Change A Sportster Muffler

New chrome, different sound!

Replacing the stock mufflers on a Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle is one of the first modifications that most owners make to their machines. Whether it’s a throaty rumbling tone that you seek, or the louder sound of a racing machine, almost no Harley will retain its factory mufflers for very long. Harley’s own parts catalog, as well as those of many aftermarket suppliers, offer a large selection of lower restriction mufflers that will bring the legendary Harley-Davidson engine sound to life and increase a bike’s power at the same time. Once the desired mufflers have been chosen, it’s a relatively simple task to install them.


1. Loosen the worm and roller clamps that attach the heat shield to the exhaust header pipe using a straight screwdriver or a ¼-inch nutdriver. Remove the heat shield and lay it aside.

2. Remove the bolt and nut securing the muffler clamp to the front mounting bracket. Discard the old clamp. Remove all the other bolts and nuts which secure the muffler to the supporting brackets. Retain this hardware if needed for installation of the new muffler.

3. Detach the old muffler from the exhaust crossover tube, and work it back and forth until it slips off the header pipe. Lightly sand the end of the header pipe with fine-grain emery cloth and apply a light coat of penetrating lubricant.

4. Install any replacement brackets as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Install a new gasket into the crossover receptacle of the new muffler and work the new muffler onto the header pipe. Twist and work it around as needed until all the bolt holes are lined up properly.

5. Use all new hardware to attach the new muffler to the mounting brackets, if provided. If not, lubricate and re-use all the old hardware that you retained.

6. Put the new muffler clamp in place. Tighten it up using the new bolt and nut that comes with it. Snug up all the mounting bolts and nuts. Replace the heat shield. Repeat the entire procedure for the other muffler. Start the bike and check for any exhaust leaks.