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Old 5th November 2017, 12:49   #1
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Default DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle

Warning - This is a picture story with some sentences in between to avoid boredom

Headers and exhaust pipes are PITA to maintain, keep them clean, shiny and attractive. After all they are like nails to some, hands to many and teeth to few. You can live without cleaning them, but it is definitely refreshing when you clean them. Here i am putting together simple household ways of getting your exhaust shiny and refreshing to look at.

Things you need in the order of priority:-
  1. Patience
  2. A shaded place
  3. Mindset to get dirty, tired and exhausted
  4. Harpic - 10X (yes you read it right)
  5. Tooth Brush
  6. 5 rupees scrub pads
  7. Shampoo(i prefer head and shoulders or pantene which ever is cheap. You can splash and try TREsemme)
  8. Some waste cloth or shredded wastes you can get in shops
  9. Autosol paste (250-300 in amazon)
  10. Loofah that you buy and never use. Check your bathroom, its definitely there
  11. Place to wash and dry

The below four pictures is the before state. We have a long way to go as i cover some pictures later on parts under the bike as well.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-reno-days-200761.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-reno-days-200762.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-reno-days-200763.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-reno-days-200764.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-reno-days-200765.jpg


Things i decided to line up for this clean up task.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-37988088331_53e08b853b_k.jpg

And you would have guessed it. The one on the left is my personal brush. The one of the right is what i use for my bikes. Priorities kills humans....
DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-brush.jpg


Step 1:- Basically start applying the harpic on the headers. You do not have to treat the headers as one of your kids baby bum. The headers can take your wrath. I am starting of with the first two pipes to gradually show how things improve and will then move to other parts of the headers.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-320.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-317.jpg
DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-318.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-321.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-319.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-322.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-323.jpg

Give it 5-10 minutes based on patience. Take your good brush and start scrubbing the pipes. Do not worry about scratches. We will get it polished at the end. And this is not glass to worry about scratches. The best part of using harpic is that it takes away your rust in no time.

First Run Results

This gets rid of most of the rust and rubbish that got stuck with the pipes. We will head to polishing with the Autosol as this layer pretty much looks fairly good to go.

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Polishing Routine

Polishing 101
  • Get yourself some gloves. Would advice something leather based because the best effect i have got is with my fingers
  • Can also try some rotary buffer which can help

Apply autosol with your fingers and cover the pipes as much as you can.
This is patience zone where it requires lots of rubbing, cleaning and polishing.


DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-019.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-018.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-016.jpg
DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-017.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-015.jpg


Use a waste cloth, soft cotton or even micro fibre based on your standards. All will give the same result. Autosol removes so much from the surface visible in the fotos below.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-014.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-012.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-011.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-010.jpg

Last edited by VW2010 : 7th November 2017 at 11:32.
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Old 6th November 2017, 23:03   #2
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Default re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipe of a motorcycle

Polishing after removing the dust layer.

Take a piece of clean cloth or waste. Generosity helps.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-008.jpg

Rub and polish. The first run results.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-007.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-005.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-003.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-002.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-006.jpg

Round 2 - Pipe 2 and other parts. Simply repeat procedure.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-031.jpg
DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-034.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-030.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-032.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-033.jpg

And the results of the procedure.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-035.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-036.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-037.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-038.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-039.jpg

The other side. Pre condition vs post condition pictures.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-101.pngDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-102.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-103.jpg

And the final reveal of finished product.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-065.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-064.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-063.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-062.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-061.jpg

The shampoo wash

Do not forget to shampoo wash as this helps you get the rid of excess harpic, autosol or whatever chemicals you applied. Or that is what i believe the shampoo wash does. One thing for sure, she smells good.

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And final reveal after drying and a little rubbing.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-055.jpg
DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-054.jpg
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Last but not the least. This works on all pipes. Just needs more than a single pass to get it to perfection.

This is on a bullet that needed some recovery.
DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-203.jpg

Last edited by VW2010 : 7th November 2017 at 01:10.
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Old 7th November 2017, 01:14   #3
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Default re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipe of a motorcycle

Summary of steps
  • Harpic and scrub
  • Wash with water
  • Autosol for polishing
  • Rubbing and basically getting rid of scratches and making it shine
  • Wash to clean from chemicals (optimistically)
  • Final rub and enjoy the sight

Now these are the site enjoyment pictures followed by the state of the pipes after a week.

DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-222.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-20171104_134244.jpg
DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-reno-days-200753.jpgDIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-20171028_162004.jpg

Last edited by VW2010 : 7th November 2017 at 01:26.
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Old 7th November 2017, 16:05   #4
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Motorcycle Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th November 2017, 17:19   #5
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipe of a motorcycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
Summary of steps
This is just BREE-LEE-YANT!! I am going to try this on my 5 year old RTR 160 this weekend - if my results are even half as good as yours, I'll be over the moon!

Cheers,
Vikram
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Old 8th November 2017, 00:35   #6
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle

I checked the Harpic 10x bottle just now. It contains 10% Hydrochloric acid which is highly corrosive. Using it on a metal exhaust pipe seems to be a risky business to me. Though not on my motorcycle silencer, but I used Cif to clean the induction motor of the kitchen chimney once. It was very effective and is safe to be used on the metals too.

Might be next time, when I am washing my bike, will use Cif on the silencer and update the result here. Generally I never clean silencer as it is hidden inside the panels (Yamaha R3)
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Old 8th November 2017, 00:45   #7
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle

Autosol metal polish plus steel wool works wonders. Have personally used the combo. To prevent recurrence of oxidation, I'd recommend Heat resistant clear coat(Rustoleum is the preferred brand) over the exhaust pipes so that the shine is preserved.

Last edited by Leoshashi : 8th November 2017 at 00:46.
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Old 8th November 2017, 11:53   #8
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle

Quote:
I checked the Harpic 10x bottle just now. It contains 10% Hydrochloric acid which is highly corrosive. Using it on a metal exhaust pipe seems to be a risky business to me.
Risk is there if you let it soak and forget to wash it. I should add a disclaimer to use it on own risk. But fairly this is risk free if you follow steps to scrub, wash, polish, wash again and then buff it.

The picture i posted after a week was to check if there was any action due to the harpic. I will monitor but this is a fairly used method to clean the headers.
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Old 8th November 2017, 19:29   #9
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
But fairly this is risk free if you follow steps to scrub, wash, polish, wash again and then buff it.
Sometimes, I am just extra cautious. Though I knew, corroding full thickness of metal silencer is not possible with a thin layer of even 100% concentrated Hydrochloric acid. I was curious about any anti-rust coating the acid might remove and silencer will start to rust/oxidize. But I think (as never used) the Autosol will take care of that.
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Old 9th November 2017, 09:15   #10
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle

Kudos to your patience.
Detailed and thorough write up & pictoral walk through.
Will sure try it out the coming weekend.
If my effort looks half as good as yours, i would be very happy.
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Old 13th November 2017, 12:48   #11
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
Risk is there if you let it soak and forget to wash it. I should add a disclaimer to use it on own risk. But fairly this is risk free if you follow steps to scrub, wash, polish, wash again and then buff it.

The picture i posted after a week was to check if there was any action due to the harpic. I will monitor but this is a fairly used method to clean the headers.
Thanks a lot VM2010. My 15 year old Splendour bike was lying idle for 2 months. I was upset to see the metal parts getting rusted and even got an idea of disposing it. Applied harpic (Had domex at home, but do not want to take chances) using the tooth brush and wiped with cloth. Very to happy to see excellent results. Planning to do the metal polish during weekend. Very useful DIY. Will post the pictures. Thanks again.
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Old 13th November 2017, 13:22   #12
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle

Quote:
Applied harpic (Had domex at home, but do not want to take chances) using the tooth brush and wiped with cloth.
Just ensure you wash it with proper shampoo or soap afterwards so you remove any residual harpic. It is corrosive and will cause rust. But i can happily report that after 2 weeks the bike shows no signs of rust and is still shining bright while standing inside a garage during this humid weather.

Just keep an eye for rust formation as that indicates action of left over harpic.
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Old 15th November 2017, 23:41   #13
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle

Tried cleaning the exhaust pipe on my 2016 duke 390
Things used:
1) Scotch Brite (stole it from mom's kitchen)
2) water
3) Diesel
4) Autosol metal polish
5) Microfiber cloth
6) Time
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DIY: Cleaning the Headers & Exhaust Pipes of a motorcycle-img20171115wa0018.jpg  

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