Unfortunately, sometimes doing a truly authentic restoration results in some limitations in terms of sourcing parts. I have personally been trying to find a set of original OEM mufflers for Cal for some time now. It hasn’t been easy. Either they are rusted out, which honestly is the lesser of two evils and something that I can handle, or they are dented to high hell. This has led me to start thinking about DIY motorcycle dent removal.
I don’t have a lot of experience removing dents, but it looks like I might ultimately have to head down this road if I want to find original mufflers for Cal with the correct part number and everything. I have been stalking the one below on eBay for a while. You can see it has a few decent dents that would need help/assistance.
So, I have been doing what I always do – reading and researching. This time, reading and researching about DIY motorcycle dent removal. Honestly, there are a few interesting techniques out there. Some sound reasonable and a few sound like wishful thinking. Here are the ones I found.
1) The Plunger Method – That’s right, the same guy you use to de-clog your toilet. I don’t see this working on small, tight, and contoured dents like the one shown above, but maybe on a larger part like a car fender? Anyone ever “pull” this one off? LOL
2) Temperature Methods – This involves cooling the surface down so that it contracts and hopefully pops out. Regular ice or dry ice can be use for the cooling process, but remember that dry ice will burn if it touches your skin. You need to wear protective gloves and goggles. Alternatively, you can try heating the surface so that it softens, becomes more malleable, and hopefully pops out. Boiling water, a hair dryer, or heat gun can be used for the heating, but be careful that you don’t damage surrounding paint (unless you plan to repaint anyway).
3) Hammer Methods – Only work if you can get behind the dent and gently tap it out. You want to use a small head hammer like a ballpeen hammer and I would even suggest wrapping the head in a cloth for the tapping process. Hammer is a misnomer since really you are applying the minimum tapping force necessary to get the job done.
4) Attachment Methods – These involve epoxy gluing or welding tabs in the center of the dent and then literally pulling them out. The tabs will have to be cut or ground off after, so you will be sanding and repainting no matter what.
5) Specialty Tools – There are tools that you can buy that are specially made for this kind of job. They generally use a combination of suction cups and some form of the attachment method to get the job done without being too destructive at the same time.
So, these are the five methods I know for trying to remove a dent. Something to keep in mind – removing a dent is not easy. This is why body shops make tons of money and a job well done is worth every penny. These are simply methods you can try if you have a lot of patience and feel like getting creative. Since, I will probably end up with a dented muffler to repair, I will try and make an instructional video on the attachment method to see if I can successfully pull that one off (I seriously can’t stop with the puns).
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