Harley Mufflers on the Cheap


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MJSantos
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Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby MJSantos » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:20 pm



It’s going to happen with these older bikes. Mufflers will rot out and then your stuck with buying a new system, VERY EXPENSIVE or taking a chance with a set off of EBay or a bike dismantler. The last option is to retrofit Harley mufflers that are cheap and easy to come by. For the project bike I’m working on a 1983 GL1100 the mufflers came from a Road King. You can select whatever type you prefer.
To start the project I placed a motorcycle jack under the engine from the front. You will want to do it this way to give yourself room to remove the existing system. If you jack from the side the jack will rest against the manifolds. It will help to remove the rear tire and any bumpers you might have the reinstall the shocks and rear differential. Leave the saddlebags off but you will be setting back on to get the placement set on the mufflers.
Remove the old exhaust system and cut the mufflers off just after the weld. This is only a rough cut. You’ll notice in the photo it will have a small up sweep. Place the headers back on the engine and secure with a few header nuts just finger tight. I suspended the mufflers with cordage and adjusted for level, equal spacing and location under the saddle bags. Keep in mind that you have to allow for rear axle clearance. You can come very close because at this time with the shocks connected they are at the extended limit. The muffler coupling will be right over the center stand As you can see in the following picture. I have also tied the center stand to the upper limit. The original stop is part of the left muffler brace and you will fabricate a new stop later. Measure the inside of the muffler inlet, I believe most Harleys are 1 ¾ inches. This will determine the size pipe that will be use to form the new section between the muffler and header.
With everything in place time to figure the pipe bends. What I did was take a section of house wire. Center it on the header and form the bends ending centered on the muffler inlet.
Lay the wire on a piece of white card board or any heavy paper. Trace the wire onto the paper. Now take a compass set it for ½ the width of the pipe measurement. 1 ¾ divided by 2 = 7/8 of an inch. Trace two lines using the original wire line. You will have a two dimensional model of the pipe. Mine worked out to be a three inch offset. Cut the model out leaving the ends long. Take it to the bike and start the trial fit. I trimmed the muffler end first to get the alignment over the center stand. Keep in mind that when the pipe is bent you cannot mount the pipe with the curve against the joint you have to leave some straight pipe exposed. Notice in the picture that the header end is just taped. When I had the pipe bent this end came in straight to the muffler. The straight section here was about 7-8 inches in length. Have this end stretched to a snug 1 ¾ inside to a depth of two inches or more. When you’re satisfied with the look it’s off to a muffler shop. Going to MIDAS or anyone along that line will be useless, if it comes out of a box they can handle it but bending from scratch is a dying art. I was lucky that here in York we have a shop the does custom exhaust systems for hotrods. Have two pipes bent. The right and left sides of the GLs are the same. Again have about 6-8 inches straight on the header end and give yourself a little extra on the muffler end.

Once you have these you can determine just where the header end will be cut. I picked up two 2inch to 1 ¾ adapters at the local auto parts house. I elected to use a couple of clamps at this point in case at a later date we have to change mufflers. If there’s a difference in overall length then it will be easier to get two new pipes and slide them on. Welding it in place sounds cool but then you have to dismantle the headers cut re-weld etc, etc, etc. I picked up a set of Harley Clamps for the mufflers.
Hold the adapter so you can get the total length pipe plus coupler inserted into the flared end. This cut will give you the point where the butt weld will be done. See the next picture it shows the cross section of the excess piece off of my header. The cross section shows the “D” shape of the header. What I did is weld the round side then took a hammer to the flat side to form the coupler. Once it was flattened weld the rest.
Now that you have the new header ends made remount them on the bike. The muffler and pipe can be aligned by turning the pipe for the outward offset. Once you have everything set then the pipe muffler end can be cut to match the overall position out the back of the bike. Throw a clamp on the header end and this part is done. On mine both mufflers were the same length so the right side was a carbon copy of the left.

To make mounts to support the muffler I fabricated some brackets that also uses the back holes of the saddle bag mounts. The main support is provided by a tab resting on the tube. The offset bar provides for lateral support. The diagram I’ve added shows the sequence of attaching it. I used extra nuts so that the saddle bag plastic is not taking the additional stress. During the final assembly I’ll use some 5/16 all thread and acorn nuts to dress them up. They are also going to be painted to match the color scheme of the bike. At this point the only thing left is the center stand stop. I used the original rubber bumper and fabricated and new bar that goes up into the original chassis mount location and held with one bolt. Since it’s captive it will not rotate.
The whole job is complete at this point. There might be other ways to do this so I’m just showing one option. It’s not that hard to do figure a full day or two. Cost wise this project costs me $ 30.00 total for parts. The mufflers were free from a friend but there are plenty of cheap ones at the dealerships since most of those guys swap them out when they buy the bikes. Even with the cost of the mufflers and having to get the welding done it still should run just under a $100.00.
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Last edited by MJSantos on Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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littlebeaver
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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby littlebeaver » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:58 pm

Most awesome, so totally cool and thank you.. :D Well written

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:57 pm

Excellent, and great pictures!

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby lbman » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:23 am

Hi and thanks for this info.
I knew this could be done..
A couple of ?'s
do you do away with the cross over pipe?
How does it sound.\? I'm and ex harley fan..had 90 bagger. an 86 FXRT sport bagger.
74 superglide and a 72 sportster...POS
this is my 1st wing 82 1100I. love it. but ,its sat outside most of its life..been fixen and shining since i picked it up last spring. Pipes R Shot. lost the right tip i put on last fall...dang it!
I still have lots of Harley buddies . well some. well, ok a couple. lol who will still ride with me (as long as i tell em i am going to get another harley} little do they know I probobly will upgrade to and 1800 Wing some day.
thanks again. this is the best site i have found !
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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby MJSantos » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:02 pm

When I did this the cross over is gone making it a straight 2 into one. Haven't fired the bike up yet. I've reached a point in the project were I'm waiting on the gaskets to come so I can button the engine up and give it a try. Hopefully by this weekend.

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby lbman » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:03 pm

something about Idling better with crossover. shoul be less restrictive than factory so problems at top end wont be noticed.

let us know and thanks
I will be doing the same.
LB

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby lgsparks1 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:08 pm

I just added a pair of fishtail mufflers off a harley to my 19080 Goldwing Interstate. They look great and sound awesome. See it at Youtube. Here is the link -

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby lbman » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:25 pm

Thanks
they sound great....this will be my project this winter...My gal is buying a place. I finely have a heated shop yahooo.
very clean job for sure.
they look as good as they sound...
thanks again for sharing that
Larry B

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby littlebeaver » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:30 am

I never really heard how you like them or how do they sound...??? You did a outstanding job explaining it for sure, I could even understand it... :lol: How's the wifes bike coming along, howcome you hardly ever post anymore? What's up with that you silly rabbit... :lol:

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby MJSantos » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:09 pm

littlebeaver wrote:I never really heard how you like them or how do they sound...??? You did a outstanding job explaining it for sure, I could even understand it... :lol: How's the wifes bike coming along, howcome you hardly ever post anymore? What's up with that you silly rabbit... :lol:


Sorry for being under the radar, lot's going on and the project bike came in last. I did fire it up and the mufflers have a throaty sound. Having oil issues with it but it gets better everytime I start it. The oil rings are starting to break loose. Ran SeaFoam in the crankcase to wash all of the nasties out and have some Marvel Oil in it now. #4 is still smoking some so my next step is to pull the exhaust off and wash the oil out of them. When it first ran I had oil dripping out of the joints. I'm hoping to have it done by fall. We're taking a trip home over Labor Day and my uncle will finally see his bike again. While I'm there he knows of a salvage yard in Mass that I want to hit. I want to try and find a seven inch headlight with mounts. A regultor or two and another starter. The one that's on it right now drags when it's hot. Don't think I posted a picture of the wifes bike but here's what it looks like so far.
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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby littlebeaver » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:04 pm

Wow it almost looks like a Roadking...Cool looking bike...Uncle will be proud..Mufflers look really cool sticking out like that... :D Thanks for the photo's...Everyone is under the radar...ha ha :lol:

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby LOSTATSEE » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:32 am

nice article, was looking at the rebuild pics and saw your carbs, did you reuse them or did you get new bodies? I will be doing the harley thing on my 'old wing , saw and heard them at the Scott's plastics plant, really smooth sounding.
Nick

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby themainviking » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:09 am

Okay, here might be a dumb question, but the one not asked is the one not answered.... Are the Harley mufflers you guys are using stock? Or are they after market? I have a set of brand new stock mufflers off a 1987 Softail custom that I bought brand new in 1987 and never even started the bike with the stock exhaust on it. Yeah, I know, i am a packrat when it comes to motorcycle parts. I still have the original carburater from my 1974 too.

If they make that nice a sound from a stock muffler, I just might put them on my wing.
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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby MJSantos » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:31 pm

The ones I used are the stock. The original owner had drilled the baffels in them but they are still pretty quite. He bought a set of Samson Fish tails but now is planning to change them out. I'll get the fish tails and I'll just put them away until my Wing needs mufflers. The wife wants slash backs so we'll probably pay the Harley dealer a visit the winter and pick up some factory originals.

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby MJSantos » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:49 pm

LOSTATSEE wrote:nice article, was looking at the rebuild pics and saw your carbs, did you reuse them or did you get new bodies? I will be doing the harley thing on my 'old wing , saw and heard them at the Scott's plastics plant, really smooth sounding.
Nick

Actually the carb bodies cleaned up very well. Just to see if it was going to run I put all of the original parts back in. They worked so now I'll rebuild them and all should be fine. When I got done soaking them and cleaning all of the gunk out I sand blasted the bodies with Baking Soda looked like new. I'll get some pictures when I pull them again.

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby saltydawg1967 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:15 am

Curious as to where is the radiator on this bike?

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby MJSantos » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:34 pm

Good catch. When I took these pictures it was nowhere complete. I installed the radiator back on it and fired it up. It does run so I've got it torn down again. I wasn't sure if the engine was going to prove good.

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby oldgold82 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:54 pm

MJSantos, the thought that went through my head when I saw the picture of your bike, is that if angels ride bikes that's what they would ride.

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby riknwc » Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:39 am

I have a 1981 GL1100 and I am looking at installing some harley slip ons onto my bike. I am wonding about the jets in the carbs? will these need to be changed out when i install the new mufflers? I have a set of factory HD mufflers from a 2005 ultra classic as well as a set of screamin eagle slip ons from the same bike. I am wondering what the best option would be. Let me know with any ideas. thanks

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby MJSantos » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:50 pm

From what I've read there shouldn't be any need to change them. It's too early for me to report on them, still working on it, had to take a break from it to catch up on the other projects.

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby DCoxson1969 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:54 pm

GLENN.... Hope your still on here. I know this is a very old post, but I love the look of the plastic engine covers in your video. Does anyone know if that style will fit an 83 GL1100? Or where I can get some. Can't find them on Ebay. They look much better then the normal chrome ones I have. Any info would be greatly appriciated.
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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby MJSantos » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:21 pm

DCoxson1969 wrote:GLENN.... Hope your still on here. I know this is a very old post, but I love the look of the plastic engine covers in your video. Does anyone know if that style will fit an 83 GL1100? Or where I can get some. Can't find them on Ebay. They look much better then the normal chrome ones I have. Any info would be greatly appriciated.


When I was getting some tires mounted for the Shadow I saw an 83 Interstate that I think was a trade in with those covers might give this place a try:
http://www.hondaofcrofton.com/

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby El Taco » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:10 pm

[quote="riknwc"]I have a 1981 GL1100 and I am looking at installing some harley slip ons onto my bike. I am wonding about the jets in the carbs? will these need to be changed out when i install the new mufflers? I have a set of factory HD mufflers from a 2005 ultra classic as well as a set of screamin eagle slip ons from the same bike. I am wondering what the best option would be. Let me know with any ideas. thanks[/quote]


I have a pair of the Screamin' Eagle turn outs that I'd like to try. Having run Harley mufflers on several Hondas, I can tell you that they work great and run quiet without too much back pressure. I ran my S-Es turned out, 2-1 on a CB550, and it sounded like an old farm truck going down the road. Turned down was not so bad. I've since obtained pipes baffled the same, only finned. I've yet to run them on anything.

I can assure you, though. Anything you put Screamin' Eagles on is going to be super loud.

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby bubba9710 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:44 pm

Ok...so, sadly, the sweet pipes on my '81 GL1100 are rotting out and it's time to look at going to new ones. I am sad to see the pipes I have go because, although they're pretty much stock, the previous owner welded on the most incredible set of fish tail extensions! However, it's time...sooner or later, those fish tails will fall right off.

Here's my question...anyone out there have the mock ups for doing the alteration to Harley slip-ons? Or willing/able to set a fellow up with the required alteration pieces? I landed a great deal on a pair of brand new Road Glide pipes but, sadly no one around my neck of the frozen Canadian prairies seems to want to tackle the project and I am lacking the tools/equipment to do it myself.

If anyone is up for this challenge, I'm willing to make a deal. I love my Wing and cannot wait to get some real miles on...so far only 100 kms...the snow is almost all gone though!
Keep the rubber side down, folks! - James -

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Re: Harley Mufflers on the Cheap

Postby justwingingit » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:53 pm

Hi All, newbie here just checking things out... have you finished the wife's bike? Have you posted finished photo's.




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