MX-1 Restoration Project
Section 4: Appearance
The frame was sandblasted and repainted. I would have preferred powder coat, but the painter I used didn't have access to the necessary equipment.
Good CanAm plastic is all but impossible to find. RPM Fiberglass makes excellent replacement fenders and sidepanels out of fiberglass at reasonable prices, but original plastic is lighter and more forgiving when you can find it. We picked up a 1976 MX-2 to use for a parts bike. Most of the plastic was decent, but the rear fender was cracked at the mounts. My neighbor works at a body shop and told me about a "plastic welder" they use for touch up work on cars. He took the fender to work and welded up the crack for me. I was surprised to see how well it worked. A little wetsanding and buffing and the weld was barely visible.
The tanks are easier to restore than I thought. Fred gave me some pointers over the phone on refinishing the plastic on the tank. Someday I'm hoping to talk Fred into writing an article for the website on refinishing plastic gas tanks. He has restored many yellowed, faded, and scratched CanAm tanks, and knows how to do it and what NOT to do. But for basic stuff like sidepanels and fenders, PC Plastic Renew worked magic on this old CanAm body work (It worked even better after I read the directions). It costs about $20 per kit and has enough goop to refinish 3 or 4 motorcycles.
Tank and fender decals came from Fred. The MX1 decal on the top of the tank was given to me by Eric Weaver, a CanAm collector in Colorado. It was probably the only NOS 125 MX1 tank decal in existance. I replicated the sidepanel decals myself with a computer scanner and a lot of patience.
The 25 year old fuel tank petcock leaked badly. I had 3 spares but every one of them had worn or cracked rubber gaskets and o rings. Ed Tobin told me that he had the same problem with his TNT's and found a Suzuki repair kit that fits the Bombardier valve perfectly. I went to the local Suzuki shop and matched up the parts. If you have this problem with your CanAm, the Suzuki PN#'s are 44341-05110 and 44300-28817 (you need both). Total cost about $12 and they work great.
All the aluminum and unpainted magnesium components were hand polished. Even the Magura levers were fine sanded and repolished. Most of the nuts and bolts were replaced with new items. For larger bolts and special fasteners, I used a bronze wire brush which fully restores the shine of the metal. For the engine timing cover, I used paint stripper, 1500 grit sandpaper, and standard aluminum polish to produce a mirror finish. Totally unnecessary, but so far everybody thinks it looks cool.