Saturday, 27 June 2015

The MERCENARY Guide to Repacking Your Exhaust Can

The exhaust noise from the stubby Laser can on the ironically named Stealth KLR is obnoxious. Personally, I don't like loud exhausts. I think they make a bike very tiring to ride. Also, I have already accumulated some hearing loss from motorcycling and I don't want any more.

It's not that I think bikes should be really quiet. The exhaust tone contributes to the sensual experience of motorcycling and I love the sound from the Laser can on my Africa Twin and the Yoshimura on the Buell. I doubt either are legal with regard to noise, but they're not obnoxious - They're just sort of horny!

The KLR is too noisy. Driving it attracts too much attention, which I don't want, particularly as I drive it off road which isn't really legal in Ireland...

So I fabricated a baffle for it a while back (you can read about that, here) and although it did have some effect, it wasn't nearly enough!

So this evening I repacked the silencer with fiberglass wool...

Did it work? I dunno yet...

Anyway, the process isn't particularly difficult but there are a couple of things that can be a challenge, Firstly, it can be tricky to get the end-caps off and secondly it can be frustrating to get all the rivet holes to line up afterwards.

Remove the silencer from the bike. Make a note of what's front and back and what's left and right. Use a marker if you want to. Consider that the inside is filthy so you may not want to do this in the kitchen!

Drill out all the rivets with an appropriately sized drill-bit. These are 5 mm rivets and that's a 5 mm drill bit. Drill slowly for best results. Try not to put the hand holding the silencer in harms way.

Right! This is the first hard part. Make sure all the rivets are drilled out and use a soft mallet to tap out the end-caps. Don't put it on a bench and whale on it! And don't try to lever it apart with screwdrivers. Hold it with one hand in free space and tap the end-caps from side to side and they'll gradually drift out. If it's not working at first, tap a bit harder.

The remains of the old wadding.

Cut your new fiberglass wadding to size with a strong scissors. This is a stubby silencer so the length needed to be trimmed. The width was fine.

Wrap the wadding around the core of the silencer, tucking it into the rim of the end can.

Secure the wadding with some stainless safety wire. The wire is snug rather than tight. I used a twisty safety wire pliers for this 'cos I have one but a regular pliers will work too.

Right! The other hard part. Replace the end caps, tapping them home with the soft mallet and making sure the core lines up. The rivet holes should all more-or-less line up. If they don't something may be upside-down or back-to-front. Use a small Philips screwdriver (about 4 mm in diameter) to get the first rivet to line up. Sort of wiggle it around till the holes line up and insert the rivet (but don't set it). Go to the hole on the opposite side of the silencer and repeat. After you've done the first couple of rivets you should find that the rest of the holes line up automatically.

When all the rivets are in place in both ends, check again that the core is lined up and set the rivets with your pop riveter.

Job done! This took about 30 minutes but it's not a race, so take your time and be methodical and careful.

Tools for the job - Drill gun with 5 mm bit, soft mallet, strong scissors, safety-wire pliers, Philips screwdriver, pop-riveter. You will also need some pop rivets, some stainless safety wire and some fiberglass wadding.


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