Plastex Plastic In Scoot Magazine
SCOOT MAGAZINE - FALL 2006 #37
Sometimes vintage or modern scooter parts are too hard or costly to replace. Let's say you dropped your brand new automatic scooter and you can't afford you replace the bodywork. How bummed are you? Really bummed, unless you run across Plastex. This stuff is plastic repair and molding kit that allows you the user to repair and replace missing or broken parts. Ys, you read it right, replace!
I tied out Plastex on 1988 Vespa Cosa headset, which not unlike a Vespa P series headset, is made of plastic. As most U.S. scooterists know, the Cosa is a rare bird here in the States, so parts are scarce and owners may have to make do with what they already have. The Cosa in question was the same bike that Rolf Soltau rode across America in the Ride of a Lifetime tour that took him all the way back to Europe. This bike has seen some miles and the hard side of the road more than once. With cracks and missing pieces, this part made the perfect testing ground for Plastex.
The Plastex kit comes with a DVD instruction disc and detailed color instructions with hints on how to use the product. It is basic, straightforward two-step process similar to epoxy with the exception that the plastic is a powder and catalyst is a liquid.
When the kit is first laid out, one can see all the components needed in completing a repair job. There is the plastic, the liquid catalyst, two mixing containers, a dropper and several tips for the liquid for accurate placement.
Fixing all the cracks in the top headset of the Cosa was a breeze. The repairs felt strong and did the not crack when pressure was applied. The manufacturer states that the repair is sandable and paintable. This is a key feature because after so many cracks and repairs, the headset top needs to be taken to the painter.
The underside of the headset was also missing a nut plate for attaching it to the underside of the headset. Previously considered lost forever, this piece can be replaced by re-creating in Plastex. The process is a bit more difficult than just simple crack repair. It worked but not as pretty as it could be.
The kit comes with a molding bar made out of some space age polymer. When heated it becomes pliable and can molded around just about anything. When cool it can be filled with Plastex powder and liquid recreating the molded part. Amazing and practical. The cool thing about having a new part is all you do is "glue" it to the existing piece with more Plastex. Just goo the stuff around the new part and old one to mold them together.
Our outcome was not that pretty, but it will hold strong and do the job. With more patience and practice, parts can most likely be made to look like the original. Of course this could be sanded and painted, but it is the inside of the headset so no one will even know it was repaired.
Plastex comes in different colors. The kit I tested was black but it also comes in white, blue, green, red, and yellow for those who just want to repair and go without the bother of matching paint.
The kits available from GT Motorsports out of Reno Nevada (phone: 775-853-3377) and on-line at www.plastex.net . The standard kits like the one I used on the Cosa is $26.95 on the website and their small kits, with the same amenities such as the molding bar, just with less plastic powder and liquid are $11.95.
Overall impression of the Plastex kit is good. It seems to be easy to use and fairly precise in application. The molding of parts is something that needs to be practiced and would most likely be better for someone with some art skills. The liquid catalyst is caustic and smelled like burning rubber and stung the eyes. Definitely use this product in a well-ventilated place.
If there is a part that is hard to find or not obtainable, I recommend that you try this product before ditching the part of buying an expensive new one. There is no comparison to epoxy as the Plastex "welds" the parts together instead of just gluing them.
This repair kit is not limited to scooters, it can be used on ATV's household items, airplanes, and you name it. Future plans are to use it to re-create a completely unobtainable hater vent on a 1962 Renault Dauphine and sun crack on a Toyota truck dashboard. The possibilities seem endless.