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VALVE COVER REFURB: Step-by-step with pics

Discussion in 'XJ DIY How-To Instructions' started by bigfitz52, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. bigfitz52

    bigfitz52 Well-Known Member

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    OK, for everybody who's asked, and those who haven't yet: here's how I took an old ratty valve cover and refurbished it for my Seca 550.

    A lot of the steps and processes apply to other parts on the bike too; at least to a point.

    Because the original black valve cover on my '83 had the lettering overly factory-ground, I wanted to start with an early (unground) cover since I planned to polish the raised ribs and "YICS."

    My raw material:

    [​IMG]


    First step was to degrease it using a citris-based engine degreaser from the Auto Parts store:

    [​IMG]


    Then it's time to get rid of that old original clear lacquer coating. For that we use "Aircraft" Paint Remover (also available in the paint section of most auto parts stores) and Gasket remover for the really tough remnants.

    WEAR GLOVES AND EYE PROTECTION. Even a microdrop of either of these products burns like heck, you don't want to even imagine getting it in your eye.
    Bubbling away:

    [​IMG]


    Gasket Remover on the inside to remove all the baked-on residue:

    [​IMG]


    De-Lacquered:

    [​IMG]


    I add a step that you may or may not want to; I find it helps to get rid of any little clinging remnants of dead lacquer that may still be in the nooks and crannies.
    I give it a good scrub down with a gritty househhold cleanser. I use VIM (a Canadian product) which is similar to Comet or Ajax and a stiff brush:

    [​IMG]


    Rinse thoroughly, then it's INTO THE BOILING LEMON JUICE! (I add a cup or so of CLR to the lemon juice to increase the effect of the solution.)

    DO NOT BREATHE THE STEAM FROM THIS!!! You'll need to check on it after about 20 minutes, and keep checking every 10 minutes or so after that. Take it out, rinse it, and if necessary, return to the boil.

    If you boil it for too long it will darken, so keep an eye on it.

    [​IMG]


    Fresh out of the boil:

    [​IMG]

    I used lime juice when I did my other cover and it worked well too.


    Then a quick spray down with WD40 to remove all traces of moisture, followed by a good scrub with lacquer thinner on a clean cotton rag, and it's CLEAN clean.

    [​IMG]


    You could stop there and polish up the ribs (the stock treatment) or take it to the next level.

    Masked for painting (Gloss Black) between the ribs:

    [​IMG]


    I found it easier to just paint over the to-be-polished ribs than to try to mask the lettering and all; a little careful use of a chisel-blade X-Acto knife helps to remove the paint prior to sanding.

    [​IMG]


    Then the ribs and lettering were block-sanded progressively, starting with 800 wet followed by 1200 wet and then 1500 wet:

    [​IMG]


    At this point, you could stop and polish the ribs. Gives it kind of a 60s hot-rod look, I did this on my '81 but used red instead of black. If you stop here, use a wad of Nevr-Dull to get the rest of the cover shiny but not too shiny.

    [​IMG]


    But for this one I took it the rest of the way, and painted the rest of the cover with Low-Gloss Black.

    [​IMG]

    Like I said, a lot of this process can be applied to other parts prior to polishing, etc.

    Have Fun!--- Fitz
     
    May_J_Aaron, PiercedBiker79 and Franz like this.
  2. dwcopple

    dwcopple Active Member

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    I have a 82 750 seca cover for sale! Nice writeup Fitz!
     
  3. macksimman

    macksimman Member

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    I am sorely impressed. I would love to do stuff like that to mine but that would mean taking it apart and then I couldn't ride it. Gotta get me another bike.
     
  4. bigfitz52

    bigfitz52 Well-Known Member

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    That was a $10 cover off eBay, the original has the pre-ground off lettering TOO ground down.

    Truth be told, that was the valve cover off my spare head that I got off eBay for $10.
     
  5. macksimman

    macksimman Member

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    wow! Score!
     
    saftie likes this.
  6. davidsymons53

    davidsymons53 New Member

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    Good post. I like the detailed instructions and the step-by-step pictures. Beautiful job!
     
  7. schooter

    schooter Active Member

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    very noice! I can provide a detailed testimonial for how much aircraft remover hurts, after working on my cb750 paint... it hurt, then when I was at school my hands were red as all get out and they hurt like no other.

    but very nice
     
  8. motorduck

    motorduck Member

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    Fitz - What kind of paint do you use?
     
  9. motorduck

    motorduck Member

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    Also, thanks for all of your beautiful step-by-steps. The pictures are extremely helpful and you know your SH#!.
     
  10. bigfitz52

    bigfitz52 Well-Known Member

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    Duplicolor "high temp" engine enamel; the 500* stuff, not the VHT header paint.

    Once it's fully cured (about 7-10 days) it's hard as nails.
     
  11. schmuckaholic

    schmuckaholic Well-Known Member

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    Wow...
     

    Attached Files:

  12. parts

    parts Member

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    great job.
    thanks for the pics.
     
  13. schooter

    schooter Active Member

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  14. schmuckaholic

    schmuckaholic Well-Known Member

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    *facepalm*
     
  15. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    Fitz,

    Excellent write up and great pictures. But I do have a question. Why did you mask most of the cover before painting between the ridges? Did you use a glossier paint between them?

    thanks,
    mikeg
     
  16. bigfitz52

    bigfitz52 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all.

    Schooter, I'm not dignifying that with a response.

    Mike; sure did. Gloss black in between, and low-gloss (nearly flat) black for the rest of the cover.

    Look closely at the finished pic. I think it makes the ribs stand out.

    It's cool because the area between the ribs is raised slightly from the rest of the cover so it gives you a clean line of demarcation. Yamaha gave us a lot to play with.

    I used gloss red between the ribs on the otherwise "naked" valve cover on my '81; I think it makes the bike look finished.

    I've got a few "extras" I was thinking about maroon between the ribs of a flat black cover with brushed highlights for my black bike... hmmm
     
  17. Metal_Bob

    Metal_Bob Active Member

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    WOW and Impressive!

    What is the purpose of the boiling lemon juice (VERY LOW WIFE APPROVAL FACTOR THERE)? And what if you were to skip it?

    edit:
    i saw various covers on ebay tonight before looking at this post.
    Are the 750J maxim cover the same as the secas for 82? What about 81 covers maxim or seca? (Raised rib versions)
     
  18. RickCoMatic

    RickCoMatic Well-Known Member

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    With everything you have to offer a Cycle World or Classic Motorcycle magazine's feature's writer; I'm shocked and dismayed that they have ignored the suggestions I have sent them to look at what you have contributed, ... and they do nothing.

    I'm beginning to think it has more to do with them ignoring Yamaha as opposed to not being able to find someone to go and knock on your door.

    Find a Honda 305 Dream that has flat tires and needs to be washed before you buff-it-up and snap a picture and they pee their pants with excitement.

    Build an old Yamaha all-over, again ... and they don't give you the time of day!
     
  19. bigfitz52

    bigfitz52 Well-Known Member

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    The boiling lemon (or lime) juice gets the grey staining out of the cover (or greatly reduces it) since it's not getting highly polished. If you're going to polish a part, it's not necessary. It really wasn't necessary for the painted cover, but I was undecided about painting it and might have left it "nekkid."

    Unfortunately, the only bikes a 550 valve cover fits are other 550s. The '82 Seca 650 was a non-YICS motor, so that cover is different too; I'm pretty sure the YICS 650 and 750 are interchangeable but I have no idea about their raised highlights from year to year.
     
  20. quikcobra

    quikcobra Member

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    The pictures make it nice lol, I wonder what it will look like with the ribs shaved off and just leaving the letters.
     

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