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How to repair and repaint exhaust pipes

Are you up for a fun little weekend project?

Motorcycle Exhaust Pipe

Dealing with a damaged exhaust pipe is one of the more bothersome parts of owning a motorcycle, but it doesn't have to be. Fixing minor exhaust pipe issues is very simple and can be done with a bit of time and a few tools. Whether you have a sport bike or a naked bike, this can be a fun little project that you can finish over a weekend, and it may leave you admiring your bike all the more. Read on if you're ready to repair and repaint motorcycle exhaust pipes.

Motorcycle exhaust pipe

A damaged exhaust pipe can result in a host of related issues. This includes reduced fuel economy and increased emissions. Left unchecked, it can damage the motorcycle's surrounding components and lead to a heavier repair bill down the line. Corrosion, cracking, and general wear are all issues that should be addressed to restore an exhaust pipe to its optimum condition. Luckily, repairing and repainting a damaged exhaust pipe is pretty straightforward.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Angle grinder
  • Cable twist-knot cup brush
  • Crimped wire cup brush
  • Brake parts cleaner
  • Carb and choke cleaner
  • High-temperature exhaust paint
  • Wet/dry sandpaper
  • Used newspapers

The above items are available at most auto and hardware stores. Take note that this works best with metal exhausts. If yours is made of a different material, such as carbon fiber, you may need to follow a different guide. Before you begin working, make sure you wear the proper safety equipment. Always follow safety procedures and use your best judgment when in doubt. With that said, let's begin.

Grind off the stock finish

The first thing you have to do is remove the exhaust pipe from the motorcycle. Make sure you're working on a nice, flat surface where you won't be disturbed. If you're coming from a ride, park the motorcycle and let the engine cool down completely before proceeding.

When everything's good, use a wrench to loosen the bolts and remove the exhaust pipe from the bike. Keep the bolts in a safe place as you will need them to reinstall the exhaust pipe.

Turn on your angle grinder with the cable twist-knot cup brush and begin grinding off the exhaust pipe's stock finish. If there's a lot of corrosion on the surface, you may need to do extra work to remove all of it. Once that's done, use the sandpaper to remove any remaining imperfections.

Clean the exhaust pipe

Before you get to repainting, you have to make sure that the exhaust pipe is as clean as it can be. Any leftover marks can stick to the paint and ruin the finish. You don't want that. So, what you have to do is take your brake cleaner and spray the surface several times until it's spotless. Once the solution evaporates, you can use the carb and choke cleaner to remove the buildup inside the exhaust pipe. Cleaning the inside is also important, after all. After everything's nice and clean, you can wipe off the exhaust pipe and leave it out to dry for a few minutes.

Repaint the exhaust pipe

Take your used newspapers and lay them all down to keep the paint off the floor or working surface. Then, take the high-temperature paint, shake well, and steadily spray the length of the exhaust pipe. Keep your stroke uniform, and if needed, you can do a couple of coats. Let the paint dry for a bit, and then turn the exhaust pipe over and repeat the painting procedure. Let it dry again, and when ready, wipe off any remaining impurities. Rest the paint for as long as you can. Up to a day of curing should be enough. 

Finish up

At this point, your exhaust pipe should look pristine again. Now you need to reassemble the components and reattach the exhaust pipe to your motorcycle. Keep in mind that the paint may have to be heated up to fully bake into the surface. You can choose to start and idle your bike for 10 minutes at a time, allowing some heat to penetrate the paint. After about half an hour of doing this, you can go for a short ride to test out if everything's working fine. 

There you have it. Learning how to repair and repaint a motorcycle is a simple and enjoyable activity that can teach you a lot about your bike. Remember, if you're dealing with more than minor exhaust pipe damage, you should consult a professional to get the best results.

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