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August 10, 2011 10:10 AM   Subscribe

In search of clearcoat or other substance that will allow vinyl wall stickers to survive the elements of Canadian spring/summer/fall.

I got a 2006 Kawasaki ZZR-600 for a song because of extensive cosmetic damage.

The lower fairings were a complete write-off, which is fine, I prefer the naked bike look anyway. I dremeled the upper fairing back to little more than a bikini cowl and bondoed the big dent in the gas tank.

Then, rather than try to repaint the tank (which never seems to look good unless you pay a professional a ton of money), I opted to go the decal route.

I bought some of these wall decals and did a test application to a sheet of metal, applying two coats of rust check clear coat and everything seemed fine, so I moved on to the bike.

I was really happy with the result: side view, tank closeup

The only problem is that, after only two weeks of alternating 35 degree celsius heat and thunderstorms, the edges of the decaled area are starting slightly to peel, despite the clearcoat: aargh!

The clearcoat was definitely applied properly, but the desire of the decals to curl just seems to be too strong for it to seal in.

What can I do to seal these decals down? Ideally I would like a solution that doesn't require me to remove all the decals and start again but I will do that if it's the only way.

Also note that I have applied decals both to the painted steel tank and to the ABS plastic fairing. The tank decals are the only ones that are peeling so far, but I'd like some way to protect the fairing ones as well.
posted by 256 to Technology (1 answer total)
 
Your tank is metal right? I'm taking that as a given, because it looks like it in the picture. And by all reports, decals won't stick to plastic tanks.

There are a lot of good instructions online for how to apply a tank decal. (See here) The most important part in things like this is prep and patience. Make sure the tank is really clean, and make sure that the decal is properly set. The clear coat might protect the decal and help stop it from peeling off later, but proper application is absolutely key to keeping it on.

Read some how-to stuff on applying the decals, and see what you might've done wrong. My only other thought would be that wall decals might use a different adhesive from tank decals, but that's total guess work. (Wall decals are made to come off without damaging the paint, tank decals are made to be clear coated over and sit in the elements, they can afford a stronger adhesive.)

Anyway if I had to guess I'd say you'll be removing the decals and starting over... but good luck either way.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:53 PM on August 10, 2011


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