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and other things..
Here's an Eight Step Program to brighten up your coneheads in about an hour
By Chet Walters
This works on most any bolt or nut that needs cleaned up.
Well, of course, you've had your Valkyrie for a few years and some of the parts are getting a little dull. Most notably, the Conehead allen screws in your timing cover. If you have a drill and a vice, here's a way to brighten up some of those dull nuts and bolts. If you have a "big time" buffer, you know what to do. I like to write stuff for the average Joe using tools and materials available anywhere so that's what we will do here. Sears sells a nice little buffing kit for about $12 and that's what we will use. Get some ScotchBrite (under the kitchen sink should to, or at a discount auto store). Get some super fine steel wool (an SOS pad will work but a Brillo pad won't). You'll need a vice and a drill and if you have two drills, you can cut your work time in more than half. You'll also need some laquer thinner and some quick dry spray clear laquer.
|Click any picture to see
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|STEP ONE: Remove coating and scrub off
Invert your drill in the vice and clamp it not too tightly, at least tight enough to hold it, but not tight enough to bind the motor. Remove half of your conehead allen screws from the front of your timing cover and set to work on them. The first step is to chuck up your conehead screw in the drill, not too tightly to crush the threads, but tight enough to hold the bolt. Turn on the drill and lock it. Use ScotchBrite to remove any protective coating and/or corrosion by holding it against the spinning bolt. This step will also smooth out any pits that might be in the heads. Work the ScotchBrite back and forth a little to prevent grooves from forming. If you have some real tough spots or rust, use 600 grit sand paper to help here. Always use ScotchBrite last, however..
|STEP TWO: Load the wheel with brown compound
Now, remove the bolt and chuck up your nice cotton buffing wheel. You should really use a new wheel for each compound, but since we are doing small bolts, we can use the same wheel, half at a time. Put the brown compound on the "left" side of the wheel. Scrub it in good. The compound is made of wax and you need to heat it a little with the friction to get it to go on the wheel.
|STEP THREE: Buff the head of the bolt with
Take your time here. This sometimes requires a little longer than you might wish (see below for a shortcut). It is necessary to get the head of the bolt warm to make the compound work. You may have to repeat step two and load the wheel again one or two more times in this process. Don't put too much pressure on the wheel. As you can see, the wheel in this picture is not too distorted. Let the wheel and the compound do the work. Turn the conehad often. Spin it constantly, pausing only on tough spots. We want an even finish. The conehead will not look that great after this step since it will be full of wax and a little dull because this is rough compound.
|STEP FOUR: Load the wheel with white compound
On the other half of the wheel, load it up with the finer white compound. Work it in like you did the brown stuff.
|STEP FIVE: DOUBLE
CHUCK! Buff the head of the bolt
with the white compound
You can do this by hand like in Step Three, but if you are lucky enough to have two drills, you can double chuck. If you have two drills, you can set up one as a buffer and use the second one to chuck up your bolt and perform Step One and Step Six without the need to re-chuck the bolt each time. But, there's an additional bonus. This will cut your buffing time by about TWO THIRDS! Yes, it will work that much more quickly in both Step Three (as shown here) and Step Five. Plus, you get a "two directional" buffing action on the metal and it will look nicer too. Note again, the wheel is not too distorted in this picture. Both drills are running.
|STEP SIX: Final
Cleanup! Buff the head of the
bolt with super fine steel wool #0000
If you've double chucked with a second drill, then you can just hold the drill and use the steel wool (I would have done this here, but I didn't have a third hand to hold the camera!). Put some good pressure on the steel wool, but be careful since it will want to wind around the bolt if you don't hold it just right. Don't lock your drill in the "on" position because if this should happen, you'll wanna shut it down quickly. You'll see a nice "chrome like" lustre appear on your conehead at this step.
|STEP SEVEN: Protect
your work! Paint the heads to
keep them looking nice
Now, you're going to want these to look good for awhile, right? Since you took off any protective coating from the factory so you could shine these up, you need to restore a coating to protect your work and keep these from corroding or rusting. Here, get an old flat cardboard box like the one shown. An ideal box is a corregated pizza box (eat the pizza first!). Punch some holes in it with a punch or a pencil so that you can "rack" the bolts for clear coat. After you've racked them, clean them with laquer thinner and dry. Spray a light coat of clear laquer on them 360░ around (turn the box) or, use brush on Plasti-Kote« Clear Touch Up paint #3001 (it looks the best, very glossy and very clear). Double or triple coat them.
|STEP EIGHT: Admire
Here's a comparison picture of a polished and coated conehead next to an unfinished one. The polished one is capped off by a ╝" - 5m allen snap cap (these are available at Rattlebars Mfg.). Notice how the conehead looks like the chrome bar on which it rests and also the bright chrome cap and the chrome collar.
Now, put the bolts back on the bike (careful, they break so use only about 12 LB/ft of torque) and start over with the other half of your coneheads. Once done, do as all good coneheads do - consume mass quantities of your favorite beverage and snack food!
Other enhancements using the same method as above.....
|ROTOR BOLTS: USE NEW ONES!
Here's a comparison picture of a polished and coated rotor bolt next to an unfinished one. The black stuff in the picture is good old duct tape used to protect my Hondaline Fork Covers from getting scratched as I removed the bolts to polish them. DO NOT CAP THESE WITH ANYTHING. Caps will fly off and get tangled in important stuff. Honda recommends that you use NEW BOLTS each time you do this. I won't disagree with Honda. I will recommend that when you put your "new" polished bolts back in to replace the dull ones, use thread lock on them and torque to 14 LB/ft.
|VTX BOLTS: ALL OF THEM!
No need to put a photo of these against unpolished ones. Just look at yours. They are dull gray. These are like chrome! And, all of the allens on the VTX lend themselves really well to a good polish. Fork bolts, fender bolts, engine case bolts, rotor bolts, just about any bolt on the "X" is either stainless, aluminum or a compound that lends itself to polishing using this method.
For more, check my VTX Pages.
|LEATHERLYKE bag bolts and
For this, you'll need a four inch long 5/16" screw and a nut for it. Make sure the threads go all the way up on the screw. Put two spacers facing as shown in the picture and snug up the nut. Chuck it up as shown and do the work above like it was a bolt. For the actual bolt heads, which are "knurled," you'll need some emery cloth or sandpaper. Chuck up an LL bag bolt and start with 60 grit to grind off the knurles. Work your way up through the grades of paper until you get to about 600 grit to get a smooth finish. Start with Step One and polish them up to look nice. Coat them with clear to keep them looking good.
|The finished product looks like the pic at the left. These are enhanced allen snap caps from Rattlebars. You can lube these with Silicone Lube from Radio Shack to keep the bags from squeeking and make them easier to R&R.|
Questions? Contact Chet at Chetspages@rattlebars.com
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