When it comes to repairing broken plastic on a motorcycle there’s the right way, the wrong way, and the Frank way. Dual Sport Alchemy’s favorite backyard engineer, Frank Morton, is at it again – this time devising a simple solution to the cracked front fender on his Grandson’s PW80. Before you pony up some cash for new plastic or stink yourself out of the garage with a fiberglass resin repair you might consider giving Frank’s simple, cost effective fix a try.
Frank used a flat-tipped soldering iron, some left over wire mesh from the cage he sleeps in, and a donor cottage cheese container. Because no one under 60 years old eats cottage cheese, any other plastic container that melts easily could be substituted. The Sharpie Marker is pictured for size reference – presumably because Frank couldn’t find a ruler or tape measure in his messy shop.
Frank’s test subject was the front fender to his grandson’s PW80, which he used a sander on to clean up a bit before starting the repair. While this method may not be esthetically pleasing to everyone, it looks better than suturing a crack with tiny zip ties. Besides, this baby blue kiddie bike isn’t going to get much uglier.
Next he cut the wire mesh to the appropriate size and bent it to conform to the shape of the fender. He ended up using three pieces to make this repair.
He put the mesh patch into place and set the soldering iron on it, heating the mesh to the point that it would begin to melt into the plastic. Then he used the tip of a small screwdriver to push the mesh in, holding it until the plastic set. While holding one piece he’d move the iron to the next and heat that, eventually working his way through the patch.
Finally, Frank cut out a section of cottage cheese container and melted it over the wire mesh to provide additional reinforcement and clean it up a bit. The black area of the repair is from his first attempt at using a zip tie as donor plastic, which turned out to be really messy and not nearly as healthy as the cottage cheese container. Using an empty cottage cheese container also makes this part of the process less nauseating, and selecting donor plastic with a similar color can also make it look less like Bondo. (Note: this photo is blurry because it was taken towards the end of the repair and after Frank’s first gallon of coffee.)
Again, this repair is definitely more functional than fashionable. But if you’ve got a cracked fender or other piece of plastic that’s falling off, this fix can help get you back in the dirt until a shiny new replacement piece comes your way.