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  1. #1
    Senior Member Talewinds's Avatar
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    Clearcoat Over Chrome?

    Hi folks, I just picked up a Schwinn Voyageur 11.8, it's the one with the all chrome frame. This is my first exercise in rehabilitating a vintage bike. I say exercise because that's exactly what I got while trying to remove the VERY stuck seatpost for 3 days! For the record, lube didn't work, even the ammonia trick didn't work. Eventually I had to take the drastic and laborious approach, I sawed off the top of the post, and then with a hacksaw blade, I very delicately cut a lengthwise slit through the post (the post was almost 3/8" wall thickness, not the paper thin modern posts). Even after cutting through the post completely it was still quite stuck, but, I got it to start twisting just a few hundredths of an inch at a time in my bench vise, that's all it needed, and a lot of sweat.

    So here's my question. The chrome frame has a thin clearcoat over it and it's become just a bit yellowed. There are a couple of areas that the clearcoat is gone and the chrome just looks amazing underneath. How would you attempt to remove the clearcoat in a fairly pain free manner while keeping the pristine chrome beneath safe?

    Also, any recommendations of a source for replacement decals (other than Ebay)???

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Village Idiot
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    Didn't rad do a chrome job on one of his bikes? The one that turned out to be the beautiful looker.
    Hopefully he'll chime in here.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Paint stripper will have no effect on the chrome.

  4. #4
    Uff Da!
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    Hmmmm....that's interesting. I bought one of these a few years ago that also had some sort of nasty looking clear coat on it. I thought it was just something that one of the owners of my bike had done. Now that I hear about yours, I think maybe it was a factory thing.

    I don't think I tried paint stripper, but that is a good idea, and you should probably try it first. I tried a bunch of different solvents on mine, and the only one that worked was denatured alcohol, which led me to believe that it was some sort of shellac. I used the alcohol with some bronze wool and several hours of labor to remove the clear coat. As with your bike, the chrome underneath was dazzling!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Talewinds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra
    Hmmmm....that's interesting. I bought one of these a few years ago that also had some sort of nasty looking clear coat on it. I thought it was just something that one of the owners of my bike had done. Now that I hear about yours, I think maybe it was a factory thing.

    I don't think I tried paint stripper, but that is a good idea, and you should probably try it first. I tried a bunch of different solvents on mine, and the only one that worked was denatured alcohol, which led me to believe that it was some sort of shellac. I used the alcohol with some bronze wool and several hours of labor to remove the clear coat. As with your bike, the chrome underneath was dazzling!
    That's cool Sierra, thanks for your input, I too was wondering if the clearcoat was possibly applied by the original owner post-purchase. I am the second owner, and I know who the first owner is, unfortunately, he met his demise many years ago following a plane crash, of which he was piloting. This bike had been in storage for a long long time.

  6. #6
    Senior Member King of Kadence's Avatar
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    Before you strip the entire frame, try rubbing compound and polish. It will be less laborious and you will keep the decals intact. The yellowing is probably right on the surface of the clear coat.

  7. #7
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    Forget decals...Just get some Simichrome and buff the hell out of the frame, ride it and enjoy it.

  8. #8
    Uff Da!
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    If the clear coat is the same as mine was, rubbing/polishing compound or Simichrome will be way too laborious. This stuff was TOUGH! Even with the alcohol helping to dissolve it, it took a lot of scrubbing with the bronze wool to get it all off. I stayed away from the decals. I have replacements and may eventually replace them, or I may just get rid of them altogether. I haven't decided yet so the originals remain on the bike for now. No guaranteeing that Talewind's bike has the same clear coat that mine had though.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Talewinds's Avatar
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    Here are a few pics so you can see what I'm dealing with. The bike needs some REAL effort, but I considered the project because the really important things were intact, the components are all functioning and in good shape. The frame is without rust and dents and remains scratch free, even after the seatpost ordeal. Any scratches are superficial, and only into the clearcoat.

    But I do need decals, definitely. In fact I think I could use some real advise on this project, I'm not new to building bikes, but I've only built modern ones, and let's face it, to build a modern bike all you need is a 5mm hex. This is a completely different animal.




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    Send a Personal Message to mswantak of Velographics. He has a few 11.8 decal sets on order and may be able to add to it if the printer is not too far along.

    I can't help you with the clear coat though as I haven't stripped mine yet. Waiting for the decals first. Stripper sounds like the best avenue, but maybe someone will chime in with the definitive answer.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Talewinds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McDave
    Send a Personal Message to mswantak of Velographics. He has a few 11.8 decal sets on order and may be able to add to it if the printer is not too far along.

    I can't help you with the clear coat though as I haven't stripped mine yet. Waiting for the decals first. Stripper sounds like the best avenue, but maybe someone will chime in with the definitive answer.
    Oh that's just AWESOME! I've sent him an email. Thanks very much for the lead.

  12. #12
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    I'd opt for paint stripper and bronze wool, but if you use the "safer" strippers (and I do) and you leave them on for a spell (which they recommend) you may find the water-based formulas start to cause surface rusting if the chrome isn't perfectly sound. But a little rust can be polished off and I'd warn you off the old 'unsafe' strippers: tho they work faster they are much more dangerous to your skin and brain cells...they'll even eat thru heavy rubber gloves. Remove the headbadge so you don't accidently damage it and kiss the old decals goodbye. Once done it should look stunning!

  13. #13
    Senior Member 55/Rad's Avatar
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    Before:



    After:



    A bit of paint stripper, some polish and about 3 hours of work. Then off to a good painter to have the logos media blasted right into the chrome.




    55/Rad

  14. #14
    59'er Mariner Fan's Avatar
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    Dead Sexy Rad! I never get tired of looking at your Pinarello!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Talewinds's Avatar
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    I'm having trouble finding a wheelset that is at least visually period correct, and has the 6spd Uniglide freehub. I'm surfing Ebay but I'm not finding much.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talewinds
    I'm having trouble finding a wheelset that is at least visually period correct, and has the 6spd Uniglide freehub. I'm surfing Ebay but I'm not finding much.
    Most of the time I've found on ebay if the hub is a Uniglide on a wheelset the seller 'forgets' to mention that fact, so you have to ask about anything that looks like it might be.

  17. #17
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    Yeah, it might be easier to search for Araya Alloy 27 x 1 1/4" wheels, with Shimano small flange hubs and QR skewers.

    And if you're real lucky you'll find one with the correct 13-28 Gold Altus freewheel like the one I found last week. It was in the back of a group of unidentified wheels and the gold gears just jumped out at me. I asked the seller for closeups of that wheel and confirmed it was the real thing! On it's way here now.

    But that was pure luck with a little sleuthing thrown in. I've only seen one other correct wheelset and that was about 8 months ago. Searching for 'Araya 27' will get you in the ballpark though.

    Edit: I just looked at your photos again and noticed the original wheelset. What's wrong with them?
    Last edited by McDave; 06-05-07 at 09:51 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 55/Rad

    A bit of paint stripper, some polish and about 3 hours of work. Then off to a good painter to have the logos media blasted right into the chrome.




    55/Rad
    Good to have Pinarello logos blasted, as I've never seen a set of Pinarello decals that have managed to stay intact for more than 12 months.

    Yours is THE nicest Pinarello I've ever seen. As matter of taste, it's one of the nicest bikes I've ever seen. Well done!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    I started disassembling my chrome 11.8 this last weekend, right before I found the X03 and got sidetracked. I'm going to strip the clear off of mine too, and order the new decals from Mike. I will probably work on it this weekend since my schedule will be back to normal finally. I just meant to clean the haze off, and discovered that stunning chrome underneath. Clear coat be gone, hehe.,,,,BD

    Yes I found a fork for it too. This is the before shot. Does anyone know what color the original cable housings were?
    Was it the typical Schwinn silver? I have a feeling it wasn't black. White possibly, since the rear brake housing is.
    Red would be too much, once it gets the red decals. It would start to look like a vintage bmx bike.....

    Last edited by Bikedued; 06-05-07 at 10:02 PM.
    The one good thing about black cork wrap is that it's better than nothing.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikedued
    Does anyone know what color the original cable housings were?
    Was it the typical Schwinn silver? I have a feeling it wasn't black. White possibly, since the rear brake housing is. Red would be too much, once it gets the red decals. It would start to look like a vintage bmx bike.....
    Yep, the cables are supposed to be red. The silver probably came later when the barcons were installed. Black seat and bar tape/foam though so not too bmx-y.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    Interesting. At least red is still available in lined housing. The "silver" appearing barcon housing
    is a chrome silver spring type. Never seen anything like it. Not just an uncovered friction housing, but a wrapped wire that springs back into shape when flexed. It's such cool stuff I would like to try and reuse it, but that remains to be seen. The seat is bugging me too. maybe a black B17 would look nicer.
    The one good thing about black cork wrap is that it's better than nothing.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikedued
    The "silver" appearing barcon housing
    is a chrome silver spring type. Never seen anything like it. Not just an uncovered friction housing, but a wrapped wire that springs back into shape when flexed. It's such cool stuff I would like to try and reuse it, but that remains to be seen.
    Yeah that's what comes with the Suntour barcons alright. Red lined or silver spiral... flip a coin.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Talewinds's Avatar
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    Does anyone have an exploded view or even a closeup view of the Shimano Altus downtube shifters?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talewinds
    I'm having trouble finding a wheelset that is at least visually period correct, and has the 6spd Uniglide freehub. I'm surfing Ebay but I'm not finding much.
    I just ran across these Uniglides. Not gold though...

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