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  • '51FL rear fender

    I have been working steadily on my '51 Pan but have been avoiding the elephant in the room project. . . Paint. . . I couldn't come up with a color, and didn't want to be tied down to the 4 colors H-D offered as standard in '51, and their optional metallic colors (which look out of place on an early '50s bike). So, while I'm waiting for a parts order, I started messing with the rear fender. I found good samples of original paint inside, and that it had been red (Persian Red) and that made up my mind to go with Persian Red. My bike was sold in Orlando, Fl, by Puckett's H-D and even though it had been through a lot in it's life, it still has it's original motor, trans, frame, fork, tanks, and rear fender. I enjoy doing paint and body work on bikes so having a color commitment has given this project a kick in the butt. I've attached a few pics to show the paint stripping process. I prefer the nasty, hazardous paint stripper. but thought I would try the orange stripper. The orange stripper kind of works, but it's really more for light furniture work. Real paint stripper is wicked stuff so take precautions when using it. I concentrated on the front and back parts of the fender. The tail piece is really bad and will need a lot of metal work. More later.

    fend.JPG

    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  • #2
    Good luck with your body work ! That spot under the tail light is usually the roughest spot on most of these old fenders. Especially here in the midwest where the road salt gets under the tail light and wasn't easily removed with a hose.

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    • #3
      For whatever reason, I could only post one picture. I'll try posting a few more later.
      Eric Smith
      AMCA #886

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      • #4
        Let's see if I can make a few pictures appear. I suspect our computer, but how the hell would I know?

        No Go. Can't even post one.


        Eric Smith
        AMCA #886

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        • #5
          Originally posted by exeric View Post
          I have been working steadily on my '51 Pan but have been avoiding the elephant in the room project. . . Paint. . . I couldn't come up with a color, and didn't want to be tied down to the 4 colors H-D offered as standard in '51, and their optional metallic colors (which look out of place on an early '50s bike). So, while I'm waiting for a parts order, I started messing with the rear fender. I found good samples of original paint inside, and that it had been red (Persian Red) and that made up my mind to go with Persian Red. My bike was sold in Orlando, Fl, by Puckett's H-D and even though it had been through a lot in it's life, it still has it's original motor, trans, frame, fork, tanks, and rear fender. I enjoy doing paint and body work on bikes so having a color commitment has given this project a kick in the butt. I've attached a few pics to show the paint stripping process. I prefer the nasty, hazardous paint stripper. but thought I would try the orange stripper. The orange stripper kind of works, but it's really more for light furniture work. Real paint stripper is wicked stuff so take precautions when using it. I concentrated on the front and back parts of the fender. The tail piece is really bad and will need a lot of metal work. More later.

          fend.JPG
          I use Rock Miracle as a stripper. We used it in the bridge painting industry and it works like the retail strippers - but on steroids!
          Bill Pedalino
          Huntington, New York
          AMCA 6755

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          • #6
            Originally posted by exeric View Post
            Let's see if I can make a few pictures appear. I suspect our computer, but how the hell would I know?

            No Go. Can't even post one.

            Any progress with the fender? Would be great to see some pictures. Are you windows 7 or 10 (that could be your issue) ? Maybe Mike could help. I have great luck with the new system. Click on 'upload attachments', go to your folder the pictures are in, click on the picture and bang, they're on the forum. I know, you've been told that many times, just thought I would try and motivate you, your body work is always eye appeasing. DSC04621.JPG Try resizing the picture if you have windows 10.
            Bob Rice #6738
            End of the Line TW'88

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            • #7
              We'll try again. I resized the pictures in MS Paint.

              No go, I reduced the pictures to 25% and they are still too big. I've not had this much trouble in the past and still use the same camera, and computer. . . . Oh well.

              Eric Smith
              AMCA #886

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              • #8
                I've been quite frustrated with my attempts to post pictures of my fender progress so I've skipped taking pics of many steps. I've been using MS paint to re-size the pictures and I hope that works. Real PITA so I probably won't be doing much of this project stuff.

                The turquoise fender is what I started with. The fender came with my bike and I believe it was original to the frame, motor, trans, fork, etc. It had been a half assed chopper when I got it in 1986, which was good because they could have done a lot more damage. The guy I got it from knew it's history from the original owner and the bike did come out of Puckett's H-D in Orlando, Fl. In the process of stripping all the paint, I found original paint inside the fender, and it was Persian Red on top of a dull but noticeable 'Bonderized' treatment. There was blue, black, and a metallic blue on top of the Persian Red. The following pictures show about 3 weeks of work. Lots of metal work as I didn't want a Bondo sculpture. I am always amazed at how metal wants to go back to it's stamped form, but that memory can take a lot of careful treatment. Anyhow, my goal was to keep filler to an absolute minimum, and that means lots of surgical hammering Also, I made new 15/32 rivets for the stays, and hinge, and I wanted the hinge to be functional. I wanted a minimum of paint thickness so everything would be defined.

                1fenjsmjpg.jpg1fenhsm.jpg1fenasm.jpg
                Eric Smith
                AMCA #886

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                • #9
                  This is where we are today. The color is on, but I want it to cure before I wet sand it. I don't like orange peel on a finished paint job. Next is the front fender, but that will be a piece of cake compared to the rear.

                  mayfen4.jpgmayfen3.jpgmayfen5.jpg
                  Eric Smith
                  AMCA #886

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                  • #10
                    Looks good Eric! Dumb question here, why did you tape off the rivet heads? Inquiring mind wants to know (headed this way during the summer...if it gets here)
                    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

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                    • #11
                      How far into production is that '51 Eric? Many modern tires won't clear the fender indentation. H-D changed it in '51 for the new profile tires they were getting from suppliers. Most '51s are the big cutout.
                      Robbie Knight Amca #2736

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                      • #12
                        I've heard that as well, Robbie and there is a tire clearance problem with that fender, so I made an angle bracket that keeps the flap away from the tire. Just based on the bike's history, I felt it was the fender it came with, but it could have been an accident replacement made up from parts by a dealer since there is no primer under the red paint. It is a later production model, so I also wonder about that 3 rib fender.

                        I put tape on the rivet heads, and hinge to keep paint build-up to a minimum. Modern paint can get a bit thick to achieve full coverage. I believe Glasurit is a high pigment paint which would allow less paint for a good finish, but it's also very expensive. Harley-Davidson applied an amazing paint finish on Bonderized steel in those days, and I am just not that talented to produce a paint job of factory H-D quality. You have to work with what you've got
                        Last edited by exeric; 05-06-2021, 01:10 PM.
                        Eric Smith
                        AMCA #886

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                        • #13
                          My bike was sold in Orlando, Fl, by Puckett's H-D and even though it had been through a lot in it's life
                          You are very fortunate to have the complete history, history is usually lost.
                          I have ownership history for my 47UL and think I know the dealer but I am guessing.

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