I compared for hours pictures of XR500 engines in their plain aluminum finish (pre-‘82 models) and semi-gloss black finish (‘82 and on) and decided that black it is. We’re going all black!
And so I painstakingly cleaned and degreased every part which would get painted and wished a hundred times or more that I had a sandblaster (this has to be my next acquisition). Every chemical under the sky had its turn in helping the effort but none were magical. A set of metal brushes, patience and elbow grease ended up being the only working solution.
Because I want a bit of contrast between the black parts and the assembly screws & bolts, I’ll assemble the parts but just temporarily. After painting is completed, I’ll take the top end and engine side covers off again to finish the assembly with actual gaskets, piston, camshaft and valves.
The engine paint needs to be high temperature resistant to assure that nothing will peal off while traversing, say, heat-crazy-sun-baking Arizona in mid July! I’m sold with the Dupli-Color Semi-Gloss Black DE1635 Engine Enamel rattle can — claims heat resistance up to 500°F (260 Celsius) and will handle oil and gas. It is also easy to apply and doesn’t run. Maybe it even helps grow hair. Sounds like perfection in a can? Well, it better be because I committed, now the engine is Dupli-Color black!
Now let’s let it cure for a few days and then take it apart again to actually complete the engine assembly. This is probably my favorite part. Put some Pink Floyd music on, drift away, and enjoy every minute of the final touches.