Of all the projects you can undertake on your motorcycle, wrapping your bike’s exhaust pipes is one of the easier processes. Wrapping your pipes will not result in immense additional horsepower. While it may help some bikes stay tuned, it will not provide additional power for your bike. If you’re asking, “How do you heat wrap an exhaust?” keep reading.
What Tools Do I Need to Wrap My Exhaust?
You may be wondering, “What tools do I need to wrap my exhaust?” Before answering that question, let’s consider that exhaust wraps were originally designed for vehicles to keep temperatures lower under the hood and keep the engine from running too hot. Exhaust wrap can be hard on your exhaust pipes. When you wrap your pipes, this causes excess heat and traps moisture against your exhaust. Exhaust wrapping can often shorten the life of your exhaust substantially. For that reason, many manufacturers will not honor warranties if your exhaust is wrapped.
Wrapping your exhaust can freshen up the look of your bike in a unique way, though exhaust pipes must be rewrapped often in order to keep it looking in best condition. First, you will want to gather supplies for the job. Make sure you purchase enough pipe wrap along with something to hold the pipe wraps in place such as safety wire or wraps. Other options are stainless clamps and radiator hose clamps. Pipe wrap kits are also available that include necessary wraps and fasteners. You will also want to have latex gloves and a small bucket on hand. Most exhaust wraps are made out of fiberglass, which can cause intense itching if it comes into contact with your skin. Plan to have a set of fresh exhaust gaskets on hand for the job as well.
Now it’s time to remove the exhaust. Your exhaust must be removed before you begin to wrap it; it cannot be wrapped while still on the motorcycle. Unbolt the exhaust and remove it from your bike. Then it’s time to prep your pipes. Clean your pipes by wiping them off. Take notice of whether or not your pipe has any cracked brackets, pinholes and broken welds. If your pipes have heavy rust, use a wire brush or a wire cup brush to remove it.
Do You Have to Soak Exhaust Wrap?
Another question you might be asking is, “Do you have to soak exhaust wrap?” Actually, there are a number of ways to wrap your pipe – you can dunk them, spray them or apply wrap dry. To begin the process, put your rolls of wrap in a bucket and soak them. You will want to be careful with colored wraps, as soaking them can pull color from them, though soaking them is still an integral part of the process. Your wrap will lose a decent portion of their original color after a few months of riding, and soaking your wrap is an important part of preventing airborne fiberglass from loosening from the wraps. Another important thing soaking wraps accomplishes is that a wet wrap will stretch, allowing for a tighter wrap on your exhaust pipe and a more professional-looking finished product.
How Do You Heat Wrap an Exhaust?
Exactly how do you heat wrap an exhaust? Begin wrapping by wiring down the end of the wrap at the exhaust outlet. Start wrapping from the exhaust outlet side and pull the wrap tightly around the pipe. Once you get familiar enough with the process, you can wrap your exhaust without having to tie down the start point of the wrap. A tight wrap ensures that there are no wrinkles and prevents the wrap from loosening up over time. When wrapping your pipe, it is best to overlap your wrap by roughly half the wrap’s width. This can be varied slightly if you find yourself running out of wrap before the job is completed. Wrap from the exhaust outlet side and out so that the overlap openings are faced toward the rear of your bike. Doing this prevents dirt, debris and other elements from the road from working their way under the wrap while you are riding.
If there is a bracket or bung you have to wrap around on your pipe, you will want to wrap the area in an “X” pattern twice around then continue your wrap. If you wrap the pipe too tight in that area it can look messy. For a professional, slick appearance, focus on making the side of the pipe that faces outward look the best as this is the side that will be noticed while you are out on a ride.
Once you have finished the wrap, attach it to the manifold end. If you have removed exhaust flanges during the process, now is the time to put those back on. If you have used safety wire for the process, tuck the twisted section of wire into the wrap so it doesn’t stick out and poke you.
Now it’s time to affix your exhaust pipe back to your motorcycle. Don’t forget to replace any gaskets with brand-new ones. Old gaskets can tear and will never perform properly after being replaced.
In all, the wrapping process should take you roughly 30 minutes during your first process. If it takes you a little longer than this, don’t worry about it. It’s better to take your time and make your wrap look professional instead of rushing through the process and doing a sloppy job.
After reattaching your exhaust pipe, it is finally time to fire your bike back up and take it for a spin. During this initial ride, you will notice a decent amount of smoke and a bad smell coming from the exhaust. This will reduce over time. While riding, the idea is to get your bike running hot as soon as you can after wrapping your exhaust. Be mindful that the wrap will discolor right off the bat. If you have a black wrap, it will likely turn charcoal, and a white wrap will turn a dull gray.
As you continue to wrap your exhaust in the future, you will begin to develop a preferred method of wrapping and get a better feel for the finesse of wrapping your exhaust pipe.