Tech Tips

Cooling Down Your Hot Exhaust Pipes

Written by  July 31, 2006

One of the most frequent complaints relayed to master Harley technician 'Dyno' Mike Wilson of Dynamic Chassis is in regard to the excessive heat emitted by the rear cylinder’s stock exhaust pipe on Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic and other touring models. When your motor is running at peak performance, it will be around 1075 degrees inside the exhaust pipe (ouch!). This can be extremely uncomfortable for the passenger and people want to know if there is anything they can do to cut down on the excessive heat.

You can install a set of aftermarket dual exhausts that will put the exhaust under your feet and behind the motorcycle, thus eliminating the crossover pipe; however, this is not a cheap fix and can run $800 or more for parts and labor. There is also a less expensive fix that “Dyno” Mike experimented with a couple of months ago. Most auto parts stores carry exhaust insulating wrap, which you can install between your exhaust pipe and heat shield. According to Mike, this process can be done in about 1 hour and involves the removal of the heat shields, soaking of the insultaing tape in water, due to the dust from the tape, wrapping the tape around the exhaust, and reinstalling the heat sheilds. According to Mike, this greatly helps the heat dissipation problem.

We did a little research on the Internet and found a company called Thermo-Tech, which offers exhaust insulating wrap in several sizes and colors. Since the wrap will be mostly covered by your heat shields, the color may not be that important to you, however, the wrap is available in white, graphite black and copper. It comes in 1” x 1/16” x 50’ and 2” x 1/16” x 50’ rolls, which is more than enough for the entire job. The prices range from $22.99-$44.99 depending on the size and color you prefer. Although pipe straps will work, Thermo-tech also offers a handy little item called Snap Straps, which is a multi-purpose stainless steel strap you can use to secure the exhaust insulating wrap to the exhaust pipe. These run $14.97 for a 6-pack of 18” lengths or $22.89 for a 12-pack of 9” lengths.

This tip can save you a lot of money, and when the temperature outside is near blazing, this will make it much more comfortable for your passenger and also help keep them from melting their boots (or skin) on your hot pipes.

I want to thank “Dyno” Mike Wilson for sharing this great tip with us, and if you don’t have the time or tools to install the exhaust insulating wrap yourself, just give Dyno Mike Wilson a call at (816) 322-0379 or e-mail him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and he will be there to help.

On our tough-o-meter scale this ranks a 2 due to the burned skin factor and the dust from the tape.

B-safe out there!

Article by Dave Miller

Technical support by 'Dyno' Mike Wilson