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Thread: Ghost images

  1. #1
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    Ghost images

    Stripped most of my titanium Eddy Merckx frame to just it's skivvies (only stickers are the badge and seat tube decal) and it looks really nice. Problem is that the decals left a noticable "ghost" image where the decals were. I've used goo-gone and even rubbing compound and it's still there. Anyone have any experience getting this off? Or is it permament?

  2. #2
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    It is likely that the decals were applied while the paint was still soft, so the clearcoat has made ridges around where the decals were. You might try some rubbing compound to knock down the edges. Just work carefully so you dont remove the clearcoat entirely, or burn through the color.
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  3. #3
    Dr.Deltron
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    I'd have to see it in person (or good clear detailed photos) to assess what to do.
    It could be that the decals were applied over a clearcoat and then cleared over. Removing the decal leaves a hole in the final clear coat. As mentioned above, rubbing compound is a good way to diminish this "hole". Maybe try 1500 or 2000 grit sandpaper, then rubbing compound, then Finesse, then glaze.

    But if the decals were applied to the bare titanium, then clearcoated, you will have "holes" that can't really be fixed easily. You may want to consider having a clearcoat sprayed over the whole frame to eliminate those.

    Or...you could have the frame stripped, powdercoat clear (which sticks much better to titanium than paint) apply new decals, spray clear paint over all that. All beautiful again and no "holes"!

    This reminds me of the anodized BikeE recumbents I used to rent/sell. When they came to the shop, I applied cut vinyl lettering with shop name/phone #/website. A friend bought one when I closed the shop. 5 years later I ran into him still riding the bike. He had removed the lettering. But it had been on long enough that the anodizing had faded a few degrees. So when he removed the lettering, the "ghost image" was still there, in fresh bright anodizing! And like a "Candy" color, there is no way to "fix" it!

    Good luck with that! Let us know what works out for you.

  4. #4
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    Acetone is the standard solvent for removing decals from bare Ti frames. I've used it to remove decals from Litespeed frames and there is no trace of them afterwards.

    If your frame was painted or clear coated in any way, you have a much more difficult problem.

  5. #5
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    My 1993 polished Litespeed Classic frame still shows a very faint ghost image....and the frame has been void of decals for over 12 years. I'm sure if I took the time to polish them out they'll disappear all together.
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    This is a bare Ti frame. I'll give the acetone a try.

    -The Fixer, my Merckx is almost the same frame. No reason to get rid of the ghost images? Looks funny to me.

  7. #7
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster
    -The Fixer, my Merckx is almost the same frame. No reason to get rid of the ghost images? Looks funny to me.
    Mine is a completely polished frame. If you look hard enough, you can make out the decal outline.
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  8. #8
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    Tried the acetone, but didn't work. Used something called "Bar Keepers Friend", which looks like a high grit rubbing compound. Worked like a champ. Looked so good, I used it on the rest of the bike also.

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