How to Install Vance & Hines Slip-ons on a Harley-Davidson Softail

Updated July 05, 2018

Slip-on mufflers are an affordable alternative to full exhaust systems. They provide improved performance, better fuel economy and deeper exhaust tone than stock pipes alone. Vance & Hines chrome slip-ons are available in a range of styles for Harley-Davidson Softails. All are installed the same way.

Loosen but do not remove the heat shield clamps, the clamps holding the mufflers onto the head pipes and the exhaust flange nuts from the cylinder head flanges.

Remove the hex head flange bolts that hold the muffler onto the muffler support bracket. Slide the stock mufflers off of each head pipe. Package them in a box with protective packing material.

Remove the stock exhaust clamps and set them aside to be reused with the new mufflers.

Wash your hands before installing the new slip-ons. Remove the new mufflers and heat shields from the packaging and place them on a clean, nonabrasive surface such as a blanket, a towel or a piece of carpet.

Slide the stock exhaust clamps onto the muffler body. Ensure the nut is accessible upon completion of the installation. Slide the mufflers onto the nose of the head pipes.

Attach the mufflers to the muffler support bracket -- per the diagram in the instructions -- using the supplied hex head bolts and the nuts and washers. Do not tighten the bolts at this time.

Tighten the exhaust flange nuts onto the cylinders. Ensure the mufflers are level. Tighten the muffler mounting bolts. Tighten the clamp that holds the muffler onto the head pipe. Follow the diagram included with the instructions to tighten the hose clamps. Slide the hose clamps into the clips that are inside the muffler heat shields. Ensure the screw heads will be accessible upon completion of the installation.

Slide the heat shields onto the muffler bodies per the diagram included with the instructions. Ensure the muffler is recessed 1 inch into the heat shield. Rotate it until the bottom edge of the heat shield is in the 6 o'clock position. Tighten the hose clamps. Check the clearance of all the exhaust system components. Double-check the installation to ensure that all the components are adequately tightened. Clean the new pipes with chrome wax, chrome polish, alcohol or ammonia before starting the motorcycle.


Read the manufacturer's instructions and review all the diagrams before starting the installation. The muffler heat shield is installed over the stock heat shield.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • 5/16-inch nutdriver
  • 7/16-inch and 1/2-inch combination wrench
  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet
  • 9-inch ratchet extension
  • Nonabrasive towel, blanket or carpet
  • 3/8-inch socket
  • 7/16-inch socket
  • 1/2-inch socket
  • 9/16-inch socket
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About the Author

Based in Ontario, Susan Dorling has written professionally since 2000, with hundreds of articles published in a variety of popular online venues. Writing on a diverse range of topics, she reflects her passion for business, interior design, home decorating, style, fashion and pets.