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Exhaust Modification

WHY? I've been pretty much satisfied with the performance of this bike, so I had not planned any modifications to the intake or exhaust systems. Call me crazy, but I kinda like the looks of the stock exhaust anyway. The exhaust note is just a bit quiet for my taste, however, so I began looking for a way to open it up just a bit. I've heard a V Star 1100 with holes drilled in the stock exhaust, and it sounded a bit raspy to me. I saw a post on the ISRA Forum about an exhaust modification done by Tom Hill and it sounded like something I'd like to try. Here's what I did:


This view shows the cuts through the first layer of metal

THE PROCESS. (Please note that this applies to the VStar 1100 only--the 650 has a different muffler construction.  We have also received word that this does not work on 2006 Vstar 1100s.  At the end of this article there are tips for 2006 exhausts.) I bought a bimetal hole saw (1-1/2") at a local hardware store. Using it and a heavy-duty drill I cut around the opening of the 1" pipe in the center of each exhaust. Don't worry about centering the hole saw; the conical shape of the inside of the exhaust will do it for you. I cut through two layers of metal before each pipe broke loose.


Just give it a good tug!

After the pipes were cut loose, I used a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove them. Grab, wiggle and tug. They popped right out


Here are the restrictive baffles that were removed

Here are the pipes that were removed--very restrictive!


This view shows the internal baffles

Here is a shot of the end of the exhaust with the pipes removed. If you decide to leave them like this you'll want to use a file or Dremel grinder to clean up the edges of the new exhaust opening, then paint it flat black. At this stage the noise was a deep rumble, but full throttle was a little loud for my taste. I decided to try Tom's trick of slipping 1-1/2" pipes into the larger openings.

Adding Pipe Inserts. I went to the local muffler shop and asked for some 1-1/2" aluminized steel pipe. They gave me a couple of pieces out of the scrap bin at no charge.

I cut a couple of lengths of pipe about 5" long then cleaned and de-burred the ends. I used some coarse sandpaper to rough up the outside of the pipes, them de-greased them with solvent. I bought some J-B Weld at an auto parts store; this is a putty-like epoxy that can be used with metal and will withstand high heat. I rolled a piece of the putty into a string, wrapped it around one of the pipes then slipped it into the opening at the end of the exhaust. I then used a small stick to press the epoxy into place and smooth it out. I had to center the pipe in position pretty quickly, as the epoxy set up in under 5 minutes.


After 30 minutes the pipes were firmly in place, looking like they had been welded there. I painted them with black high-temp paint for a cleaner look. Now the sound is just about perfect! New note: Rich Galle in Dallas came up with an ingenious twist to the inserts--he shopped around his local home improvement store and found a 1-1/2" chrome piece in the plumbing aisle that fits here perfectly. He doesn't even weld them in--just slips them in or removes them depending on the sound he wants. The item looks like this:

RESULTS. Really nice. I've kept the looks of the stock exhaust while improving on the sound. I have watched the plugs pretty carefully, and it looks like I won't have to re-jet the carbs. With the center baffle gone there was quite a bit of backfiring, so I elected to remove the AIS system. To see an article on that process, click here.  Mike Johnson from Georgia has been kind enough to provide sound files of the pipes, before and after.  Click here to hear the Stock pipes.  Click here to hear the same pipes after the center baffles have been removed Modified pipes.

WORTH THE MONEY? Absolutely! The whole project was done for about $10. I only wish that all my V Star mods were so inexpensive.

2006 Exhaust Tips from Robert Garrison Jr.: In order to modify the 06 exhaust you have to use both an inch and a quarter and a 2 and a quarter inch hole saw. You cut both holes through the end cap and remove the rings of metal. This should leave one piece of baffle pipe sticking out. You need to wiggle it around to get it as loose as possible, then using large channel locks or vice grips, grab the piece of pipe and hit it with a 2 pound hammer trying to knock the pipe back out of the end of the pipe(hit from front to rear). You have to hit it really hard several times and it will scare you at first but the pipe has a rounded end that has to be forced through the hole. I also used a dremel tool on mine when the larger hole saw wore out. I used the dremel tool to cut out the rings of metal. This modification worked great and the pipes sounded awesome. If you can't afford new pipes this modification definitely is worth the time and money it takes. My friend rides a harley with vance and hines pipes on it and he could hear my modified stocks when riding with me.

Jack Garrett sent us the following tip:  "We just completed the modification that was listed for a 2006 1100 Vstar on a 2007 model. Everything went fine except there is a third piece of metal that you must drill through with the 2 1/4 inch hole saw before you can get any movement out of the baffle. That is no joke about smacking the daylights out of the baffle as it is expanded or flared on the back side where there is no access. Thanks for a job well done on the modification. It also works on 2007's as well."