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Self cleaning motorcycle exhaust system

In the previous article, we looked at the purpose of a well-matched exhaust system. Cleaning the exhaust system is essential for better gas circulation. If we return to the previous article (“The exhaust system of a motorcycle – what is its main task?”), We will see how important the circulation of gas flows inside the pipes. When the exhaust system is dirty, the engine begins to choke to a greater extent due to the fact that it is difficult for exhaust gases to leave the pipes, and new ones have no way out until the previous ones come out. Exhaust gases begin to flow back into the engine.

Cleaning the exhaust system is a rather laborious undertaking. Of course, for a meticulous owner, the moment of a big wash does not come very quickly, but sooner or later you realize that the mufflers need to be cleaned, and too much soot has already collected in the muffler.

What cleaning methods are used?

  • Thermal – heating pipes, calcining, so the soot becomes looser in structure and it is easier to remove it. The disadvantage of this method is the complexity of its implementation, in addition, excessive heating can harm the exhaust system, since not all of its parts can withstand excessive heating or deform later.
  • Physical – the usual mechanical impact. Someone uses tapping, for someone, rubbing with brushes or sponges is enough. Tapping or too hard brushes can cause damage.
  • Chemical – processing with technical fluids. It is considered not very effective, but quite a gentle and convenient method in combination with mechanical work.

Personally, I am always concerned about the condition of the motorcycle parts, so I bypass various calcinations and tapping. The chrome-plated details of such barbarism will clearly not be appreciated.

What do you need to clean mufflers?

  • A place
  • Capacities
  • Gasoline / kerosene / caustic soda
  • Brushes

A place

When you notice that there is too much carbon, soot and burn residue in the exhaust system, the first thing you need to do is take care of a place to work. Whether you like it or not, it will take almost a day, so you need a place where you can sit.

Dismantling the exhaust system is a laborious process. Q: Is your exhaust system fully disassembled? Or even this: can you completely disassemble the exhaust system yourself? Sometimes just removing the muffler is already a whole attraction! This is not about boiled or rusted bolts, but about the fact that some systems themselves are solid. With a successful configuration, you can easily disassemble the exhaust system into its component parts. Ideally, you need to dismantle not only the muffler, but also the knee, which is also the collector (the part of the pipe that goes from the engine to the bend to the resonator), remove the inner flute-valve inserts. When analyzing younger and modern models, you should be as careful as possible, because fresh developments have a complex structure inside, catalysts, filters, power valves.

So, you have found a place where you can leave the disassembled parts. The room must be ventilated. If you are going to clean the mufflers indoors, the gases from technical fluids will accumulate, which will soon affect your well-being. And then cleaning the exhaust system will turn into a headache, literally and figuratively!


They are needed in order not to breed dirt and save materials. Some parts may need to be soaked and allowed to sit for a few hours. Therefore, it is worth getting large canisters before work.

Technical fluids

Gasoline, kerosene and caustic soda are the main tools for cleaning soot in mufflers. Aviation kerosene is sometimes used. Caustic soda is poured in a heated form and left inside the muffler or knee for a while.


Brushes are needed with soft bristles, you do not need to try to scratch out the burn with a brush or metal nap, so you will only harm the inner and possibly outer part of the pipe. When it is difficult to find an opportunity for a full flush, a rag soaked in gasoline or kerosene will hasten to help, which can be placed inside the pipe and left for several hours.

After thorough rinsing and brushing, dry all parts of the exhaust system. You can also gently bring the fire source on one side so that the remnants of combustible mixtures burn out. Just do it with extreme care, because the ignition will be instant!

Do not work with textile gloves as they absorb fluids easily. If you strike a lighter while wearing these gloves, you will burn your hands. Do you need it?

After cleaning and drying all parts of the exhaust system, you can polish if you have chrome parts. Polishing paste works wonders. Why not tidy up the exhaust system not only from the inside, but also from the outside? If you’ve taken the time to soak and clean your mufflers for a few hours, why not spend half an hour polishing the scratches?

The exhaust system, like any other component of a motorcycle, needs attention and timely maintenance. Don’t forget this.

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