Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rusty Bonneville

My Bonneville is my main means of getting around. While it is true I have a fine Nissan Maxima parked under the house, and my wife cheerfully lets me drive her trash-filled convertible or even her delightful Vespa, the 2007 Trumpet is what I turn to when it's time to get on the road. 14 nights a month The Triumph and I share the Overseas Highway coming and going, and while I am upstairs in air conditioned comfort the Bonneville sits out in the parking lot at work, come rain or fog, salt air and dust. Even at home all the Bonneville has to call home is a patch of cement, exposed on the sides to the elements while I sprawl upstairs in my palatial 700 square foot residence. I should not be surprised then that specks of rust have built up in a couple of places. On the mirrors for instance:Or the front fender (mudguard) struts which are in the way every time water is spraying off the roadway:I have been noticing this build up of crap for a while but what with other things going on and the daily preference to keep the Bonneville on the road,rusty specks have been allowed, for some mysterious reason, to get out of hand. I put a stop to that finally, at least on the struts. I pulled out the toolkit and all the other crap necessary for the task:Lacking as I do the air conditioned garage aforementioned, I was glad the weather had taken a small turn for the cooler, especially as April can be warm in the Keys, which is to say humid. I took the struts off which involved nothing more complicated than unscrewing some bolts. And in the case of the rear strut I had to unscrew the speedometer cable which was easy enough. Of course there was prep work, chipping off the worst of the rust then endless sanding to get the chrome remaining, smooth and ready to accept paint. Then I had to figure out how to get the Rustoleum primer and black paint onto these awkwardly shaped pieces of metal. They look like nothing quite so much as croquet hoops and they are not deigned for easy painting. I scratched my head for a while and eventually I figured out threading some string under my deck and attaching the hoops with zip (electrical) ties to the string. It looked eccentric but it worked:Finally I got to work with the spray cans. Now I have to confess I am the world's worst painter and second worst cook. I have no patience for the fine art of applying color to anything, be it walls, paper or croquet hoops. Equally I would much rather wash dishes in the kitchen than patiently mix up ingredients and watch them simmer on the stove. I grew up with institutional food and an English boarding school education will equip one to eat anything, though it doesn't do you any good when it comes to learning how to be a good painter. Either you can daub or you can't. I can't.the way I figure it, the sanding and primer will help the black paint to stick and may slow down the development of rust for a while. So even if it doesn't look that great (and photography is my friend in this instance), it's better than looking rusty:The struts are done, the speedometer is reinstalled and all is well with the world. The problem is I got brave and thought about doing the mirrors too, but then I realised first I had to remove the Parabellum windshield, which isn't hard to do as it's just four screws, but I wasn't sure spraying the mirrors would be my best move. In the end I got some Brasso and reduced the rust on the mirror stems as much as I could and left it at that. I have painted the supports for the windshield previously as they rusted up almost instantly and they have held up okay for the past year and half though they do show signs of wear:Here endeth the lesson. Much better it is to be riding than struggling with nuts and bolts, paint and primer.The Bonneville looks fine even with a few spots of rust. It is, as I keep pointing out, a daily rider and that justifies almost any abuse.