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Redecorating a motorcycle exhaust system

Earlier, we spent a lot of time reviewing the exhaust system (“Self-repair of a burnt motorcycle exhaust pipe”, “Exhaust system structure, what is it useful for a pilot to know?”). Separately, I would like to consider the issue of cosmetic repairs. It so happens that I put a scratch on the pipe and it does not give rest: you are not sleeping, not eating, your eye is already twitching, you are still thinking how to remove this scratch?

There are already three ways out of the situation:

  • Painting
  • Polishing
  • Thermal tape

The choice of repair method depends on the initial coating of the exhaust system. If you have chrome-plated parts, then it is logical that you take polishing wheels, paste and will be long and persistently cleaning to a mirror shine. Another thing is when you just want to paint the surface.

I must immediately warn you that it is possible to repaint chrome, but chrome parts on your own without special equipment will not work. I had experience in chrome plating of motorcycle parts, restored the engine cover and mirror, this attraction is not for the faint of heart. First, because of the tremendous consistency of technology, which is very susceptible to disruption. Secondly, due to the high cost of consumables and harmful fumes, which cannot be compared with the fumes of paint from a spray can.


Polishing revives collectors clouded with soot, hides small scratches. Deep damage cannot be repaired by polishing.


  • Polishing wheels of different grades or materials replacing them
  • Coarse to fine polishing paste
  • Microfiber

In fact, everything is easy, sleight of hand, a lot of patience, chamomile tea and observance of the gradation will return the former shine to the chrome parts and the manifold. The main task is not to apply new scratches by polishing. This happens when they take large sizes of paste and do not interrupt the risk with small ones.

If you have an exhaust system in your hands, which was still chrome-plated under the king of peas, but no one can tell by looking at it for sure whether this is true, then you can make a tricky castling. Sandblasting works wonders. I remember that they brought us good co-currents, but outwardly they were caught in such a way that there was simply nothing to restore. I had to take them under sandblasting and repaint with black heat-resistant paint. In fact, this is how it works. After sandblasting, the exhaust system is prepared for painting with materials that can withstand high temperatures.


Let’s make a reservation right away that painting a scratch on a chrome muffler with silver is an unforgivable bad manners. That’s serious. This collective farm is not needed. Either you fly with a scratch, because as a rule, if you do not point at them, they will not catch the eye, or repaint completely.

There are a lot of subtleties with silver. It will not work to disguise local damage on chrome with it at all, you will only make it worse, and it will get off your chrome in the first week. Yes, there is silver in the line of heat-resistant paints. I don’t mind if you decide to paint the exhaust silver, but only if you do it entirely. The same paint is often used for dusting scratched engine covers, which is also usually too noticeable when you are too lazy to paint the element completely.

There is an important nuance in working with silver paint: the surface must be ideally prepared. Serebryanka will give away all your imperfections, all the places where you walked in haste.

And here’s another thing, if you decide to paint in silver, then dust the paint carefully and at a greater distance than black. If the silver mark forms a paint smudge, then it will be a failure of the mission. Because all the accumulations of silver will give away your repair work. It is very sensitive to the number of layers and the application method. Smudges and multiple overlaps in the sun will look like blotchy patches.

Black occupies a special place in the line of heat-resistant paints. A win-win. You prepare the surface, apply black and admire the result. Black absorbs most of the inaccuracies of the coating and does not give out so much flaws in preparation, however, this applies to the exhaust system, but not to the gas tanks, on the rounded shapes of which any flaws are visible.

Important: heat-resistant paints acquire their properties only after annealing. In other words, unless you put the exhaust system back on and let the pipes warm up (or force them to externally), paint can be damaged just like usual.

Case of life. I painted the two-stroke engine, cylinder and covers with black heat-resistant paint, before that I knew only about the need for calcining. I shifted the microfiber soaked in degreaser, touched the lid with my wet hands and suddenly the paint began to peel off! So I learned that heat-resistant paint is very afraid of a degreaser before baking. A tip for those who painted but didn’t like the result. To remove the paint, try rubbing it off with a degreaser before grabbing onto the solvent.

Thermal tape

But if you don’t feel like messing around with polish and paint, you are too lazy to prepare surfaces, you have the last method – thermal tape. Usually they resort to it to eliminate burnouts as a local repair. Thermal tape doesn’t look bad on choppers and some urban models. Visually gives the motorcycle the charm of the manual work of a customizer. Perhaps a nicely wrapped pipe along its entire length will look even more interesting than freshly painted heat-resistant paint. Plus, it is a prophylaxis that will support the thinning walls of the metal.

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