The exhaust is the dirtiest part on your motorcycle, but do you know how to clean motorcycle baffles? All you need is some caustic soda, detergent, and some solvent.
Motorcycle exhausts, despite being the dirtiest, are often neglected. “It’s supposed to be dirty,” you’ll hear newbies saying. But the accumulation of too much carbon and oil in the baffle will inhibit healthy engine function.
So, how do you clean it? Most cleaning jobs require you to fill in some cleaning agent into the exhaust. You can use caustic soda as it’s the quickest way to remove any impurities. However, more modern setups may call for detergent or organic solvents.
But the last method, with the solvent, can take up to 2 weeks. This is why it’s important to prevent contamination in the exhaust in the first place.
But it’s more complicated than that. Here’s a complete guide on how to clean the motorcycle’s exhaust and baffles.
How to Remove Carbon in Baffles?
How to clean motorcycle baffles and remove carbon from them? Here’s how you can do so without damaging the baffle:
What You’ll Need:
- Carburetor cleaner.
- Wire brush.
- Clean rag.
Start by spraying the inside and the tip of the muffler with your carburetor cleaner. Don’t apply too much. Let the solution sit for about 5 minutes, and then start scrubbing.
Scrub the tailpipe both in and out with your wire brush. This should remove any carbon particles. It’s best to place a tray underneath the muffler such that none of the carbon spills out.
You’ll probably need to repeat the process a few times before the carbon is entirely out. Use a torch to ensure that the inside is spotless.
Rinse the inside out one last time and then dry it with a rag. Mount any baffles that you may have removed during the process, and you’re good to go!
3 Ways How to Clean Motorcycle Baffles:
How to clean motorcycle baffles to maintain good exhaust health? They tend to accumulate a lot of carbon and residual oil. Here are 3 ways you can go about doing this:
1. Caustic Soda:
The oldest method for cleaning out the motorcycle baffle is the caustic soda method. Caustic soda is a great way to clean out the baffle.
Before you start the cleaning process, however, be sure to handle caustic soda with extreme care. It’s highly corrosive and causes damage to your skin and eyes. Wear safety goggles and rubber gloves before you handle caustic soda. Do notconfuse caustic soda for washing soda.
Prepare the solution by adding caustic soda to lukewarm water. Do notadd the water to the caustic soda, as this will generate a lot of heat and might even be explosive. Mix the caustic soda and the water in a 1:9 ratio (or 10%).
Remove the silencer from the bike and start by plugging the smaller end with a rubber block. You can also use a silicone cork or a similar material. Don’t use wood cork as it’s not airtight, and the caustic can seep through the pores.
Next, start pouring in the caustic soda. There’s no correct amount. Fill in the soda until it reaches the silencer’s brim, then dump the silencer into a bucket.
Be careful, though, as one end of it is not sealed. Leave it upright in the bucket for up to a whole day and ensure that it cannot tip over.
Once you think it’s done, pour out the caustic soda into the bucket and rinse the silencer thoroughly with water. The small amounts of soda left in the silencer will react with the water, so it can get a bit hot.
But nothing to worry about. Do not rinse the silencer into the bucket full of caustic soda.
Leave the silencer to dry. Then, scrub the inside with a wire brush or any other type of brush that will scrape off any large chunks of carbon. Rinse again and repeat if necessary.
2. Detergent Method:
If you don’t have any caustic soda, then don’t worry. That method is only suited for older oils anyway. For modern oils that pack a lot of carbon, you need not look past your kitchen detergent.
The process is pretty simple. And since the detergent isn’t as toxic as caustic soda, it’s a lot safer too. Start by plugging one end (preferably the smaller one) with a rubber or silicone cork.
Don’t use wood corks as they can leak out the detergent. Make sure the plug can tolerate a little bit of heat.
Now, measure a suitable amount of water and detergent, ideally in the 9:1 ratio (10% detergent). Bring the water to a boil and then add the detergent to it.
As for the type of detergent, you can use any kind. But pine-based industrial-level detergents seem to do a better job.
Pour in this mixture while it’s still hot into the silencer. You want to retain the heat. So, go ahead and apply any insulation such as fiberglass or simply covering it in rags. Use dry rags as wet ones will only conduct the heat more.
Place this contraption in a bucket upright and make sure the open end of the silencer doesn’t tip over. After about 10-15 minutes (or as long as it takes the solution to cool down), pour the solution into the bucket and rinse.
Scrape out any visible pieces of carbon. And if there’s still some oil or carbon left, repeat the process.
3. Solvent Method:
As an alternative to the detergent method, you can also use organic solvents such as oil or spirit to loosen the carbon and residual oil.
For this, the best solution would be a mixture of old brake fluid and white spirit, preferably in a 50:50 ratio. Do notuse petrol since it’s very flammable and toxic if inhaled.
Plug the smaller end of the silencer, but not with rubber. Rubber will dissolve in the oil. Hence, find an alternative that doesn’t leak and isn’t made of rubber.
Next, hold your silencer upright and pour in your prepared mixture. Avoid splashing the solution and use a funnel if necessary. These oils are quite flammable even if they’re not petrol. Therefore, avoid spilling them.
Now, leave the silencer upright in a bucket. If possible, plug the other end and give it an occasional inversion to help the solvent spread out.
The problem with this method is the waiting time. It can take up to 2 weeks or more if there’s a lot of carbon. Luckily, you can use this method for modern oils as well. But it’s quite inefficient, yielding up to 85% removal even after weeks of sitting.
You may end up using the caustic soda method instead. But that method probably won’t work with very high levels of carbon contamination.
Once the removal is complete, dispose of the oils properly and rinse the inside with the same solution. It’s important to note that the brake fluid can damage the paint if the silencer has been painted matte black.
What Are the Signs of a Bad Exhaust Manifold?
The exhaust manifold is where the exhaust from each cylinder combines and dumps into the exhaust pipe. So, what are the signs of a bad manifold? Here are a few indicators that your manifold needs an inspection:
1. Noisy Exhaust:
You might have installed new exhaust for deeper sound but now you notice that the exhaust is starting to sound a lot. It means you have a bad exhaust manifold. This is usually the case with a broken or cracked exhaust manifold leaking more exhaust than it should.
2. Reduced Engine Power:
A broken exhaust manifold will lead to what is called an exhaust leak. While you want to get rid of the exhaust, the rate at which you do so affects engine performance. If the gasses are being exhausted too fast, the engine will experience a reduction in performance.
3. Engine Bay Smells Burnt:
All that extra exhaust leaking from the manifold will generate heat. This will cause an overheating exhaust and lead to the burning of the electrical wires and plastic parts.
Why do motorcycle pipes turn blue?
If you’ve noticed your exhaust pipe has turned blue, your engine may be running lean. Bluing of the exhaust pipe is caused by too much heat.
Why do motorcycle pipes turn yellow?
Another consequent of extremely high exhaust temperature is the pipe turning yellow. The yellow color will eventually turn blue.
Can you wax motorcycle exhaust?
Waxes will melt when applied against the heat of the exhaust. While some waxes may last longer than others, it’s best to use metal sealant instead.
The exhaust is by far the most neglected part of the bike. But just like the engine and everything else, it requires regular maintenance.
Motorcycle exhausts can accumulate a lot of soot and carbon that can get covered with residual oil. But now that you know how to clean motorcycle baffles and mufflers, you don’t need to be afraid of reaching deep inside your exhaust.
Now, the only thing left to do is put your knowledge to the test. Clean out your baffle, and remember to keep a regular check on it!