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Fuji Opus Facelift

Old 12-18-11, 07:39 PM
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jar351
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Fuji Opus Facelift

New project. I bought a Fuji Opus III this week that was sadly subject to some serious neglect and perhaps abuse. For one thing, the paint and decals were in lousy condition. Innumerable paint chips, a rattlecan sprayed section around the seat cluster, etc. For another, the parts were pretty well worn, some had been replaced with inferior ones, and the bottom bracket was so loose you could see the cranks rocking back and forth when pedaling. (I don't understand how anyone could ride a bike like that and think everything was okay but the previous owner was doing just that.) The good news was that structurally the frame and wheels seemed sound. Also, I could tell from where the paint had chipped that the whole frame was chromed, so I before buying I decided to strip the paint and let the frame go au naturel, just plain chrome. Similar plan for the heavily scratched Superbe Pro cranks: strip anodized surface, polish, and perhaps seal. Fuji and Suntour diehards, you may want to look away.

To reverse the oft-used platitude, these pictures don't do the bike justice; it looked much worse in person:








Based on what I read in a few BF threads, aircraft paint stripper seemed like the way to go but once I read the warning labels on the back, I freaked out a little and decided to go with a non-toxic, eco-friendly alternative: "3M Safest Stripper". I'm regretting that now because the stripping process has been more arduous than I'd prefer. 24 hours of "marinating", two hours of manual scouring and it still needs another round of the stripper:




Also, once I removed the paint I discovered a tiny ding in the top tube (not a big deal to me) and a 5-inch section on the seat tube where the chrome had been abraded in spots by a previous owner (pretty annoying as it ruins the nice shiny look). So, first, any ideas on how to fix the abraded spots or cover them up? At this point I'm thinking rectangular sticker, maybe one of those reflective ones, but I don't know. And second, any general comments?

Last edited by jar351; 12-18-11 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 12-18-11, 07:53 PM
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katezila
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Dear lord those photos made me want to cry! What the heck did they do? Ride it through a briar patch of barbed wire? Glad it's in better hands! The chrome will look sharp.
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Old 12-19-11, 12:06 AM
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Looks like it saw bike polo/messenger usage. Good luck with your frame resurrection ...and don't reuse that stem.
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Old 12-19-11, 05:46 AM
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I'm guessing you can get creative and cover the worst spots with either paint or maybe self adhesive vinyl. All-chrome frames can be a little boring so pick a color scheme that you can support with cables and bar tape and go to town.

David
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Old 12-19-11, 05:51 AM
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Soda Blast it, it will remove everything but the rust.
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Old 12-19-11, 07:23 AM
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A little inspiration for you:



http://vintagefuji.posterous.com/1985-fuji-opus-iii

Scott
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Old 12-19-11, 08:07 AM
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I do like the chrome frame but it is difficult to see how good, or bad, the chrome is since it appears that the OP has not finished cleaning the frame yet.

Make no mistake about it, it takes time to safely clean the paint and grime off of an all chrome frame. I spent five hours, straight with paint stripper, small alloy scrapers and even the blade from a very cheap screw driver. Then I washed the frame off with a clean rag(s),dish soap and water. This takes time and the better job you do now, the better the results forever.

This old Torpado looked pretty grungy sporting its original set of clothes...


...Five hours later, the frame, fork and original art looked like this...


I do hope the OP can make use of the present chrome plating. Few things are more attractive on a vintage bicycle than an abundance of chrome, in my humble opinion.
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Old 12-19-11, 12:11 PM
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Interesting. Were all years of the Opus III chromed under the paint?
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Old 12-19-11, 05:11 PM
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Took me closer to six hours. I guess I work slowly:










Where the chrome is fully intact (about 85% of the surface area) it looks great, but there are some spotty areas (upper seat tube/seat cluster, BB shell, chainstays). In any case I'm happy as I'd say the frame looks about 100 times better than when I got it. It's a very gratifying feeling to rescue such a fine frame from near oblivion. I'm far from an expert on frame construction, but even an imbecile like me is forced to recognize quality craftsmanship when working over a frame like this over an extended period.

I have no experience with oxalic acid baths, but do you all think the chainstays, fork crown, and lower headset cup would benefit from one considering that they still have a bit of rust?
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Old 12-19-11, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Angelo View Post
Soda Blast it, it will remove everything but the rust.
Next time, I believe this is the route that I'll go. Using 3M Safest Stripper was far more labor intensive and time consuming than I thought it would be, so I can't recommend it for this type of thing. I'm not one to spare elbow grease but if there's a better way...

Scott-- That's lovely inspiration.

Force-- I believe this is an '85 model. I really don't know whether the other Opus III's were fully chromed but I'm sure someone on here has the answer to this.
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Old 12-19-11, 05:38 PM
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I wouldn't stress too much over the spotty areas. Think of it as patina. The rest of the frame looks great. I would repaint the head tube with nice fresh black paint to pay homage to the original look. Maybe a couple of choice decals. Once you start hanging parts it will look just fine. Hmmm, I wonder if my Royale II has full chrome under the fork paint.
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Old 12-19-11, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jar351 View Post
it looks great, but there are some spotty areas (upper seat tube/seat cluster, BB shell, chainstays). In any case I'm happy as I'd say the frame looks about 100 times better than when I got it. It's a very gratifying feeling to rescue such a fine frame from near oblivion. I'm far from an expert on frame construction, but even an imbecile like me is forced to recognize quality craftsmanship when working over a frame like this over an extended period.

I have no experience with oxalic acid baths, but do you all think the chainstays, fork crown, and lower headset cup would benefit from one considering that they still have a bit of rust?
It's a pleasure to get close to a well made frame. I know enough about brazing to appreciate the level of workmanship. Some of the flaws in the chrome are due to incomplete polishing or "faraday effect" (or something like that) plating flaws. I have had good luck using small hard polishing wheels to root out rust spots and imperfections.
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Old 12-19-11, 05:54 PM
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don't listen to me ! believe me, i tried the "non-toxic stuff" too which by the way, will kill your lawn in minutes. that aircraft paint remover makes the paint crinkle and fall off in seconds.

the frame looks great! even beat up chrome still looks pretty cool to me. for the rough spots, i would just treat them with a rust neutralizer and either clear nail polish and/or wax over it.

for your seat tube, maybe get a cool decal like randy's bike above. for kicks, you might want to use aluminum foil just to see if any magic happens first.
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Old 12-19-11, 06:22 PM
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Jar, that looks great! well done .. I'm in the same stage of make-over on an '81 Fuji Professional except I was able to keep the original head tube and down tube panels and decals .. btw, that Hatta Swan headset alone was probably worth your price in admission.

I'd love some photos for my blog if you ever want to share ..

Scott
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Old 12-19-11, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Force View Post
Interesting. Were all years of the Opus III chromed under the paint?
The Silver painted ones (85-87?) might have been but the dark paint colors I think were just bare steel. I'm looking at a 83 or a 84 and the PO was a sweater and where he sweat on it there is rust. He didn't rinse it and it took its toll. Its not horrible but its it includes a large area of the top tube and it includes the cable guide. Its going to probably need a total repaint to look right.

This is the underside of the top tube near the head tube. No sign of chrome.
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Old 12-19-11, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by illwafer View Post
don't listen to me ! believe me, i tried the "non-toxic stuff" too...
Believe me, more than once I heard your words ringing in my ears while I was furiously scraping away at my frame: "You can waste your time with other products but..." Serves me right for not listening!
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Old 12-19-11, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Scottryder View Post
Jar, that looks great! well done .. I'm in the same stage of make-over on an '81 Fuji Professional except I was able to keep the original head tube and down tube panels and decals .. btw, that Hatta Swan headset alone was probably worth your price in admission.

I'd love some photos for my blog if you ever want to share ..

Scott
Thanks a bunch, Scott. The full photo set is at http://s856.photobucket.com/albums/a...%20Opus%20III/. Feel free to use whatever you like. I'll continue to update as I go along.

As for the hatta swan, like everything else on this bike it was ridden hard and put away wet. I just repacked it and found some light pitting. I decided to reuse it anyway since I'm on a tight budget and it spins okay.
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Old 12-20-11, 05:33 PM
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