Removing the baffles of your muffler will result in a louder, attention-grabbing exhaust note.
Harley-Davidson motorcycles are synonymous with a deep, loud exhaust sound. “Loud pipes save lives” is a phrase heard often among Harley-Davidson enthusiasts, and they practice what they preach. The exhaust note of a customized Harley-Davidson motorcycle may be even louder than the horn that comes standard on the bike. However, most motorcycles do not come standard with a loud exhaust like the deafening ones you hear sometimes on the road. Often, this sound is the result of a modification you can make to your exhaust at home using a few basic tools and some general motorcycle knowledge.
1. If you have a dedicated motorcycle work-lift, set the Harley up on it so that you can reach the exhaust more easily. If you do not, simply set it on its kickstand so it won’t fall over.
2. Using a set of combination or socket wrenches, remove the mounting bolts that hold the exhaust on the motorcycle. Most bikes will have two bolts on the cylinder head and two on the rear mount for each pipe. Remove the exhaust from the motorcycle. Cover any openings in the engine with a towel or rag to protect its working parts from the elements while you work on the exhaust.
3. Cover your vise with a rag or towel to protect the chrome finish of the exhaust, and clamp an exhaust pipe in it securely at the muffler to cut down on vibration while you drill through the baffles (Step 4).
4. Attach a metal-cutting drill bit to your hand-held drill. Insert the bit through the end of the muffler and drill carefully through the first and second baffles of the exhaust. Drilling through all three will result in low power from the engine and won’t make much difference in terms of sound, so leave at least one baffle intact. Be sure to drill the holes as close to the center of the baffle as you can, as an off-center hole may cause “whistling” as air moves through the exhaust.
5. Remove the exhaust pipe from the vise and reattach it to your Harley using the bolts removed previously. If you have a torque wrench, refer to your owner’s manual and tighten each bolt to the specifications found therein. If not, tighten each bolt about a quarter turn past “snug.”
6. Start up the bike and have a listen. Rev the engine a few times to get a feel for your new deep, loud exhaust tone, then take your Hog for a ride to show off your new note on the road.