As I looked around for the best radiator cover at the lowest price, I found that they were just too expensive for what they were: a rectangular mesh welded to a frame. Some of them are made of aluminum, while other are made of steel, but nothing out there convinced me that the price been asked was justified by the value of item, so I decided to fabricate my own.
This Web page contains the steps I took to build a radiator cover for my FJR1300.
I went to my local Metal distributor (Capitol Metals) and bought a sheet of 20 gauge precut steel perforated with 3/16 holes (the smallest piece they had was a 48" x 24") to use for the grill, and 10' (the smallest piece also) of cold rolled steel bar (1/2" by 1/8") to build the frame. I also used a right angle bracket that I had in my pile of junk in my garage. The total for this material was under $20.00
Other materials I used include the flux cored welding wire from the MIG welder.
I have heard of other riders tying their radiator covers with tie wraps. This might work for them, but my experience with tie wraps is that they become brittle over time, and eventually fail. I did not want to risk the chance of having my radiator cover falling off while riding on the highway. Therefore, the first Item I built was a bracket designed to hold the cover in place.
The same brackets that hold the radiator in place clamp the top of the cover, but there was nothing to hold the bottom. The bottom of the radiator is held in place by a bolt in the center. This became the perfect place to place a bracket that would hold the cover.
The first step was to take some measurements of the bolt and the available space for the bracket. The perfect size came to be a tab of 30mm x 30mm with the corners rounded off a bit.
I also took measurements of the center hole for the bolt to hold the bracket. It resulted on the hole been dead centered on the 30mm x 30mm tab.
With those dimensions, I marked and cut the right angle bracket to size. For this delicate cutting, I used a Dremel tool as seen in the pictures.
The side that was not cut was bent to the outside of the L bracket. The intention was to create a channel that would hold the radiator cover.
With the barcode removed, I marked and cut the rest of the tab. Notice the bent side on the left of the bracket. The final measurements were 30mm x 30mm.
The hole on the tab needed to be enlarged to allow the bolt to pass through. The hole was drilled with a 1/4" bit.
The last fabrication step was to prime and paint the bracket. Here is the result.
With the bracket built and painted, I just had to install it. Here is a picture of the bracket installed and waiting for the cover.
Building the cover mesh was somewhat involved, but I was able to get it done in one afternoon. First, I measured the dimensions for the final radiator cover that I wanted. My intention was to protect the entire radiator. To do that, the cover needs to be 12" x 16".
With the measurements in hand, and after measuring twice before cutting, I started the delicate process of cutting steel:
Here is the resulting piece of mesh:
The next step was to cut the frame to match the measurements of the mesh.
With all parts cut to size, I started to weld them together.
First I welded the long side frames, then the short ones. Then, I flipped it over and welded the mesh to the frames through the holes.
After the frame was welded to the mesh, it was grinded and sanded to remove all the welding bumps and splatter.
With the radiator cover cleaned up it was time for painting. I decided not to powder coat it. For my application, Rustoleum was good enough. I used a hammered-finish Rustoleum spray can that I had bought for other project awhile back.
I really like the finish of this paint.
One of the main concerns I had when I started this farkle was the possibility of the radiator cover rubbing against the radiator and making a hole on it. After all, that is precisely what I was trying to avoid in the first place. To prevent that from happening, I used a 1/4" thick closed-cell weather stripping tape:
This is a picture of the finished cover.
Here is the installed radiator cover. Notice how the bottom bracket is holding it in place.