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1978 Le Mans restoration

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Looking forward to seeing progress on the bike!

Regarding the wire harness, the first thing to keep in mind is that they were never designed to last that long. Have a look at the spade connectors in the fuse box area and the other connectors under the backbone and at the headlight. Especially if the bike has spent any time in a damp location, you'll see the green corrosion. That corrosion usually makes it's way up along the wires, under the insulation.  Flex some wires and see if the insulation is brittle or cracking. If there are any questionable bits, just replace the entire harness while you have the bike apart. For lighting, the minimum you should do is remove and reinstall each bulb in order to scrape off some of the 40 plus years of corrosion on the connectors.

My '83SP electricals didn't look too bad at first glance, but the deeper I dug...well, I rewired the whole dang thing.

Once the engine is out, gearbox and clutch removal are pretty straightforward.  I would go all the way and pull the crank, vapor hone the crankcase and gearbox, and renew all oil seals and gaskets.  They are 40+ years old.  I did this for my G5 and it was a very rewarding experience.  Its sitting next to my non vapor honed SP and the difference in the look is significant. Id also install new harnesses as they would be your problem area in the future. Great project and great story. Ben

Antietam Classic Cycle:

Thanks for the feed back.  Wire harness is a good idea even though mine appears to be in great shape, don't want to chase electrical problems.  I'm pulling the front cover and installing a new timing chain, auto tensioner, and new rotor/brushes.

On another topic... I don't want to powder coat the frame as per Kent @ GMD Computrac's recommendation. My painter suggested PPG Ditzler Hot Rod Black . It's a multi-part single stage Acrylic Urethane topcoat applied over a primer. I was planning on using it for all the black bits... the frame, swing-arm, foot controls, triple trees, headlight bucket/lens and the clip-ons. It claims to be a satin finish but I haven't been able to find any samples since it's a kit and the PPG stores can't mix it so I'm a bit concerned that I won't see it before it's being laid down but I'm thinking we'll do a sample and see if it's ok before proceeding, worse case we toss it if we have to and move on to plan b. There are other kit's like this from SEM and Eastwood that might have a bit more gloss to them.

Related note... I removed my VIN plate in preparation for frame painting by using a curved head bolt along with a coupler nut that you stick into the neck and expand by unscrewing the nut. Worked perfectly... the drive screws look like new but MG Cycle has replacements I'll use.

Question for those who have had their wheels recoated.  My rear wheel is disassembled except for the sleeve that is pressed into the wheel. Do I need to remove this before powder coating and/or before chemically stripping the paint on the wheel?  If so, does this need to be pressed out by a machine shop or is it something I can do?

I believe the Le Mans frame paint was a low gloss, almost flat black, not the same as the typical Guzzi Tonto frame semi gloss black. I think the chassis paint you are referring to may have a higher sheen than the original LeMans finish.

I have always gone for powder coating of the frame and related chassis parts but on my 1948 Airone I had all the chassis parts painted with single stage enamel and will finish the tin parts with base coat and clear over the pins stripes and decals. What I have found working with the enamel paint (it has been curing for a couple months) is that it chips much easier than powder coat. Assembling wheel bubs, break drums, etc on the Airone I am having to be very careful to not knock a part or it chips. Now I can touch up the enamel but I could just a easily touch up the powder cured finish with a matching enamel paint. I have found the powder coated frames to be much more durable, my 72 Eldorado had been on the road for eight years now and hardly a mark on it, same for my 75 Ducati after a coup0le summers riding. It is vital to use a powder coater who is experienced with coating motorcycle frames, that will bake out an oils, prewash the frame and be light around stampings etc.

just my two cents.


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