How to paint a motorcycle exhaust flat black

Written by ryan lawrence
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How to paint a motorcycle exhaust flat black
Use a high-temperature enamel on motorcycle exhausts. (Chris Rady/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

You can enhance the appearance of your motorcycle by refinishing the exhaust with the appropriate paint. Unfortunately, whether they are metal or chrome-plated, motorcycle exhausts are ill-suited for adhesion and will reject new paint unless they are properly conditioned. You must pretreat the exhaust with a special type of acidic primer before you paint, or the finish will flake. In addition, because motorcycle exhausts get hot, you must choose a special type of paint, or the finish will ultimately blister and peel.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Water-based degreaser
  • Steel wool
  • Water hose
  • Dust sheets
  • Masking paper
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Galvanised metal etching spray primer
  • High-temperature flat oil-based enamel

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  1. 1

    Ensure that the motorcycle exhaust is cool.

  2. 2

    Wash the motorcycle exhaust with a water-based degreasing cleanser, using steel wool. Rinse the exhaust, using a water hose. Wait 2 to 4 hours for the exhaust to dry.

  3. 3

    Roll the motorcycle onto dust sheets.

  4. 4

    Cover portions of the motorcycle adjacent to the exhaust with masking paper and professional painter's tape.

  5. 5

    Coat the clean motorcycle exhaust with galvanised metal etching spray primer. Maintain an 8-inch distance between the exhaust and the spray nozzle as you apply. Wait 6 hours for the etching primer to dry.

  6. 6

    Coat the primed motorcycle exhaust with a high-temperature flat oil-based enamel. Maintain an 8-inch distance between the exhaust and the spray nozzle as you apply. Wait 6 hours before operating the motorcycle.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not paint an unprimed motorcycle exhaust, or flaking will ensue.
  • Do not use an ordinary base primer on a metallic motorcycle exhaust, or the finish will peel.
  • Do not use ordinary paint on a motorcycle exhaust, as the high temperatures will lead to blistering.

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