Slip-On Exhaust Installation
Installing a set of slip-on exhaust pipes is one of the simplest, most inexpensive ways for you to get your bike to sound the way you want it to as well as increase performance. The guide below is generic guide on the process and includes several helpful hints to make any exhaust change easier.
STEP 1: The first thing you’re going to want to do if you’ve recently rode your bike is to make sure that the exhaust is cool enough to work on. The last thing you want to do is sideline your project due to a burn injury. Next make sure your bike is secure. You don’t want it tipping over while you’re working on it. The best method is to put it on a lift secured with straps, but if you have to do the work on your garage floor make sure that you’re on level ground, your kickstand is locked, and even then you’ll want to be careful. It is also a good idea to wear protective gear such as gloves and protective eye wear anytime you’re working on your bike.
STEP 2: Layout all the tools you’ll need for the job. Generally the instructions should include a list of tools needed but if you’re not sure what all you’ll need below is a basic list:
- Set of socket wrenches (various sizes)
- Set of crescent wrenches (various sizes)
- Screw drivers (Flathead and Philips)
- Soft towel or something similar to lay parts on to avoid scratching them
- Rags/paper towels & Window cleaner
STEP 3: Ok, you’re finally ready to start tearing things apart. Usually it’s best to start by loosening the exhaust clamps. You’ll want to loosen them enough that the clamps can rotate freely, but there is no need to take them off completely. After you’ve loosened the clamps spray some WD-40® around the connections where the exhaust slides over the headers (on and around the clamps). This will make all the difference in the world when you go to remove them especially if they’ve been on there for a while. If you have the red spray straw that comes with the cans, you can use that to get in some of those hard to reach places.
STEP 4: Now that you’ve got the exhaust clamps loose, the next step is to disconnect your exhaust from the mounting brackets. Most, but not all exhaust, are mounted to the frame in some fashion or another, usually by a few bolts. These can often times be hard to get to which makes having a variety of tools handy very helpful.
STEP 5: After disconnecting the exhaust from the mounting points you should be ready to remove them. If you sprayed the connections with WD-40® they should come off fairly easily, but if they’re still giving you a hard time try grabbing them on the back side and rotating them in a circular motion as you pull backwards. Once you’ve removed your factory exhaust place it on a towel or other soft surface out of the way where it won’t be damaged.
STEP 6: Now it’s time to install your aftermarket slip-on exhaust. First you’ll want to take the exhaust clamps from your factory pipes and slide them over your new exhaust. If your new exhaust utilizes any of your factory heat shields now might be a good time to install those as well. Once you’ve got everything ready slip your new exhaust on to the headers and line them up to the mounting points. It’s a good idea to get the bolts started for the mounting points before you tighten down the exhaust clamps. It is also a good idea to get all the mounting bolts started before tightening any one down. If there is one or two mounting bolts you aren’t able to get started you might try tightening down a few of the other to see if that brings everything into alignment, or you might removing the other bolts and try starting those first. Once you’ve got all the bolts started go through and tighten them one-by-one and then go back through and double check them all to make sure they’re tight. Sometimes as you tighten other bolts it brings things closer together loosening previous bolts so it’s always a good idea to go back through and double check. Depending on your mounting system you may also want to use Locktite® or devices such as lock washers to prevent the bolts from vibrating loose.
STEP 7: Now that you’ve got your new exhaust securely tightened to the frame, it’s time to tighten down your exhaust clamps. Make sure that the exhaust clamps are just slightly behind the edge of your new exhaust. Too far forward or backward and you won’t get proper clamping pressure and may end up with an exhaust leak.
STEP 8: Using a soft rag/paper towel and window cleaner make sure to wipe down your newly installed exhaust removing any oils or fingerprints. If you start your bike before removing these it can burn them onto the pipe making them difficult to remove. When you do start your bike for the first time you may notice a little smoke coming from the connection near your exhaust clamps. Don’t worry this is most likely just some leftover WD-40® being burnt off and shouldn’t last long.
STEP 9: Make sure you have your bike properly tuned before you take it out for a ride. Most anytime you make an exhaust change, you’ll be affecting the amount of back pressure to the engine which in turn will affect the Air/Fuel or A/F ratio of your engine. To ensure your bike runs smoothly and to prevent damage to your engine and newly installed exhaust you’ll want to make sure you have it properly tuned.