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Home > Tech Tips > Exhaust

Motorcycle Exhaust Pipe Blueing: How can you stop it?

By Jason Van Wyhe

Just drop hundreds of dollar on a set of drag pipes and want to make sure they don't blue? The solution is easy - learn to tune your bike!

Most people see a set of drag pipes that has blued and immediate think one thing - cheap junk. But the sad fact is that a $800 set of Martin Brothers pipes will blue just as fast as a $50 set of Ultimas if your bike is not tuned properly. There is one thing and one thing only that causes pipes to become discolored - TOO MUCH HEAT! So how does this happen? Three ways, actually:

  1. Ignition Timing
    If your ignition timing is way off, not only will your bike run poorly, start poorly, and get lousy fuel milage, but your mixture will run lean. ANY time you change exhaust on a bike, it is advisable to adjust the timing. If you have a fancy fuel injected model, you will have to remap it or get a power commander type unit. If you have a standard electronic ignition or points, you will also need to adjust the timing as well. Just a fact of life.

  2. Carb Running Lean
    Again, any time you change pipes, you will either need to rejet or adjust the mixture on your carb. On fuel injected models, remapping should take care of that for you. In fact, I suggest any time you change pipes, you set your mixture to run rich. Run it a little bit, and then lean it out as needed. It's tedious, but this way you can be sure you're not running it lean. A bike running rich will just add a little carbon to the inside of the pipes; running too lean will discolor them, and possible damage your motore.

  3. Not enough fuel flow
    This one isn't as common as the others, but it still happens. Someone swaps out their stock 80" with an S&S 113, puts a set of fancy set of pipes on it, and then run it with a stock petcock. Guess what, you'll starve the motor of fuel under acceleration, bog it down, create heat, and burn your pipes to a crisp.

So what about all the fancy bluing products and ceramic coatings on the market? They're not need in most cases, but they do help. Ceramic coating works the best, but cheaper substitutes can be found on .

So how do you remove bluing once it has happened? Usually, you don't. If it the temperature didn't get too hot, sometimes you can polish it out using

So learn to tune your bike, and keep your pipes shiny!


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