Most riders call it "that Harley sound": the loud, rumbling exhaust that lets you know there is a Harley-Davidson motorcycle around. The stock pipes that come on a Harley are designed to meet federal EPA standards and don't deliver the sound most riders want. Replacing the stock exhaust can be expensive. You can create the sound if you make the Harley baffles louder. Baffles are the packing inside the rear of a motorcycle exhaust pipe that filters and dampens the noise.
Things You'll Need
- Flat-head screwdriver
- 1-inch metal drill bit
Park your Harley on a level surface. If you have ridden it recently, let it sit until the exhaust pipes are cool to the touch.
Use a flat-head screwdriver to pry the end caps out of the exhaust pipes. The end caps are metal caps with a hole in the center that have been machine-pressed in to the ends. Insert your screwdriver into the center hole, and pry against the edge of the pipe until it pops free. You will then see the metal screed that covers the baffle.
Drill a hole through the center of the baffle. Use a drill with a metal bit that is 1 inch in diameter. Press the tip against the screen of the baffle, and press the drill into it while running it at a slow and steady speed. Push the drill into the baffle the entire length of the bit. This will place a direct hole through the screens and packing of the baffle and open it.
Tips & Warnings
- To prevent scratching the finish on the pipes when removing the end caps, drape a hand towel over the end of the pipe so that it is between the chrome of the pipe and the metal of your screwdriver when you pry the end cap out.
- Experts estimate that loud pipes, or pipes that have had the baffles modified, decrease the power of the engine 5 to 10 percent. Adjusting the carburetor to compensate for an open baffle will increase your horsepower, which will not return the actual lost performance power of the engine. The Harley sound you love is actually an indication of an engine that cannot operate at peak performance and will eventually sustain internal damage from the strain.
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