoleum Automotive clear , using paint can warmed under hot water . Paint on warm day
As you spray - chain stays first, then seat stay, down tube, top tube, and lastly head tube, rotate the frame on the spit so it never stays in the same position
This will help keep the paint from running.
For best results paint in shade on warm/ hot day using full can of paint that is shaken 1 minute and warmed under water.

working on cold day with cold frame makes paint run much easies. using almost empty can also seems to increase runs. possibly the paint is thinner then.

Do not spray automotive clear on any paint that is not thoroughly cured, as in a few months old at least.

You will be surprised just how much better the paint will look after this treatment.
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