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Apply 3M Protective Film On The Road Star Fuel Tank

Written by Jeff Wood, Owner of Midnight Thunder   
Thursday, 10 June 2004

Reprinted by Permission from Mr Tidy's Tech Tips

Below are the scans Jeff has provided, he also has stated that the 2000 might have a different Pinstripe layout than the 99' does These are for the 1999' Road Star You might have to modify these for a 2000 model


Check and make sure the patterns
fit your pinstripe theme before you
start cutting your 3M Film

Left-side pattern

Right- side pattern

Top-left pattern

Top-right pattern

Grumpy (CYCLEBOB) has done the patterns in greyscale and resized them for those who would like them they are posted below.

The Film is Available at the following Web Page

Left-side & sized
Top-left & sized

Right-side & sized
Top-right & sized
One thing I discovered while doing this job is that the pin striping pattern on the motorcycle tank varies slightly from side to side and probably from bike to bike. In other words, humans must have
done them.

My patterns are set up for my bike and the left side pattern is slightly different from the right side, so everyone should check their own bikes against my patterns before using my patterns as an absolute guide.

The 3M kit includes
1 square foot of film,
1 pint of premixed isopropyl alcohol/water mixture,
1 spray can of adhesive and wax remover,
1 squeegee w/smooth cover to prevent scratches and some special wiping cloths.

The kit, can be purchased through http://www.autosupermart.com at a very reasonable price.

Important Points:

  1. When cutting the patterns always cut inside the line. Don't leave any of the line showing or the pattern won't fit properly.

  2. As a shortcut, tape the pattern to the 3M film using masking tape, making sure that you align the pattern so that all 3 patterns will fit on the one sheet of film. Using this method you can cut the pattern and the film at the same time.

  3. Use very sharp scissors and cut very carefully.

  4. Check and make sure that the patterns fit within the pin striping. They might need to be re-cut according to the striping on each bike.

  5. Remove seat.

  6. Use the wax and glue removal spray that comes with the kit to clean off the tank in the areas where the film will be applied.

  7. Pour the isopropyl alcohol solution in a spray bottle.

  8. Place plastic trash bags or other form of plastic sheet under the gas tank on both sides to fully protect the engine and chrome from the alcohol.

  9. Very carefully, doing one piece at a time, peel the backing off of the film. With the alcohol spray, spray the adhesive side of the film liberally and then spray the area of the tank where the film is being applied. I would suggest doing the top piece first, as it is the hardest and the alcohol runoff might affect the side panel adhesion.

  10. After spraying both surfaces, film and tank, quickly align the film as close to the center of the rear lip of the tank. There is a mark on the top pattern where the center of the lip is at. Place the film on the tank and slide it into place using the tank lip as the guide. Time is of the essence because the alcohol will rapidly evaporate. I estimate that within 30 seconds the film will no longer slide around so it is critical to move quickly.

  11. Using the squeegee that is provided with the kit, start at the center and start working the film outward in all directions. Do one edge at a time, as this is the hardest part of the job. When you get to the curves on the side of the tank the film will initially buckle. Keep working it gently outward and down with the squeegee and the buckles will work themselves out and disappear. Keep a close eye on this area and make certain that the film is firmly adhered to the tank. If a bubble appears try to work it out towards the nearest edge. If the bubble won't move take a pin and prick it and work the liquid solution out through the hole. After doing the curve on one side, the film should come right up to the upper pinstripe and around the rear curve of the outermost pinstripe at the rear of the tank. In my opinion the film should not overlap the pinstripe because there is a ridge at the pinstripe and the film might not adhere properly. That is why I designed the pattern to abut, but not overlap the pinstripe. When finished with the first tank edge go to the other side. You might have to carefully lift the film that has not yet been squeeched and spray more alcohol under it. The alcohol will dilute the glue on the film and the squeegee will work the glue out along with the alcohol. This makes for a very clear finish.

  12. Using the same process, peel the backing off the side pattern film, spray it and the side of the tank with alcohol and apply the film. Slide it into place and work it flat with the squeegee. Keep a close check for bubbles and try to work them out quickly. Wipe all excess fluid up with the special cloth provided in the kit. Do one side at a time and then wait for about 30 minutes before replacing your seat. I let the bike sit for a couple of hours in my garage before taking it out for a ride. It takes a few hours for the film to cure and I noticed that after it cured it had shrunk slightly which removed some slight imperfections on the surface of the film. By the following day it was thoroughly cured and looked really good. For a novice with no decal application experience I would highly recommend that they buy 2 square feet of the film and practice on a smooth curved metal surface other than the bike, until they get the process down pat. The whole job, from beginning to end took about 2 hours and that included designing, making and cutting the patterns.

Good Luck!!!
Jeff Wood

Questions should be asked in our forum (Use discuss link below). The forum is very active and you stand a good chance of getting your questions answered there. If you would like to leave feedback for the author, or have additional information you think will benefit others, please use the comment section at the bottom of this page.

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DISCLAIMER: This information and procedure is provided as a courtesy and is for informational purposes only.  Neither the publishers nor the authors accept any responsibility for the accuracy, applicability, or suitability of this procedure.  You assume all risks associated with the use of this information.  NEITHER THE PUBLISHERs NOR THE AUTHORs SHALL IN ANY EVENT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, OF ANY NATURE ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH THE USE OR MISUSE OF THIS INFORMATION OR LACK OF INFORMATION.  Any type of modification or service work on your motorcycle should always be performed by a professional mechanic. If performed incorrectly, this procedure may endanger the safety of you and others on your motorcycle and possibly invalidate your manufacturer’s warranty.

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